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Top 200 Starting Pitchers For Fantasy Baseball 2024

SP Rankings for 2024 Fantasy Baseball: 1-200 Starting Pitchers

THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED FEBRUARY 7TH, 2024.

 

READ THE UPDATE HERE

 

 

Let’s rank the best 200 starting Pitchers to draft in fantasy baseball for 2024 way too early with in-depth blurbs I normally save for my February article. Strap in y’all.

The fantasy baseball season just ended and before we all hibernate, run the numbers, and produce polished projections, I feel it’s important that I put out what I like to call my “rough draft” of February 2024’s Top 300 Starting Pitchers when my opinions and thoughts of 2023 are still fresh. So the day after the regular season ends, I elect to take a moment and review the season behind us and rank the top 200 starting pitchers for 2024 fantasy baseball.

What I’m trying to say is, today’s rankings will be vastly different in February. I have no idea how different – if I knew that, they wouldn’t be different – and I’ll use this foundation to discuss players through the off-season, helping me determine who I’m actually higher or lower on than originally thought, while I have yet to do my complete dives into each player’s season. Please don’t hate me for this.

 

Rankings Philosophy

 

It’s important to take a moment to express my general philosophy for drafting starting pitchers. It remains unchanged from years past in case you’ve heard me say this before. My strategy comes in two parts. First:

  • 1. Draft THREE starting pitchers I trust to never drop during the season

Essentially, you don’t need to get two of the Top 15 starters to excel. Instead, develop a foundation of three starters who won’t be so bad that they deserve a drop. This year that speaks to the Top 36 starters or so, but creeps into the 50s as well. It doesn’t mean just get three and call it a day, it just means having three starters allows you to have a foundation, even if it’s not including a top 10 starter. I heavily encourage grabbing three and then aiming to fill up the next two or three within that Top 50 if you can – generally, SP value lies in the middle of the draft, anyway.

  • 2. Chase upside & pitchers you can drop early instead of middling decent pitchers

This is I Don’t Draft Tobys in a nutshell and is rooted in how much opportunity there is on the waiver wire in April & May. You need to put yourself in a position to take chances on pitchers early in the season as so many of them hit and become legit foundation starters through the year. Make sure your final pitchers are guys you can move on early in April if it’s not panning out, and if you draft middling arms instead, you’ll likely hold onto to a 3.70 ERA guy instead of taking the chance on a true league winner. Don’t be that manager.

Don’t believe me? Here are Starting Pitchers who had a 2023 ADP of #290 or later and could be snagged in your leagues:

 

 

And that’s not even including this rag-tag crew containing many pitchers you were able to grab at specific points of the season for legit value:

 

 

Now you understand. That’s where I’m coming from with these rankings and it’s important to not treat them as a “Best Ball” ranking – you’re not drafting a team you hold for the full year, instead you’re drafting a team with anticipation that you’re burning and churning at the back-end of your roster. It’s the way you win your leagues.

 

Early SP Schedules

 

One element that I often don’t discuss this early when doing rankings is the expected opening weekend schedule. It doesn’t have much of an impact on these rankings, but as we get closer to the start of the year and rotations become clearer after trades, signings, and injuries, it may reveal some late-round targets to sneak in a start or two in your head-to-head leagues that may turn into season-long holds (like Brayan Bello and Tyler Wells this season).

First, here are the individual offense ranks:

 

Nick’s Terrible Too Early 2024 Offense Ranks

 

In essence, we should only be considering being conservative against the Top tier offenses (and maybe some Solid tiers as well), while take a chance here or there against the Poor offenses (I’m sure some will surprise us!). Everything else in the middle is up for grabs.

 

And here is how the start of 2024 shapes up:

Early 2024 Team Schedules

 

Here are my thoughts on these opening schedules:

  • Does Rockie Road actually apply if the Rockies offense hasn’t actually played in Colorado yet? Part of their decline on the road is being used to how the ball moves in Coors and if they aren’t acclimated to it yet, the offense may perform better in Arizona and Chicago than expected.
  • Remember, these offense rankings are being done in October and will obviously change once the off-season transactions begin.
  • I personally love chasing late-round starters who pitch the opening weekend. You can steal a productive outing, then drop them for whatever upside pitcher you were considering who hasn’t pitched yet. It’s just an extra hint of value you can steal at the beginning of the season.
  • The Padres and Dodgers are playing a two-game set (each with one game as the home team) in Seoul, South Korea a week before Opening Day. It makes me wonder if there’s a little extra value for having one of these four stud pitchers (possibly Joe Musgrove & Yu Darvish vs. Bobby Miller & Walker Buehler) toss one more start than everyone else.
  • In addition to this, the Padres fourth matchup is @SFG. while the Dodgers get @ CHC. Both of these act as the normal third matchups given rotations will reset week between the Korea series and opening day.
  • ARI, CIN, MIA, CHW, CLE, DET, OAK each have seemingly favorable matchups to kick off the season. Here are a few pitchers who could go by Sunday who and provide sneaky draft value:

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like this strategy is all too helpful for 2024. That said, offenses will change, rotations will shift, and spring brings new excitement. Refer to this table in March.

 

Alright, let’s get to it now. Remember, these ranks are based on a 12-teamer, 5×5 roto format. Adjust accordingly to your situation.

For those unaware:

  • Cherry Bomb = A volatile pitcher who is either super sweet or blows up in your face. There are few middle grounds.
  • Toby = A middling pitcher who you can’t decide if they do enough to stay on your team and give you the itch to drop every single day. Named after Toby from The Office. Don’t draft them.
  • HollyThe better version of a Toby – essentially a starter who will be in the 21-24% strikeout range with decent ratios instead of the 20% strike rate or fewer of Toby types.

 

Read The Notes

 

  • This is your reminder to please read these notes as they’ll tell you plenty about my thought process and why I’m ranking guys in a certain way.
  • The initial plan was to write one or two sentences on everyone. I found myself writing extensive outlines instead, leading this article to come out a full week later than intended. Sorry.
  • I shifted from heavy blurbs to short reviews halfway through as I had to get this dang thing out already. Remember, these are my early thoughts and I’m looking forward to solidifying my 2024 outlook across the next six months.
  • Seriously. Read the notes.

 

Tier 1 – Legit Studs 

 

These are the workhorse aces without injury concerns. It’s that simple.

 

1. Gerrit Cole (NYY) – The fact of the matter is that Cole is the sole consistent ace in fantasy. Every other starter has wavered in some fashion while Cole has consistently been a Top 10 SP and ace through the season. That said, I do have some worry about his slider, but the new cutter looks like an addition that will continue to keep his head comfortably above water.

2. Spencer Strider (ATL) – 281 strikeouts and a 3.85 ERA. Many will quote FIP and believe in the raw strikeout skills as they wave away the ERA. I’m not so quick to ignore ERA (4.34 across his final 13 starts), which can be simply explained by his lack of repertoire depth. There should be concern that both his four-seamer and slider carried ICR rates above 40% this year (when contact is allowed, is it good for the hitter?), with his slider landing in the sub 20th percentile. At the end of the day, he pitches for Atlanta, is destined to fan well over 200 again with an excellent WHIP and could bring the ERA down significantly.

3. Zack Wheeler (PHI) – There’s one skill I’m rating more important than others in 2024 – having a strong four-seamer as the foundation of a repertoire. Wheeler’s four-seamer was among the elites in strike rate, ICR rate, SwStr rate, and PLV, while missing significant time just once since the start of 2018 where he still tossed over 150 innings in 2022. He held the #1 PLV of all starting pitchers in 2023 as he wielded a phenomenal sinker that generated outs, and I’d argue there’s still room to grow with his slider and curve as small adjustments with their approach can go a long way.

4. Luis Castillo (SEA) – Right. Four-seamers. Castillo’s 18.5% SwStr was 100th percentile for SP four-seamers and we should expect its usage bump to 44% to stick around for another season. He’s made regular starts in all of his last six seasons, save for a delay to kick off 2022, brought his hit rate far down with the lean on four-seamers across the last two seasons, and still has a pair of legit secondaries. That slider and changeup each could improve as well, and Castillo’s situation for a winning ballclub makes him the whole package.

5. Corbin Burnes (MIL) – I wrestled with this plenty, but ultimately, we don’t expect the same volatility from Burnes for another season. There are concerning marks everywhere – a three point drop in overall SwStr rate (thus his strikeout reduction), a dip in O-Swing and rise in O-Contact, and a rising walk rate despite the higher zone rate (i.e. less O-Swing = forced to throw more in the zone). The question becomes not if the cutter can be dominant again, but if he can regain the consistency he once had with his curveball, slider, and changeup. With his cutter still being the dream of prospective pitchers everywhere, Burnes had 3.39 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 200 strikeouts in a “down” year, with room to regain his footing in his 28-year-old season.

 

Tier 2 – Still AGA

 

We know they can be anchors for a season, but there’s less to lean on either with expected volume, strikeout production, or WHIP questions.

 

6. Pablo López (MIN) – Guess what, it’s another elite four-seamer. PabLó wasn’t close to flirting with idealistic four-seamers before this season, but time with Driveline converted the pitch from a 93/94 mph & 11% SwStr pitch to a monstrous 95 mph & 17% SwStr pitch, carrying its elite 70%+ strike rate for the fourth straight year. In fact, there’s an argument to made he’s throwing too many four-seamers for strikes as its 44% ICR rate was just 42nd percentile. However, it’s not just four-seamers that make me interested – it’s the fact he has five pitches above an 80th percentile PLV (four-seamer, slider, curve, changeup, sinker). His slider is a newly developed sweeper from Driveline to fill the “breaking ball” void López has had for years (28% ICR!) while his sinker is featured sparingly, and they are UTILIZED AS THEY SHOULD: To jam same-handed batters (41% O-swing! 93rd percentile!). It’s rare to find a pitcher with great command and this much repertoire depth and with just one season under his belt, I imagine he’s still getting used to his array of weapons. Expect an improvement from his 8.2 hits-per-nine from 2023 that lowers his WHIP from a palatable 1.15 to an elite clip you can celebrate. Oh, and his 234 strikeouts was tied for third most in the majors. Yeah.

7. Kevin Gausman (TOR) – I literally lowered Gausman during the Top 10 Starting Pitchers podcast as we were recording and this is as far as I can go. What’s the worry? Well, it’s two pitches from Gausman – four-seamer and splitter – and despite the wave of the hand many gave to Gausman’s 2022 historically high .363 BABIP, it was still detrimental at a .323 clip. That meant his 1.24 WHIP fell to just 1.18 in 2023. Wait, that’s not nearly the drop I expected. Right?! Part of the problem was his walk rate rising from 4% to 7% (it’ll probably stay at 7%), the other is the four-seamer still being a hittable offering. In fact, batters had a higher ICR in 2023, holding a 16th percentile mark near 50%. That’s terrible. I’m happy Gausman found more strikeouts and I’m happy he looks like a workhorse on a winning team. I worry he doesn’t have much else to keep batters off the heater and his high WHIP is destined to stay above 1.10, if not inflating above 1.20 again.

8. George Kirby (SEA) – The allure of Kirby is simple. He’s a clear 200 IP potential arm for a solid club with a great fastball and developing slider as he walked just 19 batters the entire season. However, his four-seamer is a funny thing. It holds a 99th percentile SwStr rate at 18% with a ridiculous 74% strike rate and a…1st percentile called strike rate. That means batters are swinging constantly and making more contact than the SwStr would suggest. Meanwhile, the only reliable secondary was a slider that improved over the season, but there’s still another level to hit as a proper whiff pitch vs. acting as an alternative to the four-seamer over the plate. I believe Kirby can make the right adjustments (maybe being okay not giving into batters as much with the heater?) to build off his foundation and turn into a potential 200-220 strikeout arm while keeping the elite ratios.

9. Zac Gallen (ARI) – I’m a Gallen Gal and have been since he joined the majors. I also find Gallen’s success a little weird, and I’ve found that most pitchers that induce that emotion fail to sustain success. What’s so weird about Gallen? His four-seamer is a called strike offering, not whiffs. That puts the pressure on his curve, change, and cutter to return elite chases and poor contact and I’ve seen far too many starts this year where Gallen can’t find a groove. It’s rarely overpowering and demanding success, but then you blink and it’s the sixth inning. He looks more like a reliable SP #2 than a true ace, but if his cutter and change can flirt with a 20% SwStr rate, the curveball should do the rest with its elite loLoc% rates and four-seamer consistently putting hitters on the defensive.

