Starting Pitcher 2024 Fantasy Rankings

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Finally! If you follow my chat, you know I’ve been promising my SP rankings for quite some time, but after we made the decision to do this rollout, it didn’t make sense for me to just do a 1-to-152 ranking and then release these a week or two later. I appreciate the patience and now that they’re finally here, you can expect plenty of updates. There will be added write ups for guys who didn’t get mentioned as well as updates when someone’s outlook changes (which is particularly important for the pending FAs).

Let me know if you think I left anyone off and I’ll look into adding during an update.


Changelog


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).

Aces

The best of the best.
Aces
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Spencer Strider ATL SP 7 $39
2 Gerrit Cole NYY SP 13 $27
3 Corbin Burnes MIL SP 20 $23
4 Zack Wheeler PHI SP 24 $24
5 George Kirby SEA SP 34 $26
6 Luis Castillo SEA SP 29 $26
7 Zac Gallen ARI SP 39 $20
8 Kevin Gausman TOR SP 28 $28
9 Logan Webb SFG SP 55 $23
10 Framber Valdez HOU SP 58 $23

The volume concerns took a hit with Spencer Strider’s Top 10 IP total (187) and combined with being on an elite team to deliver an MLB-best 20 Ws. That helped mitigate the damage of his 3.86 ERA which is uncharacteristically high for a bona fide ace. Everything in his profile says he’s more of a low-3.00s or even sub-3.00 ERA arm and as such, he’s a first 1st-rounder, consistently going ahead of Cole. They are a toss-up for me despite the big split in their projected dollar value.

Even on the heels of his first Cy Young, Gerrit Cole almost feels boring despite being so good. A key to his 2024 success will be whether or not the newfound HR suppression is legit or just a strong run. After posting a 1.4 HR9 in 2020-22, he dropped to 0.86 thanks in large part to a 9% HR/FB, his lowest mark since 2016 (back when he was more sinker-focused).

Corbin Burnes‘ season feels worse than it actually was when you realize he led the NL in WHIP (1.07) despite it easily being a 3-yr high (combined 0.95 in 2021-22). I think it’s because he started with a pair of dud starts and the perception of him being “off” carried through the remainder of the season. Despite residing on a pretty strong team, he is averaging just 11 Ws since 2021 with a peak of 12. MIL is expected to be worse in 2024, but will Burnes be on the team? Obviously, I’ll update and reassess his outlook if he is indeed moved.

Feb. 2nd Update: A move to BAL does improve his Wins outlook, though not enough to move him ahead of Cole. I do think those who didn’t have Burnes 3rd already should consider moving him up there as he takes his brilliant skillset to a contending team.

Zack Wheeler’s season was a bit Striderized where his 3.61 ERA belied his excellent skills, including his 22% K-BB which ranked 6th among qualified SPs. He reminded everyone that he’s still an unmitigated ace with a 1.95 ERA/0.72 WHIP in 28 playoff IP. He has arguably been the best SP in baseball since joining PHI in 2020 with only Cole and Strider (111) topping his 110 Pitching+ mark.

Top of the scale command and control drive this profile while George Kirby’s arsenal continues to improve, giving him some strikeout upside. His velo and SwStr% both went up in 2023 so while he did experience a 3-pt drop in K%, it’s not hard to envision more Ks that could even surpass the 25% mark from his rookie year. The safer bet is another 190+ IP of a sub-1.05 WHIP which I’ll gladly take even if it comes with a 22-24% K rate.

OK so maybe it wasn’t just Cincy’s park that fueled Luis Castillo’s HR issue? He spiked back up to 1.3 HR9 in his first full season w/SEA, though his 1.10 WHIP ensured that the homers didn’t hurt too much. He might not have passed Cole, but 3 duds (5+ ER) from August on boosted his ERA from 2.88 to 3.34, resulting in a 5th place CY finish. If he brings the HR rate back under 1.0, he could feasibly put up his 2022 rates (2.99 ERA/1.08 WHIP) for 30+ starts.

Zac Gallen couldn’t match his ERA/WHIP from 2022, but I don’t think anyone was holding him to another 15-start run of 1.58 like he had to close out that season. It was still a great year and he has set a strong floor that puts him firmly in the Ace tier as a Top-50 pick in Fall/Winter drafts. Even if ARI regresses and takes some Ws off his ledger, he can lead your rotation as a 3rd-5th rd pick depending on your league size.

Kevin Gausman shaved 42 pts off his league-worst .363 BABIP from 2022, but unfortunately still finished tied with Charlie Morton for the 2nd-highest mark which again cut into his success a bit. He leans heavily on 2 pitches, one of which is the ever-volatile splitter, so that could be the reason for his BABIP consistency. His 31% K rate was a full season career-high (32% in 2020) and helped cover for his BB rate that regressed 3 pts back to 7% career mark (which is still excellent, of course). I’m a little nervous about him relative to this tier, but still wouldn’t let him go beyond pick 35-40 in a given draft.

Logan Webb and Valdez are kind of NL/AL versions of each other, but I have a slight lean toward Webb being 3 yrs younger with better ratios (0.05 ERA edge, 0.06 WHIP) and a markedly better walk rate (5% to 8%) in 22 more IP since 2021. He also gets a slight park edge in SF. Essentially once one goes, that’s my cue to jump for the other.

While Framber Valdez doesn’t tote the gaudy K rates of his peers in this area, his volume does a great job compensating. He reached 200 Ks for the first time, tying with Corbin Burnes for 16th-highest, while falling 2 IP shy of a second straight 200-IP campaign. It is remarkably difficult to truly bet on anything with pitchers, but if you’re looking for a safe innings investment, he is high on the consideration list.

Frontliners

A cut below the aces, these are the guys for the fantasy managers who simply don’t want to spend for a Top 10 SP but still want a stud arm. Any of these guys could register a Top 10 season and it wouldn’t surprise us.
Frontliners
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
11 Pablo López MIN SP 35 $25
12 Tyler Glasnow LAD SP 41 $23
13 Bobby Miller LAD SP 72 $11
14 Tarik Skubal DET SP 50 $22
15 Grayson Rodriguez BAL SP 66 $13
16 Yoshinobu Yamamoto LAD SP 43 $27
17 Max Fried ATL SP 61 $22
18 Aaron Nola PHI SP 52 $23
19 Logan Gilbert SEA SP 62 $20
20 Zach Eflin TBR SP 80 $25

Pablo López always looked like a stud chasing health and after back-to-back 32 start seasons, it seems he finally caught it. Of course, health is always fleeting with pitchers, but we’ve seen the success and are no longer betting on the come which has him priced higher than ever (38 Fall/Winter ADP). His ERA sits a bit higher than you’d expect from an Ace and his penchant for Duds (5+ ER outing) could be the culprit. His 13 since 2022 are tied for 5th-most with nary a Top 30 entrant to be found among the 10 with at least that many (next best is José Berríos with 14, ranking 32nd on this list). He only had 7 in 52 starts from 2019-21 so this isn’t a chronic issue.

Even 12 feels absurdly high for someone with a career-high of 120 IP, but Tyler Glasnow has been one of the game’s best SPs on a per-inning basis since 2019. His 27% K-BB in that time is tied with Cole and behind only Jacob deGrom (32%). Glasnow (333 IP) has 543 fewer innings than Cole since then and even falls 126 short of deGrom despite his own health issues throughout most of that time. His excellence isn’t lost on the early draft market (43 ADP) so be ready to pay if you want to bet on him finding full season health out in LA.

I don’t know if Bobby Miller will reach Acehood in 2024 as it’s just his sophomore campaign, but I’m along for the ride. If he’s good-not-great this year, I’ll be back again in 2025 as I just strongly believe he ends up as a premium frontline starter sooner than later. With the Glasnow and Yamamoto arrivals, he won’t be asked to do too much – not that he couldn’t have handled being the #1 or #2 as Buehler regains his footing. He has 99 mph heat, a deep arsenal, and down the stretch he started to flex his swing-and-miss capability (28% K in Sept).

