The Ultimate 2024 MLB Spring Training Guide To Starting Pitchers

Here's what's important for every starting pitcher this spring

Spring Training is here for all teams today and as we get updated news reports, late signings, and manager quotes, it’s important to know how to direct your focus among all the noise.

Pitchers can illuminate plenty in their march outings, let it be an increase in velocity, a firm grasp of a rotation spot, new mechanics, or an added pitch to their arsenal. Keep in mind, in most cases, you should be shifting your perspective of pitchers only from a positive change, rarely when a pitcher underperforms as they ramp up for opening day.

To get ahead of the game, I’ve written this starting pitching primer featuring small notes on what I’m looking for from every starting pitcher in the majors across all thirty MLB teams and my basic expectations ahead.

A few things to think about:s


Velocities are going to be weird

This is spring training and those with secure rotation spots are ramping up, ensuring they aren’t pushing too hard to save as many bullets as possible for the regular season/potential postseason run. A few ticks down is not a major issue, though many ticks down could be a sign. Veterans should be given a larger pass than others.

It’s important to grasp the nuance of each pitcher. Are they returning from injury and have something to prove? Are they fighting for a rotation spot? Are they a prospect with a ton of adrenaline with the brightest spotlight of their career? Velocity numbers as a whole are noise, but they can be very helpful when granted nuance.


Not all Parks have Statcast Data

It’s the most annoying part about this. About 50% have Trackman set up, allowing us to get true velocity readings, pitching usage, approach, and locations, while we only get basic box-score data for the other half. Please continue to complain to MLB about this and hopefully we can force all parks to have it in 2025. A man can dream.


We Won’t Have Video For Everything

You’re going to have to rely on beat writers plenty this off-season. I heavily encourage you to join our Discord where we are aggregating as much info as we can to keep up with what happens + listening to my morning Plus Pitch Podcast where I recap the day before and outline the pitchers to watch in the day ahead.


Many pitchers will be labeled as BE NORMAL

Let’s be honest. Most of the spring is just to ensure that there are no alarm bells going off and the guy we’ve discussed across the last five months is the same guy in April. Or they may just “Be” in which I don’t have the highest expectations for their 2024.


Take note of the HYPER FOCUS ALERT Pitchers

I went through and added this tag to all the pitchers I’m going to be scrutinizing the most during the spring. That could mean a new pitch, an approach I hope to see, a rotation battle, or simple an exciting prospect who I just can’t wait to get more eyes on. These are the fun guys of the spring.


I won’t be updating this before the season starts, but I will discuss changes I’ve seen during my weekday morning Plus Pitch podcast until the season starts. Let’s get to it.


Arizona Diamondbacks


Expected Starters

Zac Gallen – As long as he’s healthy after tossing 240+ IP last year (including playoffs), then we’re cool.

Merrill Kelly – Be normal.

Brandon Pfaadt – I’d love to see his four-seamer with the intent to elevate more + consistency with his changeup, especially vs. LHB.

Eduardo Rodriguez Be normal.

Ryne Nelson – How do his secondaries look? He discussed a new cutter and slider at the end of last year.


Prospects To Watch

Cristian Mena – Could be an early option for the Sneks with a few mediocre options to fill in for a few bulk inning moments ahead of him. Good breakers, questionable heater.

Yu-Min Lin – I’m curious if he has enough electricity for us to care.

Konnor Pilkington – Remember him? He’s fighting for a roster spot after getting innings with the Guardians and the Diamondbacks may like him more than other mediocre options.

Corbin Martin – We haven’t seen him hint at his pre-injured self since the Zack Greinke deal went done. At 28-years-old, this may be his moment to prove his worth.





Expected Starters

Spencer Strider – Apparently he has a new curveball, which could help keeping batters off his heater early in counts. I personally would prefer a cutter (another pitch to throw consistently in counts to earn strikes), but it won’t hurt. Just don’t go nuts about it.

Max Fried – Be normal. Seriously, I’m worried about that forearm strain and I just want you to be healthy.

Chris SaleHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Sit 95 mph. Likely won’t happen right away, but seeing consistent velocity readings will be a welcome sight for Sale given his oscillations over the years.

Charlie Morton – Be normal. And have an improved cutter. Please.



Bryce Elder – It’s a very high chance Elder keeps this job, but it’s just sinker/slider combo and if he’s awfully pedestrian, he could lose it to one of the arms below

AJ Smith-Shawver – He’s still young and there are still layers of polish to add to his secondaries. It’s an interesting four-seamer, though, and with a little more velocity, there’s something there.

Dylan Dodd – I don’t like his heater and his slider + change are far too inconsistent. He shouldn’t get this.

Allan Winans – He’s ultra command focused and if it’s more of the same, this won’t work.

Darius VinesThere’s a great changeup here, but nothing else…but maybe there’s something new…?

Huascar Ynoa – The dark horse candidate here as he returns from TJS. He started before, sporting a filthy slider and high velocity four-seamer with horrendous shape. I’m curious if he sports something new to steal it from Elder.


Prospects To Watch

Hurston WaldrepHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s the dude for Atlanta, with an over-the-top delivery that doesn’t help his four-seamer’s attack angle, but masks his splitter so well that it makes batters uncomfortable in the box. If all the other options above are truly lackluster and Waldrep dominates, it could mean a spot in the rotation early in the season. Highly unlikely out of camp, but you never truly know.

Taylor Widener – Hey, he has a non-roster-invite and had some very brief moments of intrigue with his the Sneks. This isn’t going to work. Well, yeah, probably not.


Baltimore Orioles


Expected Starters

Corbin Burnes – Be normal. And get your curves for strikes.

