2024 Fantasy Pitcher Breakouts – Zimmerman’s Picks

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Like with my Busts, I consider breakouts to be players who will out-earn their current costs. Most of the time, my breakouts aren’t exciting prospects but stable veterans who aren’t sexy anymore. If you want exciting picks, look elsewhere. If you want league winners, stay around.


Changelog

  • 3/12/2024: Initial list

Ranking Methodology

  • ADP is based on 30-day rolling NFBC Draft Champions Leagues.
  • $ Values are based on standard 5×5 12-team league using the FanGraphs Depth Charts and these Auction Calculator settings. They default to a player’s most valuable position, so if the first base list includes a catcher, it will show that player’s value at catcher.
  • ADP and $ Values are updated as of the last update date on this post.
  • 5-game eligibility was used for these lists to cast the widest net (though that’s not a big deal at SP).

Pitcher Breakouts in the Top 50 ADP

Pitcher Breakouts in the Top 50 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Spencer Strider ATL P 6 $39
2 George Kirby SEA P 34 $26

The cost for the other top arms points to their maximum output. With Spencer Strider and George Kirby, I could see another gear. Strider could perfect a third pitch and destroy lefties like he is righties. As for Kirby, he could lean into his secondaries and get more strikeouts.

Pitcher Breakouts from 51 to 100 ADP

Pitcher Breakouts from 51 to 100 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
3 Zach Eflin TBR P 78 $25
4 Framber Valdez HOU P 59 $23

I don’t see a ton of upside with this group. The hope is that they perform as expected and don’t get hurt. Most of these picks are safe and drafters aren’t in for taking chances For a breakout, Zach Eflin could repeat his 2023 performance and be a value around pick 80. Another pitcher who could volume himself into the top five pitchers is Framber Valdez especially if he can get 15 or more Wins.

Pitcher Breakouts from 101 to 150 ADP

Pitcher Breakouts from 101 to 150 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
5 Cole Ragans KCR P 102 $4
6 Michael King SDP P 136 $14
7 Brandon Pfaddt ARI P 199 $5
8 Grayson Rodriguez BAL P 67 $13

In this range, the late-season surgers come into play. Cole Ragans pitched to an 11.2 K/9, 1.07 WHIP, and 2.64 ERA once he joined the Royals. Once a full-time starter,  Michael King posted a 2.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 11.4 K/9.  Brandon Pfaddt was lights out over the last month (25 IP, 4.32 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 1.36 WHIP) and the playoffs (22 IP, 10.6 K/9, 3.27 ERA, 1.09 WHIP).  Grayson Rodriguez was demoted to the minors and then came back on fire with a 2.58 ERA, 8.6 K/9, and 1.10 WHIP in the second half. Prorating the small sample of success to a whole season makes each of these four stand out.

Pitcher Breakouts from 151 to 200 ADP

I’m having issues where the arrow is only pointing down with this group. Most are flawed and could also head up. I expect this breakout group to be the largest.
Pitcher Breakouts from 151 to 200 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
9 José Alvarado PHI P 161 $9
10 José Leclerc TEX P 186 -$3
11 Robert Suarez SDP P 217 $1
12 Nick Pivetta BOS P 165 $0

As more news becomes available, gamble on closers going in this section. ADP gets entrenched so some of the guys going here could end up full-time closers for good teams but remain at this low cost. Keep an eye on José Alvarado, José Leclerc, and Robert Suarez as guys who could meet this criteria.

Another small sample king is Nick Pivetta who started 33 IP in September and posted a 2.43 ERA, 11.6 K/9, and 0.81 WHIP.

Pitcher Breakouts from 201 to 250 ADP

Pitcher Breakouts from 201 to 250 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
13 Cristopher Sánchez PHI P 227 -$2
14 Yusei Kikuchi TOR P 230 $1
15 Charlie Morton ATL P 229 $4
16 Nestor Cortes NYY P 249 $7

Our projected playing-time estimates have several of these arms on the low side of the playing-time estimates. These estimates have permitted into the NFBC ADP. I don’t see any reason that, if healthy, Cristopher Sánchez, Charlie Morton, Yusei Kikuchi, and Nestor Cortes could throw 180 IP.

Pitcher Breakouts from 251 to 300 ADP

Pitcher Breakouts from 251 to 300 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
17 Kyle Harrison SFG P 268 -$1
18 Luis Severino NYM P 287 -$5

Kyle Harrison had an amazing 2022 season where he shot up prospect rankings (3.11 ERA, 13.6 K/9, and 1.18 in AA) but he struggled last season (6.6 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9, 4.66 ERA in AAA, 2.1 HR/9 in the majors). He’s projected for an ERA of just over 4.00 and a 10 K/9.

Luis Severino is just 30 years old and could have a few more elite seasons in him if he could stay healthy. In 2022, he posted a 3.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9 in 102 IP. He’s dealt with core muscle strains (lat and obliques) over the past two seasons.


Full Rankings Without Tiers

No tiers. Just the rankings.
Full Rankings Without Tiers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Spencer Strider ATL P 6 $39
2 George Kirby SEA P 34 $26
3 Zach Eflin TBR P 78 $25
4 Framber Valdez HOU P 59 $23
5 Cole Ragans KCR P 102 $4
6 Michael King SDP P 136 $14
7 Brandon Pfaddt ARI P 199 $5
8 Grayson Rodriguez BAL P 67 $13
9 José Alvarado PHI P 161 $9
10 José Leclerc TEX P 186 -$3
11 Robert Suarez SDP P 217 $1
12 Nick Pivetta BOS P 165 $0
13 Cristopher Sánchez PHI P 227 -$2
14 Yusei Kikuchi TOR P 230 $1
15 Charlie Morton ATL P 229 $4
16 Nestor Cortes NYY P 249 $7
17 Kyle Harrison SFG P 268 -$1
18 Luis Severino NYM P 287 -$5





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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tximistamember
1 month ago

beautiful work. it´s Pfaadt. much love.