This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Thursday's KBO slate featured a strong set of starters but still saw a fair number of runs cross the plate. Hyun Soo Kim grabbed three hits and drove in four of the Twins' 13 runs in their blowout win over the Giants, while Han Joon Yoo and Jung Dae Bae both had three hits and a pair of runs scored in the Wiz's 6-2 win over the Bears. On the pitching side, both Casey Kelly and Daniel Mengden tossed six shutout innings, with Mengden allowing just a single hit and two walks as the Tigers toppled the Lions by a 5-2 score.
We'll have another four-game slate Friday, with the Eagles and Landers again not scheduled to play. The slate will likely wind up shrinking to three games, as the forecast shows greater than a 50 percent chance of rain in Daegu for the Heroes-Lions contest. We'll skip players from that contest here and go with a slightly reduced set of recommendations given how small the slate is shaping up to be.
Reliable pitching isn't available on Friday's slate, leaving Sang Back Um ($9,200) looking like the best option. Um may be at an unusual price point for a pitcher with a career 5.88 ERA, but that mark doesn't seem to reflect who he is at this point in his career. A top draft pick back in 2015, Um accomplished very little before leaving for mandatory military service after the 2019 season, but he dominated the Futures League over the last two seasons with the military team and the Wiz's minor-league side, cruising to a 1.60 ERA and 1.03 WHIP across 169 innings. He's continued to find success upon his return to Korea's highest level this year, riding a 20.5 percent strikeout rate to a 3.78 ERA in eight starts and one relief appearance. He'll look to extend his streak of consecutive quality starts to four Friday and should have a relatively easy time doing so against the last-ranked Tigers lineup.
It's hard to find much of a reason to like anyone else on the slate, but I'll begrudgingly go with In Bok Lee ($8,000). Lee is helped significantly by the fact that he'll be facing a Twins lineup that ranks third-worst in scoring and second-worst in that category among the teams playing Friday. The 30-year-old righty doesn't have much of a resume for a pitcher of his age, as he's thrown just 129 KBO innings and owns a poor 6.56 ERA. His 5.24 ERA this season isn't good, either, but there's just enough under the surface to make him a palatable option given the matchup. He's made five starts since moving to the rotation in mid-September, lasting at least five innings in all five while giving up no more than two runs in all but one outing. In 46.1 innings as a swingman overall, he's combined a strong 5.7 percent walk rate with a roughly average 17.7 percent strikeout rate, numbers which should lead to respectable results going forward.
Eui Ji Yang ($5,000) continues to have a strong case as the KBO's best player, as he leads all qualified hitters with a 1.007 OPS, a remarkable feat for a catcher. He's almost always the most efficient use of your budget space on a given slate, as the comparative advantage he offers at the position is unparalleled. He's scored 29 percent more fantasy points per game than the next-best catcher on this slate (Dong Won Park) but costs only nine percent more. He'd rank third in points per game among first basemen and fifth among outfielders, but you can select him while still rostering the full complement of players at those two deep positions. With a matchup against Bears righty Jong Ki Park, who owns a mediocre 4.64 ERA and a 28:23 K:BB, it's hard to look elsewhere behind the plate.
Jose Fernandez ($4,900) hasn't been particularly impressive lately, which has seen him drop down into a very affordable price range. He hasn't been terrible, but a .654 OPS over his last eight games isn't the most encouraging. Not all slumps are equally worrisome, however. If Fernandez were suddenly struggling to make contact, it might be smart to avoid him, but he's struck out just twice over that eight-game stretch. The smarter bet seems to be that his hits will start falling again any day now, a bet that's easy to make given his career .335/.403/.478 slash line through three seasons in Korea. Getting the platoon advantage against Dinos righty Jae Hak Lee, who owns a 5.79 ERA and 1.62 WHIP on the season, certainly won't hurt.
Sticking with the Bears, Soo Bin Jung ($3,800) will also get the platoon advantage against Lee and remains a strong choice as long as he continues to lead off for the league's highest-scoring lineup. There's nothing particularly special about Jung's bat, as he owns a .688 OPS on the season and a .728 mark for his career, but he's thrived since stepping into the leadoff role in mid-September, hitting .313/.361/.455 with 22 runs scored in 25 games. Most of his value comes from the fact that he gets to hit in front of all the Bears' best run producers, but his recent success keeps him interesting in his own right as well.
Selecting a Giant or two seems sensible against Twins righty Jae June Bae, whose 3.86 ERA in 30.1 innings comes with a low 15.9 percent strikeout rate and a high 1.58 WHIP. As usual, you can go in many different directions in a Giants lineup that's short on true stars but long on playable options, but Dong Hui Han ($3,800) looks like the best combination of price tag and recent success. He has seven multi-hit games in 11 contests thus far in October, hitting .372/.400/.605 over that stretch. The 22-year-old now owns an .810 OPS, the best mark of his four-year career, making him a strong budget option at either second or third base.
Stacks to Consider
I'm only offering one stack recommendation here given how small the slate will likely be, though I'd be quite comfortable stacking anyone except the Tigers in Friday's contests. Choi stands out above (or perhaps below) the rest of the pool as the clear best option to stack against, however. The 19-year-old righty has minimal prospect pedigree, as he was selected in the 10th round of last year's draft. His KBO experience to date consists of two appearances, in which he's allowed a combined eight runs in 3.1 innings of work, striking out four batters while walking six. He hasn't been bad at the Futures League level this season, but his 4.02 ERA and 1.36 WHIP there hardly suggest he's ready to dominate against a tougher level of competition. Any Wiz stack has to start with the incredible Kang, whose .995 OPS ranks second among qualified hitters, but there are plenty of largely similar options to pair with him. The stack suggested here skips the slumping Jae Gyun Hwang ($4,600) in favor of a pair of outfielders who have been hitting in the middle third of the order in recent games.