This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
A new week of baseball in Korea dawns with the Wiz still clearly the class of the league. They sit first in the KBO in runs per game and second in runs allowed, leading the second-place Lions by four games and the third-place Twins by 5.5. Those three teams continue to look safely like playoff teams, but there's been some shuffling among the group of four contenders fighting for the final two spots. The Bears have lost just two of their last 19 games and now sit fourth, with their second-place ranking in run differential suggesting that they have a legitimate shot to make noise in the playoffs and reach their seventh straight Korean Series. The Heroes trail them by half a game but lead the Landers by a game and a half and the Dinos by three full games for the final playoff spot. The Dinos, meanwhile, are in free-fall, losing eight straight games while scoring a grand total of eight runs over that stretch.
The first set of matchups this week features an exciting tie between the surging Bears and the league-leading Wiz in what could be a Korean Series preview. The Landers take on the Lions in the only other game between legitimate playoff hopefuls, with the rest of the contenders all playing also-rans.
The top three starters on Tuesday's slate have all suddenly gone cold, but I'll back Eric Jokisch ($9,200) as the most likely to rebound here. For starters, he gets the easiest matchup among the trio, as he'll face the ninth-ranked Eagles offense. He's been poor for two straight starts, allowing 14 runs (eight earned) on 15 hits in 8.2 combined innings while striking out just four batters, but that doesn't seem to be part of a larger trend, as he'd cruised to a 2.11 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over his previous seven outings. I'm willing to forgive a couple of bad starts for a pitcher whose 2.72 ERA and 1.13 WHIP since he joined the league in 2019 lead all pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings over that stretch, especially against one of the worst lineups in the league.
If you want to lean in on recent performance, there's a case to be made that Gi Yeong Im ($8,300) is the best option on the slate. He's riding a pair of excellent starts, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits in 14 innings of work, striking out 12 while walking just two. That performance is even more impressive considering the first of those starts came away at the Lions, who play in the most hitter-friendly park in the league, while the second came against the Wiz, who lead the league in scoring. Of course, his ERA still stands at an unimpressive 4.80 even after those two starts, though his strong combination of a 19.3 percent strikeout rate and 6.9 percent walk rate indicates he's deserved better. He'll face a Dinos lineup Tuesday which has averaged exactly one run per game over an eight-game losing streak.
It's very tough to make a case for anyone else on this slate, so I'll begrudgingly turn to Ryan Carpenter ($8,900) for the third spot here. Carpenter has endured an awful September, posting a 9.43 ERA for the month, though he does have one good outing, as he struck out nine and walked just one while allowing a single earned run on four hits over six frames against the Heroes (the same team he'll face Tuesday) back on September 16. The Heroes' lineup skews left-handed, which should help the southpaw get back on track. When he's been on this season, he's been one of the best pitchers in the league, with his 25.2 percent strikeout rate helping him to a 3.98 ERA. It's hard to trust him at the moment, but the potential for a big total should still be there.
The Lions easily could have been one of today's top stack choices, as they'll play in their hitter-friendly home park against Landers righty Yeong U Jo, who owns a 6.80 ERA while mostly pitching in relief. Ja Wook Koo ($6,100) will get the platoon advantage against Jo and is worth paying up for either alone or alongside some of his teammates. The park factors make him deservedly the most expensive batter on the slate, as he's also moved into the top spot in fantasy points per game following an excellent recent run. Since the start of September, he's hit .359/.386/1.049 with seven homers. He now has 20 homers, making the only player with a 20-20 season to date. The other five players who have swiped at least 20 bags this season have combined to clear the fence just 17 times.
Hyoung Woo Choi ($4,200) is more expensive than he's been in some time, but he's still a strong value play. His price tag may seem accurate given his merely good .240/.388/.401 slash line, but those numbers don't reflect his talent level, as they're held back by an awful run early in the year when he was battling an eye condition. He owns an .894 OPS since the start of July and has been even better than that over his last 14 games, hitting .310/.483/.619. It wouldn't be a surprise if he keeps producing at close to that level going forward, as he won a batting title last season while finishing second with a 1.028 OPS. He'll get the platoon advantage Tuesday against Dinos righty Myung Gi Song and his 6.11 ERA.
I like Ah Seop Son ($3,900) whenever the Giants face an unreliable righty. That certainly describes Twins starter Jae June Bae, who owns a 5.59 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in 19.1 innings of work. Son narrowly trailed Hyoung Woo Choi for the batting title last season, finishing with a .352 mark, so his .240 average through 28 games this season was quite a disappointment. He's been back to his usual self for most of the season at this point, however, hitting .340/.417/.416 over his last 82 games. He has very little power, homering just once all season, but he's among the league's most reliable contact hitters, posting an average of .295 or above in each of his 12 seasons as a regular.
Going back to the Lions, I've been loving Dong Yub Kim ($2,600) as a budget outfield option recently and like him quite a bit Tuesday due to the aforementioned matchup against Yeong U Jo in Daegu Samsung Lions Park, the best hitters' park in the league. For the second year in a row, Kim hit himself off the roster early in the season, but the Lions' decision to demote him again appears to be having the desired results. He closed last year with a .355/.409/.589 line in 67 games after returning from the Futures League, and he's hit an even better .405/.432/.619 in 11 games since his return thus far this year. That earned him a move up to the second spot in the order Saturday, though he's a worthy selection even if he hits sixth, as he did Sunday.
Stacks to Consider
We're spoiled for choice when it comes to pitchers to pick on Tuesday, but we may as well start with the most inexperienced starter of the day who will be stuck pitcher in the league's most hitter-friendly park. Lee seemingly has potential, as he was selected third-overall in the most recent draft and is being trusted with a starting role at age 19, but nothing he's done in his first three starts suggests he'll stick around for much longer. He's yet to last more than 4.1 innings in a start and has struggled to a 7.71 ERA and 2.06 WHIP across his three outings, striking out just 14.3 percent of the batters he's faced while walking 12.5 percent. Lee's 5.45 ERA at the Futures League level doesn't give much reason to be optimistic that he's ready to handle KBO hitters, either, so most of the Landers' top bats look quite good here. The trio listed above is a surprisingly affordable group of strong hitters who have occupied the heart of the order in recent games.
Many of the Twins' top bats have been struggling recently, but this matchup seems like a great time for them to sort things out. Like Jae Hee Lee above, Seung Heon Lee is a former third-overall pick, as he was selected in that spot back in 2018. He actually had some encouraging peripherals in eight starts last season despite a 4.66 ERA, as he struck out 21.7 percent of opposing batters while walking just 7.0 percent, but he's taken massive steps back in both areas this year. His strikeout rate has been slashed in half, coming in at 10.6 percent, while his walk rate has more than doubled to 16.5 percent, making his 5.61 ERA and 2.05 WHIP through seven starts and three relief appearances look well-deserved. The stack listed above features a trio of left-handed hitters who regularly bat in the top three spots in the Twins' order.