X
Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

X

Receive free daily analysis

NFL
NBA
NHL
NASCAR
CFB
MLB
MMA
PGA
ESPORTS
BETTING

Already have an account? Log In

X

Forgot Password


POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Expert Advice
Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Starting Pitcher Breakouts To Improve for Fantasy Baseball (2024)

Cole Ragans - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

The 2023 season was the year of the rookie starting pitcher. Those young guns and some resurgent mid-career hurlers make for an interesting starting pitcher landscape going into the 2024 season. With some guys changing clubs and others with more or less support behind them, it is time for a fresh appraisal of the starting pitching breakouts from 2023.

Which rookie studs will continue an upward trajectory? Which guys had strong second-half performances in 2023? Which post-hype arms and mid-career resurgences merit attention for the upcoming season?

Ben Ueberroth (@UeberMD) takes a look at some of last year’s studs who are likely to continue a meteoric trajectory into 2024.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Post-Hype Fantasy Baseball Breakouts

These names have been around the fantasy baseball block but showed significant promise to close out 2023 and build an even stronger 2024.

Tarik Skubal - Detroit Tigers

Skubal is an ideal target for an SP2 with his current ADP around 50. Statistically, he is far and away the best pitcher on this list. He led the MLB with a 2.04 FIP in the second half of the 2023 season with second place being Cole Ragans, an entire galaxy away with an FIP of 2.49. He managed to be fifth in second-half K% at 32.3% thanks in large part to a 32.2% CSW%, also a top-five second-half statistic.

The nuts and bolts of Skubal’s approach in 2023 suggest he has turned a corner with his pitch choices and mechanics. In 2022, Skubal’s most frequent pitch was a slider accounting for 30.9% of his pitches, a four-seam fastball close behind (26.6%), and a changeup only 14.9% of the time. In 2023, Skubal led with his four-seamer at 36.0% of pitches, not to mention he is averaging 95.8mph compared to 94.1mph on that pitch in 2022. His changeup is now also his clearcut second pitch at 24.5% of pitches and brings with that a 50.6% Whiff% and 31.3% PutAway%.

With a change in his approach to support his significant improvement from 2022 to 2023, Skubal is here to stay. While it would be ideal to have a bit more run support, Skubal should keep the Tigers in every game he starts and be a great candidate for quality starts. Draft him as a confident SP2 with a real chance of ace upside.

Zach Eflin - Tampa Bay Rays

Eflin had what was easily his best MLB season in 2023 with the Rays, compiling 16 wins over a solid volume of 177.2 IP. Under the hood, his 3.01 FIP was good for a top-ten finish across the MLB in 2023. The most obvious reason for the improvement was a jump in K% from 20.8% in 2022 to 26.5% in 2023.

Eflin increased his CSW% from 27.6% in 2022 to 30.2% in 2023, a large jump in a very telling statistic. Eflin improved his location and ability to get whiffs significantly from 2022 to 2023, further supported by an increase in SwStr% from 9.9% to 11.1% year over year. Eflin was a bit of a one-trick pony in 2022, throwing his sinker 39.9% of the time, a pitch with an abysmal 13.5% Whiff%. In 2023, he still led with his sinker but only 31.9% of the time.

The subsequent increase in his curveball rate from 20.1% of pitches in 2022 to 26.5% in 2023 likely explains at least some of Eflin’s increase in K%. His curveball in 2023 had a 34.9% Whiff% and 24.9% PutAway%. While these numbers are similar to 2022, he threw this effective pitch much more frequently in 2023. Furthermore, his sinker PutAway% increased from 17.3% in 2022 to 26.2% in 2023, likely a result of varying his pitches more. Eflin is an easy SP3 with SP2 upside.

Nick Pivetta - Boston Red Sox

Amongst the top 25 second-half starting pitchers for 2023 by WAR, Pivetta is the only one with fewer than ten starts in the second half. On one hand, that could be concerning if he spends more time as a bullpen arm for the Red Sox. On the other hand, Pivetta managed to make that top 25 WAR group as a mixed starter/bullpen arm, so what is he capable of as a full-time starter?