While I share in the excitement of this group of potential studs, it does feel a little fraught with danger. Did last year’s 12-13-14 SPs have a combined 324 innings? I’m legitimately asking, I don’t have last year’s ADP handy. Tarik Skubal does at least have a legit full season under his belt with 29 starts back in 2021. Back then the question was “how good can he be with this HR issue?” thanks to a 2.1 HR9. Since then we’ve seen a sparkling 0.6 HR9 (3rd-lowest, min. 170 IP) in 198 IP, yielding a 3.23 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 22% K-BB. He isn’t sneaking up on anyone with a soaring draft stock that has landed him 50th in Fall/Winter ADP. With offseason buzz in every corner of the fantasy world, that could end up looking like a bargain by draft season in March. He obviously needs to stay healthy and if he does, we could see a really special season.

Grayson Rodriguez wasn’t too bad in April (22% K-BB in 24 IP) but then a crazy HR barrage in May (11 in 21 IP) resulted in a demotion where he got right and returned with a vengeance. His 2.58 ERA was 5th-best from July 17th on, thanks to a complete reversal of his HR fortunes with a league-best 0.35 mark. It is worth noting that his K-BB rate dropped to 17% (28th) in that time, but I’m not too concerned as his arsenal is capable of making him a strikeout force and his 13% SwStr (13th) is evidence of that as well. He and Miller look like the next great aces in each league.

It is very difficult to rank Yoshinobu Yamamoto as it’s always hard to know how well someone will do their first year stateside. He brings a lot of excitement and expectation as the top pitcher in the NPB and one of the best ever. He posted a 1.82 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 897 IP across seven seasons and he obviously won’t directly match those rates with the Dodgers but it wouldn’t be crazy to see a mid-3.00s ERA and sub-1.20 WHIP right away. His Top 60 pricetag will be an automatic deterrent for many and you won’t go broke fading hype like this…… buuutt he just seems too good to flop.

Only Justin Verlander (2.46) has a better ERA than Max Fried’s 2.66 mark since 2020 (min. 300 IP). Unfortunately his 485 IP rank 40th thanks in large part to just 78 this past season (hamstring, forearm, blister). Elite control and a groundball lean drives his profile while last year’s 26% K was a welcome surprise. You are mostly betting on health with Fried as the skills are already excellent.

It’s now 2 of Aaron Nola’s last 3 seasons with mid-4.00s ERAs and while his skills have suggested he deserved better in both seasons, we can’t ignore the elevated HR rate in both (1.3 & 1.5, respectively). Meanwhile, the third of those seasons was an excellent 3.25 ERA/0.96 WHIP combo. I can definitely see him rebounding to something closer to 2022, but there is zero discount (51 ADP) so I’m just not sure I’ll end up with too many shares of him during draft season.

Logan Gilbert gets a bit overlooked in a rotation featuring so much talent. I entered 2023 with he and Kirby in a 1/1a situation. Kirby jumped up a level (as evidenced by his Top 10 ranking), but that doesn’t mean Gilbert fell off. A jump in HR rate was the only real blemish on his ledger, moving his ERA up a half run while his K%, BB%, and WHIP all improved. Now that their ADP has split, I see Gilbert as a Kirby backup plan and I’ll gladly take him if I miss out on Kirby with his Top 30 ADP.

Well would you look at that… the Rays went hard after a guy and he turned out to be a stud! It was a full season (31 starts) of skills Zach Eflin had shown throughout his career (2020’s K% and 2021’s BB%). He had a 3.71 SIERA in 240 IP from 2020-22 with a 19% K-BB that earned him some believers, but health had proven elusive as indicated by the IP count (104th in that time). Just his 2nd full season doesn’t erase the injury risk and now he’s a lot more expensive as a Top 100 pick. Plus, it will be tough to repeat the 16 Ws again so while I am a fan of his core skills, I’m not chasing him as much at full price.

Studs With a Concern

These guys have shown the chops to be among the best of the best. Hell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner is in this tier. They just don’t give me quite as much confidence as the tier above. I can definitely see some interchangeability between SWACs and Frontliners. For example, it’s a concern that Tyler Glasnow has a career-high of 120 IP, but he is SO good on a per-inning basis that I trusted him enough for the Frontliners. Others may disagree and I’d easily understand that.
Studs With a Concern
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
21 Blake Snell FA SP 67 $19
22 Freddy Peralta MIL SP 56 $18
23 Eury Pérez MIA SP 80 $8
24 Sonny Gray STL SP 117 $11
25 Jesús Luzardo MIA SP 82 $14
26 Dylan Cease CWS SP 107 $7
27 Justin Steele CHC SP 101 $13
29 Bailey Ober MIN SP 142 $8
30 Joe Musgrove SDP SP 97 $19
31 Joe Ryan MIN SP ▼1 86 $16
33 Carlos Rodón NYY SP 146 $19
87 Kodai Senga NYM SP ▼63 69 $12

Blake Snell walked an impressive tightrope last year, counterbalancing his MLB-worst 13% BB rate with an MLB-best .180 AVG while reaching 180 IP for just the second time in his career and winning his 2nd Cy Young. It’s impossible to predict a repeat of something that precarious even acknowledging that Snell has said plenty of the walks were purposeful. It feels weird to have a reigning Cy Young winner outside the Top 20 but I can’t just let his 2023 decide the 2024 outlook. A lot will depend on where he signs this year so let’s revisit him after that.

A few early hiccups left Freddy Peralta with a 4.73 ERA through 13 starts as a 1.7 HR9 caused most of the problems. His elite stuff took over in the summer, putting together a 3.21 ERA/0.94 WHIP over his final 95 IP thanks to a blistering 29% K-BB that the best in baseball from June 18th on (narrowly ahead of Spencer Strider). He is still far from a workhorse as his first 30-start season still only brought 166 IP, but he has been undeniably excellent both times he’s stayed upright for a full season (144 IP in 2021).

There aren’t many concerns about Eury Pérez’s skills after a scintillating debut, but it was just 91 IP from a 20-year old so even this 21st ranking comes with some uncertainty. Will the Marlins turn him loose this year for 30+ starts? He did get 27 between AAA/MLB but with just 128 combined IP, maybe the bigger question is whether or not MIA will allow him to deeper in the starts he does get. He can deliver a Top 25 SP season with 140-150 IP.

Incredible HR suppression (MLB-best 0.4 HR9) paired with his highest IP total since 2015 yielded a career year for Sonny Gray and it couldn’t have come at a better time given his pending free agency. The incredible effort earned him a 3-yr/$75 million dollar deal from the Cards (+ a 4th yr tm option). Busch Stadium isn’t a bad place to go if you are looking to curb the impending regression on your HR rate as the 90 park factor for homers is 22nd in the league. I definitely see some homer regression coming, but to me the bigger question is the IP total. Will he put up another full season or be in the 120-140 IP range?

I’d really like to know if Jesús Luzardo is going to be traded before diving too deeply into him because while I do believe in him as a strong arm, it’s hard to deny how much his home parks have helped him in Oakland and Miami. Sure, he might have a better shot at topping last year’s 10 Ws with a better team, but will it be worth it if he’s in a hitter-friendly home park. Most players are better at home, but it’s a pretty big split for Luzardo: 3.87 ERA/1.22 WHIP at home; 4.68/1.30 road. He’s also young enough to continue developing and maybe cut into a big reason bebind that home/road split: his 1.5 HR9. For now, he’ll sit here as we wait to see if he moves.

They didn’t go in order, but Dylan Cease’s last 3 seasons have been the high-medium-low outcomes of this skillset. The high being 2022’s standout 2.20 ERA/1.11 WHIP, the medium was 3.91/1.25 back in 2021, and the low was last season’s 4.58/1.42. All 3 easily eclipsed 200 Ks with 30+ starts in each. The tough part about the low coming after the high is how much he cost last season, but the results weren’t that surprising. But now that he’s back outside the Top 100, I’m buying. I would love to see him traded out of Chicago and will definitely write a bit more about him if he is eventually moved this winter.

It might not feel like Justin Steele really broke out in 2023 because his ERA only improved by 12 pts. However, when you look beyond ERA, there is an 18 pt improvement in WHIP down to 1.17 as well as a career-high 173 IP. In terms of Auction Calculator value, the 16 Ws obviously played a huge role in his surge, especially after just 4 in 2022, but we don’t bank on W surges. The skills growth is far more important and his 5 pt jump in K-BB is encouraging. It all came via his BB rate as he had an identical 25% K rate. The concern is that he’s a 2-pitch guy who has just one year of the premium BB rate (5%). The lack of arsenal depth cuts his margin for error and if either pitch is off kilter for periods of time, the walks would likely be the first thing to return.

