Top 400 Starting Pitchers For Fantasy Baseball 2024: 61-80 SPs

SP Rankings for 2024 Fantasy Baseball: 61-80 Starting Pitchers

Welcome to the Top 400 Starting Pitchers For 2024 Fantasy Baseball. This is an update to my Top 200 Starting Pitchers For 2024 from October last year.

After shoving all my strategies and write-ups of all 400 players + something close to 300 videos into one article, I quickly found out it crashed phones and browsers, and I felt like an idiot. I’m so sorry everyone, I really should have just done these individually spliced articles first.

Here’s what we’ve done:

  • All ranks are now spliced into groups of 20, 25, and 50
  • Rankings Philosophy article to read separately
  • Left the main up for those who can handle it

Please read the Rankings Philosophy article before reading the rankings. I cannot express enough how it outlines my thoughts on drafting in 12-teamers and why I have ranked these players as I have.

Thanks for your passion and enthusiasm for this article – it pushes me more every year, and I already have new ideas for next year to make this easier a better presentation for all of you.




Tier 8 – $100 At The Mall (Cont’d)

I consider Tier 7 where the cliff should be in 12-teamers as you should have at least four starters you trust to anchor your rotation throughout the full year. That means you can go ham wild chasing ceiling at this point, thorwing injury concerns or lack of track record out the window. Knock yourself out.


61. Hunter Brown (HOU, RHP)

2023 Stats Tables
Pitch Repertoire Table


Hunter needed some time to figure himself out. Is he a low-ball pitcher? How should he use his slider? What about the curve? We saw ebbs and flows since the explosive debut at the end of 2022 and the poor end-of-season result was a product of fatigue, inconsistency, and experimentation.

Now it’s 2024 and I can see how this works, but it’ll take some tweaking. Brown’s four-seamer lost almost an inch of iVB from 2022, unfortunately dropping down to a good-not-great 16 iVB mark, which makes his elevated heaters a bit more hittable than ideal. But does he actually elevate them? That’s a great question. I sure hope he takes direction from Javier and Verlander to keep the pitch upstairs properly as his slider and curve play so well off that pitch when he locates effectively.

I’m not sure how well he can do that, though. Brown has days when he’s able to spot the heater, but there’s polish left with heaters to open the door for proper sequencing across his three-pitch mix (the splitter is saved for rare moments and the sweeper was a month-long experiment). What I find most interesting is his slider: It’s a pitch that can be downright nasty to LHBs with cutter-like velocity and horizontal bend along the inside corner, while sporting more gyro drop to right-handers. I love it when he attacks LHBs with it, though there’s still room to grow in utilizing the pitch effectively against RHBs down-and-away. If he can nail that + the high heater, then the curve he already saves for two-strike counts will be even more devastating, using both the tunnel of the heater and the window of the cutter to get chases out of the zone.

There’s a sense that it’s only a matter of time for Hunter and I’d love to take a chance on him in re-draft leagues given his youth at 25 years young with clear room to grow. That cutter is destined to debilitate batters for a long time.


Tier 9 – This Is Fine

They don’t belong in Tier 11, but you’re far better off chasing upside than settling for these, even if one of them could quietly put up a productive year across the board.


62. Aaron Civale (TBR, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


The move to Tampa Bay was fantastic for Civale. Not only is the team context better, but they seem to have extracted the best elements of Civale, with possibly more to grow. There’s a new slider in the mix that carries fantastic PLV grades, his four-seamer has elite iVB (somewhat counteracted by low extension and poor VAA) that could be incorporated more as a two-strike pitch à la Zach Eflinand the Rays have helped Eflin lean into high cutters with his massive hook landing low.

It all works and I’m surprised to find myself in a position where Civale could break the Toby mold into Holly territory with a potential 25% strikeout rate, evidenced by four of his final seven games tallying 34 strikeouts between them. There are some concerns, of course. Civale has failed to toss 25 games in a season across his five-season career, and I wonder if he can turn his cutter into the reliable hard-contact mitigator it should be – his command is good, but not among the greatest in the league. I see the nights of bliss being more rarities than consistencies, with sprinkles of frustration as well. The positives should outweigh the bad, and while I’d normally overlook him in drafts as not a major needle pusher, I’m warming up to Civale as a potential breakout candidate if the Rays can keep improving his strengths this off-season.


