Pitcher List Staff Predictions for the 2024 Season

Winners, losers, awards, and more!

Opening Day is here!

After months of waiting and starving over the smallest morsel, baseball is officially back starting tomorrow! But before we can resume coverage of the sport we all love, there’s one last item on the agenda.

Last week, 41 staff members convened and channeled our inner Nostradamus to predict everything that matters this season, from division winners, award winners, statistic leaders, overperformers, and underachievers. Without further ado…


Division Winners

Who will win the American League East?

Winner: Baltimore Orioles (32 votes, 78%)

Others: New York Yankees (6 votes), Tampa Bay Rays (2 votes), Toronto Blue Jays (1 vote), and Boston Red Sox (0 votes)

The AL East is home to plenty of teams deserving votes. There’s the Midas-like Tampa Bay Rays, turning everyone they touch into gold. Then there’s the New York Yankees, who added Juan Soto to a core already featuring two-time MVP Aaron Judge and current Cy Young champion Gerrit Cole. Even the Toronto Blue Jays pose a challenge with the bats of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. But the Pitcher List staff expects the incumbent Baltimore Orioles to reclaim their title this season.

The Orioles are one of the rare teams to win 101 games and get even better. Whether it’s the offseason acquisition of three-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, the signing of nine-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel, or another season of growth from their young core of Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson and All-Star catcher Adley Rutschman, there’s plenty of reason to believe in Birdland.

Who will win the American League Central?

Winner: Minnesota Twins (23 votes, 56.1%)

Others: Cleveland Guardians (7 votes), Detroit Tigers (6 votes), Kansas City Royals (5 votes), and Chicago White Sox (0 votes)

The Minnesota Twins remain the consensus choice in a historically imperfect division. But for how much longer will that remain the case? Outside of 2023, Cleveland’s finished either first or second in the Central every season since 2016, Detroit’s 78 wins last season were their most since 2016, and Kansas City spent $110 million this offseason. In response, each obtained first-place votes and will enter 2024 as a viable contender for the Central’s crown.

That said, whether or not the AL Central can change its spots is a question of if, not when. Until that changes, the crown belongs squarely on Minnesota’s shoulders.

Who will win the American League West?

Winner: Houston Astros (23 votes, 56.1%)

Others: Texas Rangers (10 votes), Seattle Mariners (8 votes), Los Angeles Angels (0 votes), and Oakland Athletics (0 votes)

The Texas Rangers can sweep the 99-win Rays in the Wild Card Series, sweep the 101-win Orioles in the ALDS, beat the Houston Astros to clinch the pennant and win the World Series in five games, but they can’t win the hearts and minds of the PL Staff. Sorry, Corey Seager and Co., the Astros remain the favorite to win the AL West by 13 votes.

Choosing the Astros, however, has more to do with their team than the Rangers. They’ll return all their stars: Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Chas McCormick, Jeremy Peña, Framber Valdez, and add Josh Hader to their number. Talent aside, the Astros hold a consistency that’s hard to shake. Since their 2017 World Series, the ‘Stros have won the AL West six out of the last seven years. 2020 is the only exception. The Rangers can have their rings, but the Astros have the consensus.

Who will win the National League East?

Winner: Atlanta Braves (39 votes, 95.1%)

Others: Philadelphia Phillies (2 votes), Miami Marlins (0 votes), New York Mets (0 votes), and Washington Nationals (0 votes)

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Atlanta winning the NL East this season. The club’s won the division eight years in a row, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that number will climb to nine. Yes, they suffered another untimely NLDS end, but this is the same roster that featured eight All-Stars and won 104 games, the most in baseball last season. Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Sean Murphy, Spencer Strider, and Max Fried are still here.

But what gives Atlanta a leg up over their competitors is they accomplished so much last season without a clean bill of health. Fried made just 14 starts, Michael Soroka made six, and Jared Shuster made 11 starts. Atlanta relied on 31 starts from Bryce Elder, an All-Star who will begin the season in Triple-A, seven from Dylan Dodd, six from Allan Winans, and five from AJ SmithShawver and Yonny Chirinos. If Fried, Reynaldo López, and Chris Sale stay healthy and provide stability to the rotation, 104 wins could be the floor for a club of this caliber.

Who will win the National League Central?