Grayson Rodriguez – Less four-seamer reliance maybe? Quoted that he still thinks everything goes through it, but he is adding a sinker. Would love to see slider/changeup focus down a ton.

Dean Kremer – Cutter is everything, if he has anything more outside his four-seamer, I’d love to see it.

Tyler Wells – Is he establishing himself as a clear starter? Command looking great again with pitch separation between heaters up, sliders gloveside, changeups armside?



Cole Irvin – Is he good enough to trust with the fifth spot?

Bruce ZimmermannIt’s Zim vs. Cole, with Cole as the incumbent. Bruce has to showcase something definitively better.

Cade Povich – If Povich dominates, he could earn the spot, or at least be the #5 starter come mid-April. Low 90s velocity, but from the left side and great iVB on the heater.

Chayce McDermottHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I like him more than Povich with solid breakers and a harder heater with slightly better shape. If the Orioles aren’t signing another SP, you’re likely going to see McDermott before June.


Prospects To Watch

Justin Armbruester – Outside of Povich and McDermott, Armbruester is the other intriguing arm as he gets a ton of iVB, but his over-the-top delivery and middling extension at 92 mph force him to find more to take the leap. Let’s see if he’s figured something out.


Injured Arms

Kyle Bradish – With a partially-torn UCL, Bradish is on the shelf indefinitely. We’re hoping for as early as May, but this could be many months.

John Means – He’s been delayed to about May and that’s a bummer.


Boston Red Sox


Expected Starters

Lucas Giolito – Is he sitting 94 mph again?

Brayan BelloHYPER FOCUS ALERT. How’s the new slider looking? Is it earning whiffs + trusted against RHB? What is he pairing with his changeup against LHB?

Nick Pivetta – Command that four-seamer up, cutter for strikes, and whirly-bird sweeper. He’s golden if he does.

Kutter Crawford – Is he leaning into more sliders? The four-seamer & cutter are great strike pitches.



Tanner Houck – Does he get the spot? If so, he better have a weapon to tackle LHB better than the splitter from last year.

Garrett WhitlockHYPER FOCUS ALERT. If his velocity is back and sinker command is there, Whitlock has the most well-rounded arsenal of the bunch. Legit SwStr potential on both his slider and changeup. Monitor how he attacks and if the Red Sox are trusting him over Houck.

Josh Winckowski – There’s an outside chance, but he needs to flex legit whiffability somewhere.

Cooper Criswell – Apparently he’s getting stretched out to start. Don’t expect anything electric.


Prospects To Watch

Bryan Mata – Let’s hope his command issues from last year are resolved now that he has a clean bill of health. He’s on the 40-man and could be used as the long reliever for the squad this year, sporting a sinker and slider that can return plenty of strikeouts.

Luis Perales – He’s the super exciting one for the Sawx with a 95+ mph heater paired with great iVB, though his massive over-the-top delivery comes with a whole lot of max-effect mechanics that speaks to his high walk rates. Don’t expect him up this year for the Red Sox, especially with his command issues, but it’ll be fun to see where he’s at with secondary develop and overall feel for the game.


Chicago Cubs


Expected Starters

Justin Steele – Is he really just two pitches still? And does he have his four-seamer (it’s a cutter) command?

Jameson Taillon – Show me high heaters, cutters inside to LHB (and away to RHB), sweepers for whiffs, and sinkers inside to RHB. He has the tools, just needs to put it all together with good health.

Shota ImanagaHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I CAN’T WAIT. I would love to see a heavy focus on elevating his four-seamer, a skill he didn’t lean into while pitching in Japan. If he does that, he’ll soar. Also want to see the slider approach, cutter usage, and the hook. ALL OF IT.

Kyle Hendricks – He’s sinker/change still and I hope it’s not degrading even moreso. Where’s the curve?



Jordan Wicks – Wicks seems like the proper choice after having some success as a starter in the second half last year. His changeup is great, though I want to see more from the rest of his arsenal.

Javier Assad – He’s just a fastball/cutter guy and I want to see something new here.

Drew Smyly – His sinker & curve haven’t dominated in ages. Maybe the cutter shows up a ton here and works well?

Hayden Wesneski – Wesneski’s sweeper is dope, but as of now, there isn’t enough to support it to suggest he can sustain a rotation spot.


Prospects To Watch

Ben BrownHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He has an over-the-top four-seamer in the mid-90s and a legit slider. I would love to see a third strong offering to showcase himself as an SP instead of an RP.

Caleb Killian – I’m curious if he looks different from the middling MLB debut that came with a sinker focus.

Cade Horton – Nah, he’s not here. The Cubs are likely saving bullets and will call him up in May/June. It’s dumb and I hate it.


Chicago White Sox


Expected Starters

Dylan Cease – Does he have his slider command? Is he still staying away plenty to RHB?

Erick Fedde – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. WHAT DOES HE LOOK LIKE? He pitched in the KBO for a year, added velocity, added a splitter, added a sweeper…he’s a new man. I’m stoked to see it in action.

Michael Kopech – Are we going to see anything different to suggest he can actually succeed as a starter? 96+ mph with a legit slider and a third pitch? With decent command?

Michael Soroka – Does he have his old command back? He could have a sneaky good season if he even hints at his 21-year-old self. Sinkers, sliders, changeups, four-seamers galore, all around the zone.



Garrett CrochetHYPER FOCUS ALERT. The ChiSox are giving him a shot and I’m curious if his fastball is good enough to pair with his strong slider, let alone feature a dependable third option to suggest he’s worthy of a starting gig.

Chris Flexen – It’s his job to lose. As long as Flexen showcases he can go four frames without disaster and Crochet doesn’t look like a stud, Flexen will take it.