63. Shane Bieber (CLE, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


My original assessment of Bieber back in October was simple. His 91 mph four-seamer was still over a tick down from his 2021 peak, his curve struggled with a sub 60% strike rate, the slider wasn’t a monstrous whiff pitch, and his new cutter helped, but ultimately turned him into a Toby who could continue to decline in 2024, especially with his recent injury history. Today I’m a little more optimistic. I underrated Bieber’s ability to do the Gallen approach: low four-seamers with a massive called strike rate (28% and 30% the last two seasons!) that allow him to go under the zone with breakers. He doesn’t have Gallen’s changeup, and the curveball command needs to improve to entice more than a 15% SwStr rate, but there is a world where he finds more strikes with curves and keeps the new cutter inside the zone to survive games. I see a pitcher who could improve to be more of a Holly in 2024, with command that should keep him off the wire for the most part. Let’s just hope the velocity doesn’t get worse next year.


64. Marcus Stroman (NYY, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


As long as Stroman is able to find enough strikes, he should be fine. The Yankee infield defense is a touch worse than what Stroman had behind him with the Cubs, though I wouldn’t expect a dramatic increase in hits allowed, so that makes his rising walk rate of 9% the real issue of 2023. You may see a change of slider to curve in the data, but it’s the same pitch with a different name, which he features in tandem with his sinker as a nearly exclusive 1-2 punch against RHBs, while spreading the secondaries around against LHBs. And I hope that changes.

You see, Stroman’s cutter is actually legit. He’s able to command it deftly just inside the inner edge, inducing foul balls nearly 30% of the time while maintaining a low ICR, resulting in a fantastic 70% strike rate. THAT’S GOLD. It sure is, and sadly he’s turning to it under 20% of the time against LHBs. Axe the splitter that returned an abysmal 45% strike rate, save the curve just for back-door called strikes, and pair that sinker away (and surprise front-hips) with that dastardly cutter and you have yourself a deadly combo.

I see Stroman as a solid Toby arm with the potential to climb into Holly range if he’s able to harness his breaker against RHBs – a 60% strike rate with a sub 15% SwStr ain’t cutting it. In fact, I’d love Stroman to use that same cutter as a strike pitch over the zone away to RHBs, lean more on the sinker inside to RHBs, then use the breaker more under the zone to induce whiffs more often. Many of his contemporaries dream of having a 90 mph cutter with Stroman’s command and there’s more to unlock here.

Don’t reach for Stroman with the expectation of these adjustments, but consider him in your drafts as a solid volume arm who will likely hover at a 1.20 WHIP with a solid ERA.


65. Brandon Pfaadt (ARI, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


If Pfaadt can command his pitches like this postseason game against the Phillies, he’ll dominate every time he pitches. Problem is, he rarely does and it’s a huge ask when entering your drafts. That said, Pfaadt’s sweeper is such a great offering that if he makes any sort of improvements across the off-season, there’s productivity every five days waiting. Maybe it comes in his four-seamer that carries a great low-arm angle and can excel when elevated, even with its middling iVB. Add some extra rise or heat or even consistency upstairs and that may be all he needs. The sinker we saw in the post-season to jam RHB hopefully makes its return as well, while the curve or change could take a step forward – h*ck, why not a cutter for free strikes? However, if it’s the same guy we saw in the second half last season, I worry. The elite sweeper can only do so much and relying on batters to stumble over hittable four-seamers is too tall of an order. Consider Pfaadt as a late pick in hopes of a clear step forward early in the year.


66. Eduardo Rodriguez (ARI, LHP)


I still think about that 2021 season where Erod carried a 15.5% SwStr on his four-seamer. The pitch returned horrid 8% and 10% marks the following two years, and the answer is simple: He stopped elevating it. Eduardo’s four-seamer went from a 59% HiLoc% to flirting with 40% the last two seasons and as a result, his 27% strikeout rate of old has shifted fallen as well, to 18% and 23% strikeout rates.

But that’s not completely fair. 2022 was as strange of a season as any with an injury and personal issues that kept him off the field and last year came with an explosive first half that suggested there’s a plateau to potentially hit for a full season. After all, the end result of a 3.30 ERA and 1.15 WHIP is incredibly acceptable and now pitching in front of the Arizona defense, there’s hope Rodriguez can maintain the 7.6 hits per nine he displayed last season.