Winner: Chicago Cubs (20 votes, 50%)

Others: Cincinnati Reds (10 votes), St. Louis Cardinals (6 votes), Milwaukee Brewers (3 votes), and Pittsburgh Pirates (1 vote)

Of the NL’s three divisions, the Central was the only division where each team received at least one vote. The case for each is clear. The Reds won 78 games with a boatload of young talent after having the third-worst record in 2022. The Cardinals finished under .500 last season for the first team since 2007 and responded with the additions of Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn. The Brewers are a model of decency, finishing first or second in the Central six out of the last seven years. The Pirates had their best season since 2018 with a bevy of prospects on the team and still on the way.

However, of them all, the Chicago Cubs stand alone with 50% of the vote. Chicago is an intriguing team. They aren’t bursting with a youth moment like the Reds or Pirates. Nor are they applying the Cardinals’ strategy of signing veterans like Flex Seal to improve their roster. They’re not even as consistent as the Brewers. Chicago’s 2024 team is much the same as 2023’s. And maybe that’s a good thing. The Cubs finished 83-79, second in the division last season and one game shy of the second wild-card spot. Their formula worked. It’s not a perfect solution, but another year of Dansby Swanson, Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger, Justin Steele, and Ian Happ could be a worse fate with their competition.

Who will win the National League West?

Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers (41 votes, 100%)

Others: Arizona Diamondbacks (0 votes), San Francisco Giants (0 votes), San Diego Padres (0 votes), and Colorado Rockies (0 votes)

In what is the least surprising result in this entire exercise, the PL staff unanimously expects the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West. And why shouldn’t it be? The Dodgers arguably possess one of baseball’s best lineups, headlined by former MVPs Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Shohei Ohtani. That’s not counting the six other position players on their roster to make at least one All-Star appearance. Its pitching staff has similar star power, whether it’s Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or Bobby Miller.

What’s most frightening about the Dodgers is that the team they open the season with will not be the team they close it with. They’ll welcome back Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Brusdar Graterol, and Blake Treinen throughout the season and further support their stars. The Dodgers might be MLB’s version of Space Jam’s Monstars. But to earn that title, another NL West championship comes first.


Pennant Winners

Who will win the American League Championship?

Winner: Baltimore Orioles (22 votes, 55%)

Others: Houston Astros (5 votes), Seattle Mariners (5 votes), New York Yankees (4 votes), Texas Rangers (3 votes), Kansas City Royals (1 vote)

Despite being swept in the ALDS by the Texas Rangers last season, the PL staff predicts the Baltimore Orioles will rebound with an AL Championship. The argument here is the same as for Baltimore to win their division. They’re a year older, a year improved, and have the ammunition to become even better through trades. The Astros, Mariners, and Yankees are all valiant challengers in their own right, but none hold a candle to how complete Baltimore’s roster is.

Who will win the National League Championship?

Winner: Atlanta Braves (21 votes, 52.5%)

Others: Los Angeles Dodgers (17 votes), Philadelphia Phillies (2 votes)

The Dodgers have it all: The superstars, the payroll, the storyline, and the attention. But they’re not the favorite to win the NL amongst our staff. That’d be Atlanta. The Bravos earned this honor for good reason, finishing first in team OPS and ninth in team ERA last season. They’re easily one of the most complete teams in the sport. Picking them to win the pennant makes sense.

The Phillies, who oddly finished last with just two votes, appeared in the 2022 and 2023 NLCS. Not the Braves, who fell to Philadelphia in the NLDS in back-to-back seasons. Not the Dodgers, who’ve won just one playoff game these last two years. The Phillies. Be warned, envy is an agreeable shade for the City of Brotherly Love.


World Series

Who will win the 2024 World Series Championship?

Winner: Atlanta Braves (17 votes, 42.5%)

Others: Los Angeles Dodgers (13 votes), Baltimore Orioles (5 votes), Philadelphia Phillies (2 votes), New York Yankees (2 votes), Kansas City Royals (1 vote)

Like the NLCS, the World Series came down to the Braves and the Dodgers. It’s the ultimate either-or in baseball and the National League this season. Unfortunately for Los Angeles and its $1.2 billion offseason, Atlanta came in first due to just four votes. Making it this far, ironically, would be a welcome change for both teams. Neither has made it past the NLDS these last two seasons and could stand a deep playoff run to vindicate their continued selection in the final four.

The Orioles trail behind with five votes, the Phillies and Yankees tie for fourth, and the Royals are in last with just one vote.


Award Winners

Who will win the American League Cy Young?