Pivetta was second in the MLB (behind Freddy Peralta) for second-half K% led by a stellar 31.4% CSW%, granted time in the bullpen can inflate those numbers slightly. His sweeper is lethal, boasting a 44.4% Whiff% and 37.1% PutAway%. Pivetta defines “the post-hype sleeper”, as he was once the darling of many starting pitcher lists in his rookie year. He seems to be putting it all together; if the word from Boston is true and Pivetta will be their second or third starter for the entire season, the sky is the limit.

 

Early Career Risers

Amongst a long list of stellar rookie arms, these names are most likely to build a strong sophomore season.

Eury Perez - Miami Marlins

Eury came back to earth from his otherworldly first half punctuated by a couple of particularly bad outings. Despite those blemishes, what is clear about Eury is that he is a power pitcher who can blow by batters. His 15.7% SwStr% was second across all of 2023 behind only Spencer Strider. Despite an overall regression in the second half of 2023, his SwStr% was higher in that time at 17.6%. This translated into a top-10 finish in K% in 2023.

Eury will continue to challenge batters with his fastball, averaging 98mph. When batters do connect, it tends to be solid contact with a 40.3% HardHit% in 2023, but those swinging strike and strikeout numbers suggest a high-ceiling arm capable of boosting a fantasy squad’s strikeouts with potential ace upside going into his second season. He is easily worth the ADP price tag around pick 100, if not a round earlier.

Cole Ragans - Kansas City Royals

Ragans has been a darling of this fantasy baseball offseason and for good reason. In Kansas City, he now has a clear path to being a full-time starter, and his advanced stats suggest under-the-hood dominance. Ragans was fifth in the MLB for second-half K% at 31.1%, behind only Nick Pivetta on this list (who spent plenty of time in the bullpen to bolster that K%, unlike Ragans).

Ragans leads with a classic four-seam fastball and changeup combination. The similarity of these pitches out of his hand fools batters, particularly with his changeup, manifested by an insane 20.0% HardHit% for his changeup. Unlike some other changeup-forward pitchers, Ragans maintains serious power strikeout upside with his 97mph fastball and slider, in particular. Ragans brings significant strikeout and ratio upside with his only main weakness being wins in pitching for the Royals. Take him at or before his ADP.

Bobby Miller - Los Angeles Dodgers

On talent alone, Miller should be higher on this list, but Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, James Paxton, and Walker Buehler do not leave much room for the young pitching talent the Dodgers possess. If Miller holds onto a rotation spot for most of the season, his stuff is dominant.

His four-seam fastball tops out over 100mph with regularity and he finishes batters off with a curveball showing a 36.0% Whiff% and 28.2% PutAway%. It might be wishful thinking, but if the Dodgers want to explore Miller’s future ace potential, this may be the year to do it. Their run support and bullpen will offer Miller significant support to accrue wins for those in category leagues, and any pitcher who can hold a long-term rotation spot with the Dodgers is worth a roster spot. Let’s see if Miller can do it.

 

Honorable Omissions

These hurlers have been significant topics of offseason discussion, but for one reason or another are not currently worth their ADP.

Grayson Rodriguez - Baltimore Orioles

Ironically, second-half G-Rod was the far superior G-Rod in 2023, making one think he would be on this list. His second-half FIP was 2.76 compared to a grotesque 5.90 FIP in the first half of 2023. Too much of that was fueled by batting and fielding variability (.372 and .293 BABIP in the first and second halves, respectively) for me to buy in when K% went down from 26.5% to 24.0% from the first to the second half. He just is not quite worth the SP2 ADP that he is currently getting around pick 70.

Kodai Senga - New York Mets

I had Senga on this list intentionally when I was first writing it. Then, as I put together comparisons, he dropped lower and lower. When his forkball is working, he is an above-average pitcher with solid strikeout potential. Outside of this, his fastball and changeup are hittable and do little to lead to strikeouts without the finishing forkball. Senga as an SP3/4 is a solid fantasy squad, but not as an SP2 where his ADP currently has him.