Jake Woodford – Yeah he’s here with an NRI. I highly doubt he gets it, but who knows.

Chad Kuhl – Yep, him too. Probably not.

Jesse Scholtens – It’s not going to be Scholtens, but he does have some starting experience.

Jared Shuster – I won’t get fooled again. Sorry about that last year, I know so much more now!

Prelander BerroaHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I have to imagine the White Sox dealt for Prelander in order to try him out as a starter and look! There’s a spot wide open! MAYBE TWO! (Kopech…). I need to see Berroa find the zone with both his heater and slider, limiting walks as much as possible. It’s that simple.

Deivi GarcíaHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I won’t rule this one out, either. García showed some promise last year with a legit slider and increased velocity. Maybe he’s actually polished enough to grab a starting job?


Prospects To Watch

Jake EderI wasn’t incredibly impressed in the AFL, though Eder could have a fun slider and fastball to showcase why the White Sox gave up Jake Burger for him.

Nick NastriniHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Acquired from the Dodgers, he’s still a little far from making the rotation, but he held a 30% strikeout rate in Triple-A last year with a slider and changeup that paired well with his low-to-mid 90s heater. Consider him the most exciting prospect arm in South Chicago.

Ky Bush – He’s a LHP with low velocity and shaky command, but there will be flashy breakers and hopefully his changeup takes a step forward.


Cincinnati Reds


Expected Starters

Hunter GreeneHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s not throwing a splitter and hey, that could be okay! I don’t have a ton of faith given Hunter’s major issue is having another strike pitch outside of his four-seamer and slider, but if he pairs it well with his heater, it can be an effective offering to keep batters honest when they’ve ruled out the slider.

Nick Lodolo – He’s apparently dealing with some leg pain, but they expect him to be ready for Opening Day. Watch for his changeup development and command improvement to dominate at-bats.

Graham Ashcraft – He’s trying to refine his changeup and sinker. I just want him to locate his cutters better, honestly. His stuff is great, but the overall command is not.

Frankie MontasHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Get that velocity back to 96 mph consistently + showcasing some splitter and slider feel.

Andrew Abbott – Can he command his four-seamer well? What is the approach that he’ll fall into comfortably?

Nick Martinez – Please go changeup heavy and lay-off focus on four-seamers, saving sinkers just for jamming RHB.


Prospects To Watch

Connor PhillipsHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Stupid good four-seamer and slider stuff, but hot dang is the control not there. If he can throw strikes with them, he can get away with zone locations others can’t.

Chase PettyHYPER FOCUS ALERT.  Is his velocity jumping back up toward sitting 97 mph like he had in high school? If so, his command speaks to a legit starter and I’m stoked to see it.

Brandon Williamson – He was 94+ mph with a lovely cutter when he was cruising last season, maybe he can get back there?

Julian Aguiar HYPER FOCUS ALERT. I’m super curious what we get from Aguiar. Is he going to be 95+ with good pitch shape? Solid secondaries? Could surprise many.

Rhett LowderHYPER FOCUS ALERT. This is our first official look at Lowder as he was drafted last season and promptly shut down for the year. There’s plenty of hype surrounding him (check it all out here) and I’m looking forward to catching it in action as he likely doesn’t arrive until 2025 at the earliest.

Tejay Antone – Okay, we know him and he’s highly unlikely to start, but I just want to see Antone looking good after missing so much time with elbow trouble.


Cleveland Guardians


Expected Starters

Shane BieberHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He was sitting 93+ mph in a bullpen video and hot dang, that would be fantastic to see after sitting around 91 mph recently.

Tanner Bibee – Is his command any better? Is he still relying on his pedestrian four-seamer a ton?

Gavin Williams – How are the secondaries coming along? Is he finding a feel for his curveball?

Triston McKenzieHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I’d love to see him sitting 93 mph with proper control. Was at his best at 93 mph, settles normally around 92/93, and needs to get his curveball feel back.

Logan Allen –  Be Normal.


Prospects To Watch

Carlos Carrasco – Okay, not a prospect but a NRI and he has a decent shot at demanding a rotation spot if the Guardians want to be careful with any of their younger guys. Needs to have his change and slider working for them to consider it.

Joey CantilloHYPER FOCUS ALERT. A ton of strikeouts last year in Triple-A, though his walk rates suggest the Guardians will wait to push him to the bigs. Fantastic changeup and slider, and it’ll come down to earning effective strikes with his 94 mph heater as a southpaw slinger.

Daniel Espino – He missed all of 2023 with a shoulder injury and I’m excited to see if he’s showcasing any of the stud ceiling we saw before the injury bug arrived. He hit over 100 mph with a low-90s slider before he was unable to make the mound and with a spot on the 40-man roster, he’s eligible to make it to the mound, though it’s highly unlikely he’ll be ready for game action.

Jaime Barría – No more options left and fighting for a rotation spot.

Tyler Beede – Let me have my fun. There was a very brief moment of solid velocity merged with a good slider and changeup. I have no expectations it’ll return this spring.



Colorado Rockies


Expected Starters


Kyle Freeland – Be better than normal.

Cal Quantrill – Be better than normal.

Austin Gomber – Be better than normal.

Ryan Feltner – Be better than normal.

Dakota Hudson – Be better than normal.


Prospects To Watch

Joe Rock – Despite the name, there isn’t much hype here, despite his massive 6’6″ frame. It’s a good breaker and not enough else.

Carson Palmquist – He has a fun slider from the left side and sported a 34% strikeout rate. I’d be more interested if he weren’t a part of the Rockies, sadly. He also needs a bit more from his changeup and fastball.


Injured Arms

Antonio Senzatela He’s out for the year with TJS.

