My Top 400 Starting Pitchers for 2024 Fantasy Baseball rankings are live!
Before you dive into 70,000 words of analysis, it’s incredibly important to establish a foundation for how to use these to the fullest. My thoughts on how to draft pitchers for 12-team leagues is not universal and understanding my weights and areas of importance will help you adjust accordingly for your leagues and your preferences.
Without this information, my rankings are useless and you’re going in blind. Don’t do that! You can be so much more than that with little effort.
Good luck! Fantasy Baseball season is here.
How To Use These Rankings
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 FOUR 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 four starters who won’t be so bad that they deserve a drop. This year, that speaks to the Top 49 starters at the end of Tier 7. 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 four 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 – or at least going ham on the next tier in hopes that one of them sticks to become that fourth early.
- 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 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 in 2023).
First, here are the individual 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:
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.
- These offense rankings were created in October and will obviously change once the season begins.
- I personally love chasing late-round starters who pitch the opening weekend, though my rankings don’t reflect that currently. 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.
- Then again, it’s possible that your league is not counting the South Korea games. Plan accordingly.
- 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 the week between the South 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:
- Arizona vs COL (x4): Ryne Nelson or Brandon Pfaadt or an FA signing. Not sure I’d do this.
- Cincinnati vs. WSN: SP #3 will likely be Andrew Abbott, and even though I have him ranked past #100, that’s a tempting opening weekend stream.
- Miami vs. PIT (x4): Consider Braxton Garrett or a possibly healthy Trevor Rogers or AJ Puk.
- White Sox vs. DET: Monitor how this shakes out.
- Cleveland @ OAK (x4): We may see Logan Allen in the #4 spot and that’s awfully tempting.
- Detroit @ CHW: After Skubal and Maeda it’s…? Matt Manning? Casey Mize? Jack Flaherty? Too much haze here.
- Oakland vs. CLE (x4): Everyone? JP Sears, Paul Blackburn, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood, At least one of these will be the talk of the town opening weekend.
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.
- Holly = The 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.
- My thoughts have changed since October and even since recording podcasts as recently as early February. I’m sorry for the confusion, truly. It’s something I’ve wrestled with as I’ve done rankings for a decade now and ultimately, it’s better for you, the reader, that my analysis and rankings shift as I get new information instead of sticking with guns from a previous time for the same of preservation. After all, I just want to provide the best rank possible before opening day.
- One more thing. Read the notes.