10. Max Fried (ATL) – We have a mini-tier of “how much are we going to get and what will it look like?” to close out Tier 2. It starts with Fried, who hopefully will be proving himself healthy and dominant in the upcoming weeks. In short, I believe in Fried’s command and his ability to move fastballs around the zone with dependable breakers and a changeup that should return to 2022 form. He’s on arguably the best team to pitch for as his ratios and Wins are as reliable as any arm in fantasy. If you’re jiving for more strikeout potential, I understand, though a 200 strikeout season isn’t outside his ceiling. That said, the biggest knock on Fried is the forearm strain the forced him to be on the shelf for the heavy majority of 2023. Do what you’d like with that information – I recently displayed on Twitter how more than half of the Top 31 starting pitchers in 2023 made fewer than 25 starts, making Fried’s injury risk arguably similar to any other. Is that a perfect argument? No, it’s on you to decide how much you’d like to weigh it. Personally, I imagine we’ll see a fully healthy Fried during spring training and feel ready to rev the engine for next season.

11. Tyler Glasnow (TBR) – We know how good he can be. We also know he has more than elbow trouble holding him from going 130+ innings. Sadly, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see more than 150 frames, with a total around 110/110 far more likely. The worst part of the off-season is predicting volume and health, though Glasnow’s track record makes for too much of a risk to spot him inside the Top 10. He’ll pack plenty of strikeouts with one of the more effective sliders in the game (even if he makes a few more mistakes with it than I’d like, especially in September), but he’ll have his moments of volatility mixed with his looming injury demons.

12. Walker Buehler (LAD) – Next in our injury-laden mini-tier is Buehler, who will be returning from TJS and hopefully enjoying his TJS honeymoon as he showcases his health in his contract year. Ahhhh, so the Dodgers won’t limit him. Exactly. Expect Buehler to go all out after an initial small ramp up, which should come with a strong assortment of fastballs for called strikes and cutters + sliders for all the effective strikes. Seriously, those last two offerings were both bonkers in previous seasons and a fully healthy Buehler should have those two carrying him through 6/7 innings constantly by May. It’s risky, but once we see Buehler sitting 95+ in March, there’s little reason for him to be considered below the young arms of Tier 3.

13. Freddy Peralta (MIL) – We just saw a burst of velocity on Peralta’s fastball from 92/93 to 94/95, though it took some time for Peralta to explode. After a rough 13 starts to kick off the season, Peralta finished with a 3.21 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 36% strikeout rate across his final 95.1 IP in 17 starts. Whoa. Yeah. HOWEVER (oh no), one element about Peralta that has always unnerved me is his mechanics – his delivery is massively closed, starting on the first-base side of the rubber and landing his front foot far on the third base side. That forces him to throw tremendously cross body, adding plenty of deception at the cost of general inconsistency. Once in a rhythm, Peralta can soar with these mechanics (as we just saw), but the off-season is dark and filled with terrors. It would be unwise to bank on Peralta having that same rhythm out of the gate. Throw in an injury history that induces fear (shoulder!) and I’m hesitant to lean too heavily into Peralta.

 

Tier 3 – SP #1 Overall Potential

 

This is where the fun begins. It’s a mix of young arms and old where you’re destined to have multiple stellar pitchers take steps forward and far outperform their ADP. But who will it be?

 

14. Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) – Guess what? I love Grayson’s four-seamer. Another one? I have a type, okay? I’m a believer in what Grayson did since returning from the minors in July, looking far more like the arm we anticipated in March, with the base of his performance coming from a 5.38 PLV four-seamer (elite!) that sat 98 mph and pumped strikes 70% of the time. I’d expect the heater to improve upon its 11% SwStr rate next year as his locations and secondaries improve. It’s backed by a changeup plus a pair of breakers that he was able to keep low consistently in the second half, and those improvements should continue into 2024. I’m a big believer in a breakout season ahead with his skill set for a winning club.

15. Tarik Skubal (DET) – Soooo guess what Skubal has. COME ON NICK. But it’s a really good four-seamer! He added two ticks of velocity after returning from the IL, sitting 96mph as the pitch returned a 99th percentile O-Swing and a ridiculously high 76% strike rate. Even more impressive may be the development of his changeup as it carried a 29% SwStr rate and MLB best 41% CSW. There’s still room to grow, though, with Skubal’s heater falling a bit too far into the zone in September, while his slider failed to become to reliable breaker we’ve seen in the past. With a true off-season of development ahead and his new velocity likely returning, I’m buying in for 2024.

16. Bobby Miller (LAD) – I’m conflicted with Bobby. On one hand, pitching for the Dodgers is a great thing (Wins, defense, development) and Bobby features an array of pitches that all have 70+ grade potential. On the other hand, his fastballs are not whiff pitches even at their upper-90s velocity (i.e. not a stupid good four-seamer), his curveball only recently became a reliable strike pitch, and his slider hasn’t developed into the elite offering we know it can be once spotted properly. The ceiling is akin to Max Fried with a 30% strikeout rate (i.e. SP #1), while the floor is a lower-end Hollyespecially if his command doesn’t take a step forward.

17. Eury Pérez (MIA) – How much should we truly expect Pérez to grow in 2024? He has the makings of a generational talent, sporting a four-seamer that is destined to push a 15%+ SwStr rate when he learns to lean into elevating it as priority #1. While the changeup is far away from being a reliable offering, his slider is public enemy #1 and his curveball is very often just as devastating. There are questions of sustainability in his command that should come over time with more experience and this 21-year-old is destined to be an absolute stud in the major leagues. But as we learned with Luis Castillo and many other young arms in the past, his expected throne may not find its companion right away – he only tossed 91 MLB frames in 2023 and may need a little more time to become an SP #1 stud.

18. Aaron Nola (FA) – It’s an even year next season, so clearly Nola is going to get better, right? Nola is one of those pitchers who I get exhausted trying to explain and breakdown, when ultimately, if he has his heaters working, he should be fine. However, he’s susceptible to the long ball more than ideal and it ruins things in a hurry. I have a dream of him finally shifting to sinkers being used more to jam right-handers inside than stealing strikes away, then saving four-seamers upstairs and using 60%+ curves & changeups. At the very least, he’ll flirt with 200 frames and 200+ strikeouts in his new organization, with the upside of landing with a team that actually gives him good defense and a solid home park, unlocking the consistency we all know he should have.

19. Joe Ryan (MIN) – I was pretty upset with Ryan at the end of the year. His four-seamer was incredible, but he had absolutely nothing supporting it. Thing is, he went to Driveline last year where they helped him add more fastball velocity and turn the pitch into one of the best heaters in the majors and nail the top of the zone. There was some work done on his sweeper and splitter there (clearly not enough) and I’m banking on finding a real #2 pitch as the top priority of the off-season. Ryan doesn’t need something elite here, just a more reliable strike pitch that can keep batters off the four-seamer and not be the Hanging McHanger that the splitter often became, nor the prayer of a sweeper that was his premier breaking ball. Give us any sort of addition (a gyro slider? Cutter? Solid curve? Improved sweeper?) and BLAMMO! Ryan becomes dope again.

20. Cole Ragans (KCR) – He’s still a unicorn. Ragans has five stellar pitches he can throw in any count, including 99 mph heat upstairs, and uses them all exactly as he should. However, his resistance to giving in to batters does create more walks than others, and he has a tendency to run out of gas above 90 pitches. His second half run wasn’t undeserved from a skills perspective, though it’s too small of a sample for me to claim he’ll carry the same command for a full season, let alone the same velocity. In addition, the Royals do him no favors – fewer Wins, poor defense, lack of internal pitching development, and returning far too many Careful, Icarus scenarios – which could make for a more tumultuous 2024 than the raw ability suggests. What about his injury history? Yeah, that too, though “he’s had two Tommy John surgeries” isn’t quite accurate as his second one was to correct his first one (it wasn’t a second surgery years later). Still, it should be noted as another element that could go wrong.

21. Zach Eflin (TBR) – I didn’t expect Eflin to return 31 starts and nearly 180 innings after returning just two seasons of 20+ starts (24 and 28) in his career, especially when headed to the conservative Rays rotation. I definitely didn’t expect Eflin to find a brand new cutter to feature 26% of the time with a near 5.50 PLV. Yeesh that’s good. He did all the things right – add a new pitch, use his current curveball better than ever, return more grounders off his sinker, earn 16 Wins for a winning club – which makes it obvious to me this was a peak season. It doesn’t mean 2024 won’t be a good season, just not the 1.02 WHIP and 25%+ strikeout rate for the second year in a row…with fewer than 30 starts. And that’s all fine and dandy and relatively safe. I’d just rather chase the fun stuff instead.

22. Joe Musgrove (SDP) – There’s a lot to forget in 2023. A weight dropping on his toe. Burning his feet on hot turf. Elbow bursitis. Shoulder inflammation. Yes, all that happened this year to Musgrove and he still produced for his seventeen starts on the bump, looking like a bonafide ace once settled in at the end of May. He’s apparently “healthy” as he enters the off-season, though it’s wise to tame expectations of Musgrove starting every five days throughout the 2024 season. Still, he has a fantastic array of weapons, from a cutter that earns strikes, to a trio of whiff pitches in his curve, slider, and changeup, and you can imagine Musgrove as a Chris Bassitt type with potential for a 25%+ strikeout rate on a winning team. His production is relatively safe, it’s just a matter of volume.

23. Jesús Luzardo (MIA) – I adore Luzardo. I also get frustrated with Luzardo. Is his slider a good pitch or not? It has exceptional CSW marks…but is bottom 10th percentile in both ICR rate and swing rate. In other words, it’s a stupid high risk/reward offering, though it should be a little better in 2024 when its .494 BABIP improves. That’s just silly. At the end of the day, Luzardo’s four-seamer isn’t incredible, but well spotted, making for his excellent changeup to clean up as long as the slider doesn’t mess things up over the zone. Without the four-seamer being truly exceptional, I’m hesitant to jump in with the tumultuous slider, though we may see a fix that keeps his slider away from the zone, allowing its massive SwStr to lead the way.

 

Tier 4 – The Last Wave Of Hype

 

This is a fun tier of high potential mixed with solid floors. Be careful here – if you load up on too many of these, you could set yourself up for a potential disaster of a season.

 

24. Framber Valdez (HOU) – I feel destined to oscillate about Valdez’s ranking and I’ll be quick. I hate Valdez’s sinker. I love his cutter and curve and sometimes his changeup. Valdez elected to stop throwing the latter two in the second half and struggled. If he reverts next season, Valdez could actually be a 1.15 WHIP or better while carrying the Wins, strikeouts, and solid ERA you want. If he relies too much on the sinker again, the WHIP is sure to stay elevated (lots of sinkers = plenty of hard contact in play = many hits), and I’ll regret this ranking.

25. Logan Webb (SFG) – There are many odd things about Webb’s 2023, but most of all may be flexing four double-digit strikeout games, yet just all but one of his other outings featuring seven of fewer strikeouts. In other words, just one game of eight or nine strikeouts, outlining a pitcher who had some rare moments of strikeout ability but shouldn’t be expected to fan a strikeout per inning. It’s a product of Webb failing to re-capture his old slider, turning him into a heavy changeup arm (we saw multiple games of 50+ changeups being thrown) with a sinker that gets all the called strikes. Looking at the year, I expect him to fail at replicating two numbers: His 4% walk rate and his 23% strikeout rate. Expect a few more walks (thus a WHIP around 1.15) and his SwStr that has dipped for two straight years at just 10% to outline a strikeout rate hovering just above 20%. This is a ratio play and with his WHIP expectation not being among the elites, I can’t rank Webb inside the Top 20.

26. Logan Gilbert (SEA) – What is Gilbert’s best pitch? It used to be the four-seamer as we waited with bated breath for a secondary to appear and share the burden of carrying him through games. A splitter appeared in the opening months before disappearing (what?! An inconsistent splitter?! Stop that Nick) and suddenly there was a shift. His slider started getting used more than 20% of the time, pushing toward 35% at the end of May, and we found it! The answer! Well, with the new slider, Gilbert couldn’t find his four-seamer. And that’s how he ended the year – with a new and great slider, but missing the four-seamer that laid a wonderful foundation. The hope is that Gilbert can get the fastball back, keep the slider, and possibly incorporate the curve or splitter decently well to have a proper 3-4 pitch mix. He’ll have the long leash to go six constantly, he doesn’t walk batters, and with everything working, the ceiling is Top 10 SP with a near 30% strikeout rate. Sadly, I don’t have faith in his four-seamer returning, bringing him down here in Tier 4.