Kyle Bradish - Baltimore Orioles

We would all like him to be towards the top of this list but the injury concern is too great.



Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!



More Fantasy Baseball Advice




POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Expert Advice
Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

REAL-TIME FANTASY NEWS

Alex Bowman53 mins ago

a Tournament DFS Option at Talladega
Chris Buescher57 mins ago

Could Contend at Talladega This Weekend
Triston Casas60 mins ago

Experiencing Left Rib Discomfort
Chase Elliott1 hour ago

Always Strong at Daytona
Ryan Blaney1 hour ago

One of the Favorites to Win at Talladega
Chase Briscoe1 hour ago

Looking to Continue Momentum at Talladega
Nathaniel Lowe2 hours ago

Texas Rangers Activate Nathaniel Lowe Off Injured List
Triston Casas2 hours ago

Exits Game Early On Saturday
Kyle Busch3 hours ago

Could Win at Talladega, But He's a Very Risky DFS Play
Corey Lajoie3 hours ago

Has Upside at Talladega This Weekend
Terry Rozier3 hours ago

Improving, Still Not Ready To Play
Kawhi Leonard3 hours ago

Unlikely To Play On Sunday
Mike Hoffman3 hours ago

Kevin Labanc, Alexander Barabanov To Hit Free Agency
Logan Couture4 hours ago

Optimistic For Healthy Return
Mikhail Sergachev4 hours ago

Practices In Regular Jersey Saturday
Nick Jensen4 hours ago

Rasmus Sandin, Nick Jensen Possible For Game 1
Alex Pietrangelo4 hours ago

A Full Practice Participant
Mark Stone4 hours ago

A Possibility For Game 1
Jonathan Drouin4 hours ago

To Miss First Round
Matt Chapman5 hours ago

Getting A Day Off Saturday
Anthony Alfredo5 hours ago

A Great DFS Sleeper Option At Talladega
Gabriel Moreno5 hours ago

Getting A Rest Saturday
Todd Gilliland5 hours ago

Qualifies A Career-Best Third For Talladega Race
Austin Cindric6 hours ago

Is Unplayable In DFS This Weekend At Talladega
Will Smith6 hours ago

Getting A Breather Saturday
Francisco Alvarez6 hours ago

Lands On 15-Day Injured List
Zach Wilson6 hours ago

Jets Still "Open" To Trading Zach Wilson
Marquise Brown6 hours ago

Could Have Lucrative Role In KC
Rafael Devers6 hours ago

Still Absent Saturday
A.J. Puk7 hours ago

Moves To 15-Day Injured List
Gio Urshela7 hours ago

Tigers Place Gio Urshela On 10-Day Injured List
Giancarlo Stanton7 hours ago

Getting Day Off Saturday
Francisco Alvarez7 hours ago

Going For MRI On His Thumb
Kyle Larson8 hours ago

A Chalk DFS Play After Not Qualifying At Talladega
Travis d'Arnaud11 hours ago

Travis D'Arnaud Rips Three Home Runs, Collects Six RBI
Spencer Strider18 hours ago