Mmmm, I highly doubt that. Rodriguez returned a 99th percentile Hit Luck of -30 last season and his lack of four-seamer dominance reinforces the notion of his changeup and cutter feel working early + a fair amount of good fortune to return a marvelous six game stretch of 41.2 IP with a 0.43 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, and 28% strikeout rate. Wait, is that just 2 ER allowed?! Yeah, it was something wild. He also returned -17 Hit Luck in those six games alone and yeah, Erod isn’t this good.

Against RHB, Rodriguez’s changeup can be a strong nullifier, but it constantly goes in-and-out of rhythm. The cutter is mediocre in every sense of the word, hoping to land it as a called strike outside or jam inside just enough to return an out, and turns into a slider for LHB, a pitch that was able to jump to a 19% SwStr in 24% usage, but its 60% strike rate meant the four-seamer and sinker have to do everything else. The primary heater gets pummeled while the sinker had a…14.8% ICR rate?! Oh. Under 30 balls in play and Rodriguez uses it 2/3 of the time in two-strike counts as a back-door surprise pitch. That’s not the proper complement his slider needs.

The move to Arizona should help Rodriguez and I get the sense he’s going to be drafted in your 12-teamer and held throughout the season, whether it’s the right thing to do or not. In my view, he’s a Toby with moments looking like a Holly when the changeup and cutter come together + balls in play go his way. With his ceiling being a decent plateau and his floor being a destructor of ratios, I’m electing to pass on Erod for the guys in the next tier in many cases, though he’s an arm to consider when needing to pad your Wins or Quality Starts.


Tier 10 – Is This An Ace?

You want some late round upside? Here you go. Choose wisely – all of these could crash and burn or we can be looking back at this tier with regret for our hesistance.


67. DL Hall (MIL, LHP)



I completely thought Hall was destined for the pen with the Orioles and neglected to think about Hall much at all. However, now that he’s suddenly in the running to start for the Brewers (it sure seems like they traded for him to let him start), Hall becomes the kind of arm you go for at this range. Could it be disastrous? Oh, absolutely, but I was absolutely shocked to see him with just a 6% walk rate in 2023 across his short 19-frame sample. That alone should get you amped because, let me tell you, the stuff is good enough to be a legit impact SP in any league. It’s just about command at this point.

As a reliever, Hall was pumping 95/96 mph heaters, which could very likely fall down to 94 mph as he stretches out to be a starter, though I’m not concerned if it does. Why? Because he features both elite extension and elite VAA. We’re talking seven feet of extension and a 1.5 adj VAA, and those marks are glorious. Pairing that with a high strike rate makes me excited for his potential as the SwStr rates are massive behind that offering.

At first I thought Hall lacked a reliable secondary pitch against RHB, and while the small sample may be the true catalyst, Hall’s changeup performed well across the 61 he tossed in 2023. Batters struggled to make strong contact; he earned many strikes with a 31% CSW, and this allowed him to not rely on a slider he’s still figuring out how to locate.

Speaking of which, there’s polish left to add on that slider to LHB as well. It has solid gyro movement, but Hall is still refining its consistency to spot it down-and-glove side. It’ll earn whiffs galore when it’s located, it’s just a question of that feel will arrive.

And that’s really the big question with Hall. The arsenal is strong enough to be a Top 50 SP easily, but the large concern over the years has been his command. The low walk rate last year can be hand-waved given the low sample, and I need more convincing that his four-seamer is actually a 65-70% strike pitch. Wait, what gives you such hesitation? His delivery. Hall is a southpaw slinger, featuring a 97th percentile horizontal release point from the left side, which means he’s attacking the zone at a sharp angle that generally speaks to inconsistent locations and lower overall strike rates. It’s not a death sentence + I’m happy to report he doesn’t land cross-body, speaking to potentially more consistency than we traditionally see for extreme release points. It means that we draft Hall and watch closely. Is Hall able to locate well enough in the zone to get through at-bats or is he consistently fighting against himself instead of the batter? Don’t hang onto this too long if it looks apparent that Hall doesn’t have the command to make it work. Sidenote: I’m so excited he gets the Milwaukee camera angle that is PERFECT for lefties like him.