27. Yoshinobu Yamamoto (FA) – This may seem like an aggressive ranking of Yamamoto, but look around you – it’s a ton of guys who have SP #2 potential and haven’t solidified their claim, while Tier 5 arms are solid but carry less upside. Enter Yamamoto, who has dominated the NPB for three straight seasons, features stellar command, a forkball for whiffs, a mid-90s heater, a legit curveball, and a 90mph cutter. He’ll warrant a major contract this off-season and step into a role where he’ll be trusted to go 5-6 innings each game and those are lovely words to read. I’m excited to watch him in spring training against MLB hitters, though everything I’ve seen and read thus far indicates he’s already a complete pitcher with 25%+ strikeout potential and incredibly low walk rates. We’re talking sub 2.0 BB/9 in Japan, and even though that number is expected to climb a touch in the majors, it’ll help keep his WHIP palatable. You love to see it.

28. Brandon Woodruff (MIL) – This is all about health, of course. Moreso than the mini-tier with Fried and Glasnow as Woodruff was held out of the playoffs with a shoulder injury, creating far too much haze to his 2024 workload. We know what he does when healthy – strong ratios and flirtation with a 30% strikeout rate – but who knows when we’ll see him and how much we’ll get.

29. Shane Baz (TBR) – Didn’t expect this, did you? I’m a fan of chasing elite arms returning from TJS as we generally see a “TJS honeymoon” for about 250-300 innings after returning (yes, this isn’t a 100% success rate, but is more than you’d expect). With Baz, both his four-seamer and slider were elite, moreso than Hunter Greene and akin to Spencer StriderHe’ll likely be limited by the Rays in the early outings and we may see some slow-down mid-season, though 140+ frames of Baz next season should come with less turbulence than many other young arms who are still searching for a true #2 offering.

30. Bryan Woo (SEA) – His four-seamer comes with one of the lowest VAA marks you’ll see, allowing the pitch to be dominant with a 16/17% SwStr rate, while his sinker has the intent to jam right-handers, and his cutter has days when it paints down-and-gloveside. Give him some time to develop and I can believe those skills will grow over time as the Mariners trust him for another season in the rotation as Robbie Ray recovers. There’s an outside chance there’s a delayed start if the Mariners pursue some SP depth, though I find myself gravitating more to Woo over Bryce given the addition of his sinker and promising cutter – that cutter held a 98th percentage loLoc% last season while his slider was fifth percentile. Please stick with the cutter.

31. Bryce Miller (SEA) – It’s a really good four-seamer. Fantastic iVB and VAA that makes his four-seamer demolish batters when he locates it in the upper third. The problem is simple – he rarely has anything else to pair with it. We saw a game or two where Miller effortlessly spotted sliders and cutters down-and-gloveside, leaving batters helpless. It’s a special moment when you witness a pitcher and go “yep, he deserves to win every at-bat”. Miller has that upside, we can only hope he can reliably execute it in 2024.

32. Kyle Bradish (BAL) – I don’t like Bradish’s fastballs in the slightest. The greatest shift for Bradish this season was pulling back on his four-seamer usage in favor of more sliders and curveballs, while introducing a sinker to help get called strikes and prevent longballs on fastballs. It worked, though I don’t love said sinker and ultimately, Bradish has a disgusting slider and not a whole lot else. The curveball is a strong pitch, but disappears frequently, and I feel strange chasing a pitcher who is hyper-reliant on a slider. I could be undervaluing Bradish’s slider, though it’s low 61% strike rate makes a little concerned, especially when it leaned so heavily on his four-seamer holding a 96th percentile called strike rate and an 8th percentile swing rate. In other words, batters were far too passive on Bradish’s four-seamer and I imagine it will swing in the other direction in 2024.

33. Blake Snell (FA) – I wonder where the consensus will fall on Snell. Personally, I worry about his consistency year-to-year as we constantly witness a terrible spring from Snell before a summer of bliss whenever he finds a rhythm. It took him ages to get a feel for his breakers this year and while I’m the first to defend Snell’s walk rate by showcasing his minuscule 5.8 hits-per-nine, the approach only helps his ERA, not his WHIP that ballooned to 1.19. Too much needs to go right for Snell to not pull you down in 2024 and I hate drafting players who come with expected turmoil.

34. Justin Steele (CHC) – Entering 2023, I didn’t buy that Steele was ready to take a leap. June 2023, I still didn’t believe what he was doing. August 2023, it still seemed weird. September 2023, his command was wavering and he was clearly fatigued. Why did you just write all that. Because now it’s October 2023 and I still can’t convince myself to go after Steele for 2024. He’s a two-pitch pitcher with a reliable 91/92 mph “four-seamer” that’s really a cutter and a slider that reads as “great” but not elite. And that’s it. There are days when he spots the heater perfectly along the edges and avoids mistakes with the slider – those days are bliss – and others where he seems awfully mundane and it somehow comes together. This is terrible analysis Nick and you’re just a hater. WELL MAYBE I AM. If there’s one thing I have to believe in, it’s my gut after all these years and Steele is just weird to me. I don’t like weird.

35. Kodai Senga (NYM) – 200 strikeouts are 200 strikeouts. I was down on Senga early on as the WHIP was massive due to a walk rate catalyzed by a forkball that carried a strike rate well under 50%, but as he got more innings, Senga’s cutter improved and he turned into a second-half ace. Does his approach speak to sustainability? His strikeouts came mostly through his 27% SwStr rate forkball and some fastballs, while middling four-seamers and sliders mixed in with his strong cutter to get strikes. I wish I liked his cutter or slider more, or his 95/96 mph four-seamer did better than a 26% CSW & 46% ICR rate. He feels too close to Cherry Bomb for me, who went on a lovely run and is now disrupted.

36. Triston McKenzie (CLE) – 2023 was like Atlantis. We dreamed of it being something special for McKenzie, but ultimately it was lost and we need to act like it never existed. Treat McKenzie the same way we did entering 2023: with hope that he can keep his slider down, replicate the curveball, and avoid mistakes on his heater. That fastball doesn’t come in hard, but it is tied for the most induced vertical break of all four-seamers. Seriously, it’s the most carry of any starting pitcher’s four-seamer since the beginning of 2022…well tied with Nick Pivetta’s and that’s a whole other story. If only he could command the dang thing to land only in the top third of the zone consistently, then I’d truly buy in. Huh. At the very least, give McKenzie an off-season to hit the reset button and hopefully fine-tune the breakers to let his heater soar in 2024.

37. Sonny Gray (FA) – What do you know, I’m conflicted about another pitcher. Yay. With Gray, I’ve seen plenty of undulation on his breaking balls not just year-to-year, but week-to-week. His curveball was the pitch early in the year, then it became his slider, then neither worked but he found a way with cutters and four-seamers, and I generally avoid pitchers who have to constantly switch to something different throughout the season. That said, Gray has had respectable WHIP and ERA marks across four straight seasons, boasting 20-25% strikeout rates, and rose his slider and curveball strike rates massively in 2023. There’s something to that and if he lands in the right home, Sonny can repeat a lot of this success, carrying a decent enough floor that you’re unlikely to drop him…he says, despite every reader’s superstitions. Jinxing isn’t real, y’all, but thanks for believing I have that much influence.

38. Tanner Bibee (CLE) – Bibee’s four-seamer has moments of being a legit pitch when elevated, but it’s not a good VAA and it’s rare to see him lock in with heaters during an outing. The real appeal is a fantastic slider that changed its shape mid-season and constantly succeeded even when catching plenty of the plate. I worry about about Bibee’s overall command, though. Watching him pitch doesn’t come with a strong approach that allows him to dart around the plate and set-up batters like other young arms we’re seen. That said, he has a deeper arsenal and could gain that ability over time. I tend to lean more into pitchers with one or two precise pitches that dominate over three to four that lack consistency, making me push Bibee down my ranks. I recognize the ceiling here if he’s able to wield 3-4 pitches effectively, though there’s a sizeable chance he’s simply a Cherry Bomb throughout the season.

39. Gavin Williams (CLE) – Look at that, it’s another young starting pitcher on the Guardians with a four-seamer focus as we twiddle our thumbs, wondering if they’ll figure out their breakers in 2024 or not. It’s kinda wild how so many of these rookie pitchers can be categorized like this and it’s a bit of “welp, take your pick.” I’m not as huge of a fan of Williams’ four-seamer as I am the likes of Miller and Woo (less iVB, ~12% SwStr despite solid hiLoc%), though he showed flashes with both his curve and slider throughout the year that suggested he could execute the BSB with more consistency than others. I worry that there’s too much to fix here before we see him unleashed, though it really is anyone’s guess which young arm takes the strong next step.

 

Tier 5 – Solid Frames Without SP #1 Potential

 

Welcome to the tier of of “hey, these are great ratios, but aren’t the most exciting kids on the block with legit SP #1 potential”. It’s often a good idea to grab one of these to ensure you have actual innings on your squad and hey, there’s some upside here, too.

 

40. Max Scherzer (TEX) – Scherzer openly declared himself pitching through pain early in the season, starting a miraculous 27 games before a teres strain put him on the shelf for good in 2023. It’s hard to imagine another 150 frames in 2024, which makes us question how productive his innings will be to justify chasing him over a potential 180+ elsewhere. It’s a difficult decision, but note that despite his waning health, Scherzer boasted a 1.12 WHIP and 28% strikeout rate. Sure, but his skills are declining and if he’s still hurt, shouldn’t it be worse? It sure will.

41. Yu Darvish (SDP) – It’s time to list all of those potentially elite starters hoping to reclaim what they used to have. Darvish’s tumultuous 2023 campaign concluded with surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow, though fantasy managers were hurting long before Darvish’s pain was public. Another season of a 4.56 ERA and 1.30 WHIP is highly unlikely, though Darvish’s approach was mercurial across the five months we spent with him. He’s always the tinkerer and brilliant craftsman of pitching and I can only hope 2024 brings a refined approach that doesn’t have him giving in with sinkers and four-seamers. Expect volatility to rise once again, though he’s sure to boast a 25% strikeout rate eternally.

42. Bailey Ober (MIN) – There’s a reason Oberizzi has his own term Bailey SpecialWith his impeccable four-seamer command up in the zone, Bailey is able to plod across six innings consistently while his changeup and slider fill the rest of the zone. The faults come when the breaker fails to do its job and his changeup finds too much of the heart of the plate. However, I imagine more time on the bump will help Ober develop a better feel for these offerings, opening the door for an all-around producer in the season ahead. Nothing close to an SP #1, but an arm you’re not dropping all year with a 24% strikeout rate or so. Wait, isn’t that a HollyWhy, yes it is. Welcome to the Holly tier.

43. Justin Verlander (HOU) – He took a moment to rev up, but Verlander started to look more like an ace in the second half…and yet, I can’t put him higher than this. That “ace” was still below a 25% strikeout rate, his slider and four-seamer are not what they used to be, and the man can’t keep this up forever. That’s ageist. That’s reality, y’all. We’ve already started to see the signs of degradation and with his on-field performance not stacking up to his peak self, it’s likely all south from here. That said, I don’t imagine Verlander to be bad for your teams next year. Just not fist-pumping fun time, you know?

44. Chris Bassitt (TOR) – You knew it was coming. After allowing 9 ER in his first start of the season, Bassitt was brilliant for fantasy teams that stuck him in their lineup and never thought twice. April is a time of chaos, y’all, especially when you see a small dip in velocity in March…As for Bassitt, he’s still a kitchen-sink arm who confounds batters with an element of “you can’t predict what’s next” as he pounds the zone with sinkers, elevates four-seamers, and has a plethora of breakers and changeups to get outs. Plug and chug, y’all.

45. Brayan Bello (BOS) – It’s a solid floor with Bello’s sinker + changeup combo, but it gets awfully intriguing when you take into account the new slider Bello featured down the stretch. It boasted a 20% SwStr rate at sub 20% usage and with an off-season of development on the horizon, I have a feeling we’ll see more of those breakers miss bats in 2024, taking Bello from a solid Toby to a loveable Holly or maybe more. The downside here is if he doesn’t take that step forward – then you’ll have a HIPSTER on your hands.

