This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
We've reached the final day of the KBO regular season, yet there's still plenty left to play for. The number one seed and the bye straight to the Korean Series that it comes with is still up for grabs, with the Twins trailing both the Wiz and Lions by half a game. If the Lions and Wiz remain tied atop the standings at the end of the night, the teams will play a tiebreaker game. The back end of the playoff picture isn't completely set, either, as the Heroes can still earn the fifth and final playoff spot with a win and a Landers loss. We'll have a full, five-game slate on DraftKings to end the year, with all five games beginning at 4 a.m. ET.
Saturday's group of starters is quite deep, but it's still a shock to see Eric Jokisch ($7,000) as the third-cheapest option. Yes, he's coming off a pair of poor starts, allowing a combined 10 runs on 20 hits in 9.2 innings, but we've seen more than enough from the lefty throughout his three-year KBO career to know that he's capable of far better. He owns a career 2.74 ERA and 1.14 WHIP across 87 KBO starts and still has a 2.98 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season after his last two bad outings. To top it all off, he'll close the season in a must-win game against an anemic Tigers offense that ranks last in scoring. The conditions couldn't be better for a bounceback outing, and there's potential for a huge profit here if he does indeed bounce back.
The middle tier features a very similar situation in Won Joon Choi ($7,600). Choi can't quite match Jokisch's overall numbers, but he's not far off, posting a 3.26 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 28 starts. Just like Jokisch, Choi offsets his mediocre strikeout numbers with excellent control, with his 5.5 percent walk rate proving to be more than enough to overcome his 16.9 percent strikeout rate. As with Jokisch, he's stumbled down the stretch, struggling to an 8.03 ERA and 1.95 WHIP in his last three starts. In yet another parallel, however, he's in an ideal situation to bounce back, as he'll face the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup, a unit which has long since been eliminated from playoff contention.
The priciest options are all playable Saturday, but I don't think you have to go above David Buchanan ($8,200) to get a pair of very strong arms considering how deep the slate is. Buchanan looked good in his first year in Korea last year, though his 3.45 ERA came with a sub-par 16.6 percent strikeout rate. This year, he's raised his strikeout rate all the way to 21.5 percent while cutting his ERA to 2.96, an achievement which looks even more impressive when considering the Lions play in the league's most hitter-friendly park. Unlike the aforementioned pitchers, he's remained strong down the stretch, cruising to a 2.20 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over his last five starts. He should be in line for another good outing Saturday against a Dinos team which ranks a mere seventh in scoring and has been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Twins still have a shot at the number one seed despite their eighth-ranked offense. While that's almost entirely due to their pitching staff, Chang Ki Hong ($4,800) has done his part to keep the team's lineup at least respectable. The leadoff man ranks second in runs scored this season with 103 despite the fact that his team doesn't cross the plate all that often. He could have quite a big lead in that category with better bats behind him, as he has the ideal skillset for a leadoff man. His .331 batting average ranks fourth among qualified hitters, while his 16.9 percent walk rate ranks third. Combined, that's helped him to a league-best .462 on-base percentage. He should get on base multiple times against Giants righty Se Woong Park, who owns a 7.03 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over his last six starts.
The Landers are going to need to score a fair number of runs if they're to secure a playoff-clinching win Saturday, but they'll have a shot to do that against Wiz righty Hyeong Jun So, who's struck out eight while walking nine over his last three starts. Yoo Seom Han ($5,000) has been on a tear down the stretch and looks like one of the team's best options. He's now priced like one of the top hitters in the league, but he's been hitting like one over the last two months, slashing .326/.416/.624 with 12 homers in 44 games while walking (23) more than he's struck out (20).
For a cheaper way to grab a piece of the Landers' league-leading lineup, consider Tae Gon Oh ($3,400), who makes for a strong budget option among a deep but expensive pool of first basemen. The 29-year-old owns a modest .723 OPS across parts of nine seasons and hasn't been a regular for all of this year, but he's swung quite a hot bat recently. Over his last 12 games, he's hit .400/.417/.600 with two homers, 10 RBI and 12 runs scored. While he sometimes finds himself in the bottom third of the order, he's a strong option if he hits fifth, like he did in the Landers' most recent game.
Yong Kyu Lee ($3,500) isn't anything special at the plate, but the fact that he leads off for a decent Heroes lineup that needs a win to have a shot at a playoff spot makes him a playable budget outfielder. He doesn't have any power, homering exactly once in each of the last three seasons, but he's a good fit for the leadoff spot nonetheless. He makes a ton of contact, striking out just 7.4 percent of the time en route to a .286 batting average, and his 12.1 percent walk rate has helped him to a .380 on-base percentage. He's reached base safely in 25 straight games, hitting .333/.415/.441 over that stretch, a streak which should continue against Tigers righty Bo Takahashi, who's shown flashes in his first six KBO starts but owns a mediocre 4.18 ERA.
Stacks to Consider
The Landers can clinch a playoff berth with a win, though they may wind up stuck hoping for a Heroes loss, as they'll send out an unproven rookie against a Wiz team that needs a win to have a shot at the number one seed. Kim's 3.27 ERA looks good on the surface, but it comes in a tiny sample of 11 innings and isn't supported by the rest of his numbers, including a 1.55 WHIP and 7:10 K:BB. Kim was the Landers' top pick in the most recent draft, suggesting that the young lefty has plenty of potential, but his Futures League numbers are similarly unconvincing, as he's struck out 18 while walking 23 in 29.2 innings. The stack featured here bets on a bounceback performance from the Wiz's top two bats, who haven't been at their best lately, pairing them with inexplicably inexpensive cleanup man Yoo.
As with Keon Woo Kim above, Jang has a strong ERA this season, but his 3.08 mark is similarly untrustworthy. It comes in a bigger sample than what Kim can boast, but 26.1 innings still isn't much. It's hard to see him continuing to keep runs off the board considering that he's struck out just 10.6 percent of opposing batters. He hasn't had much success in the past, either, posting a 6.75 ERA last season and a 5.63 ERA over the course of his 11-year-career. Given that the Bears need a win to secure fourth place (a spot which comes with a one-game advantage in the three-game Wild Card round) while the Eagles have nothing to play for, it would be a surprise if they didn't put up a large number off the veteran. We'll go here with the Bears' top three left-handed bats, with Jae Hwan Kim looking like he's pulled out of a slump after grabbing two hits and a homer Friday against the Tigers.