Winner: Corbin Burnes, Baltimore Orioles (13 votes, 33%)

Others: George Kirby (8 votes), Pablo López (5 votes), Luis Castillo (5 votes), Tarik Skubal (5 votes), Cole Ragans (1 vote), Cristian Javier (1 vote), Joe Ryan (1 vote) 

Gerrit Cole might’ve been the favorite to repeat here if not for the elbow nerve inflammation that’ll sideline him for the first part of the season. With him off the board, several pitchers received a smattering of votes. But Baltimore’s Corbin Burnes is the only one left standing on the mountaintop. Unlike veterans like Pablo López or Luis Castillo to receive votes, Burnes already has a Cy Young pedigree, winning the award in 2021.

While Burnes hasn’t met those standards since, his numbers are nothing to scoff at. The right-hander ranks second in strikeouts, sixth in games started, seventh in innings pitched, ninth in ERA, and 11th in fWAR over the last two seasons. His second-half numbers last season should put any doubts to bed, with Burnes posting a 2.71 ERA, 0.985 WHIP, 96 strikeouts, and 2.1 fWAR over 14 starts. If the Cy Young stays in the AL East, it’ll have to switch hands.

Who will win the National League Cy Young?

Winner: Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves (22 votes, 56%)

Others: Zack Wheeler (9 votes), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3 votes), Tyler Glasnow (1 vote), Zac Gallen (1 vote), Blake Snell (1 vote), Bobby Miller (1 vote), Aaron Nola (1 vote)

The PL Staff expects Spencer Strider to reign supreme this upcoming season for good reason. Strider’s danced with dominance so far, posting a 3.36 ERA and 483 strikeouts over his two years as a starter and making his first All-Star team last season.

However, this won’t be the same pitcher from years past. Strider added a curveball to his arsenal to offseason to great effect. Throughout 22.2 innings in spring training, the right-hander allowed just two runs, both coming in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays. Before that, Strider had a 0.00 ERA this spring. Carrying over that level of supremacy across 30 starts is impossible, but if anyone can come close, it’s Strider.

Who will win the American League MVP?

Winner: Juan Soto, New York Yankees (12 votes, 30%)

Others: Julio Rodríguez (7 votes), Bobby Witt Jr. (6 votes), Yordan Alvarez (4 votes), Aaron Judge (3 votes), Kyle Tucker (3 votes), Corey Seager (2 votes), Adley Rutschman (1 vote), José Ramírez (1 vote), Mike Trout (1 vote) 

Throughout his illustrious career, Juan Soto’s done it all. So far, the 25-year-old’s a three-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, a World Series champion, a batting title winner, and a Home Run Derby champion. One of the few things he hasn’t won is an MVP. With 12 votes, the PL staff expects that to change in Soto’s first season as a New York Yankee.

While the San Diego Padres had a disappointing 2023 season, Soto is far from the reason why. In 162 games played, Soto hit .275/.410/.519 with a career-high 35 home runs, 109 RBI, and a .910 OPS. As the Padres slipped further from contention in the second half, Soto stepped it up, hitting .286/.399/.568 with a .966 OPS.

Playing in Yankee Stadium will be another benefit to Soto’s odds. Soto has a 1.219 OPS with four home runs and nine RBIs in his seven career games in the Bronx. If Soto were to finally fill his shelf, now might be the time.

Who will win the National League MVP?

Winner: Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves (13 votes, 32.5%)

Others: Mookie Betts (11 votes), Shohei Ohtani (4 votes), Fernando Tatis Jr. (4 votes), Corbin Carroll (2 votes), Matt Olson (2 votes), Freddie Freeman (2 votes), Spencer Strider (1 vote), Bryce Harper (1 vote)

Expect another two-horse race between Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mookie Betts if the PL Staff’s poll is any indication. Atlanta’s star narrowly edged out LA’s by just two votes to become the consensus pick for the NL MVP. Why? Other than recency bias, Acuña is coming off one of the best seasons in recent memory. In 159 games played, Acuña hit .337/.416/.596 with 41 home runs, 106 RBIs, 73 steals, a 1.012 OPS, 168 OPS+, and 383 total bases. He ranked first in the Majors in OBP, steals, runs scored, fWAR, and total bases, second in batting average, and third in OPS. Acuña was that good.