46. Merrill Kelly (ARI) – I didn’t believe his 2022 season and it’s clear I regretted that. Kelly’s new changeup grip stuck around for another year, allowing his four-seamer to elevate for more whiffs than ever before. That said, it still needed the excellent Arizona defense to consistently go six frames and maybe I’m once again failing to jump on board when I should. I generally avoid arms like Kelly (think 2018 Miles Mikolas or 2021 Marcus Stroman) as without a clear-cut elite offering, baseball finds a way to normalize over time (Kelly’s 3.29 ERA came with a 4.12 SIERA, after all). I’m pushing back against the 26% strikeout rate, raising an eyebrow on the near 10% walk rate, and taking a shot somewhere else.

47. Lucas Giolito (FA) – Simply put, his stuff is better than the results we got in the second half. He pitched for three different teams in the span of six weeks, none of which being a pitching organization I have massive faith in (yes, including Cleveland at the big league level). I imagine Giolito will sign a sizeable contract with a squad that can squeeze the most out of him and I’m expecting his changeup to be its second-half self + a good enough fastball and slider to provide consistent production this season.

 

Tier 6 – You Can’t Trust This

 

The heavy risks are beginning to appear now. There’s reason it could work for all of these arms, but don’t be shocked if many are hurt or simply dropped by June.

 

48. Hunter Brown (HOU) – Hunter disappointed many in his first true season for the Astros and to count him out so quickly would be foolish. His four-seamer found whiffs when elevated and there’s potential for greatness once the sliders and curveballs can return strikes in the bottom half of the zone and under. I have him a bit below the other exciting rookie arms as Brown’s four-seamer doesn’t carry the same weight, but the potential is there if he’s able to locate the trio in tandem. He’s still really young, y’all.

49. Hunter Greene (CIN) – Greene is the most extreme Cherry Bomb you can get. His four-seamer and slider open the door for a 30% strikeout rate, but his home run rates, inconsistent command, and surprising hittability have held him back from excellence. Health permitting, you’re getting 200 strikeouts here. You also may have an ERA comfortably over 4.00 and a WHIP that is afraid to call its parents. They are nice folk, trust me. Think Strider but a fastball with a large barrel-magnet attached.

50. Dylan Cease (CHW) – Y’all know the upside. Y’all also know Cease hasn’t truly been that guy since the first half of 2022 as he had just 24% strikeout rate in the second half of that year. This season, he lost the feel of his slider start-to-start and was brilliant when he finally made the pitch tempting and elevated his four-seamer with precision. The talent is still there and if he finds a rhythm, you’ll be dancing all through the summer. Odds are you’ll have a HIPSTER on your hands and have no choice but to endure his volatile tendencies. Good luck.

51. Chris Sale (BOS) – But he can’t stay healthy. We’re at the point of these rankings where health is a much better gamble to take than skills. You should love the fact that Sale carried a 1.13 WHIP and 29% strikeout rate in 2023. You should hate that he did it with a fastball that came in both hard and slow depending on whatever side of the bed Sale rose from, and how he could only muster 102 frames on the year. As long as Sale is starting regularly out of the gate, you’re going to be starting him on your teams and expecting some sort of production.

52. Nathan Eovaldi (TEX) – We saw Eovaldi’s velocity drop massively in 2022 and it made me run away from him in drafts this season. I was a fool. And here we are, going through the same dang experience a second time and it looks like I haven’t learned my lesson…? If Eovaldi shows up to camp comfortably sitting 96 mph again, sure, I’ll raise him into Tier 5. At the same time, starting on June 10th, his final 12 starts came with a 94 mph four-seamer that forced him to return a 4.62 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, and that’s kind enough to not include his actual final start of 7 ER. Don’t let his first two months of health cloud your judgment.

53. Charlie Morton (ATL) – He tormented all of us in 2023 and I don’t expect that to change drastically in the upcoming year. This is all about what you’re looking for in your drafts. Do you need a high Win chance with 175 strikeouts and decent ERA? Go with Morton. Can you not risk another massive WHIP destroyer? Then please avoid him at all costs. See? Simple.

54. Carlos Rodón (NYY) – Yeah, that was a terrible season. His four-seamer wasn’t overwhelming, the slider didn’t do enough, and there was nothing else to turn to. He was obviously still hurt at times, and I’m still frustrated at two starts of 96+ mph where he tallied 19 strikeouts combined only to fall down 94 mph and under in his final two games of the year. Maybe Rodón can take the off-season to hit the ground running in April and be the southpaw he used to be and it’s clear he still carries the highest upside of any pitcher getting drafted this low – he’s just one season removed from two-years of living at that plateau – but if he’s not sitting at least 95 (hopefully 96) in March, then I may turn elsewhere.

55. Sawyer Gipson-Long (DET) – Oh noooow you know his name. Gipson-Long took the fantasy community by storm after breaking out double-digit strikeouts in his second MLB start, catalyzed by a filthy changeup and dependable slider. He’s a discount Logan Webb with his power-sinker earning called strikes on top, though he’s still developing his mentor’s polish of the zone. Expect some growing pains here but if his changeup and slider earn enough strikes, he could be a solid arm for the entire season.

56. Mason Miller (OAK) – His stuff is stupid good. Like insanely goodThe question is how much he’ll actually pitch in 2024, from possibly being limited early to an innings cap and his body not allowing him to stand on the mound. You can also throw in a low Win potential as he starts for the Athletics, and yet I don’t care…? His slider and cutter need work, too, but I saw what he’s capable of and give this guy some time to get comfortable and he will go off. This is the time in the draft to chase it.

57. Nick Lodolo (CIN) – I want to love Lodolo and his filthy breaker, but I also hate his volatility as a lefty-slinger + pitching for Cincinnati isn’t a fun thing to do. He does carry 30% strikeout potential, rooted in a legit curveball and developing changeup, and if he finds himself in a groove, he could go OFF. I just worry about how much damage the four-seamer/sinker/whatever that thing is will allow and if he can earn enough strikes with his aforementioned breaker.

58. Michael King (NYY) – He shocked all of us with his successful move to the rotation, boasting a sparkling 1.88 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 31% strikeouts in 38.1 innings as a starter across eight games. His slider was good, not elite (but it can be?), his changeup was filthy, the sinker earned all the called strikes (35%?!), and his four-seamer was able to steal whiffs. It’s all lovely n whatnot, and highly unlikely to sustain itself throughout a full year. Still, it’s a solid enough arsenal that King should have a decent enough floor, just don’t anticipate nearly the same strikeout rate without that slider taking another step forward – especially with his heavy sinker called-strike reliance.

59. James Paxton (FA) – Look, if he’s healthy and pumping 96 mph with cutters and curves for strikes, you want him on your team for as long as he’s able to regularly get the pearl. It’s as simple as that. Just don’t draft him before looking up the recent injury news and get ready to move on quickly when he inevitably hits the IL again – h*ck, it could be an hour after you draft him.

60. Nestor Cortes (NYY) – Yeah, last year was dumb. He was hurt, had a worse fastball, didn’t have his slider, blah blah blah. FORGET IT. Now’s the time to take a chance on a guy heavily discounted because of the haze and if he turns out to be healthy and akin to his 2022 self, he’ll produce like a Top 40 arm. Go for it, y’all. That four-seamer is a real good thing, even at 91/92 mph.

61. Clayton Kershaw (FA) – The writing is on the wall that Kershaw just isn’t what he used to be and it pains me to have him down this low in the ranks. It feels so dang wrong, but there’s simply too much haze in the skills and in the volume. I’m not even sure if he will return for 2024 with his velocity falling under 90 mph, his slider isn’t missing as many bats, and his pinpoint command a distant memory. But hey, if he does start, Kershaw is generally productive far more than not, even with his declining skills. Maybe an off-season of resting will get him to a place of killing it for a month or so before it all hits.

62. Taj Bradley (TBR) – The four-seamer has one of the best shapes in the majors. The problem? He doesn’t have any control. If the curveball and cutter can boast 65%+ strike rates, Bradley will take the fantasy landscape by storm. You just can’t expect it to happen.

 

Tier 7 – It’s Boring But I Get It

 

There’s another tier of upside arms to chase but you may be in a spot in your draft where you need some stability and these arms are a touch above the Toby types you’ll find later.

 

63. Tyler Wells (BAL) – The Orioles are going to let Wells back into the rotation next year, right? The 2023 pre-season PLV darling made us look brilliant as he dominated with some of the best command and approach you’ll find in any arm. The man squeezed everything he had out of his arsenal and now that Baltimore is a solid team to pitch for, Wells may be a target in your drafts, even if he’ll get an early hook here and there.

64. Shōta Imanaga (FA) – I may change my ranking of Imanaga by the time February rolls in when I research more about him, but at first glance, he aims to be more of a Toby arm than a potential top-of-the-line arm…even if his name is “I’m An AGA”. However, despite not carrying an overwhelming fastball, Imanaga has performed exceptionally well with a kitchen-sink approach, featuring splitters to right-handers, cutters to left-handers, and an ability to move all around the zone. It profiles out to be a possible Holly more than a volatile arm you need to drop and I’m down to take that chance here.

65. Michael Wacha (SDP) – No joke, Wacha’s changeup may be PLV’s favorite pitch. Despite injuries, despite interruptions, despite a long journey behind him, Wacha has made himself a productive pitcher on the back of that changeup and wherever he lands in 2024 (there are some interesting options in his contract that could have him stick around in San Diego or become an FA), you’ll be fine starting him until he heads back on the IL. It may take a few starts to get into rhythm, though.

66. José Berríos (TOR) – We were all off the ship after 2022 and Berríos instead returned to be The Great Undulator once again. The secret was limiting his four-seamer usage in favor of sinkers that induced more called strikes and better contact in play, while his changeup putaway batters 50% better than in 2022. The breaker is the same ole effective offering and while I’m happy he was able to rebound, I don’t imagine the changeup and sinker to be this effective for another season, turning Berríos more into a Cherry Bomb than a HollyIt’s a little too much risk without enough of a ceiling.

67. Jordan Montgomery (FA) – It’s a tier of arms you’ll likely not drop all year who can go six frames, but are unlikely to get you super amped throughout the season. Once again, I absolutely understand those who want to draft more Tier 8 pitchers than Tier 7, but believe me when I tell you that you’ll find plenty of Tier 8 equivalent pitchers on the wire than the potential found inside Tier 7 pitchers. When the upside guys don’t come through, you’ll likely have someone near JorMont’s value to grab…in 12-teamers. ANYWAY, The Bear is getting more attention in October and may get a “Playoff Tax” come February, though Montgomery isn’t sporting anything that should get you too excited. His ultimate landing spot could shift his draft spot up or down, but in the end, he’ll likely have a good enough changeup and curveball mix where neither are elite and are still a bit inefficient, while they are supported by a sinker that is still too hittable for my liking. He doesn’t have that extra element of firepower to take him over the edge and it makes for a season with few lengthy highs.

68. Garrett Whitlock (BOS) – The Red Sox should be letting Whitlock back into the rotation and I’m kinda excited to get another look at it. Assuming Whitlock has his health, you can expect solid sinker command and two whiffable pitches in his slider and changeup. He’s the lovely mix of decent ratios and strikeout upside that could grant many nice peaks during the year, while at worst is a pitcher you start around 75% of the time. His repertoire command is comfortably above that of a standard Cherry Bomb.

69. Ryan Pepiot (LAD) – He actually found his changeup this season after it sputtered out of the zone constantly in 2022. His slider and fastball also showed promise as Pepiot could be a reliable starter for the Dodgers. That’s a great situation and a relatively safe arm to have rostered.

70. Emmet Sheehan (LAD) – I kinda really dig Sheehan. He was able to whip up some sliders for whiffs in his final starts of the season, paired with legit changeups as well, allowing his horizontal-focused four-seamer (womp womp) to play better than usual. The Dodgers need all the rotation help they can get in 2024 and Sheehan may get some solid frames consistently.

71. Aaron Civale (TBR) – It’s lovely pitching for the Rays. It’s not lovely getting your strikeout rate propelled by a pair of games where you happened to land cutters upstairs and curveballs down. I’m not sure I buy that and I’m seeing your standard Toby here. That’s not a bad thing at all, just don’t draft him like he’s the next Merrill Kellyespecially with his injury track record.

72. Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) – Kikuchi transformed himself mid-season with a new breaker-heavy approach and it was phenomenal. Sliders were down, curveballs found strikes, and his four-seamer command was surprisingly great as he whipped the pitch around the zone. That command faded in the final two weeks of the season and I’m not going to overreact to that…though I also wasn’t anticipating Kikuchi, a man of extensive command issues in the past, to carry the same new rhythm into 2024. With one more season left in Toronto, the Jays will push Kikuchi and I’m all for drafting him and seeing how he looks early on. If it’s the same approach with similar command, it could be a lovely year ahead.