I originally had Bailey Ober in the Uncut Gems tiers and ranked closer to 40th, but the more I looked at him and Joe Ryan, the more I figured I either had to move Ryan down or Ober up and I’m plenty comfortable moving Ober up. He has over 100 fewer IP since 2022, but he has a 20% K-BB to Ryan’s 21%, his 1.06 WHIP is 8 pts better than Ryan’s, and his ERA is well below Ryan’s at 3.37 due mostly to their HR disparity (BO: 1.2, JR: 1.5). Ober has strikeout upside he could tap further into and while it was just 56 IP back in 2022, we have at least seen a stretch of HR suppression from him (but I’d be remiss not to mention that it came with a 5% HR/FB).

Joe Musgrove is a good example of why I’m so reluctant to label any pitcher as “safe” when it comes to their health. As trite as it sounds, everyone is just a pitch away from injury. After 30+ starts in the last 3 full seasons (’19, ’21, ’22), he opened the season with a fractured toe and then a shoulder injury ate up the final two months. He was still excellent when pitching and he’s expected to be fine for 2024, but make sure to monitor him as Spring Training gets started.

If you’ve ever seen one of Joe Ryan’s duds, you know his concern focuses squarely on his home run allowance. Even when he’s on, he will allow some HRs but they are usually solo shots. The off days will often bring the multi-run HRs. He had 6 Duds (5+ ER outing) last yr and allowed at least 2 HR in all of them. The worst of ’em was a 7 ER meltdown in St. Louis when they clocked him for 4, including a 3-run shot by Alec Burleson.

We all know the issue Carlos Rodón, everything comes down health. His has been rather nightmarish throughout his career and after back-to-back pretty full seasons (including a career-high 178 IP in 2022), he came crashing back to Earth with just 64. Not only that, but it was 64 baaad innings (6.85 ERA/1.45 WHIP) so you would’ve been better off with 0. The greatness of 2021-22 has me coming back, especially at the discounted price. Remember, he was a consistent Top 35 pick last year and this Fall/Winter, he is down to pick-165. The risk remains, but the Ace-levle upside is worth it here.

What a debut from Kodai Senga! He battled some control issues early on as he adjusted to the new league before settling in for an excellent summer run. Walks were plentiful initially with a 15% BB rate through his first 9 starts. He dropped his first and what would be his only 0-BB game in his 10th start of the year which seemed to spur his surge: 2.59 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and most importantly just a 10% BB rate in his final 20 starts (118 IP). Control is still a question here as splitters… err, ghost forks… are notoriously fickle, but I have no issue paying for the 31-year old heading into his sophomore campaign. Feb. 23rd Update: Senga is out indefinitely with a shoulder strain and will now start the season on the IL. This essentially takes him off my draft board in most leagues unless there are unlimited IL spots. I just don’t want to start the season with pitching injuries already on the roster because you are guaranteed to get some over the course of the season already.

Uncut Gems

There are some substantial movers in this group, and it is a situation where I am buying the premium talent in spite of the scant track records throughout this tier.
Uncut Gems
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
28 Cole Ragans KCR SP ▲10 109 $4
32 Tanner Bibee CLE SP 108 $7
41 Michael King SDP SP 141 $12
42 Hunter Greene CIN SP 143 $8
44 Cristian Javier HOU SP 187 $2
46 Ryan Pepiot TBR SP 195 $1
47 Reid Detmers LAA SP 235 $3
48 Mitch Keller PIT SP 169 $3
49 Bryce Miller SEA SP 180 $6
50 Brayan Bello BOS SP 231 -$4
59 Bryan Woo SEA SP ▼4 177 $5

I’m fully aboard the new Cole Train! I know they needed bullpen and he wasn’t doing well for them, but I’m still surprised the Texas Rangers traded Cole Ragans instead of being more patient to see if he could be the bullpen answer they needed. But hey, trading an interesting prospect for Aroldis Chapman just wins championships! Ragans appears to have come out of nowhere, but he was a former 1st rounder returning from a 2nd Tommy John so it made sense for the Royals to just turn him loose in the rotation even if he had struggled. Instead, he hit the ground running and was a major story in the summer, posting a 2.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 22% K-BB in 72 IP and now finds himself firmly among the Top 40 SPs and just outside the Top 100 overall. The profile looks excellent: upper-90s heater, excellent slider, dominant changeup, elite swing-and-miss, a groundball lean, and a great home park that increases the margin for error in half of his starts.

This is a fun group. A couple of the season’s studs will emerge from here and everyone has their favorites as to who that might be with these top 2 AL Central guys being mine. For the sake of this, I’ll say a stud is a Top 15-20 season so that still leaves room to grow for someone like Tanner Bibee who finished 31st last year. Usually logging 142 IP of a sub-3.00 ERA results in a Rookie of the Year award… unless a 5-WAR Gunnar Henderson emerges onto the scene in the same season! Maintaining an 80% LOB rate will be remarkably difficult so I’m planning for an ERA spike, but he could add upwards of 0.5 runs while raising his Ks and lowering his WHIP in 185+ IP en route to an excellent follow-up season.

While this tier generally includes a host of younger arms capable of taking the leap, the 29-year old Michael King is included because he is a recent starter conversion on the cusp of his first full season in the rotation. There have been some false starts with this transition only to see him back in pen again. An 8-start run to close the season (1.88 ERA/1.10 WHIP) not only had the Yankees ready to make him a rotation fixture, but also garnered enough trade interest that he was moved to SDP in the big Juan Soto deal. He has the elements needed for a breakout with 3 legit pitches including a nice changeup to keep lefties at bay, strong control, and enough swing-and-miss to maintain an upper-20%s K rate.

The core skills are remarkably enticing for Hunter Greene. His 31% K rate (8th, min. 110 IP) and 13% SwStr rate (12th) are incredible, but I just don’t feel confident that his command will be able to tame Great American Ballpark. His 3.52 SIERA since 2022 is ranked 20th (min. 200 IP) but his 1.6 HR9 is 7th highest. I totally understand the excitement around him because it’s easy to dream on a huge season with just a tweak or two, but I’m just not interested in battling that park for half his starts. It’s not quite a Coors Field situation and Greene is better than anyone the Rockies have rolled out in… forever?… but he will remain a tease unless he finds a way to cut those HRs.

The one certainty I thought we had with Cristian Javier was his strikeout rate. I was in on Javier so I wasn’t even planning for a worst case scenario, but I likely said something like “well if his ERA surges, at least you’ll definitely get strikeouts and a good chance at wins”. Instead, his K% sank 10 points to a pedestrian 23% which played a major role in his 4.56 ERA/1.27 WHIP that yielded just 10 Ws in 31 starts. There were still glimpses of the projected Javier. Hell, he had a sub-3.00 ERA through his first 12 starts, although the K% was down to 26%. More importantly, he closed with a 4.11/1.09, 32% K, and 9% BB in 31 Sept. IP. Javier showed the volatility of a 2-pitch starter. A lot of us were hoping for a mini-Strider, but instead it ended up like a cheaper Cease situation. He probably won’t get all the way back to his 2022 levels, but I will gladly risk a pick in the 175 range for a shot at his upside.

I’d be surprised if Ryan Pepiot’s slow rise up the draft board this Fall/Winter is because of his trade to Tampa Bay. It’s impossible to say of course because he was traded, but I think it’s more of a natural offseason helium as fantasy managers dive deeper into the past season. I don’t think his rotation spot is more guaranteed with the Rays and of course both teams are known for handling pitchers very well so I’m just as interested in Pep as I was before the trade. It took me a moment to trust his improved control. His incredible 3% BB rate was a shock after seeing double-digit BB rates at every stop prior to 2023. The trade-off was an elevated HR rate (1.5) and that makes sense. His next step to stardom will be improving his command within the zone to curb the longball without just dialing the walks back up.

Reid Detmers was someone I thought could take a big step forward in 2023. He absolutely did not do that. He showed glimpses including a 2.05 ERA in June and 1.82 in 4 September starts to close out the season. Unfortunately he had a 5.98 ERA in the other 4 months as well as a brutal 4-10 record making him a bust as a pick in the 150-175 range. He’s firmly outside the Top 200 for 2024 and I’m sticking with him. His BB% ticked up slightly, but his velo, K%, and SwStr% all jumped as well. In fact, his SIERA says he really wasn’t all that different (4.12 in 2022; 4.14 in 2023) and nothing about his 2023 changes my overall outlook on him. I can stay invested in at a cheaper price and we’ll see if the 24-year old lefty can build on his strong finish.