Equally impressive is the strides Acuña took as a complete player. He cut his K% from 23.6% in 2021 and 2022 to 11.4% in 2023, the largest decrease in baseball. Likewise, he boosted his BB%, HR%, and exit velocity while emphasizing his ability to go the other way. To call 2023 a good season, well, that’d be an understatement.

No one has won back-to-back MVPs since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013. Acuña might change that in 2024.

Who will win the American League Rookie of the Year?

Winner: Wyatt Langford, Texas Rangers (18 votes, 45%)

Others: Jackson Holliday (11 votes), Evan Carter (5 votes), Colton Cowser (2 votes), Ceddanne Rafaela (1 vote), Colt Keith (1 vote), Jordan Westburg (1 vote), Nolan Schanuel (1 vote)

In a stacked rookie class in the American League, the favorite, according to our staff, is Wyatt Langford. One factor the 22-year-old has going for him over Jackson Holliday, who finished second in our voting, is Langford will start the season with the Rangers as their designated hitter. While Langford experimented in the field this spring, he’s hit .375 with a 1.161 OPS over 56 at-bats.

It’s a rapid ascension for the former fourth-overall pick and MLB.com’s sixth-overall prospect, but it’s well-earned. Langford’s demolished each level of professional pitching he’s seen, hitting .360/.480/.677 with 10 home runs, 30 RBIs, and a 1.157 OPS across four levels. Now he’ll try to carry that over to Major League pitching.

Who will win the National League Rookie of the Year?

Winner: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers (17 votes, 42.5%)

Others: Jackson Chourio (11 votes), Jackson Merrill (4 votes), Paul Skenes (2 votes), Hurston Waldrep (1 vote), Jordan Lawlar (1 vote), Jung Hoo Lee (1 vote), Cade Horton (1 vote), Matt Shaw (1 vote), Kyle Harrison (1 vote)

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s debut last week came with bated breath. The 25-year-old, $325 million pitcher is debuting on the international stage against a division rival. What would he do? How would he announce himself to MLB?

In the end, Yamamoto didn’t do anything close to what everyone anticipated. He didn’t even make it to the second inning. In his lone inning, Yamamoto allowed four hits, a walk, and five earned runs to start his career with a 45.00 ERA. The internet’s echo chamber came with endless memes, all chiding Yamamoto for his start and the Dodgers for their investment. Lost amidst them, however, is the truth and why he’s the staff’s pick for the NL Rookie of the Year. Yamamoto is the same pitcher whose NPB statline reads as follows: 70 wins, 922 strikeouts, and a 1.82 ERA. He is a three-time Pacific League MVP and three-straight Sawamura Award winner. Give him time. Once he seizes the moment, he’ll refuse to let it go.



Which reliever will lead the league in saves?

Winner: TIE – Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Guardians & Edwin Diaz, New York Mets (10 votes, 25% each)

Others: Josh Hader (8 votes), Camilo Doval (7 votes), Ryan Helsley (2 votes), David Bednar (1 vote), Jordan Romano (1 vote), Mason Miller (1 vote)

Emmanuel Clase is an obvious candidate to lead the league in saves. Namely, because he’s accomplished it already that in 2022 and 2023, combing for 86 saves since 2022, the most among all relievers. He is as close to a shoo-in as you’ll find. A three-peat only makes sense for a pitcher whose 1.97 ERA the last three seasons is third-best among all relievers.

Edwin Diaz, however, is a less obvious candidate. Despite posting a 1.31 ERA, the lowest among all relievers, in 2023, Diaz has some demons. He’s been up and down throughout his career, fluctuating between sub-2.00 ERAs and 3.20 to 3.47 ERAs. But the biggest hurdle ahead of Diaz is his recovery from a torn patellar tendon that robbed the closer of his 2023 season. Luckily for Diaz, he’s impressed in spring training with a 2.45 ERA over 3.2 innings. Sound the trumpets. He’s back.  

Josh Hader is a formidable challenge to both pitchers. He is, after all, the second-highest-paid closer in all of baseball. But Hader struggles to compete with Clase, finishing six saves shy of him in 2022 and 11 saves fewer than him in 2023.

Which team(s) that made the playoffs last year will miss it this year?