73. Seth Lugo (SDP) – Lugo may be the Spider-Man this year as he quietly put up a productive season for the Padres. Even with a career-low 23% strikeout rate (moving from bullpen to rotation), we’ll take that all day across consistent efforts into the sixth inning. It’s not the most reliable arsenal with a pair of heaters and a huge curveball, though the sinker did its job earning called strikes, the four-seamer was highly efficient punching out batters upstairs, and batters floundering at the hook. With a great defense and what should be a winning offense behind him, Lugo is a sneaky solid play late in drafts.

74. Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) – I expect Erod to not opt-out of his contract as he returns to be a steady six-inning arm for the Tigers. His four-seamer had a stupid good CSW, which I don’t expect to stick around for another season, while the changeup and cutter were good but nothing special. That’s it? Kinda, yeah. He’s a Toby 

75. Shane Bieber (CLE) – He’s not the Bieber you remember and that’s okay. The 25% strikeout rate is likely gone as his slider and curve are not missing bats like before, but he’ll still have a solid shot at six frames consistently for the Guardians and his stuff is enough to not kill your ratios. And who knows, maybe he finds some velocity back and can flex a double-digit strikeout game here and there.

 

Tier 8 – Fun For Like A Week (Or All Year?)

 

I imagine someone in your draft is going to be “in” on many of these arms and I wish everyone the best of luck of drafting the correct pitcher who will come through for the full year. For the rest of us, if they wind up on your team, don’t feel guilty when you drop them early on – it’s best to avoid Cherry Bomb types as much as possible.

 

76. Kenta Maeda (FA) – Now completely free of innings clauses in his contract and out on the free market, I wonder if Maeda can find a rotation spot to be a steady six-inning contributor while flirting with a 25% strikeout rate. After some initial turmoil and hitting the IL, Maeda dominated upon return, boasting excellent splitter and slider command. He can run into trouble on the third-time through, though, and with a heavy focus on command (i.e. keeping his slider and splitter just out of the zone), Maeda’s success is a little more fragile than ideal. This sounds far more promising than his #78 ranking. Yeah, I know. It’s weird, with these tiers, sometimes guys are either in Tier 6 or Tier 8 as I don’t believe Maeda fits in Tier 7. I sat here and sat here until I decided Maeda belonged down here in Tier 8, but it’s close y’all. Rankings are strange things.

77. Andrew Abbott (CIN) – I took a ton of flack for not being on the Abbott bandwagon when he arrived, then I took a lot of flack for still being okay with him in September. I never held a different view of Abbott and I was the fool. I really was, though. Abbott’s command of high four-seamers paired with his secondary of choice (sometimes slider or curve or even changeup) was far better in the first eight weeks than the final eight weeks, where it came clattering down in a display of why “okay, if he gets a little worse, he’s still great!” is not a valid argument – when you remove the wrong Jenga block, the game is over. If he’s able to elevate that heater again while earning enough strikes with breakers, Abbott can absolutely cruise through the season helping squads. There is a high Cherry Bomb risk here, though, and I worry you’ll have a HIPSTER on your hands in May instead of a clear decision for the rest of the year.

78. Cristian Javier (HOU) – I waited all year for Javier to finally get comfortable with both his four-seamer and slider and I finally exhaled…in the middle of September. COME ON. The skill is still there to flirt with his brilliant 2022 self and it’s fathomable he finds the reason for his inconsistency, worse fastball, or even something new to make him more consistent in 2024. It’s a fun dart throw given the massive implications of dominance that come right away. All those Astros Wins with a solid defense…

79. Mitch Keller (PIT) – Keller is weird and I hate drafting weird. He had a fantastic first-half of the season with a splash of games with magnificent command, but often found himself getting through at-bats with pitches over the plate that batters oddly couldn’t barrel. Then the second half hit, he fell back down to Earth and here we are. I’m not sure I even like this ranking as Keller could improve once again as he works with Tread Athletics or Driveline and suddenly soars with his slider earning whiffs and cutters earning strikes and even writing this I moved him up to the middle of Tier 8. Just be ready to move on from Keller quickly if he isn’t a changed man.

80. Kona Takahashi (FA) – His strikeout rates in the NPB aren’t flashy and it’s a low-to-mid 90s fastball with a trio of secondaries. That’s all I’ve got, really, and whichever team posts for him is sure to have him starting regularly. Might as well take the chance as he should be at least a Tobyright? This isn’t Fujinami’s high walk rate, after all.

81. Luis Severino (FA) – This looks like a silly ranking and I get it. Severino was terrible in 2023. Thing is, he still has his velocity and makes for a pitcher who could sign with a new team, make a tweak, and suddenly dominate in a flash. I still can’t quite figure out why Severino was so poor this past year and I’m sure smarter people than me can figure it out. It’s time to take chances in your draft and Severino makes for a solid one given you’ll know to run away quickly if it doesn’t hit.

82. Chris Paddack (MIN) – He might just stay in the pen and that’s okay, but if Paddack is actually sitting 96+ and fighting for a rotation spot, that should turn heads. I still question if his splitter + curve is enough on the secondary side, though if it’s an overwhelming four-seamer going every turn of the rotation, you best sign up and see where that goes.

83. Reese Olson (DET) – The upside lies in a filthy slider and a changeup that can miss a ton of bats…or none on a given day. When Olson can land his sinker inside to right-handers and elevate four-seamers as well, the true potential shines. It’s not as high of a ceiling as the other rookies all the way inside the Top 50, but there’s legit value to be had if Olson can develop that feel.

84. Kyle Harrison (SFG) – Harrison’s four-seamer can dominate if he spots it in the upper-third of the zone at will, especially if he can land his breaker in the zone easily. As a lefty-slinger, I have my doubts we’ll see that consistency from him, though, and he looks destined to live as a Cherry Bomb.

85. Graham Ashcraft (CIN) – Ashcraft began commanding his cutter for real and then got hurt. We all know how good his stuff is, it’s just about the command and with his toe most assuredly healed by March, he’s an interesting option deep in your drafts. He’s not destined to be a sub-20% strikeout arm.

86. Edward Cabrera (MIA) – He’s a Cherry Bomb until he can figure out how to command his dang fastball. One day, y’all. ONE DAY. That’s it? Pretty much. His four-seamer struggles to eclipse a 55% strike rate, which asks too much out of his change and curve on a given night. There’s a lovely ceiling to reach if Cabrera can develop the control, but there’s little indication it’ll happen out of the gate.

 

Tier 9 – Are These Innings?

 

Here we have seven more borderline Toby arms that I’m not sure you actually want on your teams in 2024. I’m likely leaning into Tier 10 more than these pitchers since I can likely find something similar on the waiver wire when I need it, but they may find themselves starting consistently each week and you block it from your mind. You do you.

 

87. Marcus Stroman (CHC) – Assuming he doesn’t opt out of his contract, Stroman could benefit once again from a great Cubs infield defense. If he’s not there…then you may see a terrible WHIP you want to absolutely run away from. H*ck, considering I don’t expect his strikeout rate to be all that high in 2024, you may want to run away regardless.

88. Clarke Schmidt (NYY) – I love the fact that Schmidt pulled down his sinker usage to about 20% as time went on. I don’t like the fact that his sweeper + cutter + curve are good not great. He’s a decent play because of it, but the floor is awfully mediocre while those peaks we’re chasing are few and far between.

89. Dean Kremer (BAL) – The cutter is really good, the four-seamer can be good, and the rest is blegh. I wonder if Kremer can polish the four-seamer command and add something else to the mix to come close to replicating his “breakout” 2023 season.

90. José Quintana (NYM) – Quintana missed plenty of the 2023 season, but the second he debuted for the Mets, he had his 2022 command with four-seamers upstairs and curveballs down. I can see him replicating these locations once again in 2024, but the standard degradation of stuff may come and make his ability to locate negligent.

91. Logan Allen (CLE) – He’s a Toby without an elite pitch in his three-pitch mix. There’s nothing wrong with that in deeper formats, but for 12-teamers, wouldn’t you rather take a shot on someone in Tier 10 instead? Then why do you have him ranked here? Because I understand Allen was only a rookie and could have new skills in 2024.

92. Cristopher Sánchez (PHI) – His changeup can be filthy, but what about his sinker and slider? He had lovely matchups for most of the second half and took advantage of them and this has all the signs of being a short-term run that gets blown out of proportion…or Cristopher’s elite pitch efficiency is a legit skill we can bank on as he pitches for a winning ballclub. Not the worst gamble late in the draft (especially if the slider comes together), but don’t hang on too tightly.

 

Tier 10 – Sure, Why Not

 

Before jumping into the prospects, there are a few others who deserve your attention at the very least in March as they hope to make a major name for themselves. All of these are likely to be duds, but if just one hits, you’ll be so happy you drafted them for the price of free.

 

93. Lance Lynn (LAD) – Oh dear. His four-seamer is still a rock, but it’s awfully susceptible to the longball as the rest of his arsenal just isn’t doing a whole lot. The Dodgers cut down on his cutter use, but without anything else to demonstrably take over, it was just more four-seamers, and that ultimately bit him. I wonder if we see a major change over the winter with the Dodgers’ influence that can truly unlock him, and for that possibility alone (and, you know, pitching for the Dodgers is a good thing), he belongs inside the Top 100. The impact could be huge with his 25-30% potential strikeout rate.

94. Sean Manaea (FA) – I sure hope he finds an organization that actually allows Manaea to securely start every five days. He showed potential in the final weeks in said role against some of the most difficult matchups you’ll find, pounding heaters upstairs and sliders + changeups down low. He’s also worked with DriveLine to up his velocity and Manea could be an ultra-sneaky sleeper for next year. Just land in the right spot, please. Like the White Sox or something.

95. Jack Flaherty (FA) – I still say that Flaherty’s skills weren’t nearly as bad as the results. His breakers landed low constantly and his fastball, when sitting 94/95 mph, is a solid offering. I’d take a shot on Flaherty sorting things out in the off-season and finding the right club to let him cook every five days. The potential is still there + you’ll know to jump ship early.

96. Reid Detmers (LAA) – Reid Reid Reid. Your velocity excited me at 95/96 mph early in the year and your approach looked sound: four-seamers up earning whiffs + sliders down-and-gloveside to both LHB and RHB for whiffs + curveballs out of your back-pocket whenever you needed a strike. Then the slider command fell. The curve was inconsistent. The heater was just 93/94. It was bad and we moved on. Suddenly, in September, we saw something new: a changeup that actually worked?! It’s not enough to get back on the bandwagon, but if Detmers is a proper four-pitch arm now and the velocity can climb back up to 95/96, and the slider can get whiffs again…well well well, then you, the smart and knowledgeable fantasy manager, can swoop in and get some fun fantasy value at a massive discount.

97. Connor Phillips (CIN) – His final game of the year was twelve pitches, all balls, as he walked the bases loaded and left the game. Yeah. When he’s not completely lost, Phillips has a good lookin’ heater with a luscious slider and if he gets regular frames in 2024, you may find yourself with a sneaky 25%+ strikeout arm deep in drafts. Just hope there’s a third pitch that he finds to steal strikes to keep the walks down.

98. Joe Boyle (OAK) – The dude throws hard with sliders that perform more like droplets on a canvas than an elegant swipe of the brush. Still, it’s 97/98 mph with plenty of vertical break and we may see a more refined complement to the heater in 2024. Just earning a 65% strike rate with anything else should suffice – as long as the heater stays upstairs, of course.

99. Tylor Megill (NYM) – Oh TyLord. I wish I could believe you’re pulling off Bailey Oberizzi’s style with four-seamers upstairs and solid sliders and changeups downstairs, but will you actually sit 96+? Are the secondaries good enough? Do I have the heart to give this another go?

100. Alek Manoah (TOR) – When you’re at the bottom, you can only go back up. Honestly, I think we’re going to get a lot more news on Manoah come February and Manoah will be rising the ranks quickly as a result. Come on Nick, that’s wishful thinking! Sure is, but none of these arms should be drafted in a 12-teamer. So why not Manoah? He’s expressed the highest ceiling on anyone here. If he can find the four-seamer whiffs…and slider whiffs…and actually commands his sinker…and sorts out whatever he was dealing with outside of the game, there’s something here.