The 3.91 ERA in 2022 jumped off the page a bit for Mitch Keller because it came a year after he threw 101 IP with a 6.17 mark. The problem was that his SwStr% rate remained underwhelming and his 2-pt jump to an 11% K-BB paired with a 1.40 WHIP just didn’t scream “breakout!” Despite the 30 pt spike in ERA to 4.21, this feels like a much bigger step thanks to the 19% K-BB and 1.25 WHIP in a career-high 194 IP. He held most of the velo gains from 2022 and now has back-to-back full seasons under his belt. With a little HR suppression or drop in BABIP, he has a chance at a Top 30 season.

Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo are kind of a deep league version of Kirby and Gilbert. They’re paired together because they are teammates with similar profiles who both skipped Triple-A en route to solid rookie seasons and many are willing to let the drafting of one be their cue to take the other given their ADP proximity. Some may have a strident preference, but I’m really close on them. Both need to expand their arsenal to better handle lefties, while both also featured strong fastballs that drove their swing-and-miss profiles. Miller’s control was a grade better than Woo’s, giving him a slight edge though it’s worth noting that their BB% rates were less than 1% apart in the minors.

Brayan Bello focused on honing his control during his first full MLB season, laying a strong foundation to build upon. While we’d love improvement on his 20% K rate, the heavy GB rate along with his 7% BB rate is a winning combo as he continues to develop. He flashes the whiffs on occasion including a 10-K gem at TOR in mid-Sept. Like fellow youngsters Miller and Woo, Bello shares the severe platoon issues (205 pt. OPS split), but unlike them he has the changeup to work through it.

Another aspect that splits Miller and Bryan Woo a bit is that I believe Miller is better equipped (or at least has a better plan with his new splitter) to cut into the huge platoon split that both showed in their debut seasons: BM: .549 OPS vR/.917 vL | BW: .495/.928 — Woo is fastball-heavy (73%) with only a cutter and slider supplementing it which breeds the heavy split. I’d like to see Woo also join the splitter revolution or develop his show-me changeup (4%) a bit more. The fastball is excellent and there’s a nice strikeout floor so even if he repeats his ratios (4.21 ERA/1.21 WHIP), it won’t kill you and there’s the upside for more if he does develop his arsenal to better handle lefties.

Elevated Injury Risk

Every pitcher is a health risk. Every. Single. One. That said, it’s not a one-size fits all. I’m not here to deny the fact that some guys have a bigger risk profile than others, my main point is that those who are perceived as healthy aren’t nearly as safe as many want to believe. These guys go the other way, they take the standard health risk associated with pitchers and amplify it a bit thanks to a lengthy injury history including the past yr.
Elevated Injury Risk
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
38 Chris Sale ATL SP 135 $13
40 Shane Bieber CLE SP 167 $17
43 Yu Darvish SDP SP ▲9 190 $14
45 Kenta Maeda DET SP 247 $1
52 Aaron Civale TBR SP 203 $7
55 Nathan Eovaldi TEX SP 210 $4
57 Triston McKenzie CLE SP 235 $10
63 James Paxton LAD SP 313 $1
64 Walker Buehler LAD SP ▼20 156 $9
80 Luis Severino NYM SP 295 -$4
92 Shane Baz TBR SP ▼35 206 $5
94 Trevor Rogers MIA SP 343 $1
96 Frankie Montas CIN SP 333 -$3
101 Edward Cabrera MIA SP 291 -$3
144 José Urquidy HOU SP 481 -$3

I didn’t move Chris Sale up a ton after the trade to Atlanta, but it definitely improves his outlook for me. I was still ready to buy in even with the Red Sox because lost in the hubbub of another injury-addled season was that his skills looked strong with a 23% K-BB rate in 103 IP, good for 9th in MLB (min. 100 IP). He had 3 Duds (5+ ER) in his first 5 starts but then found a groove over his next 6 before shoulder inflammation shelved him for 2 mos. Upon returning, a Dud v. BAL was the only major blemish on his ledger en route to a 3.92 ERA/1.06 WHIP while maintaining the same 23% K-BB we saw pre-injury. This is another case where the risk is obvious and plentiful, you just have to decide if a 160 ADP gives you enough buffer to take on that risk.

Shane Bieber was a late removal from the Stud With a Concern tier because I realized he had more than just one glaring issue coming off his decent 2023. His velo is sinking, his K rate is collapsing, and there are severe injury concerns. His price doesn’t have me running away from him, but I’m not pounding the table for him like I was last year.

I boosted Yu Darvish up the rankings a bit as I found myself a lot more comfortable with him in drafts than I originally expected. Yes, there is risk taking any 37-year-old starter, but he still had a 17% K-BB that ranked Top 40 (min. 130 IP) while his 4.03 SIERA was 53 pts better than his ERA. Outside of few blowup starts, he was still the great Darvish

Kenta Maeda enjoyed a solid return from his 2022 Tommy John surgery, especially after he got back from an early season triceps injury. A 10-ER nightmare on April 26th just before the injury spoiled his ERA for a while, but all told he had a 3.36 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 88 IP after the 2-month spell on the shelf. The 36-year-old now moves to Detroit, the perfect spot to cut into his career-long HR issue (1.2 career, 1.5 last yr) as Comerica Park has the lowest HR park factor over the last 3 seasons. Both Dodger Stadium and Target Field aided HRs so this is easily his best home venue. At his age, he’s unlikely to start staying healthy so plan for 120-130 IP of solid work. I did end up moving him down a bit in the rankings just because I thought Top 50 was a little too high given the lower IP output.

While I don’t fully believe in Aaron Civale’s insane K% surge with TBR (29% in 45 IP), I do think he can hold some of the gains as I’ve always felt he had a bit more strikeout stuff than the 22% career mark we’ve seen thus far. He also had a .370 BABIP after the trade which really sullied his performance in Tampa Bay and I have no doubts that will improve. The biggest question mark is volume. He has just two inning counts in the low-120s, including last year’s 122. Will Tampa Bay be inclined to turn the 29-year-old loose if he is healthy or will they manage him for around 140-150 knowing they have him for 2025 as well? At an early-200s ADP, I’m willing to take the gamble and not be too worried even if I only get another solid 120-inning output.

I appreciate that the market no longer overreacts to Nathan Eovaldi’s upswings. We all know there is a good chance he will be good when pitching, it’s just that he is a near-lock to miss time every season. He has just two 30+ start seasons and only three times north of 150 IP. He washed away concerns of the strained forearm that cost him about 7 weeks in the summer with another excellent October run: 2.95 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 20% K-BB in 37 IP.

Triston McKenzie told MLB.com that he was having a pretty normal offsesaon and expects to be a full go as of late-December. After an incredible breakout season in 2022, major shoulder and elbow injuries limited him to just 16 IP. He did finish the season on the field and though the 6 IP were very uninspiring, I’m counting as at least a partial win that he was even able to get back on the mound. I don’t hate his mid-200s Fall/Winter price tag, but I’m more inclined to wait and see how he does in Spring Training even if that means I pay a steeper price.

Did you realize James Paxton made 19 starts last year? That kinda surprised me. It wasn’t his best year, but it was a perfectly respectable 4.50 ERA/1.31 WHIP/17% K-BB in the 96 IP of work. Now he moves to LA which always boosts interest given their success with reclamation projects. While I can envision them bringing Paxton back to his 19% K-BB rate or better, I doubt they can magically keep him healthy for more than a low-100s IP output. Of course only 127 pitchers reached 100 IP last year, down 13 from 2022, so I’m more concerned about Paxton’s quality than his volume as a low triple-digit total is plenty useful at the backend of your fantasy rotation.

I considered putting Walker Buehler in the Studs With a Concern tier, but the recent news about suggesting the Dodgers could run a 6-man setup that might include slowly ramping up Buehler early on gave me some pause about how aggressively I’d be willing to buy back in on the 29-year old phenom. Feb. 23rd Update: We learned that Buehler is unlikely to appear in any Cactus League games so we are now guaranteed a delayed start to the season which could extend into May. I’m open to taking him in unlimited IL leauges, but otherwise I’m likely sititng out this year and revisiting him for 2025.

Just when it seemed like Luis Severino was turning a corner, he was cut down by another injury which ended his season on September 8th. A 2.49 ERA in his final 4 starts could only bring his season mark down to 6.65 which tells you how bad he was in his other 68 IP. Like most of this tier, he will need further assessment as Spring Training starts.

