This article is part of our DFS KBO series.
KBO DFS contests are back!
DraftKings is running a Showdown contest for Game 1 of the Korean Series, which begins Tuesday at 4:30 am ET and will be broadcast on ESPN. Presumably, they'll be running similar contests for the rest of the series as well, though that hasn't been officially confirmed anywhere as of writing.
The rules for Showdown contests are simple. You'll select six players in any combination of pitchers and hitters. One player will be designated as your "Captain," who will cost 1.5 times as much as the rest of your team but who will also earn 1.5 times as many points as your other players. Lineups must contain at least one player from each team. You are under no obligation to select a pitcher, though you could even theoretically attempt to squeeze in both starters.
With starting pitchers scoring on average quite a few more points than the top batters – nearly double, in the case of the pitchers throwing in Game 1 – while costing only slightly more, you'll likely want to lean in their direction for your captain slots. That seriously constrains your budget, though, so hoping for a huge game from a mid-priced hitter is a viable strategy as well. Additionally, you'll want your lineup towards one team to maximize the correlation between your hitters' performances, especially in larger tournaments.
I'll be shaking up the format for these previews to account for the unique nature of the Showdown format. I'll present a quick breakdown of both pitchers, followed by a pair of high-priced hitters from the team I'd rather build around as well as a bargain bat to consider from both teams. The prices listed for each player are their price if used in the UTIL slot.
Drew Rucinski, Dinos ($10,800): Rucinski went through a few brief slumps this season, but his campaign on the whole was quite a strong one, as he finished with the same 3.05 ERA that he managed in his KBO debut in 2019. He generally got worse as the season progressed, however, as he posted a 1.99 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP through his first 14 starts before recording a considerably less impressive 4.08 ERA and 1.42 WHIP the rest of the way. While he did finish the year throwing five shutout innings against the Giants, he allowed four earned runs in two of his three prior starts. On the whole, Rucinski's 21.7 percent strikeout rate and 7.4 percent walk rate generally back up his strong ERA, but it would have been preferable to see him look more like an ace in the second half.
Raul Alcantara, Bears ($10,400): Alcantara comes in a hair cheaper than Rucinski but outperformed him along with arguably every other pitcher in the league this season, winning the Choi Dong-won Award, the KBO's equivalent of the Cy Young. The honor was a deserving one, as he cruised to a 2.54 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, backed by a 21.5 percent strikeout rate and a 3.5 percent walk rate. He closed the regular season in excellent form, allowing just three runs in his last five starts, good for a 0.79 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP. Following that run, it was quite a surprise to see him allow four runs in just 4.1 innings in his first playoff start against the Twins, though that can apparently be blamed at least somewhat on a stiff neck. He rebounded to throw 7.2 innings while allowing three runs against the Wiz in Game 3 of the previous round, opening that game with seven scoreless innings before unraveling in the eighth.
The Verdict: Lean Bears, but a Dinos-based lineup is justifiable. While Alcantara's neck issues are a minor worry, his bounceback outing in his most recent start is enough to make me want to side with the league's best starter over a strong but less dominant pitcher who struggled down the stretch. The gap isn't huge, though, and the Dinos did have a slightly better lineup during the regular season, so loading up on their hitters – even in cash games – is a reasonable approach.
Jae Hwan Kim ($9,000): Jose Fernandez closed the season with a modest .259/.335/.380 slash line over his final 40 games and has just four hits in six postseason games. That leaves Kim as the most attractive top-shelf Bears hitter. He's gone a solid 6-for-19 with a homer and five RBI thus far in the postseason, bouncing back from a poor stretch to end the season that saw him go hitless in six of his last seven games. On the whole, the veteran outfielder's season was a successful one, as the 2018 MVP bounced back from a forgettable 2019 campaign to hit .266/.376/.494 with 30 homers and 113 RBI, tying for ninth and fifth, respectively, in the latter two categories. With the platoon advantage and a spot in the heart of the Bears' order, he should be worth paying up for here.
Joo Hwan Choi ($8,400): Choi was one of the Bears' best hitters down the stretch, posting a .336/.395/.497 slash line over his final 42 games. He was limited at the end of the regular season by a foot injury and didn't start any of the first five playoff games, but he returned to the lineup for Game 4 of the Playoff series against the Wiz and provided a big lift to his team. His fourth-inning two-run homer provided all the scoring the Bears would need in their 2-0 victory. Like Kim, he'll get the platoon advantage against Rucinski and will bat in the heart of his team's order.
Soo Bin Jung ($6,000): While selecting a pitcher as your captain maximizes your potential value from that spot, it also really constricts your budget, making nearly every cheap regular worth considering. Jung holds down not just a guaranteed spot in the Bears' lineup, but also a premium position in that lineup, as he has hit first or second in five straight games. He's by no means an offensive star, but he makes good contact, striking out at just a 10.0 percent clip during the regular season while hitting .298/.367/.396. That's more than enough to make him worthy of consideration at his price even if he didn't hit in front of the Bears' best bats. He'll also get the platoon advantage against Rucinski.
Hee Dong Kwon ($5,400): Kwon lines up as the cheapest batter who's likely to start this contest, making him practically a must-start for those looking to pay up for the most expensive captain options. While he's among the cheaper options on the slate for a reason, it's probably inaccurate to call him the worst hitter in either lineup, as he hit a perfectly respectable .260/.373/.410 on the season. The Dinos certainly don't think he's one of their worst hitters, as he primarily bat second down the stretch. We shouldn't need much convincing to include such an affordable player with such a prime lineup position, though it's worth noting Kwon went 6-for-12 with a pair of homers against Alcantara during the regular season, a very encouraging (albeit very small) sample.