 

YOU SHOULD READ THE NOTES. For Real.

 

RankPitcherBadgesChange
1Gerrit ColeT1
Aces Gonna Ace
-
2Spencer Strider
Aces Gonna Ace
-
3Zack Wheeler
Aces Gonna Ace
-
4Luis Castillo
Aces Gonna Ace
-
5Corbin Burnes
Aces Gonna Ace
-
6Pablo López
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
-
7Kevin Gausman
Aces Gonna Ace
-
8George Kirby
Aces Gonna Ace
-
9Zac Gallen
Aces Gonna Ace
-
10Max Fried
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
-
11Tyler Glasnow
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
-
12Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
-
13Freddy Peralta
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
-
14Grayson Rodriguez
T3
Ace Potential
-
15Tarik Skubal
Ace Potential
-
16Bobby Miller
Ace Potential
-
17Eury Pérez
Ace Potential
-
18Aaron Nola
Ace Potential
-
19Joe Ryan
Ace Potential
-
20Cole Ragans
Ace Potential
-
21Zach Eflin
Ace Potential
-
22Joe Musgrove
Ace Potential
-
23Jesús Luzardo
Ace Potential
-
24Framber Valdez
T4
Ace Potential
-
25Logan Webb
Ace Potential
-
26Logan Gilbert
Ace Potential
-
27Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Ace Potential
-
28Brandon Woodruff
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
-
29Shane Baz
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
-
30Bryan Woo
Ace Potential
-
31Bryce Miller
Ace Potential
-
32Kyle Bradish
Ace Potential
-
33Blake Snell
Ace Potential
-
34Justin Steele
Ace Potential
-
35Kodai Senga
Ace Potential
-
36Triston McKenzie
Ace Potential
-
37Sonny Gray
Ace Potential
-
38Tanner Bibee
Ace Potential
-
39Gavin Williams
Ace Potential
-
40Max Scherzer
T5
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
-
41Yu Darvish
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
-
42Bailey Ober
Quality Starts
-
43Justin Verlander
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
-
44Chris Bassitt
Quality Starts
-
45Brayan Bello
Quality Starts
-
46Merrill Kelly
Quality Starts
-
47Lucas Giolito
Quality Starts
-
48Hunter Brown
T6
Cherry Bomb
-
49Hunter Greene
Cherry Bomb
-
50Dylan Cease
Cherry Bomb
-
51Chris Sale
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
-
52Nathan Eovaldi
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
-
53Charlie Morton
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
-
54Carlos Rodón
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
-
55Sawyer Gipson-Long
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
56Mason Miller
Injury Risk
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
57Nick Lodolo
Cherry Bomb
-
58Michael King
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
59James Paxton
Injury Risk
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
60Nestor Cortes
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
-
61Clayton Kershaw
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
-
62Taj Bradley
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
63Tyler Wells
T7
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-
64Shota Imanaga
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-
65Michael Wacha
Quality Starts
-
66José Berríos
Quality Starts
-
67Jordan Montgomery
Quality Starts
-
68Garrett Whitlock
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-
69Ryan Pepiot
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-
70Emmet Sheehan
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-
71Aaron Civale
Quality Starts
-
72Yusei Kikuchi
Quality Starts
-
73Seth Lugo
Quality Starts
-
74Eduardo Rodriguez
Quality Starts
-
75Shane Bieber
Quality Starts
-
76Kenta Maeda
T8
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
77Andrew Abbott
Cherry Bomb
-
78Cristian Javier
Cherry Bomb
-
79Mitch Keller
Cherry Bomb
-
80
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
81Luis Severino
Injury Risk
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
82Chris Paddack
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
83Reese Olson
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
84Kyle Harrison
Cherry Bomb
-
85Graham Ashcraft
Cherry Bomb
-
86Edward Cabrera
Cherry Bomb
-
87Marcus Stroman
T9
Toby
-
88Clarke Schmidt
Toby
-
89Dean Kremer
Toby
-
90José Quintana
Toby
-
91Logan Allen
Toby
-
92Cristopher Sánchez
Toby
-
93Lance Lynn
T10
Cherry Bomb
-
94Sean Manaea
Cherry Bomb
-
95Jack Flaherty
Cherry Bomb
-
96Reid Detmers
Cherry Bomb
-
97Connor Phillips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
98Joe Boyle
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-
99Tylor Megill
Cherry Bomb
-
100Alek Manoah
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-

Labels Legend

Aces Gonna Ace
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low IPS
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
Stash Option

 

And now for the other 100 starting pitchers I considered and should be noted for 2023. I really debated if I wanted to write blurbs for all of these pitchers and eventually caved in to take the extra time to write something about everyone. Have fun.

 

Tier 11 – The Exciting Prospects

 

At least one of these will be comfortably inside the Top 100 come March as we get a better sense of who could have a shot out of spring training and please forgive me for not launching at least one of them up there now. You could say this tier is for all of you true readers who actually read the notes and will get more value for doing so. For the first time, I personally took the time to watch and research a large group of prospect pitchers and I landed on these seven pitchers as those who are instant pick-ups the moment they get their shot.

That said, there’s a reason why I’ve elected to not discuss prospects until they make their MLB debuts in the past – there’s so much that can change between now and then + handling major league hitting is a completely different experience. In addition, my assessments are far shallower than others in the industry, and let’s not too carried away by the ranking, okay? Cool.

 

101. Ricky Tiedemann (TOR) – We would have seen Tiedemann in 2023 if it weren’t for a biceps injury early in the season. He’s a mid-to-upper 90s slinging southpaw with a legit breaker who blew me away in spring training last season. The Jays may need a fifth starter out of camp and I can’t but wonder if Ricky gets an early chance.

102. Jacob Misiorowski (MIL) – He throws super hard, has a devastating breaker, and is working on a curve and cutter. The Brewers have Gasser and…not much else with shallow depth in their rotation, though Misiorowski only tossed 21 innings in Double-A in 2023. He’s the clear “oh snap” pitcher when he arrives, it may take some time, sadly.

103. Jackson Jobe (DET) – Yeah, he’s filthy. He elevates with intent, has a stellar changeup and breaker, and the Tigers aren’t wowing us with their current rotation.

104. David Festa (MIN) – The Twins may not have a ton of depth with the likely departures of Kenta Maeda and Sonny Grayopening the door for a possible early and aggressive promotion of Festa. His changeup is fantastic, sliders land for strikes, he elevates four-seamers and sits 95 while touching upper-90s. He’s fun as h*ck.

105. Jake Eder (CHW) – He goes inside and outside with a ridiculous slider and overpowering fastball + a true #3 changeup. The White Sox need starters and Eder is sure to be a staple when he arrives. However, he’s tossed just six games over Double-A ball, which may stint his ascension in 2024.

106. Royber Salinas (OAK) – He’s a big fella who has a kitchen-sink of weapons + upper-90s heat. I’m kinda enamored with him. He’s like the older alumni who shows up to mess with the high schoolers with every pitch imaginable…and throws cheddar. And is actually young.

107. Jack Leiter (TEX) – Leiter went back to the drawing board and saw improvements in the second half last season, suggesting he could take a major step in 2023 and force the Rangers to grant him a quick call-up before summer officially hits. It’s a hard slider, the four-seamer is legit, and if he throws strikes, it’ll play.

 

Tier 12 – Deep Leagues Need Love Too

 

I saw all of these names and thought “Huh, these guys didn’t make it into the Top 100?!” Then I realized I’d be frustrated if I actually had them on my teams at the end of 12-teamer drafts as I’d likely be able to find them off the waiver wire by the end of April, or I’d have whatever equivalent rostered in their place. That said, those in deeper leagues are sure to jump aboard for their six-inning and Win potential and they deserve a little more recognition than those in Tier 13. That said, I’m likely jumping into Tier 13 for 12-teamer drafts instead of drafting these arms – why settle for meh when you have a chance for something more? – and thanks for reading the notes to better understand these ranks.

 

 

108. Nick Martinez (SDP) – Did you realize that Martinez tossed shutout baseball in his final 22 innings as a starter? Sure, it was between months and some of those starts were short, but the skills are there for Nick to excel as a starter if given the chance with a filthy changeup, good fastball approach, and cutters + curves for strikes. LET HIM START, SAN DIEGO.

109. Trevor Rogers (MIA) – Throw away 2023. Rogers was nearing a rehab assignment as the season came to a close and I’m imagining Rogers will be a part of the rotation plans entering the 2024 season. Let’s hope the velocity is back with his stellar changeup and slider each earning whiffs and enough strikes to hold off the walks.

110. José Urquidy (HOU) – Look, forget what you know about Urquidy and understand that if he’s a regular starter for the Astros, it’ll likely mean that he has decent ratios and a fair number of Wins. That helps a whole lot. And maybe we actually get a step forward in a season that doesn’t mingle with hefty time on the IL.

111. J.P. France (HOU) – He’s a kitchen sink arm and we saw him go six frames constantly for the Astros. There’s value in that, even if there’s nothing I actually adore about his arsenal.

112. Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) – I wanted to love Pfaadt entering last season, but sadly, his four-seamer wasn’t the whiff pitch I thought it would be. His sweeper is excellent CSW offering, but needs to wear too many hats as he’s lacking enough firepower with everything else.

113. Hyun Jin Ryu (FA) – Ryu has a good changeup and curve, with a solid cutter and poor heater. He’ll find innings for a squad somewhere, making for a decent Quality Start option and someone to stream in 12-teamers.

114. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) – He was as stable as they come when he returned from the IL, even without his old curve. The problem? It only goes south from here and the value he provides isn’t a whole lot.

115. Jameson Taillon (CHC) – I think Taillon got much better in the second half as he flexed the ability to earn whiffs upstairs with four-seamers and command cutters + sliders + curves down and inside the zone. The question is if he can find that groove again early in the season. If so, here’s your surprise Spider-Man pick.

116. John Means (BAL) – We were so stoked for Means before 2022 and then when he returned from TJS this season, I was disappointed to see him back down to 91 mph on his fastball, floating changeups, and having the middling breakers of 2021. Now he’s missing the playoffs with elbow pain and 2024 doesn’t seem so hot anymore. But hey, let’s say he’s actually okay and in the rotation entering the season. He’s a Toby with breakout potential, that’s a solid pairing, no? That’s the best case scenario right now? Yeaaaaah. He better be healthy. I know, random person. I know.

 

Tier 13 – Last Round Dart Throws

 

You want some late round fun? Look no further. It’s the point of the draft where you’ve got nothing to lose, so why not, take a chance on one of these guys and maybe you’ll hit some gold. There are so many of them. Yep. A lot of interesting choices to make and take your pick – don’t let the ranking push you away. Your gut is a cool thing, too. Give it some love.

 

117. Louie Varland (MIN) – I’m starting to believe Minnesota will keep Varland in the bullpen, though if he gets a chance to stretch out as a starter, his four-seamer + slider combo is devastating. He’d be well inside the Top 100 if he pitches every five days.

118. Casey Mize (DET) – I am so curious to watch Mize in the spring. If he’s throwing harder and flexing some true whiffability on his slider, Mize could be a popular sleeper pick come February. Or there’s nothing new and it’s a Toby at best. Let’s hope he has some new vita in his arm.

119. Kutter Crawford (BOS) – I adore his four-seamer, feel okay about his kutter, worry about his command, and wonder if he can incorporate more breakers to turn it up a notch. For now, he’s a volatile dart throw until we see something legit shift.

120. Michael Soroka (ATL) – Old Soroka was wonderful. He commanded all over the plate, utilized three different fastballs (including a proper two-seamer and sinker), and I saw potential growth for strikeouts with further slider development. Years removed and many injuries later, Soroka endured forearm inflammation and now rests to demand a rotation spot in 2024. It seems like his spot to lose if he can sling it with style in March, making for an intriguing flier in deeper leagues.

121. Max Meyer (MIA) – I wasn’t bowled over by Meyer’s MLB debut in 2022 when he went 50% sliders (or “loopy cutters” as I called them) that acted as strike-offerings instead of whiff machines, mixed with a 95 mph fastball that had cut-action, much to my chagrin. He underwent TJS shortly after in August, though, making 2024 a season where he can slide into Sandy Alcantara’s spot into the rotation and at least get a chance to compete.