I know they are no longer teammates, but Shane Baz’s situation is like the cheap version of Tyler Glasnow because while pick 196 isn’t a super high pick in any league type, some might find it really tough to pay a top-200 pick for a guy with just 40 MLB innings AND coming off of TJ surgery. He had his surgery in September of 2022 so he will be working on a 16-17 month recovery which could make for a smoother return. I do generally shy away from TJ returners, but I do leave the door open for those with the longer recovery period if they are fairly priced.

Looking at the guys Baz is around – Eovaldi, Civale, Pfaadt, Darvish – makes me comfortable enough to consider him. I like most of those five guys so I would probably spread my risk on them as opposed to loading up on any single one. If I were to load up, I don’t think it’d be Baz with his returning from TJ being the tiebreaker against him. Feb. 23rd Update: The start of his season will be delayed as he will hang out in extended Spring Training for a bit which isn’t terribly unexpected but still enough for me to drop him a little.

There were some Fall trade rumors swirling around Trevor Rogers as teams inquired about buying low after bicep and lat injuries essentially ate up his entire season (18 IP). Don’t forget that he’s also coming off a wretched 2022 as well so we’re a good bit away from successful 2021 season. I’m not averse to taking a shot with his mid-300s price tag, but I won’t be loading up on shares. I’ll take a closer look down the line.

I’d be a lot more excited to buy back in on Frankie Montas, a favorite of mine, if he had signed virtually anywhere else! A 350 ADP means I’m certainly not out, but I can’t imagine loading up on the new Cincinnati Red.

Edward Cabrera failed to reach 100 IP for the first time as a major leaguer, this time by just 1/3rd of an inning. Let’s be clear, 100 isn’t a particularly impressive threshold, I just figure we have to start there before asking him for 150+ IP seasons. His always-shaky control was really when he was on the field with only Michael Kopech having a worse BB rate and that’s only when we extend out the decimal (15.4% to 15.2%). Everyone has their favorite flawed arms they are willing to chase the upside with and I can understand someone picking Cabrera, but he’s just not someone for me. The power stuff and groundball lean is usually a profile I go for, but I just don’t see him ever really reigning in the walks which puts so much pressure on his BABIP to have anything close to a fantasy-viable WHIP.

I have been a José Urquidy fan in the past, but that interest is waning as he enters his age-29 season having eclipsed 20 starts just once (28 in 2022). He always has an above average swinging strike rate (SwStr%) yet his strikeout rate continues to shrink, down to a paltry 16% mark last year, albeit in just 63 IP. He is the kind of guy I’d draft in a 50-round Draft Champions league and be quick to go for on the waivers if we see a return to the guy who put up a 3.74 ERA/1.09 WHIP in 342 IP from 2019-22 (notice the tiny sample as injuries have plagued him throughout his career).

Solid Veterans

There aren’t a lot of oohs and ahhs when you draft these guys, but they have a track record you can have some faith in. Imanaga’s came in Japan, but it is very sturdy.
Solid Veterans
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
34 Justin Verlander HOU SP 123 $8
35 José Berríos TOR SP 169 $8
36 Eduardo Rodriguez ARI SP 199 $10
37 Chris Bassitt TOR SP 137 $11
39 Jordan Montgomery FA SP 152 $11
54 Merrill Kelly ARI SP 150 $5
58 Jon Gray TEX SP 317 $2
60 Seth Lugo KCR SP 262 -$5
61 Michael Wacha KCR SP 287 -$7
66 Nestor Cortes NYY SP 257 $8
67 Shota Imanaga CHC SP 227 $13
69 Lucas Giolito BOS SP 225 -$2
71 Charlie Morton ATL SP 237 $6
84 Marcus Stroman NYY SP 272 $4
85 Miles Mikolas STL SP 411 -$4
90 José Quintana NYM SP 416 -$8

Time looks like it’s starting to catch up to Justin Verlander. No one is really complaining about his 3.22 ERA/1.13 WHIP, but his velo dipped and his K rate tanked. His 15% K-BB rate was his lowest since 2014 and 9 pts off his 2022 Cy Young pace. With a post-100 pick, I can take these numbers. The problem was that he came with a Top 40 price tag last year.

This can be a difficult tier because a lot of these guys finished well above their 2024 rank and it can sometimes be hard to separate a player from their most recent season. Obviously it matters and weighs heavily into the equation, but it’s not the only piece. We only need to go back to 2022 with José Berríos to see what his downside looks like. It looked like a anomaly as it was happening, but it was hard to know if it was going to turnaround in-season or just be a washout campaign. It ended up being the latter though he returned to form with a 3.65 ERA/1.19 WHIP. Innings are a big part of his game as he racked up his 4th season of 190+ IP (and the struggles of 2022 are the only reason it’s not 5 as he got 32 turns but last just 172 IP).

Eduardo Rodriguez bounced back from a tough 2022 that saw him pitch just 91 IP and looked like the guy I was hoping he’d be when the Tigers signed him: essentially the Red Sox version with improved ratios thanks to the park and division boosts. He had a 15% K-BB which isn’t too far off the 16% mark he had from 2015-21 but easily beat his established ratios with a 3.30 ERA/1.15 WHIP (4.16/1.31 from ’15-’22). Now he moves to Arizona which should remain a solid home park, but the division really toughens up with plenty of Dodgers and Padres on tap as well as some trips to Coors. I’m inclined to split the difference between his BOS and DET ratios with something like a 3.60/1.20 combo.

Ho-hum, just good ol’ Chris Bassitt, but 200 IP worth for the first time! I’m not trying to denigrate him at all, but rather praise his almost boring steadiness. Need a mid-3.00s ERA with a good WHIP? He’s a strong bet. At age-35, there is always some added risk especially since his injury history is exactly clean, either. Bassitt consistently shows how premium control can get more out of an otherwise middling arsenal. And again, I’m not trying to roast him… just saying I’m more willing to believe that he will hew closer to his 3.49 career ERA than the 4.20 career SIERA.

I don’t expect Jordan Montgomery’s landing spot to greatly change his outlook for me, but I’ll still wait until he lands somewhere before taking a deeper look at him.

Merrill Kelly saw his BB rate spike to career-high 10% mark, but it was paired with a career best 26% K rate (aided by career best 12% SwStr) as he was able to essentially repeat his 2022 breakout success, trading some IP and few points of WHIP for a better ERA and more Ks. Improved command has been the key driver in these two seasons with his HR rate dropping from 1.3 in 2019-21 to just under 1.0 the last two years at 0.98. Despite BB rate jump, his Location+ still ranked 8th among qualified starters, though that feels like an outlier as just 2 guys with a 101 or better Location+ had a BB rate north of 8%. I can see a 3rd straight sub-4.00 ERA season, but I’m betting closer to 3.80 than the sub-3.50s we saw the last two years.

As a long time Jon Gray fan, I’ve been eager for him to get out of Colorado for years now. Two years into his Texas tenure hasn’t exactly yielded huge results as health has continued to plague him and his 1.2 HR9 is actually a tick worse than his 1.1 with COL. He closed the season healthy (pitching brilliantly in the World Series) and I still hold out hope for a full season of work in line with his 2022 (3.56 SIERA, 1.13 WHIP). As a post-300 pick, there isn’t much risk to taking the shot because even if it doesn’t come to fruition, you’re not really losing out.

Seth Lugo’s return to the rotation was successful with a 3.57 ERA/1.20 WHIP in 146 IP and now he’ll move to the pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium in KC.

Projections are dubious on Michael Wacha despite back-to-back great seasons as most have him with an ERA north of 4.00 despite joining Padres teammate Seth Lugo in KC. Wacha has a 3.27 ERA/1.14 WHIP in 262 IP over the last two seasons, though projections are more in line with his 4.25 SIERA. The market doesn’t really overrate the 32-year old with a late-200s ADP so he won’t hurt you too much even if he does slide back into the low-4.00s with his ERA.

It might feel a little off to put Shota Imanaga in a veteran tier as he makes his debut stateside this year, but he is coming over at age-30 with a strong track record in the NPB that featured a 3.18 ERA/1.12 WHIP in 1003 IP and plenty of Ks. He signed a 4-yr/$53 million dollar deal with the Cubs that could reach as high as 5/$80mil. It’s hard to ever know how well players will do in their first year over here but early projections put him down for a high-3.00s ERA with around a strikeout-per-inning. That seems fair enough for the 63rd SP off the board.

