This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The final week of the KBO regular season is upon us, and it looks as though things will be going right down to the wire. At the top, the Lions hold a half-game lead over the Wiz, overtaking the team that's led for the most of the season after beating them twice last week. An even bigger crowd has formed in the middle of the standings, where four teams sit separated by just 1.5 games in the battle for the final two playoff spots. Tuesday's slate contains two matchups between rivals within that group. As we have just three games on the schedule, today's column will go more in-depth about each game, breaking down each starting pitcher and the hitters (if any) I'd be looking to select against them before making a pick on the moneyline and over/under.
Heroes at Bears
Won Tae Choi, Heroes ($6,600): Most of Choi's starts proceed without incident. In 10 of his 12 starts in the second half, he's allowed no more than three earned runs, including each of his last five. When things do go wrong, however, they go very wrong, as he allowed a combined 20 earned runs in his other two second-half outings. While Choi is capable enough overall, as seen in his passable 4.53 ERA on the year, he's more susceptible to implosions than most because he allows too much contact, striking out just 14.4 percent of opposing batters. That lack of whiffs also caps his fantasy upside, making him a fairly unappealing choice here against the third-ranked Bears lineup even in pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
Bears hitters: While Choi isn't terrible, the amount of contact he allows means the Bears' bats should have plenty of chances to record hits Tuesday. Jae Hwan Kim ($4,200) has just one hit in his last four games, but he does have six walks over that stretch, so he's seemingly seeing the ball well enough to be worth his inexpensive price, perhaps paired with fellow lefties Jose Fernandez ($4,500) and Soo Bin Jung ($3,500).
Won Joon Choi, Bears ($9,000): Choi is correctly priced as the most expensive pitcher on the slate, as he's the only pitcher in the group you'd normally be excited to select. While his slightly sub-par 16.9 percent strikeout rate keeps him from being a true top-tier fantasy arm, he's combined that with an excellent 5.6 percent walk rate, the second-best mark among qualified starters. That's helped him to a 3.30 ERA, good for ninth among that same group. There's some risk here, however, as he's given up 10 runs on 17 hits in just 7.2 innings of work over his last two starts. His recent form certainly doesn't inspire much confidence, but none of the alternatives on this small slate come close to his track record over the past two years.
Heroes Hitters: Choi may be one of the better pitchers on the slate, but his shaky recent outings mean it's not too hard to make the case for including a Hero or two. Jung Hoo Lee ($4,300) is the obvious top candidate, as he's far too cheap for his talent level and has nine hits across his last three games, including a cycle on Monday against the Eagles.
Pick: Heroes (+135) and Over 8 runs (+100). Both picks are inspired by nervousness about Won Joon Choi's recent outings. For most of the season, I'd have preferred him to Won Tae Choi by a fair amount, but his recent slump narrows that gap to the point that I don't feel comfortable with the Bears as -155 favorites, and if he's off again Tuesday, the low total shouldn't be hard to hit.
Landers at Dinos
Min Jun Choi, Landers ($5,900): Choi is set to make his 12th start of the season, but he never would have gotten close to that number if not for the Landers' injury problems. His 6.01 ERA tells the story well enough on its own, but the rest of his statline isn't any more convincing. He's struck out just 15.1 percent of opposing batters while walking 13.0 percent, leading to a 1.69 WHIP. Fresh off a dud against the last-ranked Tigers lineup in which he completed just two innings while allowing four runs on six hits, it's tough to justify selecting him here even if you want to save cash.
Dinos hitters: Choi is probably the most appealing stack target on the slate, so loading up on Dino bats seems like a wise plan. It could be worth trying to save space to fit in all three of Aaron Altherr ($5,000), Eui Ji Yang ($4,900) and Sung Bum Na ($4,600), a trio who all find themselves in the top 10 in fantasy points per game among hitters on this slate.