122. Nick Pivetta (BOS) – It’s Pivetta. But he’s different! He’s tied for the most induced vertical break on his four-seamer! Sure, and he found a groove when he spotted sliders incredibly well, but can you actually expect him to be in the same place next year? Noo….But maybe! Sure. Maybe. We see these moments where Pivetta has it all together and we pick him up for about a month or so, but the overall product is a Cherry Bomb that makes it so difficult to discern when it’s actually worthwhile to roster him.

123. MacKenzie Gore (WSN) – If Gore was a starter on a better team, I’d trust that he’d lean into the BSB and take full advantage of his four-seamer. Sadly, I don’t think that’ll happen in Washington and it makes for a Cherry Bomb at best. Not for me.

124. Aaron Ashby (MIL) – He missed all of 2023 recovering from a shoulder injury and it seems clear that the Brewers protected him down the stretch in order to ensure he’d be ready for 2024. I still worry about his sinker, but the slider and changeup are phenomenal and if he shows up to camp with his September walk issues resolved (he missed a lot of time, alright?) and a four-seamer focus, he could force me to make a whole lot of noises once again.

125. JP Sears (OAK) – Believe it or not, Sears had the 24th best PLV of all starting pitchers in 2023. Command wasn’t his forte, but if he finds how to maintain pitch separation from the left-side, Sears has the raw stuff in his four-seamer, slider, changeup to pump strikeouts – even at 93 mph.

126. Ken Waldichuk (OAK) – Waldichuk has a better fastball on paper than Sears, and he found a new changeup at the end of the season that could stick around next year. Pair that with a solid slider and you have a foundation for a legit breakout…if he can spot the baseball. It’s a major ask for Ken and one I wouldn’t expect to be fixed by next year.

127. Griffin Canning (LAA) – Canning can’t stay healthy, nor can he avoid hits off his heaters. However, his array of secondaries has kept his strikeout rate well above 20% over the years, sitting just under 26% last season. I wonder if he can unlock another level to let his secondaries truly take over.

128. Jon Gray (TEX) – We went through it all of 2023 – Gray gets into a groove where he locates his slider and avoids contact on his four-seamer…until he hits a wall and loses it for a month. Throw in a terrible health resume and Gray is far from a reliable pick.

129. David Peterson (NYM) – I really don’t understand how Peterson managed to have his sudden flurry of strikeout games in his final six starts – four of at least eight strikeouts and 45 in total – but I can tell you that he leaned more into each pitch’s strengths as time went on. Sinkers landed armside into LHB, sliders and changeups stayed down, and four-seamers were saved to elevate with two-strikes. The Mets will need all the innings they can get, granting Peterson another opportunity to surprise. Can’t say I expect him to take advantage of his time on the bump, though.

130. Ryne Nelson (ARI) – There’s a world where his four-seamer has the luxury of being a part of his arsenal and not the part of his arsenal. That would require his cutter or slider to take a proper step forward, which we simply haven’t seen, but apparently was a major part of his rehab process over the summer. Look out for a proper #2 pitch to appear in the spring, especially with Nelson’s four-seamer returning exceptional PLV marks.

131. Zack Thompson (STL) – I kinda dig Thompson’s repertoire of fastballs, curves, and cutters and there’s a chance he earns a rotation spot in the spring. It currently looks a little too pedestrian, but with a step forward in the heater or curve and a cutter that holds near a 20% SwStr rate, he could become noteworthy quickly.

132. Tanner Houck (BOS) – The slider is excellent, the rest isn’t. He’s a Cherry Bomb who I don’t expect to have something new to change our view of him in April.

133. Alex Cobb (SFG) – He dealt with hip pain in the second half + couldn’t find a consistent feel for his splitter. He could be a free agent ($10M club option), which may help as the Giants defense (and offense, for that matter) did Cobb few favors. He’s a sneaky play if grabbed by the right team, but as a Giant, I’d rather not chase it.

134. Brady Singer (KCR) – The classic poster-boy for a Cherry BombSinger relies on called strikes with sinkers (they get pummeled a ton) + a slider that can find a ton of whiffs on a given night. If he suddenly gets a third pitch, it could open the door for consistency, though talks of “dead arm” in September + a Royals organization that rarely benefits SP make Singer an easy pass.

135. Frankie Montas (FA) – Who knows? He used to be legit with 96+ mph heaters that returned outs, a slider for strikes, and a splitter for whiffs. However, shoulder injuries slowed him down and now we have no clue what we’ll get. Keep track of who signs him – maybe they’ll unlock something.

136. Jordan Wicks (CHC) – This tier concludes with a mix of guys who could turn into Toby types if you’re really in need of that kind of thing. I was shocked Wicks had legit command from the moment he debuted, especially with a fantastic changeup. It disappeared by the very end, but I imagine the Cubs will give the young southpaw an early shot. Consider him as a discount Quality Start option as he could go six constantly.

137. Adrian Morejon (SDP) – From an elbow strain to knee sprain, Morejon had a lost 2023 season. With a Padres rotation that lacks depth, we may see Morejon and his vicious 96+ mph four-seamer get a crack in the rotation sooner than later, making this southpaw an arm to pay attention to even during the season. Just improve your slider please, k thx.

138. Chase Silseth (LAA) – There was a moment this season when Silseth had not just his slider carving up bats, but a splitter that returned 12 whiffs in one game on its own. With Ohtani leaving and overall disarray in the Anaheim rotation, Silseth may be a consistent arm every five days (six? Will it go away without Ohtani?), granting a chance to find the consistency he couldn’t nail down in the summer.

 

Tier 14 – The Injury Stashes

 

Ah yes, the IL arms to stash out of the draft. There’s no harm in drafting a guy I can instantly put in my IL spot! There actually is. How?! Our faith in our discipline to actually drop these arms once we have too many injured players is far too generous, and if you actually believe you’ll effortlessly drop deGrom or Dustin the moment you have an IL player on your bench, then go ahead, spend your last pick on these guys.

I will, however, highly suggest not doing so, and taking more chances on early lottery tickets if you can. Sure, you can pick them up shortly after your draft, but you may want to grab a guy who will be scooped up during the first post-draft waiver wire period, and I’d rather add one of these IL arms then if there’s nothing else to do.

 

139. Jacob deGrom (TEX) – We all know he’s the best pitcher on the planet when he returns, but when will that be? He got his surgery in June, which likely means we’ll see him in August at the very earliest. Then it’ll be a low pitch count at first…but maybe worthwhile for your fantasy playoffs – big emphasis on maybe.

140. Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) – He didn’t get TJS and instead went for a flexor tendon surgery that has a shorter timeline. It’s unclear when he’ll return in 2024, but it seems like he’ll be back earlier than most in this tier. Might as well take the chance, right? For those who don’t remember, McCullers Jr. has a slider and curve where he leans heavily on one or the other depending on which is working best on a given day. He pairs it with a middling sinker and changeup combo, turning him into a premium Cherry Bomb type when regularly starting.

141. Drew Rasmussen (TBR) – First it was Springs, then Rasmussen, though Drew didn’t get the typical TJS procedure in July that could make for a faster recovery.

142. Vince Velasquez (FA) – We saw a weird stretch of excellence from VV when he suddenly doubled his slider usage to 45% as it sported a 67% strike rate and 34% CSW. He underwent UCL re-attachment surgery in July, which has a shorter timeline of about a year, and if he comes back with that same slider, we may find ourselves with a sneaky streamer here and there.

143. Jeffrey Springs (TBR) – Springs went under the knife before April ended, making a 14-month recovery timeline call for a July 2024 return. Or it could take the entire 2024 season. Injuries are the worst.

143½. Tim Wakefield (BOS) – You were a special one and taken from us far too soon. We miss you man.

144. Robbie Ray (SEA) – He underwent TJS in early May, making him a candidate for a surprise second-half return if everything goes well. Weirder things have happened.

145. Tyler Mahle (FA) – The writing was on the wall that something was bothering Mahle. There will be a team that inevitably signs him to a two-year deal to cover his TJS rehab and invest in his first full year back, though he could potentially be a postseason option for a squad, which would lead to some sort of appearance in September. Wishful thinking, I know.

146. Shane McClanahan (TBR) – This was devastating news and it’s highly unlikely we see him in 2024. Still, if he does…

147. Ian Anderson (ATL) – Remember him? He got TJS in April of 2023. Who knows, maybe the whole process helps him re-learn his mechanics and find a way to actually throw strikes. That would be lovely.

148. Matthew Boyd (DET) – The man deserves to get his chance. A real chance.

149. Luis Garcia (HOU) – Garcia’s surgery took place in mid-May 2023, giving him a chance to return to the field before the end of the season. Will it actually be in a rotation spot? Probably not, but there’s a chance…?

150. Dustin May (LAD) – Dustin had his TJS mid-July, which essentially tells us we won’t see him until 2025. At least we’ll be able to see his return from miles away, with the sun glistening off his wonderful red hair.

151. Sandy Alcantara (MIA) – Oh sweet prince. He’s not making it back in 2024, y’all. He just isn’t. So why is he here? BECAUSE HE DESERVES IT DANGIT.

 

Tier 15 – Streaming Options

 

You’re going to see some very low rankings here that are unfair to some of these pitchers and let’s not go wild about it. Blame the prospects and injury tiers for about 20 extra spots, then blame their general mediocrity that plays better in 15-teamers and not in 12-teamers. That’s on them, not me. Obviously there are names in Tier 13 who belong below many listed here, but the chance of them getting rotation spots make drafting them worthwhile over these pitchers stealing a roster spot.

 

152. Braxton Garrett (MIA) – When Garrett is able to command his cutter, sinker, and slider, he’s golden. We saw it for about six weeks before it fell apart and he turned into a desperate streaming play after. I sure hope he finds that command out of the gate.

153. Steven Matz (STL) – He shows flashes of promise every year, from excellent elevated sinkers to curves for strikes and changeups missing bats. You’re better off waiting for the signs than expecting it early, though, making him a solid streaming target once the season starts.

154. Matt Manning (DET) – We saw some surprise outings from Manning this season and moments where I actually believed he had a legit slider that we can rely on. Sadly, I don’t think we can ever truly believe in his four-seamer and there’s nothing else to get stoked about.

155. Bryce Elder (ATL) – He’s a sinker/slider guy who got to start against poor offenses with the best offense we may have ever seen behind him. He could get the same chances again in 2024 and that’s cool with me. As a streamer, of course.

156. Emerson Hancock (SEA) – Shoulder inflammation ended his short stint in the majors, though I was starting to grow fond of Hancock’s sinker/slider/change approach. I imagine we’ll see more of him in 2024 and while it doesn’t come with an elite ceiling like all the other youngins, Hancock could provide some valuable innings as a streamer when he gets the chance.

157. Brandon Williamson (CIN) – Will we see the 94/95 mph Williamson with a new-and-improved changeup of August or will we see the post-COVID 92 mph and mediocre changeup of September?

158. Tyler Anderson (LAA) – It’s a solid changeup and hopefully a cutter or four-seamer to complement it. He’s a deep streaming option.

159. Dane Dunning (TEX) – Dunning’s slider or cutter both have a chance to appear in a given game, but if they don’t, it’s a whole lot of “why did I believe this would work?” It’s unclear if the Rangers will want to lean on him having a rotation spot out of the gate, too.

160. Wade Miley (MIL) – He’s made a career of five innings of “Sure, I guess,” with cutters inside to right-handers and changeups away. It’s not worth your attention.

161. Drew Rom (STL) – I’m not sure how his 91 mph fastball has had its success and his other options don’t excite me enough. Maybe something changes over the off-season?

162. Kyle Gibson (FA) – Anyone who can tell you when Gibson will perform well is someone you shouldn’t trust. He tormented many in 2023 trying to stream him effectively.

163. Johan Oviedo (PIT) – Oviedo breaks the Huascar Rule as he has a great slider and a poor four-seamer. The curveball can make an impact at times, but he needs something major to change before taking a step forward.

164. José Butto (NYM) – He surprised us all with some productive outings when we needed them most in September, backed by a sinker with a 70%+ strike rate (with few called strikes and plenty of fortunate BABIP) and a change + slider that each returned an 18% SwStr rate…and a sub 60% strike rate. In other words, his fastballs are meh and his secondaries are good, not great. That doesn’t seem like a sustainable starter. No, it does not.

165. Adrian Houser (MIL) – He chucks sinkers for outs, saves his four-seamer for two strikes (just a 11% SwStr rate), and a slider that has a sub 25% O-Swing (yikes). The man lives and dies by the ball in play. That doesn’t mean you have to, too.

166. Andrew Heaney (TEX) – Is he actually going to start? If he does, the slider isn’t the same pitch we saw in 2022 and his staple volatility is still very much present.