Germán Márquez He’s progressing and won’t be ready until the All-Star Break at the earliest.


Detroit Tigers


Expected Starters

Tarik Skubal HYPER FOCUS ALERT. Is he still at 95/96 mph? He’s reportedly hit 100 mph in a bullpen in his final max effort pitch. In addition, I’m curious about his new slider after featuring a cutter-esque version that didn’t do quite enough.

Kenta Maeda – Be normal.

Matt Manning – 95 mph consistently? I want that so badly for Manning.



Jack Flaherty – Are you solidifying your spot in the rotation? Is there anything new? 94-96 mph? I expect him to start given what the Tigers paid him, but if he doesn’t earn it, he may be an expensive bullpen piece in the end.

Casey MizeHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Reports are a better four-seamer with legit iVB after years of mediocre marks + a return to his splitter of old. I’m awfully curious how he looks and if he demands a rotation spot.

Reese Olson – Does he have a new pitch to go after LHB that isn’t his four-seamer? How’s his changeup looking?


Prospects To Watch

Jackson JobeHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s the stud of studs, in my opinion. Must see television and I hope he makes enough noise to force Detroit to give him a rotation spot before summer arrives.

Ty Madden – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. Don’t ignore Madden, who may be seen as higher on the list than Jobe given his 32 starts in Double-A the last two years. I adore his four-seamer/gyro slider approach, with a developing changeup the last piece to give him a proper arsenal. Walks may be a problem and I’m excited to watch.

Wilmer FloresHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s a bit chaotic, but if there’s polish in his approach, he has the raw elements to make it work. Make sure to watch when he arrives to see if he can wield his weapons properly.


Injured Arms

Sawyer Gipson-Long – A groin injury has him sidelined for now. Even if it’s not a long term injury, it clearly takes him out of the rotation battle and the Tigers will be safe here.


Houston Astros


Expected Starters

Justin Verlander – Be normal.

Framber Valdez – Please throw cutters against RHB.

Cristian JavierHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Slider strikes with 93+ mph on the heater. Seriously, if he’s racking up slider strikes again, he’s the stud you remember.

Hunter BrownHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Is he in control of his at-bats? (Does he have better command of his entire arsenal, especially his breakers?)



José Urquidy – I think he has the inside track to get the fifth job and his four-seamer profiles to soar upstairs. I hope he leans into it more.

J.P. France – He had a setback with shoulder inflammation, but is expected to be ready for opening day. That shoulder stiffness may ultimately prevent him from getting a starting gig, though I’m curious if he tweaks his approach to lean more into his secondaries in the spring and pump up the strikeouts along the way.


Prospects To Watch

Spencer Arrighetti – He has decent velocity and a four-pitch mix, and I wonder if he has the electricity to turn our heads when he gets an opportunity to start.


Injured Arms

Luis Garcia – Got TJS last May, he’ll likely be out until the ASB at the earliest.

Lance McCullers Jr. It wasn’t TJS, but he did get elbow surgery in June last season and shouldn’t be expected to return for a long time.


Kansas City Royals


Expected Starters


Cole RagansHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Is he sitting 96/97 mph? Command improving on secondaries to limit walks?

Michael Wacha – Be normal.

Seth Lugo – More sliders?

Brady Singer – #EvergreenRequestForThirdPitch

Jordan Lyles – Be.


Prospects To Watch

Daniel Lynch IV – Can he find 95+ velocity again? His extension is great but nothing else is.

Matt Sauer – Rule 5 pick who will do everything he can to leave camp with the team. Fastball/slider arm likely destined for the pen.

Alec Marsh – We saw him last year and there are times his four-seamer/slider works but it’s just not enough y’all.


Injured Arms

Kris Bubic – Got his TJS in April of last year, this is going to be a while.

Kyle Wright – Underwent shoulder surgery in October and should miss all of the 2024 season.


Los Angeles Angels


Expected Starters

Reid Detmers – How’s the changeup look? 95 mph? Less focus on four-seamers?

Griffin Canning – Still 30% fastballs? Healthy?

Patrick Sandoval – Please dominate with changeups and sliders and don’t give in with fastballs.

Tyler Anderson – Be.

Chase Silseth – I’m glad he’s okay. Sliders dominant? Splitters consistent?


Prospects To Watch

José Suarez – He’s to be stretched out as a starter and doesn’t have options left, but I have no expectations he’ll steal a rotation spot.

Zach Plesac – I wonder if we see anything of interest here from Plesac.

Ben Joyce – He’s fun to watch, but he’s a reliever, not a starter. Still fun.


Los Angeles Dodgers


Expected Starters

Yoshinobu Yamamoto – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. I just want to watch him do his thing.

Tyler Glasnow – Be normal.

Bobby Miller – Higher fastballs? Sliders more incorporated into the approach and landing down-and-gloveside? Still flirting with 100?

James PaxtonHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Healthy? Sitting 95/96?

Emmet SheehanHYPER FOCUS ALERT. How is his slider and change? He needs them to wake up to pair with his solid high-heater.


Prospects To Watch

Landon Knack – Will we see 91 mph or something more now that Knack is removed from injury? His four-seamer has solid vert (not good VAA, though), while the depth of his secondaries makes him a possible replacement in the majors if the Dodgers don’t want to turn to Michael Grove or Gavin Stone.

River RyanHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I think he’s the jewel of the Dodgers prospects and I consider him a must-add when he gets a shot in the rotation this year. Great fastball, legit curve, and a cutter for strikes. Take note y’all.

Kyle Hurt – His low arm angle mixed with a legit changeup could be real and I hope we get to see his new gyro slider in action. Hurt + Ryan are a pair of interesting arms, though Ryan is a clear step above in my view, even if Hurt gets the chance first.