Bone Fragment Caused Spencer Strider's Elbow Surgery
Keibert Ruiz19 hours ago

Feeling Better
Francisco Alvarez19 hours ago

Suffers Apparent Thumb Injury
Braxton Garrett19 hours ago

Could Throw Bullpen Soon
Gavin Williams19 hours ago

Nearing Rehab Assignment
DeMar DeRozan19 hours ago

Doesn't Lift Bulls To A Win
Tyler Herro20 hours ago

Leads All Scorers In Play-In Win
Craig Porter20 hours ago

Jr. Ruled Out For Game 1
Cam Reddish20 hours ago

Won't Play Against Denver
Keegan Murray20 hours ago

Returns On Friday Night
LeBron James20 hours ago

Expected To Play On Saturday
Anthony Davis20 hours ago

Probable For Game 1
Keegan Murray21 hours ago

Heads To The Locker Room
Spencer Turnbull21 hours ago

Takes No-No Into Seventh Inning On Friday
Alec Bohm21 hours ago

Blasts Two Bombs On Friday
Elly De La Cruz22 hours ago

Unstoppable Against Angels On Friday
Dak Prescott23 hours ago

Hasn't Started Contract Negotiations With Cowboys
Duncan Robinson1 day ago

Will Play Against Chicago
Andre Drummond1 day ago

Available For Play-In Matchup
Ayo Dosunmu1 day ago

Good To Face Miami
Alex Caruso1 day ago

Cleared For Friday Night
Bobby McMann1 day ago

Could Play In Postseason Opener
Calle Jarnkrok1 day ago

Practices Friday
William Nylander1 day ago

Doesn't Practice Friday
Jean-Gabriel Pageau1 day ago

Listed As Day-To-Day
Aaron Ekblad1 day ago

Back For Game 1 Sunday
Zach Wilson1 day ago

Not At Voluntary Workouts
Noah Dobson1 day ago

Returning For Game 1
Dean Wade1 day ago

Ruled Out For Game 1
Max Domi1 day ago

Ready To Go For Game 1
Giannis Antetokounmpo1 day ago

Not Participating In Live Practice
De'Anthony Melton1 day ago

Remains Sidelined For Game 1
Joel Embiid1 day ago

Deemed Questionable For Game 1 Against Knicks
Tobias Harris1 day ago

76ers Expected To Part Ways This Summer
Alex Caruso1 day ago

Expects To Play Against Heat
Jayden Daniels1 day ago

Not Interested In Playing In D.C.?
DJ Chark Jr.1 day ago

Visits With Chargers
Courtland Sutton1 day ago

Broncos Not Concerned With Courtland Sutton
Brandon Ingram2 days ago

Has "A Great Practice" On Thursday
Darren Waller2 days ago

Giants Haven't Given Darren Waller A Deadline For His Decision
J.K. Dobbins2 days ago

"Should Be" Ready For Training Camp
Trevor Lawrence2 days ago

Jaguars Making Progress On Extension For Trevor Lawrence
Justus Annunen2 days ago