167. Taijuan Walker (PHI) – 2023 Walker was a perfect example of a pitcher mustering anything he could to get through starts in the second half. Velocity was down, splitters and cutters were decent and far from electric, and that’s about it. I’d be scared trusting him on a given night.

168. Michael Lorenzen (FA) – We had some good times with Lorenzen, celebrating the great gift of weak competition. As you know, gifts are not meant to be given twice.

169. Ranger Suárez (PHI) – There’s a moment each season when Suárez gets into a rhythm with his changeup, sinker, and cutter. It’s unlikely it’s there out of the gate.

170. Patrick Sandoval (LAA) – I waited all season for a start that featured Sandoval’s changeup and slider both returning massive whiffs and we never got there. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have a few outings where they worked effectively together, though his poor fastballs made the margin of error awfully small, especially in limiting walks. The WHIP will hurt far more than the rest could potentially help.

171. Miles Mikolas (STL) – He has the rare seven-inning moment of bliss, but the strikeouts will not be there, while there’s little to latch onto inside his arsenal. You can do better than this.

172. Cal Quantrill (CLE) – I still can’t believe that Quantrill, Mr. “Sinkers and cutters for mediocrity”, returned from the IL and went 80% splitters and curveballs. The latter disappeared in favor of sinkers (and some cutters) by the end, but that splitter stuck around and it was…meh? I mean, that’s who Quantrill is. Don’t draft this potential Toby unless you are desperate for Quality Starts and even then, there has to be a more reliable option.

173. Josiah Gray (WSN) – He’ll have another shot to re-invent himself in Washington, but I have no faith in the Nationals’ pitching development, nor do I see exactly what Josiah can do to fix himself. He experimented with cutters, sinkers, and four-seamers, while his slider nor curveball were pitches he could turn into his primary offering. At least he’ll have the time on the bump to figure it out.

 

Tier 16 – Does It Matter If They Start?

 

These are pitchers who are fighting for rotation spots and likely will only grab them well into the season, or snag a fifth spot that we ignore. I sure hope to be surprised by at least one name down here.

 

174. Shinnosuke Ogasawara (FA) – I couldn’t find much on Ogasawara, but there’s a chance he gets posted and signs with a club this off-season. He’s a command first arm without a strong fastball, making for a possible TobyYay?

175. Matthew Liberatore (STL) – Liberatore had moments where he increased his fastball velocity and sported a new slider. Then it all disappeared and now we’re left with a whole lot of nothing. I really hope he figures out how to reclaim that peak again. Pay attention to his spring and if he’s featuring that wipeout slider with 94/95 mph velocity, we may be in for a sneaky breakout of a season.

176. Hayden Wesneski (CHC) – It’s a legit breaking ball and a fastball + cutter combo that isn’t terrible. If the Cubs grant him another real shot at a rotation spot, there’s a chance, but it may just be Cherry Bomb city.

177. Anthony DeSclafani (SFG) – When Tony Disco is healthy, he’s capable of chucking solid sliders mixed with decent enough fastballs to get through six frames. It’s not incredible work, but it makes a living.

178. Pedro Avila (SDP) – He got some chances for the Padres down the stretch, including five shutout frames with seven strikeouts on the final day of the year. It’s all thanks to a lovely changeup and…not a whole lot else. I don’t expect us to see much more of Avila in the near future, but he may seize some more opportunities in 2024 when they arise.

179. AJ Smith-Shawver (ATL) – It’s a four-pitch mix that could turn into a well-rounded approach but for now is missing something truly special to make him a target once he’s properly starting. That said, he’ll be 21 years old by the end of 2023 and has plenty of time to add at least one element to impress.

180. Ryan Weathers (MIA) – I originally laughed at the idea of Weathers, but he had fantastic iVB numbers in March before losing them in season…and then showed up with the Marlins in September with a four-seamer/slider combo that returned 35% CSW each on the final day of the year. JUST SAYIN’. I really don’t expect him to suddenly become a thing, just to be clear.

181. DL Hall (BAL) – He’s likely not vying for a rotation spot in March, but he does have a three-pitch mix with a 95/96 mph fastball (that would likely be around 94 mph if he were stretched out as a starter). Let’s see if he gets the shot.

182. Huascar Ynoa (ATL) – Remember him? He got TJS and will be fighting for a rotation spot in the spring. His heater was all kinds of blegh despite its mid-to-upper 90s velocity, but the slider was good enough to make him a Cherry BombI wonder if there’s anything of interest still in the tank.

183. Spencer Turnbull (DET) – He returned from TJS, had a far worse slider, got hurt, and never left the minors again this season. I hope the slider returns and I wonder if he’ll get another shot as soon as April.

184. Michael Kopech (CHW) – He’s a far cry from his former upper 90s + deadly slider self. I wouldn’t rule out a move back to the pen full-time.

185. Luis Medina (OAK) – He had a run with a lovely slider for a moment, but it wasn’t meant to last, nor did the Athletics trust him to regularly start. Note: I didn’t forget about Paul BlackburnBut let’s be honest, is he actually more enticing than anyone here? Like José Ureña, Patrick Corbin, Jordan Lylesetc. Y’all know they aren’t guys to target. AND DEFINITELY NOT ANY COLORADO PITCHERS.

186. Alex Faedo (DET) – The slider is great, the fastball and changeup are not. We need to see something new here.

187. Darius Vines (ATL) – I have two more Atlanta guys at the end of this because we all know stealing that #5 spot could return sneaky sneaky value. Vines has a solid changeup that can get through frames, but not a whole lot else to lean on.

188. Allan Winans (ATL) – Again, pitching for Atlanta is a good thing. He’s command-focused, which isn’t something to chase in drafts, but if he finds himself with consistent opportunities, there’s value to be had as a cheap Toby.

189. Luis Patiño (CHW) – Remember him? The White Sox have many holes in their rotation and if there’s any space, I wonder if Patiño will get a chance. We’ve loved his four-seamer and slider at different times in his career and even though both were far from intimidating this year, he’ll be just 24 years old next year. I wonder what he’ll look like at camp.

 

Tier 17 – Oh Hey, More Prospects

 

These are some other prospects who you could see in 2024, but didn’t grab me as arms to stash in 12-teamer drafts during my quick assessment. I’m so ready to be wrong about them and be aware of these names as once they get the call, they should be picked up as a spec-add at the very least.

 

190. Hurston Waldrep (ATL) – He throws over-the-top, which makes for a devastating splitter + four-seamer combo. I generally avoid pitchers who rely heavily on splitters (40% usage in his most recent Triple-A start, for example) as splitters, to put a broad label on them, are the most inconsistent secondary pitch. In addition, Atlanta has absurd depth in their system while I also expect at least one free agent arm to arrive this off-season. It makes for a dark horse chance of Waldrep making the rotation in April and not worth the stash from the draft.

191. Mick Abel (PHI) – I watched some of Abel and wasn’t massively impressed. He’s 93/94 with a heavy slider focus and looks all-around well put together, but not exuding the upside we need to see from rookies to off-set the Shag RugThat said, when he gets the call, if he’s fortunate to face weaker teams, I can seem him settling in as a Tobyif not pushing a 20-25% strikeout rate that could be in Holly territory for a winning ballclub.

192. Tekoah Roby (STL) – It’s a lovely big curveball paired with a 92-96 mph four-seamer that features plus iVB and I can see him being one to execute the BSB frequently with better command than a standard prospect. The Cardinals may be in quick need of another arm to enter their rotation early in 2024, making Roby an intriguing arm to keep an eye on.

193. Ben Brown (CHC) – He’s a big fella with a four-seamer and slider and not much else. In my brief time watching him, I wasn’t impressed with his pitch separation – fastball/slider pitches generally thrive when they can pull off the BSB (Strider, Greene, Javier, for examples) and without a deep arsenal, it may be asking too much of Brown to have the necessary command in his rookie year.

194. Paul Skenes (PIT) – The #1 overall pick in the 2023 draft could make his debut in 2023 and I’m not as jazzed as others. I worry about his violent mechanics and the reports of his four-seamer not having nearly as much iVB as we’d want makes for a pitcher who has more risk than I’d like. Throw in my skepticism of Pittsburgh’s pitching development, and I’d rather wait-and-see during the year.

195. Joey Cantillo (CLE) – High walk rates scare me. However, he’s a southpaw who wants to go up-and-in to RHB, with a solid changeup and slider. That’s a lovely approach and could turn into something special with time. The Guardians have a full rotation at the moment, but may be forced to turn to Cantillo before the summer hits.

196. Cole Winn (TEX) – Love his clean north-south delivery that speaks to less volatility than other prospects, though there are reports of less iVB on his low-to-mid 90s heater. Could be all-around arm and if he pushes his velocity and iVB higher, everything can fall into place quickly.

197. Daniel Espino (CLE) – We haven’t seen him for a while as he’s battled injuries, though the upside is electric if he’s able to still hold his upper-90s heat that exceeds 100mph at times. Pair that with a legit slider and he’s a Strider-esque arm. The Guardians are unlikely to promote him in 2024 however – he had shoulder surgery in May 2023 that takes 12-14 months of rehabilitation. In addition, a former knee injury suggests patience for Espino to find his footing with a clean bill of health before a possible promotion in 2025.

198. Robert Gasser (MIL) – He’s a lefty slinger in the mold of Sean Manaea, Nick Lodolo, Kyle Harrison, and Andrew Heaney before him, which makes me hesitant to give him a ceiling higher than that of a Cherry BombAfter all, low arm-angled southpaws traditionally have a harder time finding consistent command, lending themselves susceptible to both moments of bliss (Gasser has a great sweeper that’s devastating to LHB) and disaster (high walk rates last two years in Triple-A, 1.28 WHIP this past year). At quick glance, he’s the desperate “I need a miracle for one start” arm, not a potential staple.

199. Cade Horton (CHC) – There’s a lot of hype surrounding Cade and he could be rising the ranks quickly after six games in Double-A in 2023. It comes down to how well he commands his mid-90s heaters, as I question if his slider is truly an elite “filth” pitch to carry him without fastball dominance. He profiles as an athletic arm capable of adapting and development with a strong mechanical foundation, though a 2024 impact seems limited until the summer at the earliest with other options ahead of him and just six games above Single-A.

200. Wilmer Flores (DET) – Eighteen Double-A starts in 2023 weren’t incredibly impressive with a low-90s heater, though his 15% SwStr rate is enticing as he features a legit curve and a cutter he can get in the zone for strikes. He could find himself in the rotation during the season, but without an overpowering fastball and just one whiff-heavy pitch, I wonder if it’s enough.

 

And finally, here’s a table of all players after #100 in one convenient place because you’ve already read the notes. Thanks for that.

 

2024 Starting Pitcher Rankings 101-200

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

7 responses to “Top 200 Starting Pitchers For Fantasy Baseball 2024”

  1. WestyWesty says:

    Is Marcus Stroman intentionally missing, or was he an oversight?

  2. Gary Durbin says:

    It is so welcome to see this published so early for the crazies like me who will draft in October! Thanks for all the time and work. I noticed that two LAD pitchers who might be starters sometime next year are missing: Gavin Stone and Michael Grove. Do they have any hope at fitting in any of these tiers?

  3. bbboston says:

    I love your advice regarding establishing 3 high quality, ballast pitchers (from the top 36 pool of SP). A question regarding that recommendation: If you’re in an AL-Only league, can I assume you would broaden the range from where you pick the ballast three, given increased scarcity?

    For example, I’m in a keeper league and have a pool of possible keeper SP that includes: Bassitt (44), Ober (42), Woo (30) and Bibee (38). Would all four of these guys qualify as quality ballast that you would recommend keeping to establish a solid base?

    THANKS!

  4. Chester says:

    Your comments and explanation on Justin Steele are among the reasons why I can’t take this place seriously. That’s just embarrassing work.

  5. Gordon Capretto says:

    Do you update this list during spring training.

  6. Junior Delgado says:

    Obviously the List was compiled in early Oct but I am curious about Brandon Woodruff. Even back then it seemed like Woodruff was headed for surgery, does your ranking suggest he might not miss the whole season? Any insight for keeper leagues on what kind of range Woodruff might fall in to for 2025? Love your work, appreciate your insight.

  7. Stephen Lidbetter says:

    Hey Nick! Just wondering what your target date is for updating The List since October might be. Wanna get a head start on my cheat sheet. Thanks for your tremendous work. Steve

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