Injured Arms

Walker Buehler – We’re not going to see him until May as the Dodgers are slow playing him to be ready for the playoffs. Let’s hope the Dodgers have him on the IL.

Dustin May – Expected back from TJS around the All-Star Break or so.

Tony Gonsolin – Late TJS last season, he’s out for the year.

Clayton Kershaw – Got shoulder surgery and I wouldn’t expect him back until September at the earliest, despite his desire to return sooner.


Miami Marlins


Expected Starters

Jesús Luzardo – Be normal.

Eury Pérez – Is he elevating fastballs? Solid sliders and curves?

Edward CabreraHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Has he found a way to limit walks?



AJ PukHYPER FOCUS ALERT. The Marlins are giving him a chance to earn a rotation spot and I’m super interested in this. You should take a shot on it.

Braxton Garrett – With a sore shoulder, Garrett is behind schedule and may need a replacement in the rotation by the start of the season. That shouldn’t be the case, but be aware of it.

Trevor Rogers – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. What does he look like after a lost season?

Max MeyerHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s working on being more than a 50% slider arm and with a strong spring, he could force himself into the rotation.

Ryan Weathers – He’ll get two frames in the first start of the Marlins’ spring training schedule and after seeing some life on the final day of the regular season, be aware that Weathers could be a new pitcher in camp this year.


Prospects To Watch

Ummmm – With Weathers and Meyer mentioned above, there’s really only Noble Meyerbut he won’t be at spring training. Let’s move on.


Milwaukee Brewers


Expected Starters

Freddy Peralta – Still 94/95? The changeup from September still a thing?

Wade Miley – Be normal.



Aaron AshbyHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Are the Brewers giving him a proper shot at the rotation or will they play it slow? Does he have something outside of a sinker to throw to RHB for strikes?

DL Hall – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. Is he earning enough strikes? Does he have a roster spot? Is the changeup a true third pitch?

Joe Ross – Dude. What is HAPPENING. I’m so curious how you look these days.

Jakob Junis – They say they signed him to start, but there are a ton of options for the Brewers. He’s traditionally a “dope slider without anything else” but we have seen the changeup come alive at times.

Colin Rea – He’s the default “welp, I guess this is fine” option. Likely ahead of Ross and Junis.

Robert GasserHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He seems ready to go, though the Brewers could bide their time and wait a month or two into the year instead. I’m curious to watch him attack RHB as he needs something to pair with his four-seamer as the slider takes down LHB with ease.


Prospects To Watch

Jacob MisiorowskiHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He is stupid filthy and could have a full three-pitch mix of 100 mph heaters, a wipeout breaker, and a cutter for strikes. There’s heavy reliever risk here, but you have to stop what you’re doing and watch Misiorowski when he takes the bump.

Carlos F. Rodriguez – He has a great breaker and changeup, though I worry about the fastball. If the heater looks great, he could rise up prospect ranks.


Injured Arms

Brandon Woodruff – He should be out the full year with a shoulder injury.


Minnesota Twins


Expected Starters

Pablo López – Be normal.

Joe Ryan – New #2 pitch to pair with his heater? Still 92/93 mph? PLEASE HAVING A GOOD BREAKING BALL.

Bailey Ober – Be normal. Or have a better slider, that would be cool, too.



Chris PaddackHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He looks to have a rotation spot and I’m stupid curious what data we’ll get on his four-seamer + if he has a legit #2 pitch (let alone a third) to allow him to effectively start.

Anthony DeSclafani – The Twins want to give him a starting gig. Does he have anything outside of his solid slider?

Louie VarlandHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He seems to be on the outs of the rotation at the moment, though he’s my favorite of the bunch. If he finds a third pitch to pair with his fantastic heater and slider, he’ll force the Twins to make him a starter. Or at least, endure my endless letters clogging their mailbox.


Prospects To Watch

David FestaHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He seems like the next in line after Varland with a fantastic changeup, a strong heater, and MLB ready slider. Be aware when he gets the call.

Matt Canterino – His over-the-top delivery makes me a bit concerned, but he has a strong changeup and solid power slider. He may get an early shot if the other options don’t work out.


New York Mets


Expected Starters

José Quintana – Be normal.

Luis Severino – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. He went to Driveline in an effort to figure out what went wrong last year. I’m not banking on a massive rebound, but let’s see if he has his iVB back on his heater & slider/change of old.

Sean Manaea – I don’t have massive expectations, but he apparently is trying a new cutter that may help him more than the old changeup vs. RHB.

Adrian Houser – Be.

Tylor MegillHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Now with a rotation spot after Senga’s injury, I’m hoping for 95/96 mph with the new splitter to be the putaway pitch he’s been looking for.


Prospects To Watch

José Butto – We saw him last year and I want something extra to make me think he can be a stable starter.

Mike Vasil The most polished of the prospects, though he’s more command focused than overall stuff. That can be what the Mets need during the year, and I want to see it in action this spring.

Dominic Hamel – There were legit strikeout rates in A+ & AA, though I wonder if his low 90s heater will continue to play. His big curve and tight slider have racked up the whiffs.

Christian ScottHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s the electric one with massive strikeout rates with shockingly low walk rates and despite no time in Triple-A, the Mets may call him up early in the year after getting some seasoning in April/early May in Syracuse. Watch him.


Injured Arms

Kodai Senga – He’s missing opening with a shoulder injury and it’s unclear when he returns. Strap in ya’ll.



New York Yankees


Expected Starters

Gerrit Cole – Be normal.

Carlos RodónHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Please be sitting 95/96 mph with decent command. Health is everything.