Yes, it was undoubtedly a tough season for Lucas Giolito, but I’m not sure how many guys would flourish being traded across the country twice in a month. He allowed too many HRs all year long, but his 1.5 HR9 was somewhat palatable in Chicago as he had a 3.79 ERA/1.22 WHIP combo in 121 IP. The first of two trades happened in late-July and his HR rate went completely off the rails. He allowed a 6.96 ERA/1.48 WHIP in 63 IP with LAA and CLE thanks in large part to a 3.0 (!!) HR9. He is very affordable with a post-200 pick now, so if you have any faith in him, he’s an easy buyback.

I don’t think Marcus Stroman’s outlook changes a ton heading back to NY, this time with the Yankees. As the category tier suggests, he’s a solid arm and can pile up a decent number of worthwhile innings when healthy!

The Next Wave

A lot of this group hit the cutting room floor from the Uncut Gems tier so I like them a lot. I’m just not quite as confident in them as I am the UCs.
The Next Wave
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
51 Hunter Brown HOU SP 172 $9
53 Cristopher Sánchez PHI SP 236 -$2
56 Gavin Williams CLE SP 168 $1
62 Brandon Pfaadt ARI SP 207 $5
65 Braxton Garrett MIA SP 183 $5
70 Logan Allen CLE SP 346 $1
72 Kutter Crawford BOS SP 262 -$3
73 Taj Bradley TBR SP 250 $5
74 Andrew Abbott CIN SP 287 -$1
75 Nick Lodolo CIN SP 247 $3
81 Griffin Canning LAA SP 272 $2
82 Reese Olson DET SP 287 -$3
83 Emmet Sheehan LAD SP 261 $0
93 Chase Silseth LAA SP 338 -$5
99 Jordan Wicks CHC SP 445 -$5
117 Joe Boyle OAK SP 439 -$12

After a fast start to his rookie year, Hunter Brown faded over the summer and limped to the finish line. He wound up with a 5.09 ERA in 156 IP, bookended by a 2.37 ERA in April and 8.74 in September. His 19% K-BB ranked 20th (min. 155 IP) but a 1.5 HR9 fueled by the highest HR/FB in baseball (21%) tanked the season. I was a big fan of Brown coming into last year and while things didn’t quite work out, I’m staying bought in as these skills definitely have substantial upside. He might only need some standard regression on that HR/FB rate to deliver a good season, but if he also takes a step forward with his skills, then a full scale breakout could be on tap. He isn’t “cheap”, but SP 53 is plenty affordable for this profile.

Cristopher Sánchez was my big second half breakout last summer and he didn’t disappoint with a 3.65 ERA/1.05 WHIP combo in 74 IP. Like Brown, he battled a 1.5 HR9 and 22% HR/FB, but his 4% BB is half that of Brown’s making it easier to maneuver around the longballs he allowed. Both Sanchez and Brown have a strong GB lean so if they can cut those lofty HR/FB rates, there’s a good chance to bring down those HR rates since they don’t allow a ton of flyballs.

While the D’Backs were storming their way to the World Series, I wondered if Brandon Pfaadt would have a big Playoff Tax tied to his 2024 price after his standout October that included a 3.27 ERA/1.09 WHIP in five starts (22 IP). His 206 ADP is no doubt influenced by the run, but not to the degree I feared. I was concerned he might be up in the 150s with teammate Merrill Kelly, but this feels like a reasonable area that can even sustain some Spring helium and still be fair if it’s around 175-180. Like both Brown and Sanchez, Pfaadt displayed good skills that were held back by a HR issue. Four homers in his MLB debut set the tone for a 2.1 HR9 that caused problems throughout his 96 IP. Obviously he can’t live at that rate and find consistent success, but shaving it down to 1.3-1.5 will be enough to deliver a useful sub-4.00 ERA, especially since I definitely don’t see him running another 10.2 H9.

As I dove into Kutter Crawford, I found myself more and more excited about his outlook.

Taj Bradley is another “hang with ’em” after a bumpy debut. He hasn’t been buried and forgotten like we’ve seen too many times with rising studs, but his mid-200s ADP is a very price stay invested in the 23-year old righty. Like a few others in this tier, HRs were a big problem as a 2.0 HR9 drove the split between his 5.59 ERA and 3.82 SIERA. Fixing a HR issue isn’t magic and takes legitimate development, but rookie longball issues aren’t rare and many guys refine their command as they gain experience and I’m confident Bradley can do that. I’m willing to take the shot that he can make some major improvements this year while the draft price is low enough that my season isn’t in peril if he doesn’t.

I mentioned my concerns with Cincy’s ballpark in Hunter Greene’s write-up so you probably won’t be surprised to learn of my trepidation with Andrew Abbott and Nick Lodolo. Both are remarkably talented lefties and Abbott did all he could to give them a go to arm down the stretch, but both carried high HR rates heavily influenced by the park and I see no reason to predict a substantial change for either in that respect. Like Greene, both have electric strikeout capability which fuels their great upside. They just have to improve their command and control to avoid that stark volatility, especially in their home starts.

I’ll likely have updates on young Dodgers arms like Emmet Sheehan as we get a better feel on how they will approach their rotation this year.

One Fix Away

This is a more veteran group of The Next Wave. They’ve reached impressive heights before, but no longer live there and now come with increased risk that counterbalances their upside. They’re a tweak away from really delivering.
One Fix Away
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
68 Jack Flaherty DET SP 384 -$6
76 Yusei Kikuchi TOR SP 235 $1
77 Graham Ashcraft CIN SP 401 -$12
78 Nick Pivetta BOS SP 167 -$1
79 Chris Paddack MIN SP 295 $2
86 Ranger Suárez PHI SP 347 $0
88 Patrick Sandoval LAA SP 433 $0
91 Lance Lynn STL SP 306 -$1
128 John Means BAL SP ▼53 283 $1

Jack Flaherty mostly stayed healthy in 2023 after amassing just 114 IP in 2021-22 combined. The results weren’t very good (4.99/1.58) but there is something to be said for taking 27 turns on the bump (plus 2 relief appearances). The next step will be staying upright while bringing back the skills that made him so good in 2018-21 (3.21/1.05). The biggest key would be regaining his swing-and-miss capability. That was a major driver in his 21% K-BB that has now sank to a meager 11% since 2022. He showed flashes of that previous iteration with an 18% K-BB in Baltimore, only be submarined by a 1.8 HR9 and .390 BABIP with them. I like this gamble for the Tigers as Flaherty is motivated to get back to his previous heights and while he is just 28 years old, he brings that fabled “veteran presence” with him as he enters his 8th MLB season.

Yusei Kikuchi kept the HRs at bay for an 18-start run to close out the season which was instrumental in a 3.54 ERA during that run. That said, I do not consider his HR issues fixed.

While not as severe as Bradish, John Means opened Spring Training with news that his TJ repaired elbow isn’t quite ready and he is about a month behind schedule and thus will start the season on the IL. He already carried major risk and now I just can’t envision drafting him for 2024. I will consider him off the wire when he returns, but it’s hard to see a ton of upside this year.

Team Streamers

I use this term just as a way of acknowledging that they are a cut above standard streamers in that you don’t necessarily want to cut them after getting through the start(s) you’re targeting. They are likely good enough to hold on your reserve instead of throwing back into the pool for someone else to pick up their next good stream(s). League size plays a role, so the threshold will be higher in 10-teamers.
Team Streamers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
89 Tyler Wells BAL SP ▲15 359 -$1
95 Clarke Schmidt NYY SP 355 -$2
97 Kyle Hendricks CHC SP 440 -$8
98 Taijuan Walker PHI SP 419 -$12
100 Mike Clevinger FA SP 419 -$7
102 Zack Littell TBR SP 369 $1
103 Bryce Elder ATL SP 405 -$8
105 J.P. France HOU SP 476 -$5
106 Tanner Houck BOS SP 410 -$3
107 Michael Lorenzen FA SP 525 -$9
108 Louie Varland MIN SP 316 $1
109 Steven Matz STL SP 358 $3
110 Jameson Taillon CHC SP 316 -$2
111 Kyle Gibson STL SP 431 -$7
112 Dean Kremer BAL SP 325 $2
120 Wade Miley MIL SP 461 -$9
122 Anthony DeSclafani SEA SP 542 -$6

I was a huge Tyler Wells fan last year but then he disappeared for a lot of the second half and now we’re not sure if he’s going to start much in 2024. If and when they do put him back in the rotation, I’m very interested. Feb. 23rd Update: The Bradish and Means injuries put Wells in line for a rotation spot to start the season and that definitely raises his profile for me. The HRs are a problem, but he still managed a 3.64 ERA despite the 1.9 HR9 last year so imagine if he brings that down into the 1.4-1.5 range.