Starting On Thursday
Dustin Wolf2 days ago

Starting Thursday's Series Finale
Devin Cooley2 days ago

To Start Regular Season Finale
Sidney Crosby2 days ago

To Discuss Extension With Penguins
Rasmus Ristolainen2 days ago

Undergoes Triceps Surgery
Washington Commanders2 days ago

Commanders Won't Trade Down From No. 2 Pick
NFL2 days ago

NFL Reinstates Five Suspended Players On Thursday
Zay Flowers2 days ago

Won't Face Discipline From NFL
Washington Commanders2 days ago

Commanders "Feel Great About Staying At No. 2"
Jayden Daniels2 days ago

Vikings To Meet With Jayden Daniels On Thursday
Buffalo Bills2 days ago

Terrel Bernard Feels Good Health-Wise
Nick Chubb2 days ago

Running On Land
New England Patriots2 days ago

Patriots "Open For Business" On Trades For NFL Draft
Dougie Hamilton3 days ago

Could Have Returned For Playoffs
Nikita Kucherov3 days ago

Reaches 100 Assists
J.K. Dobbins3 days ago

Planning To Sign With Chargers
De'Von Achane3 days ago

Looking Shredded
Brock Bowers3 days ago

Visiting With Chargers
Adam Hadwin3 days ago

Too Volatile To Touch At RBC Heritage
Kurt Kitayama3 days ago

A Boring Play At RBC Heritage
Tom Kim3 days ago

Heads To Hilton Head Looking For Consistency
Emiliano Grillo3 days ago

Looking To Bounce Back At RBC Heritage
Chris Kirk3 days ago

A Safe Option For RBC Heritage
Adam Schenk3 days ago

Trending Up Ahead of RBC Heritage
Lucas Glover3 days ago

Looks To Reverse Fortune At Harbour Town
Taylor Moore3 days ago

Should Contend At Harbour Town
Max Homa3 days ago

Be Wary Of Max Homas At RBC Heritage
Rickie Fowler3 days ago

In Poor Form Heading To Harbour Town
Eric Cole3 days ago

Out Of Form Heading To RBC Heritage
Sepp Straka3 days ago

Continues Maddening Run Of Inconsistent Play
Keegan Bradley3 days ago

Looking To Get Over The Hump At Harbour Town
Tony Finau3 days ago

Looking To Find Putting Stroke At RBC Heritage
Will Zalatoris3 days ago

Makes Return To Harbour Town
PGA3 days ago

J.T. Poston A Decent Leverage Play With Upside At RBC Heritage
Patrick Cantlay3 days ago

Brings Near-Perfect Course History To Harbour Town
Akshay Bhatia4 days ago

A Perfect Fit For Harbour Town, But Take Caution
Jake Knapp4 days ago

In Solid Form Heading To Harbour Town
Nick Taylor4 days ago

In Bounce-Back Spot At Harbour Town
Justin Rose4 days ago

Searching For Form Heading To RBC Heritage
Alex Pereira5 days ago

Defends Light-Heavyweight Title At UFC 300
Jamahal Hill5 days ago

Knocked Out At UFC 300
Yan Xiaonan5 days ago

Unsuccessful In Bid To Capture UFC Title
Arman Tsarukyan5 days ago

Edges Out Competitive Decision At UFC 300
Charles Oliveira5 days ago

Drops Decision Matchup
NASCAR5 days ago

Bubba Wallace Finishes Seventh At Texas Motor Speedway
Kyle Busch5 days ago

Earns Top 10 Finish In Backup Car At Texas Motor Speedway
Chase Elliott5 days ago

Emerges Victorious in Texas Race Riddled with Cautions
William Byron5 days ago

Finishes Third at Texas After Wrecking Ross Chastain
Ross Chastain5 days ago

Gets Wrecked on Final Lap at Texas While Battling for the Lead
Kyle Larson5 days ago

Sees Dominant Day Slip Away at Texas Due To Loose Wheel
NASCAR6 days ago

Daniel Suárez the Luckiest Driver at Texas, Scores Top Five
Denny Hamlin6 days ago

Late Spinout Costs Denny Hamlin Likely Second-Place Finish
Ty Gibbs6 days ago

Had Speed at Texas, But Burnt by Pit Crew
Ryan Blaney6 days ago

Was Best Ford Driver Until Wreck With Ryan Preece
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF

MORE RECENT ARTICLES

 
Tony Pollard - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Fantasy Football Dynasty Price Check - Tony Pollard (2024)

Tony Pollard had a season to remember in 2022, as he performed better than Ezekiel Elliott despite Elliott being the starter. Pollard made the Pro Bowl that year, reminiscent of the late Cowboys RB Marion Barber making the Pro Bowl in 2007 despite Julius Jones being the starter. In 2008, the Cowboys moved on from... Read More


Who Offers The Best Value At Wide Receiver Right Now? 2024 Fantasy Football Outlook

Football never sleeps at RotoBaller! With some high-stakes best ball drafts already underway, we're digging into what the fantasy football landscape will look like in 2024. RotoBaller's David Rispoli breaks down the wide receiver that stands out as the best value on the board in early 2024 fantasy football drafts. Win MORE in 2024 with... Read More


UFL RANKINGS, FANTASY FOOTBALL,

Free UFL Betting Picks - Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Week 4

Why, WHY, would they put games on at the same time on the same day? Why, WHY, not just put on a game on a week day or just at a different time instead of forcing your dedicated fans to make some very difficult choices? That is very frustrating--if you are making people work that... Read More


Tyrone Tracy Jr. - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, RB, NFL Draft Sleepers

Cleared For Landing: Five Under-the-Radar Prospects to Watch Post-NFL Draft

As we draw closer to the NFL Draft, fantasy football enthusiasts eagerly analyze every pick, every trade, and every player landing spot with fervent anticipation. The annual draft not only shapes the future of NFL franchises but also holds significant implications for fantasy football managers, as each player's destination can dramatically alter their fantasy value.... Read More