Nestor Cortes Jr.HYPER FOCUS ALERT. You too. Sit 92/93 mph and just be healthy.

Marcus Stroman – Be normal.

Clarke Schmidt – Does he have a new option to target LHB?


Prospects To Watch

Luis GilHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s returning from TJS and sported a four-seamer with elite shape before joining under the knife.

Will WarrenHYPER FOCUS ALERT. One of the early favorites to grab a rotation spot should the Yankees need one early. He’s sinker/sweeper and that’s a little worrisome given possible limitations that Schmidt currently carries.

Chase HamptonHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He has legit secondaries and I may like him a touch more than Warren as he isn’t as prone to LHB damage.

Clayton Beeter – He’s here too, but I have lower expectations for him. His command is wonky and it’s mostly just a dope slider without much else.


Oakland Athletics


Expected Starters

JP Sears – Be normal + maybe better command? Please?

Paul Blackburn – Be.

Alex Wood – Is there anything new here now that he gets a proper chance to start? He’s typically 91/92 mph with a decent changeup and breaker.

Ross Stripling – Like Wood, he’s getting a true opportunity to start every five days.



Luis Medina – It looks like it’s his at the moment, though his highs last year can be summed up as “great slider for a moment”. Watch to see if there’s more.

Joe BoyleHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s working on a sweeper, which he doesn’t really need – he needs a cutter as he struggles to throw strikes. Super electric, though, and if he’s suddenly finding a ton of strikes, he’ll be on everyone’s radar.

Freddy Tarnok – Health is there with great iVB. Likely heading to Triple-A to stretch out again.

Joey Estes – Good iVB and it’ll come down to this slider and changeup to demand a spot in the rotation. I doubt it.

Adrían Martínez – There’s a great changeup here with potential for his low-strike slider to suddenly make an impact.

Hogan Harris – He saw some innings last year as a craft southpaw. He’s not the guy.

Osvaldo Bido – He’ll be used just for a few bulk innings here and there, right? The stuff nor command speak legit starter.



Prospects To Watch

Royber SalinasHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He has a deep arsenal with an overpowering fastball. I’m stoked to watch him pitch, though I don’t expect him to start in the majors until well into the season with the number of options at Oakland’s disposal.


Injured Arms

Ken Waldichuk – He has a rotation spot when he’s fully recovered from his UCL injury. Unsure when that will be, and it’ll likely come without a step forward in command that he desperately needs.


Philadelphia Phillies


Expected Starters

Zack Wheeler – Be normal. Maybe with an improved cutter/slider…?

Aaron NolaBe normal + I’ll keep dreaming of Nola elevating four-seamers with regularity inside of sitting middle-away.

Ranger Suárez – Be normal.

Taijuan Walker – Sit 94+ mph please. I highly doubt it, but he needs that extra velocity.

Cristopher Sánchez – Jamming LHB with sinkers or still staying away? Can he find another option to attack RHB instead of the sinker/change?


Prospects To Watch

Mick AbelHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s the SP #6 in my book, with a fantastic slider and generally great command.

Spencer TurnbullHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Not an actual prospect, but he could be the long-reliever for the Phils who may turn into a starter before Abel if he showcases an impressive spring. Remember, he came back from TJS just last year and the Tigers let him loose surprisingly quickly after returning.

Griff McGarryHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He lost velocity recently as well as overall command. If he’s back to 95+, there’s hope for him to step forward and flirt with the Phils’ rotation this year.


Injured Arms

Andrew Painter – We won’t see him til next year, y’all.


Pittsburgh Pirates


Expected Starters

Mitch Keller – Cutter-heavy approach with rare four-seamers? Seriously, it’s a very hittable four-seamer and he needs his other offerings to let him surprise batters with the dead-zone fastball.

Martín Pérez – Be normal.

Marco Gonzales – Be normal



Luis L. Ortiz – Seems like he has a starting gig but hot dang does he need to improve his command.

Bailey Falter – He relies on locations instead of stuff unlike the other two, and if he’s in a rhythm in the spring, he’ll secure a rotation spot.

Roansy ContrerasHYPER FOCUS ALERT. His four-seamer shape was elite in 2022 and he lost it in 2023. If he gets that old four-seamer and actually elevates it, suddenly he’s a legit SP. Wild. More on it here.


Prospects To Watch

Paul Skenes – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. He throws upper 90s with a legit slider and above-average command. Obviously we like him.

Jared Jones – HYPER FOCUS ALERT. With more time in the minors than Skenes and an MLB-ready arsenal of bullying mid-to-upper 90s heaters, a solid breaker, and a good changeup, Jones is an add the moment he arrives.

Quinn PriesterIs there anything new from the horrific 2023 showcase?

Jackson Wolf – The Pirates may give him an early shot, but his stuff doesn’t jump off the page enough to consider him.



Injured Arms

JT Brubaker – He’ll be back around the second half and we’ll all be staring at Coffee Cakes inside the bakery window and wondering if it’s worthwhile to eat even if they’re free samples.

Johan Oviedo – TJS in December, sadly. Rest up fella.


San Diego Padres


Expected Starters

Joe Musgrove – Be healthy. Ignore his first game against the Dodgers, he just needs to actually be on the mound.

Yu Darvish – Is he refining his approach and locating better?

Michael King – What is his “hidden new pitch”? My guess is an improved four-seamer that has near full cut action to jam LHB – his biggest weakness.




Pedro Avila – Are the Padres leaning on him for their rotation? Is there anything new for us to give him focus?

Randy Vasquez – Likely ahead of Brito, and I hope we see something exciting from the secondaries as he’s mostly a four-seamer/sinker arm relying on locations.