Streamers

Just standard streamers that you pluck off the wire for a start or two and then move on. Some of them have team streamer appeal in deep formats (15+ teamers).They aren’t currently penciled into the rotation, but they could be among the summer difference makers.
Streamers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
104 Alek Manoah TOR SP ▲24 352 -$6
113 Ryne Nelson ARI SP 615 -$10
114 Andrew Heaney TEX SP 367 -$2
115 MacKenzie Gore WAS SP 290 $1
116 Tylor Megill NYM SP 550 -$8
118 Josiah Gray WAS SP 392 -$13
119 Dane Dunning TEX SP 365 -$7
121 Nick Martinez CIN SP 454 -$6
123 Kyle Harrison SFG SP 275 -$1
125 Matt Manning DET SP 433 -$10
126 JP Sears OAK SP 378 $2
127 Ryan Yarbrough LAD SP 617 -$5
129 Brady Singer KCR SP 453 -$5
130 Michael Kopech CWS SP 489 -$15
131 Sean Manaea NYM SP 320 $3
132 Paul Blackburn OAK SP 535 -$8
133 Michael Soroka CWS SP 531 -$7
135 Martín Pérez PIT SP 583 -$12
136 Luis Medina OAK SP -$12
137 Xzavion Curry CLE SP 750 -$8
138 Tyler Anderson LAA SP 596 -$11
139 Keaton Winn SFG SP 409 -$3
140 Adrian Houser NYM SP 529 -$11
141 Alex Wood FA SP 548 -$5
142 Ross Stripling OAK SP 514 -$3

Alek Manoah came into Spring Training slimmed down, looking ready to avenge his brutal 2023 campaign. An improved body alone doesn’t mean he will be good again, but I’m giving him a small boost and will be monitoring him closely in his spring outings. He could be a major riser as we move through March, but even with a big boost I think he will remain affordable if you’re wanting to buy back in on him.

From one good Bay Area park to another for Alex Wood as he signs with Oakland on a 1-yr deal that could be worth nearly $10 million dollars. Injuries have consistently limited Wood throughout his career and 2023 was no different with just 98 IP. Worse yet, a substantial 7 pt. strikeout rate drop and 5 pt. walk rate surge undercut his production (yielding a career-low 8% K-BB), particularly the 1.43 WHIP. That said, he had a healthy 19% K-BB and 3.53 SIERA in 269 IP from 2021-22 so if he can push back toward that level, there could be some streamer value as long as you don’t need wins. I can’t envision drafting him anywhere, but instead keeping tabs on him once the season starts.

Ross Stripling joins former teammate Alex Wood in moving from SF to OAK. He suffered through a 2.0 HR9 in 89 IP last year with SF as his home park thanks in large part to a 22% HR/FB rate. While that is egregiously high, his career mark is 15% so there are no guarantees he greatly improves the HRs in OAK (which has an equal 84 HR Park Factor over the last 3 yrs). If you want to be positive, you look at the 4.13 SIERA and 4% BB rate as avenues for occasional streamer value, but that might be wishful thinking.

On the Radar

On the Radar
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
124 Kyle Bradish BAL SP ▼97 107 $5
134 Erick Fedde CWS SP ▲27 389 -$15
143 Emerson Hancock SEA SP -$8
145 Hayden Wesneski CHC SP 549 -$5
146 Jordan Hicks SFG SP 319 $2
147 Javier Assad CHC SP 517 -$9
148 Casey Mize DET SP 462 -$7
149 Michael Grove LAD SP 606 -$5
150 Gavin Stone LAD SP 496 -$8
151 AJ Smith-Shawver ATL SP 420 -$9
152 DL Hall MIL SP 353 $4
153 Clayton Beeter NYY SP -$10
154 Cade Horton CHC SP
155 Ricky Tiedemann TOR SP -$5
156 Jake Irvin WAS SP -$14
157 Mitch Spence OAK SP -$8
158 Daniel Lynch IV KCR SP 731 -$10
159 Ben Brown CHC SP -$7
160 Joey Cantillo CLE SP

The “concern” with Kyle Bradish is just whether or not it’s real. He is skyrocketing up the board after a breakout season. While there were glimpses in 2022, he still had a 4.90 ERA/1.40 WHIP that season so it’s fair to question if he’s a legit Top 30 starter on the basis of a single season. I’m a believer as he has a deep arsenal, good control, and favorable home park for half his starts. Feb. 23rd Update: Well, this sucks. A UCL sprain will land him on the IL to start the season and could torpedo his season entirely. As such, he is off my board until we get more news. And frankly, I’m not even sure good news would make me that eager to keep investing. I’ll take the Fall/Winter shares I got and hope those wind up paying off, but I’m unfortunately out on Bradish going forward.

Returning from KBO after a solid season. I’m willing to pay attention come Spring, but I’m probably not taking in anything but maybe a 50-round Draft Champions somewhere after Round 30 if he’s still available.

The Giants have signed Jordan Hicks with eyes on a return to starting. I really hope they can make this work, but I’m not willing to bet a ton on it. Even if it does, what kind of volume can we really expect? Maybe 100 IP? His stuff is electric, SF has a strong record with pitchers, and the park can cover some mistakes so there is a path to some success. The news hasn’t really pushed his Fall/Winter draft price, either, as it sits around pick-300 and shouldn’t move too much higher as we push toward Spring Training, but I think I’d prefer him in a waivers format so I can move on him if injury strikes again.

DL Hall heads to Milwaukee as part of the Corbin Burnes deal and they should allow the live armed lefty to keep starting until it’s clear he has to move to the pen. He had a great 6% BB rate in 19 IP with the O’s this past season, but that’s likely small sample goodness given his career 13% mark in 353 minor league IP. I’m open to taking a shot in 50-round Draft and Hold type leagues but otherwise just keeping tabs on him to see how things go in the spring.

Cade Horton is a 2022 draftee who had a strong 3-level season (A/A+/AA) last year that puts the 22-year old on the cusp of the majors heading into 2024. He needs to sharpen his command and could start back in Double-A for a bit but even there he is just a call away as we see plenty of guys skip Triple-A en route to the majors these days.

An injury-riddled season limited Ricky Tiedemann to just 44 IP during the season and prompted the Jays to send him to the Arizona Fall League to tack on an extra 18 where he looked solid and closed the season on a high note. The 21-year old lefty could find himself in Toronto at some point this summer, but I do wonder how many IP he will get this year given his age and lack of volume as a pro thus far. That said, he could be high impact in whatever innings he does get so keep a close eye on him.

Mitch Spence was a Rule 5 pick for the A’s out of the Yankees system and while he hasn’t debuted in the majors yet, we could see the 26-year old log 120+ IP right away. What he lacks in overpowering stuff, he makes up for with some funk, according to Eric Longenhagen. A curve and sweeper support his modest fastball (90-92 mph) and his new home ballpark should mitigate his HR downside a bit. Though as Eric also pointed out, the 20% HR/FB rate he had last year should also just have some natural regression. Despite the bouts with the long ball, he often keeps the ball down pretty well while also not walking many and missing bats at a decent clip. With a real chance at innings, there could be some viability if things click with Spence. Keep tabs on him if you’re a deeper league.

Ben Brown dominated Double-A for 20 IP before a promotion to Triple-A where his BB rate doubled to 16% and wreaked havoc on his numbers as a 31% K rate wasn’t enough to overcome the lack of control. His control has always been a bit spotty so he will no doubt head back to Triple-A to keep working on it. While he will likely never be a control artist, he can survive with something in the 9-11% range given his strong swing-and-miss capability.