68. Triston McKenzie (CLE, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


The thoughts we have on McKenzie should be exactly what they were entering 2023 as he missed nearly all season with a teres strain in his shoulder. What about the injury risk? Okay, fair. OUTSIDE OF THE INJURY RISK, McKenzie has a skillset that can grow into more as he gains time on the mound. You may be surprised to hear his four-seamer had the most iVB of any starter’s four-seamer in 2022, and paired with excellent extension, the pitch has been able to get away with more than the standard 92/93 mph heater. If he’s able to keep the pitch upstairs 60%+ of the time, it’ll jump from its 11% SwStr rate in 2022 to excellent marks.

Consistency has plagued him, though. The curve held a massive 22% SwStr rate with an elite 31% putaway rate as it fell off the table when paired with the heater, but there were many games where the pitch refused to find its location. When paired with a slider that needs more separation from the fastball and better command, it made for tough days on the hill.

A draft pick on McKenzie is all about growth. Hopefully he’s gained more lower-half mass to help create stability in his mechanics to consistently find his release points, which would turn him into a BSB darling. The foundation is there for dominance, it’s just about ironing out the Cherry Bomb tendencies and, you know, health.


69. Nick Lodolo (CIN, LHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


You likely already know the ridiculousness of Lodolo’s 2023 season. Arguably the most unlucky pitcher of the season (even before getting a stress fracture in his left tibia that limited him to just seven games), Lodolo held a .440 BABIP, 13+ H/9, and a 2.6 HR/9 and it was a joke. Hilarity. Dumb. Push it all aside as you grasp who he actually is: a lefty slinger who may have a better ability than his contemporaries of locating his fastball inside the zone. His fastball (sinker turned four-seamer) has held excellent 22%+ called strike rates in both 2022 and 2023, utilizing his elite horizontal movement to nab the gloveside edge consistently against lefties and right-handers alike.

Normally I worry about side-arm southpaws, but I wonder if Lodolo’s heater is more reliable than the likes of Heaney and Manaea before him. Meanwhile, his breaker routinely earns well above a 20% SwStr rate, opening the door for a third pitch to be the glue that seals his approach. If his changeup takes form or a reliable cutter enters the scene, I can see Lodolo carving up batters as they guess which direction each pitch will go. I believe in this more than the wonky command of Greene or the questionable skillset of Abbott, and I’d love to take a shot on Lodolo early to see how he’s progressing. That said, I can see this progressing into a HIPSTER situation if the park does him more harm, the defense is still in question, and the offense doesn’t spark enough Wins. After all, Lodolo’s Hit Luck last year still had him at an 8.5 H/9 – still a bit too high for the WHIP to become a pleasant addition.

It’s all about where he goes in drafts. If the room is terrified, snag Lodolo in the later rounds when you have reliable starters in front of him. If you have to grab him as your SP #4/5, then Lodolo is too risky to take on.


70. Edward Cabrera (MIA, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


Y’all. I don’t know what to do. When Cabrera is doing his thing – getting his four-seamer close enough to the zone at 97+ mph and not left over the heart of the plate, his breakers (I think most are sliders, not curveballs, but that’s just me) landing at the bottom of the zone, and 92 mph changeups not wildly missing arm-side – the dude is as filthy as they come. In addition, I don’t think his mechanics are so bad that command can’t come in the future. However, he just hasn’t done it yet. And as of right now, a pick on Cabrera is more likely to be a “HIPSTER” on your team rather than a reliable starter every five days. That said, if he’s able to make that tweak to find reliability in location, his ceiling is MASSIVE. We’ve seen leaps in walk rate in the past and his pitches innately have low ICR rates. It could be as simple as a shorter arm circle, or ensuring he stays true with his shoulder. Or those could be far off and he can’t make the tweak. It’s a gamble and I think with Cabrera particularly, it’s important to watch his spring and first start of the year. Understand whether he’s grown in command across everything and go from there. Does that mean you’re in on Cabrera? I guess I am now. Huh. I should also note, I’m not sure I believe in the Marlins development to get this sorted out – they have been great with changeups, but not with overall command. Keep your ear to the ground about Cabrera’s off-season workouts.