Jhony BritoHYPER FOCUS ALERT. The more exciting arm in my view. Great sinker that jams RHB, the question is if his changeup and curve are enough to support them. The fastball should make him a stronger arm than Vasquez with the Padres defense, though.

Luis Patiño – Sure, the Rays couldn’t fix him, but maybe he gets back some of the electricity of old from his four-seamer and slider and forces the Padres to take a chance.

Matt Waldron – The deepest arsenal of the lot and he could find himself starting if he has his command working in March. Yes, he’s the knuckleballer, but that’s just 25% of the time.


Prospects To Watch

Adrian Morejon – Just be healthy. I doubt the Padres will send him to the majors until he proves he can go five strong in Triple-A first. Some fun stuff here.

Jairo IriarteHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He reminds me of Pedro with mid-to-upper 90s, a solid changeup, and a slider that can be wipeout at times. Command is still a work in progress.


San Francisco Giants


Expected Starters

Logan Webb – Be normal + do you have a new slider that earns whiffs? PLEASE DO.

Kyle Harrison – Is there a legit third pitch? Still 60%+ fastballs? Still terrible command?

Jordan HicksHYPER FOCUS ALERT. The Giants are very likely to push this hard and I’m stoked to see what we get. Hicks has a sinker that’s stupid hard to hit, but will likely come in under 100 mph now that he’s starting. Meanwhile, his slider fails to consistently land strikes and…that’s it? There has to be more he’s developed this off-season and I’m so curious.

Keaton Winn – His splitter is effective, but is that enough?

Tristan Beck – His slider acts kinda like a cutter with a four-seamer that can sneak into the zone and surprise batters after dealing with the harder breaker. I don’t think that works over a larger sample in 2024 and I’m hoping for something new here. It does seem like his rotation spot right now, but I have a feeling the Giants are signing one other arm. They have to.


Prospects To Watch

Mason BlackHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Low arm-angle RHP slinger akin to Webb, lacking the slowball but makes up for it with a solid slider and a called-strike focus four-seamer. There’s potential here if he can get the changeup working…

Carson Seymour – We’re waiting for more as he’s just slider-focused without a major fastball as of now.

Blayne Enlow – He lost velocity and dropped to a sub-10 % SwStr rate in Triple-A last year in 45 innings. He has a great set of breakers when things are working and I hope the velocity is pumping.

Daulton JefferiesThe Athletics let him go and he’s hoping to climb back to the majors. I wonder if he has enough in the tank after his recovery.


Injured Arms

Kai-Wei TengHe’s battling an oblique injury that sadly, likely takes him out for a lot of spring training. He has experience in Triple-A, a deep arsenal, and lots of swing and miss. I consider him a dark horse candidate to make the rotation when he’s healthy, and I hope he recovers quick enough to give us a decent look this spring.

Alex CobbRecovering from hip surgery. Won’t be back for months.

Robbie Ray – TJS recovery. Expected back around the ASB/Second half.


Seattle Mariners


Expected Starters

Luis Castillo – Be normal.

George Kirby – Please get your four-seamers upstairs. Seriously.

Logan GilbertHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Same. Watch him and ask yourself, “Is he executing everything he wants to do?” He was 50% sliders by the end of the year and didn’t have his splitter. I’d LOVE to see a dominant Gilbert who bullies with heaters, has the splitter in his back pocket, and uses sliders for strikes and whiffs whenever he wants.

Bryan Woo – Cutter up-and-in to LHB? Consistent breaker to RHB?

Bryce MillerHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Good secondary for strikes against LHB? Is the splitter actually consistent? You’re going to see a nasty GIF of the splitter, I’m sure, but ask yourself how often that actually happens.


Prospects To Watch

Emerson Hancock – I just want him to be healthy. He’s likely the true SP #6 here, not Austin Voth.

Jimmy Joyce – He’s kinda like Hancock with a two-seamer (not sinker) + changeup approach from the right side. Not the electric arm you’re looking for, but he could showcase an effective replacement arm for the Mariners to call up during the year.


St. Louis Cardinals


Expected Starters

Sonny Gray – Be normal.

Lance Lynn – Be normal. Your heater can’t afford to be any worse.

Kyle Gibson – Be normal.

Steven Matz – Be normal. And healthy.

Miles MikolasTake the infield defense out for a steak dinner once a week.


Prospects To Watch

Zach Thompson – I see him as the SP #6 ahead of Liberatore. I want to see a little more electricity for him to be a legit impact + a touch better command.

Matthew Liberatore – Please get back to 94+ velocity with your slider of old.

Drew Rom – Naaaaah

Sem RobberseHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s on the 40-man, suggesting he’ll get an early shot this year for the Cards ahead of the three below. It’s a low 90s heater, but a legit changeup and sweeper that catalyzed a 16% SwStr rate.

Gordon GraceffoHYPER FOCUS ALERT. There’s some hype around him, but it isn’t from his Double-A and Triple-A numbers, which came with ~20% strikeout rates and a horrid 86 frames in Triple-A last season. It’s a funky, sped-up delivery, with four different pitches and a heater that can go toward 97 mph. I have my doubts he’ll be the talk of the town, but let’s certainly give him focus.

Tink HenceHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s the really exciting one, but likely far away from the bigs. Overpowering heater at 21-years-old.

Tekoah RobyHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I had higher hopes profiling as a power fastball/curve arm, but a tough AFL has him needing to prove himself in the spring. Very curious to see how he looks.


Tampa Bay Rays


Expected Starters

Zach Eflin – Be normal.

Aaron CivaleHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Leaning more into the slider?

Zack LittellI guess he has a roster spot with the Baz news…? I’m not expecting anything new to turn heads save for his normal fastball/slider stuff.

