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Gerrit Cole vs. Spencer Strider: Fantasy Baseball ADP Showdown for 2024

Spencer Strider fantasy baseball rankings waiver wire pickups draft sleepers starting pitchers

Over the years, ADP has become one of the most important aspects of having successful fantasy baseball drafts. I view ADP similarly to the rostership percentage in DFS. You can differentiate yourself if you know when to eat the chalk or play contrarian. With ADP, if you know what players are overvalued and undervalued by the public, we can exploit that.

We will continue our journey with edition No. 2 of our ADP showdown articles. Look on X for a poll for Round 3 of our ADP Showdown to vote on which two players you would like for our third showdown of the year.

Today, in our second edition of ADP Showdown, we have a matchup between two similar pitchers being drafted at the top of drafts. These two aces certainly will be a deciding factor in the success of our season-long drafts, especially at the asking price. We aim to determine which player is better in 2024 drafts.

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

 

Gerrit Cole vs. Spencer Strider

Our second season battle is between two aces being taken at the top of draft boards. Gerrit Cole and Spencer Strider are the top two pitchers in drafts and the only two consistently in the top two rounds. Who will win our second ADP showdown of the 2024 season? Let's find out.

 

Reviewing Last Season

Cole: 15-4, 209.0 IP, 2.63 ERA, 222 K, 0.98 WHIP
Strider: 20-5, 186 2/3 IP, 3.86 ERA, 281 K, 1.09 WHIP

Reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole posted one of his best seasons as a pro last year for the Yankees. His 2.63 ERA was the best of his 11-year career. His 209 IP was his best since joining the Yankees and the second-most innings he's thrown in a single season as a pro. This marks his second straight season throwing over 200 IP and his third over 175 IP. Cole was worth every bit of the Cy Young Award he won last season, but some underlying numbers that we will get into later might say otherwise.

Spencer Strider threw a career-high 186 2/3 IP for the Braves last season. His 3.86 ERA was a bit underwhelming compared to the 2.67 ERA he posted in 2022, but as we get into it later, he was a bit unlucky. Strider led baseball with 281 punchouts last season. The next closest was Kevin Gausman with 237. Strider dominated baseball in strikeouts, and as we know, strikeouts are king for DFS and fantasy formats. Strider finished fourth in Cy Young voting for the NL in 2023.

 

2024 Projections (ATC)

Cole: 14-8, 195 IP, 3.50 ERA, 219 K, 1.10 WHIP
Strider: 15-6, 179 IP, 3.38 ERA, 251 K, 1.09 WHIP 

Projections for 2024 show a close battle between Strider and Cole, but we can see Strider is projected to lead Cole in every statistical category outside of IP. Although we can project IP accurately enough, it is the highest variance outcome of the statistical categories listed above. The 251 strikeouts for Strider dominate Cole in fewer innings pitched, and the 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP are also lower than Cole.

As we break down in the next section, Strider is the younger pitcher entering his prime. Although he has already stepped on the scene as a dominant pitcher in our game, I do not believe he has had a ceiling season as an ace. Cole is a 33-year-old pitcher entering his 12th season in the big leagues. As we will see in the next section, Cole has shown signs of decline in the previous few seasons for the Yankees.

 

Underlying Data

Cole: 3.63 SIERA, 3.48 xERA, .233 xBAA, 27.0% K%, 11.7% SwStr%, 26.0% Whiff%
Strider: 2.86 SIERA, 3.09 xERA, .205 xBAA, 36.8% K%, 18.9% SwStr%, 38.6% Whiff%

If not for his Cy Young Award last season, Cole would be on the short list of those being talked about regarding decline. His 27.0% K% was his lowest mark since 2018 and was 5.4% points lower than his 32.4% mark in 2022. The same goes for his 11.7% SwStr%, 2.6% below his 2022 mark.

The biggest concern is the drop in his stuff. His fastball averaged 96.8 mph last season -- his lowest since 2018. His main out pitch, the slider, went from a 44.2% Whiff% in 2022 to 32.9% Whiff% in 2023. His curveball was similar, decreasing from his 36.9% mark in 2022 to his 24.4% mark last season.

In 2023, Cole's 3.48 xERA ranked in the 79th percentile in the MLB. His .233 x BA was 65th percentile. His 29.9% Chase% and his 26.0% Whiff% both ranked around league average. The same goes for his 39.2% hard-hit% and 7.6% Barrel%. None of these numbers scream to me to take Cole in the first round.

Here's where Spencer Strider separates himself from Gerrit Cole, in my opinion. The difference between his 3.86 ERA and 2.86 SIERA was the seventh-highest in the big leagues. His 3.09 xERA and .205 xBAA show that he was more effective than Cole last season, although posting a much higher ERA. These numbers will all even out throughout a higher sample size.

The significant differences are in the swing and miss. Strider was nearly 10% higher than Cole in K%. He was 7% higher in SwStr% and 12% higher in Whiff%. These are drastic differences, and when we include the underlying metrics regarding run prevention and batting average, Strider was also better.

Fantasy Baseball ADP

Cole: 12.7
Strider: 9.0

The average draft position (ADP) shows the public knows that Strider is the safer pick here as he is projected to be the only starting pitcher taken within the first round. Our projection system has Spencer Strider ranked as the 10th-best player and Gerrit Cole as the 13th. The ADP seems fitting for both arms, but after we dig into the underlying numbers, we all know who will win this showdown.

Verdict

Spencer Strider

This is easy for me, as Spencer Strider dominates Gerrit Cole in every statistical category. His underlying numbers beat Cole in run prevention, batted ball, and strikeout data. He is straightforward, always the better pick at these ADPs, and worth the first-round price tag. He is my pick to win the National League Cy Young this season and finish as the No. 1 starting pitcher. The real question here is why Gerrit Cole is being drafted so high.



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