Min Hyeok Shin, Dinos ($7,900): Shin is at least a playable option given the lack of compelling alternatives on this small slate, but it's hard to get excited about him. The 22-year-old isn't a top prospect, having been selected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, and his 4.80 ERA through 182 career KBO innings isn't anything special. He owns a slightly better 4.50 ERA this season, but he hasn't gotten to that mediocre mark in a very fantasy-friendly way, as he's struck out a modest 16.9 percent of opposing batters. He does have good control, issuing walks at a 6.8 percent clip, and he's been in a good run of form over his last five starts, posting a 1.91 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. The last of those outings was the worst of the bunch and came against these same Landers, however, and seeing him twice within a week could help them score more than the four runs they managed in his previous start.
Landers hitters: Shin isn't terrible, but loading up on the league's top-ranked lineup against a pitcher they just saw six days ago is tough to pass up. Jeong Choi ($5,200) homered in four consecutive games last week, while Yoo Seom Han ($4,700) owns a 1.435 OPS over his last seven games. Ji Hoon Choi ($3,800) and Jeong Beom Lee ($3,500) are cheaper for a reason, but they've hit first and second in the team's last three games and should benefit from the big bats behind them.
Pick: Landers (+125) and Over 10 runs (-105) in perhaps the two easiest picks of the day. Shin may be better than Choi, but he's nothing special, and the Landers' lineup is enough better than the Dinos' to push this to basically a coin flip. Expect plenty of runs between Choi's struggles and the Landers' strong offense.
Twins at Eagles
Min Woo Kim, Eagles ($8,500): Kim probably doesn't deserve to have the second-highest price tag on most slates, but he's correctly one of the priciest options among the six starters available Tuesday. He started the second half somewhat shakily, posting a 5.10 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in August and September. He's been much better in October, however, cruising to a 2.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. On the season as a whole, his slightly above-average 19.1 percent strikeout rate has mostly canceled out his 11.5 percent walk rate, helping him to a 4.00 ERA. That doesn't make him an exciting pitcher, but he's a perfectly playable one here against the eighth-ranked Twins lineup.
Twins hitters: Kim presents one of the tougher matchups on Tuesday's slate but shouldn't scare you off the Twins' lineup if you don't select him yourself. There aren't many hot hitters in the unit, but Chang Ki Hong ($4,800) is the exception, slashing .375/.537/.450 over his last 12 games while crossing the plate 13 times.
Jun Hyeung Lim, Twins ($7,300): Lim, a 20-year-old lefty, has only thrown 17 innings this year in his KBO debut, but there are some things to like in his statline. Both his 22.2 percent strikeout rate and 4.2 percent walk rate are quite strong, indicating that he deserves much better than his 4.24 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, numbers which look to be inflated by his .412 BABIP. While he was merely an eighth-round pick back in 2019, suggesting that he doesn't have a ton of potential, his numbers in the Futures League this season are also encouraging, as he rode a 20.0 percent strikeout rate and a 7.3 percent walk rate to a 3.49 ERA in 69.2 innings. That all makes him seem quite appealing against the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup, but he unfortunately also comes with significant innings concerns, as he's averaged 3.6 innings and 63 pitches in his first three starts.
Eagles hitters: There's a lot to like in Lim's small sample, but we're also talking about a pitcher with fewer than 20 KBO innings under his belt, so there's little reason to completely avoid the Eagles' bats. Hernan Perez ($4,100) will get the platoon advantage and makes for a solid mid-tier option at second or third base.
Pick: Eagles (+115) and Under 8.5 (-105). With two fairly interesting pitchers (assuming you buy into Lim's small-sample underlying numbers) and two poor lineups, I wouldn't expect to see a lot of runs scored here. I like the Eagles as an underdog, as their lineup isn't much worse than the Twins', while Lim's brief track record means I'm not too confident in the Twins at -135. The Twins are 21.5 games ahead of the Eagles in the standings, though, so picking the favorites is certainly justifiable.