71. Hunter Greene (CIN, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


I can’t do it. The strikeouts are destined to be there as the upper-90s four-seamer will continue to miss bats and set up an 87/88 mph slider that throws batters for a loop as they try to gear up for heat. The problem? Greene’s command is finicky, while the heater’s shape is pedestrian. It means that when batters are able to time the heater, its characteristics make it easier than others to square up and smack into play – not a great trait when you pitch in Cincinnati. It’s a major reason for Greene’s 1.5+ HR/9 in each of his two seasons and I don’t see it getting much better in 2024.

The slider is a great asset that will keep him in the majors and winning weeks for managers, though it’s not exceptional on its own and needs the fastball to thrive. I have less faith than with others that Greene will find a third offering or improve his consistency/fastball shape (cough extension cough) enough to bring down his walk rate and reach sub 8 hits-per-nine. The WHIP and ERA are sure to hurt once again without a bevy of Wins, and you should ask yourself, are the strikeouts worth it?


72. Nestor Cortes (NYY, LHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


Health health health. He strained his rotator cuff early and was put on the IL, only for him to have one game and get sent back to the IL for the same issue. Yeaaaaah, shoulder injuries should not be taken lightly, especially rotator cuff injuries, and I have few expectations of seeing Cortes throw a hefty number of frames this year.

Skills-wise, Cortes’ four-seamer is still elite. The pitch returns elite iVB at 19 inches in concert with an above-average VAA that allows the pitch to chill at the top of the zone without fault. It’s a properly elite pitch and the reason for Cortes’ dominance in 2022.

It still performed well last year, with the real fault coming from his slider’s inconsistency, possibly a product of his barking shoulder. I dig his cutter inside to RHBs a ton and if you were able to tell me Cortes’ shoulder is fine this year and he goes every five days, I’d have him ranked somewhere in the Top 30 or so, if not higher. Sadly, I have little faith in that shoulder and I hate anxiety in my drafts. That said, if he’s hovering around the draft after you already have six starters or so, what the h*ck, go grab him and hope he’s healthy in the spring.


73. Aaron Ashby (MIL, LHP)

2022 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


He missed all of 2023 with a shoulder injury and aims to make the rotation out of camp. I feel for the lefty in the summer of 2021, though his 2022 campaign taught me a valuable lesson of fastball shapes and what makes a strong foundation as a left-hander. Ashby’s sinker jumped from an elite 26% ICR in 2021 to a middling 39% clip in 2022, a likely regression given the unsustainability of a sub 30% ICR for a primary fastball year-to-year. Nevertheless, if the slider was able to keep its elite marks of 2021, it would have mitigated the damage. Sadly, the pitch was far less tempting to chase out of the zone, dropping its strike rate by nearly eight points, while batters shellacked the pitch to the tune of a 37% ICR. Yikes. Yeah. That slider was everything for Ashby in 2021 and without it to lean on, the sinker had to do more. His changeup is still great, but the one-two punch of sinkers and sliders isn’t the viable combo we want, let alone the lack of whiffs from his sinker that require the slider (and changeup, for that matter) to push over a 20% SwStr rate to be a consistent 25%+ strikeout arm.

Now that he’s returning from a shoulder injury, the possibility of a full year should be out the window, and we can only hope his walk rates fall if he can get his slider back to its former self. Don’t count out Ashby if he earns a rotation spot. Just understand that he lacks that overpowering fastball to blow past arms, forcing his slider and changeup to be the reliable pitches late, and needing the Brewers’ defense to step up for all his sinkers that will be hit into play – his near 60% groundball rate is sure to be repeated, making that .325 BABIP and near 9.0 hit-per-nine the true culprits of his high WHIP. In summation (I miss ya Fast), Ashby doesn’t have SP #1 ceiling as he’s too reliant on weak contact ala Stroman types, doesn’t have two overwhelming secondaries, and doesn’t miss bats with his fastball, though he has a chance to go 25%+ strikeouts and allow more weak contact than his peers.


74. Kenta Maeda (DET, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


Maeda is the perfect example of a pitcher who is getting overlooked inside the Top 60 arms, and simply because his rank is lower, we’re introducing a bias against him. And yet, he’s had 27%+ strikeout in three of his last four seasons. That’s it? Of course not. After battling injury, he returned on June 23rd and held a 3.36 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP over nearly 90 frames. His splitter and slider combo were working as well – the splitter had an absurd 46% O-Swing in that time – and now that he doesn’t have the same inning stipulations in his contract, I imagine the Tigers will let Maeda face the third time through the order more often than previous seasons, especially as the young Tigers will need all the innings help they can get.