Drake Maye - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, QB, NFL Draft Sleepers

Getting to Know the Rookie Quarterbacks - 2024 NFL Draft Analysis

The 2024 NFL Draft is just one week away and we still don't know which players might end up with which teams (other than you, Caleb Williams). As the suspense builds to an all-time high, we decided to share some more information on every draft-relevant quarterback in this year's class. While this list doesn't include... Read More


Xavier Worthy - Fantasy Football, Rankings, NFL Draft Sleepers, Injury News, Wide Receiver

Florio's NFL/Fantasy Football Scouting Report: Ladd McConkey, Xavier Worthy, Brian Thomas Jr., and More

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard all about the elite three receivers that sit atop this draft class. They are all elite and should be great fantasy football options from Day 1. I wrote about them here (ADD). But the class does not end there. There is a ton of receiver depth... Read More


Jameson Williams - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

Fantasy Football Dynasty League Price Check – Jameson Williams

Will the third year be the charm for Detroit Lions wideout Jameson Williams? Fantasy footballers certainly hope so. Williams was taken in the first round of 2022 NFL Draft with the hopes he would be the big-play pass-catcher the Lions desperately needed at the wide receiver position. He was a home-run hitter during his college... Read More


CeeDee Lamb - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Targets, NFL Injury News

Buying and Selling FFPC Teams on Dynasty Depot in 2024

For those who find themselves deeply enthralled by the intricacies of fantasy football, dynasty leagues are a godsend, ensuring the game never really goes into hibernation. Are you twiddling your thumbs during the offseason, itching for some action? Dynasty leagues have you covered. Can’t wait until August to start scheming and drafting your squads? No... Read More


UFL DFS PICKS, FANTASY FOOTBALL, DRAFTKINGS, FANDUEL

UFL DFS Lineup Picks: DraftKings Daily Fantasy Fantasy Advice for Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of the inaugural UFL season, RotoBallers! The season is rolling along, and we're seeing some teams separate from the pack. The Birmingham Stallions are the lone undefeated team, while the Houston Roughnecks and Arlington Renegades remain winless. Chase Garber's being ruled out for the season creates an exciting pivot point on... Read More


Why Jahmyr Gibbs Should NOT Be A First-Round Pick: 2024 Fantasy Football Outlook

Football never sleeps at RotoBaller! We're already digging into what the fantasy football landscape will look like in 2024. RotoBaller's David Rispoli breaks down why talented Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs could be getting too much hype in 2024 drafts. Win MORE in 2024 with RotoBaller! Be sure to tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM... Read More


Joe Milton - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers, NCAA College Football, Prospects

2024 NFL Draft – Spencer Rattler, Michael Pratt, Joe Milton III NFL Draft Outlooks

The 2024 NFL Draft is less than a week away. Everyone knows the Chicago Bears will select Caleb Williams with the first overall pick. However, the uncertainty starts after the first selection. Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and J.J. McCarthy will be top 10 picks, potentially coming off the board in the top five. Meanwhile, Bo... Read More


UFL RANKINGS, FANTASY FOOTBALL,

UFL Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 4: QB, RB, WR, TE Rankings and Analysis (2024)

Week 4 of the UFL season is just around the corner. This week will feature three games on Saturday with one game on Sunday. Memphis and St. Louis will play at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, followed by DC-Birmingham and Michigan-San Antonio both at 7. Sunday's game pits the 0-3 Renegades against the 0-3 Roughnecks.... Read More


Tom Brady - NFL QB Passing Leaders, Fantasy Football All Time Greats

2000 NFL Draft - Who Were The Six Quarterbacks Selected Before Tom Brady?

With 10 Super Bowl appearances, seven Lombardi Trophies, and five Super Bowl MVPs, Tom Brady is undoubtedly the greatest quarterback to ever step on an NFL field. What has always made his story even more remarkable is that he was all but forgotten in the 2000 NFL Draft. Brady had to watch 198 players be... Read More