Ryan PepiotHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Please tell me the Rays are instructing Pepiot to throw high heaters. His changeup is elite, the slider improved, and his fastball has the shape to soar upstairs.

Taj BradleyHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Is he earning strikes and doing so methodically? Watch him and count how many wasted, non-competitive pitches he throws.


Prospects To Watch

Naoyuki Uwasawa – He may have been signed to be more of a bullpen guy, but there’s a chance he looks so good, he steals Littell’s spot, or even Taj’s if Bradley doesn’t have his command.

Mason Montgomery It’s a 91/92 mph heater and I’m curious if I’m going to be able to buy into that.

Brendan McKay Oh hey! It’s him! I hope he’s alright and impressing all of us.


Injured Arms

Shane Baz – Not technically injured, but he hasn’t returned from TJS yet and the Rays are taking it slow for him to return at some point into the season. It’s dumb and I hate it. He may not be IL eligible as well, which is a whole other thing (is it worth it to stash?)

Jeffrey Springs – TJS recovery and aiming for July/August

Drew Rasmussen – Flexor tendon surgery and aiming for July/August. Apparently now behind Springs…?


Texas Rangers


Expected Starters

Nathan EovaldiHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I doubt we’ll see him at full velocity until the end of spring training, but that better be 95/96. I’m terrified he’ll be around 93/94 mph.

Jon Gray – Is there anything else to support his fastball/slider? 96 mph?

Andrew Heaney – Is he volatile? Does his changeup actually work?

Dane Dunning – Can he survive with cutters and sliders?



Cody Bradford – At the moment, it looks like Bradford has the job and I’m not sure how I feel about that. His four-seamer’s low 90s velocity comes with elite extension and iVB and sadly, that’s not enough. With its steeeeeep VAA, it makes me wonder if he can earn called strikes downstairs with the heater, though there isn’t a whole lot to back it up.

Owen White – I’m waiting for something to step up as an electric pitch for White, though he has a shot to snatch the rotation spot from Bradford if he shows something new.

Danny DuffyYes, him. He’s here and honestly, if he kills it, the spot is his. Highly doubt it, of course.

José UreñaHe’s here too, and if he showcases himself as serviceable, that may be enough.

Adrian Sampson – He has a NRI, too, and had some starts with the Cubs. Again, this fifth rotation spot is up for grabs if someone stands out.


Prospects To Watch

Jack LeiterHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He had a rough 2023, but was able to look like a new man in the final month. I’m ready for him to blow us all away and force himself into this rotation early in the year. Or, you know, be pedestrian and we move on.



Injured Arms

Jacob deGromTJS recovery. Can’t wait for him to return in the second half.

Max Scherzer – Herniated disc surgery. Back after the ASB.

Tyler Mahle – TJS recovery. Back after the ASB.


Toronto Blue Jays


Expected Starters

Kevin Gausman – Be normal.

José Berríos – Be normal.

Chris Bassitt – Be normal. Seriously, don’t lose velocity and scare us like last year.

Yusei KikuchiHYPER FOCUS ALERT. I so badly want to see a heavy focus on high four-seamers. Under 50% hiLoc last year and it can SOAR if he’s consistently upstairs with it.

Alek ManoahHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Yes, he’s the starter unless it goes terribly wrong. Sitting 92/93 so far and looking much slimmer, I wonder what he’s like in game. I want that slider missing bats again.


Prospects To Watch

Bowden FrancisHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He has a great four-seamer and if Manoah falters, he may be the guy they go with. Pay attention to his spring.

Yariel Rodriguez – They see him more as a bulk man early, but they may send him back to Triple-A to stretch out if they need the help in the rotation. Very curious how deep his repertoire goes.

Ricky TiedemannHYPER FOCUS ALERT. The guy everyone cares about. He’s a bit of a slinger and has been volatile with both his velocity and his precision. If he’s overwhelming, you can expect many to be banging the drum of him entering the rotation, especially if Manoah isn’t flirting with his former ability.


Washington Nationals


Expected Starters

Josiah Gray – Is there something new to make us a fan?

MacKenzie GoreHYPER FOCUS ALERT. Please just locate high heaters. I don’t care if the Nationals are instructing you not (that’s the only assumption I can make at this point), just do it. You’ll be so good up there and your secondaries will come alive. Without that, he’ll continue to be a Cherry Bomb at best.

Patrick Corbin – Be.

Jake Irvin – Be. Apparently he’s tinkering, but unless something shows up that WOWs us, there’s not much hope here.

Trevor Williams – #NeverTrevor


Prospects To Watch

DJ HerzHYPER FOCUS ALERT. This is the only guy that matters here as he could enter the rotation relatively soon as a singling lefty with a 15%+ SwStr rate across 2023. He could carry the composure and filth that the bottom trio of the Nats don’t have at the moment. Pay attention so you’re ready when he gets the inevitable call.

Thaddeus Ward – Okay, there’s also Ward, who has a filthy slider and not a whole lot else. Maybe there’s something more now?

Zach Davies – He got a NRI and honestly, he may be good enough to steal the fifth spot from Williams if things go his way.

Robert Gsellman – Yep, HIM. I have a soft spot for Gsellman and I’ll get a little giddy when he suddenly appears. How cool would it be if he’s suddenly dope?

Cole HenryHYPER FOCUS ALERT. He’s on the 40-man with a 94/95 mph heater and a solid curve that could be a mini-Nola comp if he figures out how to add depth to his changeup. Looking forward to seeing more of him.


Injured Arms

Cade Cavalli – He’s still recovering from TJS and shouldn’t return to Triple-A action until mid-year.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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