75. Emmet Sheehan (LAD, RHP)

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I kinda love Sheehan, but the problem I have is the comedy routine the Dodgers are sure to give him in April, mimicking these frustrating ice cream vendors. Will Sheehan start this week? Nah, that’s an off day. Okay how about now? Yeah sure. WHAT?! FOUR INNINGS?! You didn’t ask for more. I’m not sure I want the ice cream anymore.

But hot dang, if they let Sheehan properly start, I think he can be great. His low arm angle grants him excellent VAA on his four-seamer with solid extension that helped his four-seamer return just a 34% ICR against RHBs as Sheehan actually elevates his four-seamer. Dodgers, please keep your hands away from this approach. Sheehan’s heater also fared well against LHBs with his ability to land it inside often, though he may have gotten a bit fortunate as the pitch leaked out over the plate frequently.

His secondaries are where I’m hoping to see growth in 2024. Sheehan’s changeup flashed plus against LHBs with a 21% SwStr, though he struggled to wrangle it, resulting in many poor misses on and off the plate. He’ll need to bolster its 58% strike rate while bumping its usage to become a consistent producer against lefties.

We saw two different sliders from Sheehan last season, a rare sweeper scattered throughout the season, and a gyro slider that improved across his last three starts to become more of a weapon. In fact, it wasn’t until his final start of the year that we saw that slider look like a legit strikeout pitch, returning 7/28 whiffs and properly fueling a nine-strikeout effort in just 4.2 frames.

I love taking a shot on Sheehan at the very end of drafts as a pitcher who I’d like to monitor early in the year. If Sheehan is getting a helping of Dodgeritis as he either gets skipped or is limited heavily, then I’m moving on quickly. However, pay attention to his pitch mix and approach. If Sheehan continues to rack up slider whiffs while keeping elevated fastballs and polishes his changeup, he’ll be a hold for the full year for all your 12-teamers.


76. Jordan Hicks (SFG, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
Pitch Repertoire Table


The Giants signed Hicks to add him to the rotation and I’m awfully curious what comes of it. The biggest hurdle is his strike rates: Hicks’ sinker barely climbed out of the sub-60% strike rate hole last season, while his sweeper hasn’t hit the 60% plateau before – and I’m not ready to throw that out the door in a transition to starter. There is hope that the new four-seamer he’s working on over the off-season will let him live more in the zone, where his elite 100 mph velocity (maybe more around 98+ when not coming out of the pen) can survive despite not featuring elite extension, iVB, or VAA.

All of that said, Hicks’s flashy heaters have routinely featured elite ICR marks that keep batters at bay. Even the simple adjustment of finding the zone more often with his sinker would result in solid results with a digestible walk rate and WHIP. His slider seemingly breaks the space-time continuum as it comes in 15 mph slower, but it may be too slow as batters have casually walloped the pitch, outside of 2022 against RHBs in a small sample. I can’t help but worry that the pitch needs more polish in order to suggest he can hold a 25%+ strikeout rate in a rotation spot.

I’m all for taking a chance on Hicks at the end of drafts to see how his control shapes up early and if he’s getting a long enough leash to go at least five frames early on. I’d still encourage a short leash in April if we’re seeing the same ole “thrower not pitcher” that is sure to induce a headache or ten, though Hicks may be one of those guys who finally finds his groove in June and stuns us for a few months. There’s potential here that shouldn’t overlooked in 12-teamers.


77. Taj Bradley (TBR, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
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If you’re drafting Bradley, be ready to jump ship early in your 12-teamers. But he has so much potential! He does, but it comes down to command and he struggled with it all season, and the odds of Bradley having poor command in early April and finding it shortly after isn’t worth the roster spot. Watch any game Bradley tossed in full and monitor your subconscious reacting to Bradley’s pitches. Is he controlling at-bats by spotting pitches? Do you have confidence he’ll throw a strike with the next pitch? Will it go where he wants it to? Bradley has fantastic stuff with one of the better rising four-seamers in the majors, and yet struggles to get it upstairs with frequency. His cutter has massive potential, but it becomes hittable far too frequently, while the deadly hook can’t sit low often enough.

