Among natural product families, polyketides have shown the most promise for combinatorial biosynthesis of natural product-like libraries. Though recent research in the area has provided many mechanistic revelations, a basic-level understanding of kinetic and substrate tolerability is still needed before the full potential of combinatorial biosynthesis can be realized. We have developed a novel set of chemical probes for the study of ketoreductase domains of polyketide synthases. This chemical tool-based approach was validated using the ketoreductase of pikromycin module 2 (PikKR2) as a model system. Triketide substrate mimics 12 and 13 were designed to increase stability (incorporating a nonhydrolyzable thioether linkage) and minimize nonessential functionality (truncating the phosphopantetheinyl arm). PikKR2 reduction product identities as well as steady-state kinetic parameters were determined by a combination of LC-MS/MS analysis of synthetic standards and a NADPH consumption assay. The d-hydroxyl product is consistent with bioinformatic analysis and results from a complementary biochemical and molecular biological approach. When compared to widely employed substrates in previous studies, diketide 63 and trans-decalone 64, substrates 12 and 13 showed 2-10 fold lower KM values (2.4 ± 0.8 and 7.8 ± 2.7 mM, respectively), indicating molecular recognition of intermediate-like substrates. Due to an abundance of the nonreducable enol-tautomer, the kcat values were attenuated by as much as 15-336 fold relative to known substrates. This study reveals the high stereoselectivity of PikKR2 in the face of gross substrate permutation, highlighting the utility of a chemical probe-based approach in the study of polyketide ketoreductases.