Full Rankings Without Tiers

No tiers. Just the rankings.
Full Rankings Without Tiers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Spencer Strider ATL SP 7 $39
2 Gerrit Cole NYY SP 13 $27
3 Corbin Burnes MIL SP 20 $23
4 Zack Wheeler PHI SP 24 $24
5 George Kirby SEA SP 34 $26
6 Luis Castillo SEA SP 29 $26
7 Zac Gallen ARI SP 39 $20
8 Kevin Gausman TOR SP 28 $28
9 Logan Webb SFG SP 55 $23
10 Framber Valdez HOU SP 58 $23
11 Pablo López MIN SP 35 $25
12 Tyler Glasnow LAD SP 41 $23
13 Bobby Miller LAD SP 72 $11
14 Tarik Skubal DET SP 50 $22
15 Grayson Rodriguez BAL SP 66 $13
16 Yoshinobu Yamamoto LAD SP 43 $27
17 Max Fried ATL SP 61 $22
18 Aaron Nola PHI SP 52 $23
19 Logan Gilbert SEA SP 62 $20
20 Zach Eflin TBR SP 80 $25
21 Blake Snell FA SP 67 $19
22 Freddy Peralta MIL SP 56 $18
23 Eury Pérez MIA SP 80 $8
24 Sonny Gray STL SP 117 $11
25 Jesús Luzardo MIA SP 82 $14
26 Dylan Cease CWS SP 107 $7
27 Justin Steele CHC SP 101 $13
28 Cole Ragans KCR SP ▲10 109 $4
29 Bailey Ober MIN SP 142 $8
30 Joe Musgrove SDP SP 97 $19
31 Joe Ryan MIN SP ▼1 86 $16
32 Tanner Bibee CLE SP 108 $7
33 Carlos Rodón NYY SP 146 $19
34 Justin Verlander HOU SP 123 $8
35 José Berríos TOR SP 169 $8
36 Eduardo Rodriguez ARI SP 199 $10
37 Chris Bassitt TOR SP 137 $11
38 Chris Sale ATL SP 135 $13
39 Jordan Montgomery FA SP 152 $11
40 Shane Bieber CLE SP 167 $17
41 Michael King SDP SP 141 $12
42 Hunter Greene CIN SP 143 $8
43 Yu Darvish SDP SP ▲9 190 $14
44 Cristian Javier HOU SP 187 $2
45 Kenta Maeda DET SP 247 $1
46 Ryan Pepiot TBR SP 195 $1
47 Reid Detmers LAA SP 235 $3
48 Mitch Keller PIT SP 169 $3
49 Bryce Miller SEA SP 180 $6
50 Brayan Bello BOS SP 231 -$4
51 Hunter Brown HOU SP 172 $9
52 Aaron Civale TBR SP 203 $7
53 Cristopher Sánchez PHI SP 236 -$2
54 Merrill Kelly ARI SP 150 $5
55 Nathan Eovaldi TEX SP 210 $4
56 Gavin Williams CLE SP 168 $1
57 Triston McKenzie CLE SP 235 $10
58 Jon Gray TEX SP 317 $2
59 Bryan Woo SEA SP ▼4 177 $5
60 Seth Lugo KCR SP 262 -$5
61 Michael Wacha KCR SP 287 -$7
62 Brandon Pfaadt ARI SP 207 $5
63 James Paxton LAD SP 313 $1
64 Walker Buehler LAD SP ▼20 156 $9
65 Braxton Garrett MIA SP 183 $5
66 Nestor Cortes NYY SP 257 $8
67 Shota Imanaga CHC SP $13
68 Jack Flaherty DET SP 384 -$6
69 Lucas Giolito BOS SP 225 -$2
70 Logan Allen CLE SP 346 $1
71 Charlie Morton ATL SP 237 $6
72 Kutter Crawford BOS SP 262 -$3
73 Taj Bradley TBR SP 250 $5
74 Andrew Abbott CIN SP 287 -$1
75 Nick Lodolo CIN SP 247 $3
76 Yusei Kikuchi TOR SP 235 $1
77 Graham Ashcraft CIN SP 401 -$12
78 Nick Pivetta BOS SP 167 -$1
79 Chris Paddack MIN SP 295 $2
80 Luis Severino NYM SP 295 -$4
81 Griffin Canning LAA SP 272 $2
82 Reese Olson DET SP 287 -$3
83 Emmet Sheehan LAD SP 261 $0
84 Marcus Stroman NYY SP 272 $4
85 Miles Mikolas STL SP 411 -$4
86 Ranger Suárez PHI SP 347 $0
87 Kodai Senga NYM SP ▼63 69 $12
88 Patrick Sandoval LAA SP 433 $0
89 Tyler Wells BAL SP ▲15 359 -$1
90 José Quintana NYM SP 416 -$8
91 Lance Lynn STL SP 306 -$1
92 Shane Baz TBR SP ▼35 206 $5
93 Chase Silseth LAA SP 338 -$5
94 Trevor Rogers MIA SP 343 $1
95 Clarke Schmidt NYY SP 355 -$2
96 Frankie Montas CIN SP 333 -$3
97 Kyle Hendricks CHC SP 440 -$8
98 Taijuan Walker PHI SP 419 -$12
99 Jordan Wicks CHC SP 445 -$5
100 Mike Clevinger FA SP 419 -$7
101 Edward Cabrera MIA SP 291 -$3
102 Zack Littell TBR SP 369 $1
103 Bryce Elder ATL SP 405 -$8
104 Alek Manoah TOR SP ▲24 352 -$6
105 J.P. France HOU SP 476 -$5
106 Tanner Houck BOS SP 410 -$3
107 Michael Lorenzen FA SP 525 -$9
108 Louie Varland MIN SP 316 $1
109 Steven Matz STL SP 358 $3
110 Jameson Taillon CHC SP 316 -$2
111 Kyle Gibson STL SP 431 -$7
112 Dean Kremer BAL SP 325 $2
113 Ryne Nelson ARI SP 615 -$10
114 Andrew Heaney TEX SP 367 -$2
115 MacKenzie Gore WAS SP 290 $1
116 Tylor Megill NYM SP 550 -$8
117 Joe Boyle OAK SP 439 -$12
118 Josiah Gray WAS SP 392 -$13
119 Dane Dunning TEX SP 365 -$7
120 Wade Miley MIL SP 461 -$9
121 Nick Martinez CIN SP 454 -$6
122 Anthony DeSclafani SEA SP 542 -$6
123 Kyle Harrison SFG SP 275 -$1
124 Kyle Bradish BAL SP ▼97 107 $5
125 Matt Manning DET SP 433 -$10
126 JP Sears OAK SP 378 $2
127 Ryan Yarbrough LAD SP 617 -$5
128 John Means BAL SP ▼53 283 $1
129 Brady Singer KCR SP 453 -$5
130 Michael Kopech CWS SP 489 -$15
131 Sean Manaea NYM SP 320 $3
132 Paul Blackburn OAK SP 535 -$8
133 Michael Soroka CWS SP 531 -$7
134 Erick Fedde CWS SP ▲27 389 -$15
135 Martín Pérez PIT SP 583 -$12
136 Luis Medina OAK SP -$12
137 Xzavion Curry CLE SP 750 -$8
138 Tyler Anderson LAA SP 596 -$11
139 Keaton Winn SFG SP 409 -$3
140 Adrian Houser NYM SP 529 -$11
141 Alex Wood FA SP 548 -$5
142 Ross Stripling OAK SP 514 -$3
143 Emerson Hancock SEA SP -$8
144 José Urquidy HOU SP 481 -$3
145 Hayden Wesneski CHC SP 549 -$5
146 Jordan Hicks SFG SP 319 $2
147 Javier Assad CHC SP 517 -$9
148 Casey Mize DET SP 462 -$7
149 Michael Grove LAD SP 606 -$5
150 Gavin Stone LAD SP 496 -$8
151 AJ Smith-Shawver ATL SP 420 -$9
152 DL Hall MIL SP 353 $4
153 Clayton Beeter NYY SP -$10
154 Cade Horton CHC SP
155 Ricky Tiedemann TOR SP -$5
156 Jake Irvin WAS SP -$14
157 Mitch Spence OAK SP -$8
158 Daniel Lynch IV KCR SP 731 -$10
159 Ben Brown CHC SP -$7
160 Joey Cantillo CLE SP





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and Content Director for OOTP Perfect Team. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

68 Comments
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Darrenmember
1 month ago

Since he likely has a job, where does Eric Fedde rank?

HappyFunBallmember
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Sporer

I wouldn’t even call him a streamer until he proves it a few times back stateside

Charlesmember
1 month ago
Reply to  Darren

Maybe a dart throw in AL only?