The off-season is sure to be a time for Bradley to try every tweak imaginable to find consistency pitch-to-pitch, which means I’m not ready to completely write him off as a PEAS for the year ahead, but if the spring comes with the same fluctuations, I’m going to look elsewhere. The ceiling is immense as a Tyler Glasnowlite, but you don’t want to be the guy who’s a year early.


78. Mitch Keller (PIT, RHP)

2023 Stats Table
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I want to love Keller. I really do and it’s difficult. His four-seamer earns whiffs, though it’s saved half the time for two-strike counts, propelling its whiff rate and lowering expected averages (strikeouts do that). Keller mixes in a sinker as well that doesn’t jam batters enough and often floats too far over the plate. The real winner of the repertoire is his cutter, a pitch that makes or breaks his starts. It’s the only offering with a sub 40% ICR rate while it earned strikes 2/3 of the time last year. When that 90 mph pitch is nailing the corner, batters are helpless, creating those double-digit strikeout games as it suddenly becomes both an early and late offering. There’s also a filthy slider that should dominate consistently as one of the premier sweepers, though he struggles to locate it well, often over-throwing it when trying to put batters away.

In the end, it’s possible Keller takes another step this year by figuring out his breaker while developing more consistency across his four-seamer/cutter/sinker mix. His hittability is a major issue that will stick around without an improvement somewhere and the Win totals are sure to be depressed pitching for the Pirates. I’m looking elsewhere in my drafts.


79. Alek Manoah (TOR, RHP)

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What happened? His fastballs got obnoxiously worse and he struggled to earn strikes. In 2021 and 2022, Manoah dominated right-handers with his four-seamer and sinker. These pitches routinely allowed weak contact with stupid high strike rates while the four-seamer returned fantastic SwStr rates as well, allowing his slider to thrive down and away. He still had some issues with left-handers, but as long as he could continue to bully RHBs with fastballs, everything was fine.

He lost a tick of velocity in 2023 and the dam broke. Suddenly his 33% ICR four-seamer returned 52% ICR (oh no), forcing him to turn to sinkers instead, which were still decent but regressed as well.

Meanwhile, his struggles against LHBs were amplified, with all of his pitches failing him with low strike rates and demolition inside the zone. It’s refreshingly straightforward and believable that Manoah could return to form if he’s able to get his fastball velocity back (the shape is still good!), which should, in turn, give him the confidence to earn over 70% strikes on his fastballs again (not the 60% he had in 2023).

However, there is the intangible aspect of Manoah himself, who was inconsistent off the field as well. I hate to assume a pitcher is unable to focus and do the work needed for them to get back to their former self, though Manoah’s 2023 suggests it may be a bigger ask for him than others. It makes for a last-round flier you can assess in the spring (is he bullying with 94 mph heaters again?) and take it from there.


80. A.J. Puk (MIA, LHP)


The Marlins have made it clear they will stretch Puk out in the spring in hopes of having him as a starter, and I’m kinda stoked for it. Puk features elite extension and Adj. VAA that allowed the four-seamer to boast a 14% SwStr rate last season, despite not locating it with precision inside the zone (Puk, stop chucking it 62% in the zone at just 37% hiLoc! GET THAT THING UPSTAIRS as its iVB is terrible and needs the VAA to work best). It’s the foundation for Puk’s big sweeper that batters held just a 33% ICR against and routinely earned strikes, though I’d love to see that mark climb a little higher than 60%, especially considering that’s about all Puk has to offer.

A transition to starter seems great with those pitches, but with Puk’s questionable command, an expectation for worse four-seamer performance given the typical velo dip moving from pen to rotation, and lack of third option make me skeptical it’ll pan out consistently enough to avoid the dreaded Cherry Bomb level at its peak. And keep in mind, the Marlins rotation is technically full with Trevor Rogers‘ expected return.

All of that said, take a shot on it. Watch Puk have a new changeup to stave off RHB, embrace the BSB mentality, and run away with the job in the spring. The upside is tantalizing enough to reserve him as a late-round flier you can easily drop early without worry.


Top 400 Starting Pitcher Rankings For 2024

Nick Pollack

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

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