Winner: Miami Marlins (17 votes, 57%)

Others: Toronto Blue Jays (12 votes), Milwaukee Brewers (12 votes), Arizona Diamondbacks (11 votes), Tampa Bay Rays (6 votes), Texas Rangers (5 votes), Minnesota Twins (3 votes), Philadelphia Phillies (3 votes)

2023 was an unabashed success for the Miami Marlins. They won 84 games, their most since 2009, made the playoffs for the second time since 2003, and watched as Luis Arraez won a batting title and rookie manager Skip Schumacher won NL Manager of the Year. For a team projected by ZiPS to finish 75-87 and fourth in the NL East, it was a banner year in South Beach.

So, how did the Marlins and their ownership celebrate? They fired general manager Kim Ng and let designated hitter Jorge Soler, utilityman Garrett Hampson, and catcher Jacob Stallings walk in free agency. How’s that for a reward? Stalling’s departure won’t kill Miami, but the losses of Soler and Hampson are significant. The two combined for 187 hits, 107 runs, 36 doubles, 39 home runs, 98 RBIs, 342 total bases, and 2.6 fWAR. Without them, the Marlins offense might be a shell of their former selves. The only player the Marlins added in free agency this offseason was shortstop Tim Anderson. Had Miami signed Anderson after his 2022, 2021, 2020, or 2019 seasons, his signing might answer their prayers. Unfortunately, they signed Anderson on the heels of a .582 OPS, 60 OPS+, and -0.5 fWAR season.

With Atlanta remaining a stalwart, Philadelphia keeping its core, New York improving, and Washington taking strides, the Marlins might go from one of their best seasons to one of their most underwhelming.

Who will be the most disappointing team this season?

Winner: Texas Rangers (11 votes, 27.5%)

Others: New York Yankees (9 votes), Toronto Blue Jays (4 votes), Cincinnati Reds (2 votes), San Diego Padres (2 votes), New York Mets (2 votes), Arizona Diamondbacks (2 votes), Tampa Bay Rays (1 vote), Philadelphia Phillies (1 vote), Baltimore Orioles (1 vote), Los Angeles Dodgers (1 vote), St. Louis Cardinals (1 vote), Milwaukee Brewers (1 vote), Oakland Athletics (1 vote), Houston Astros (1 vote)

Despite winning the World Series, the Texas Rangers have their doubters. The durability of the team’s pitching staff is one cause for concern. The team will be without Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and free-agent signing Tyler Mahle to start the season. deGrom will open the season on the 60-day IL, Scherzer might be out until June due to a herniated disk, and Mahle might be out until late July as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Until they’re back, the Rangers will rely on pitchers like Jon Gray, Andrew Heany, and Dane Dunning, who combined for a 3.97 ERA last season.

Starter Michael Lorenzen, who the Rangers signed last week to a one-year deal, hopes to mend the gap. While Lorenzen isn’t near the caliber of a healthy deGrom or Scherzer, the 32-year-old is coming off his first All-Star appearance last season and is an MLB arm for a team in need as they weather the storm.

Most underrated team this season?

Winner: Detroit Tigers (8 votes, 20%)

Others: Kansas City Royals (7 votes), Pittsburgh Pirates (5 votes), Cincinnati Reds (4 votes), Seattle Mariners (3 votes), Boston Red Sox (2 votes), San Francisco Giants (2 votes), Chicago Cubs (2 votes), St. Louis Cardinals (2 votes), Milwaukee Brewers (2 votes), Minnesota Twins (1 vote), New York Mets (1 vote), Miami Marlins (1 vote)

After taking a step in the right direction last year, the PL Staff thinks the Detroit Tigers can go even further in 2024. Former number-one-pick Spencer Torkelson reminded us why he earned the honor, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg. Kerry Carpenter emerged from the minors with a .811 OPS through 118 games, Riley Greene took strides as a hitter despite injury problems, and Tarik Skubal unlocked his potential. In 15 starts, Skubal went 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA, 158 ERA+, and 102 strikeouts. From his season debut on, Skubal led all starting pitchers in fWAR and finished third in K%, sixth in ERA, and ninth in strikeouts.

And these are just the players the Tigers closed last season with. They’ve added steady hands like Mark Canha, Kenta Maeda, Gio Urshela, and Andrew Chafin. Tigers fans can also expect the debut of Colt Keith, MLB.com’s 22nd-ranked prospect, on Opening Day. Other prospects like pitcher Jackson Jobe and infielder Jace Jung are not far behind. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers end their nine-year playoff drought this season.


Josh Shaw

Josh Shaw graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2022 with a Journalism degree. He's written for The New Hampshire, Pro Sports Fanatics, and PitcherList.

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