Eno Sarris’ updated 2024 starting pitcher fantasy rankings and Stuff+ powered projections – The Athletic

Eno SarrisMar 5, 2024

Spring training is in full bore now, and we’ve gotten our first rash of injuries news and are deep in updates about upticks in velocities and new pitches and which players are in the best shapes of their lives. Here at headquarters, we’ve been busy updating the projections to keep serve with all that information coming in from games, so it made sense to re-issue the rankings in time for drafting season.

First, a reminder of the different statistical underpinnings for the rankings, and then an update on what has changed.

Stuff+, Location+, Pitching+

Stuff+ is the statistic that uses machine learning to evaluate pitchers based entirely on the physical characteristics of their arsenals. It is now housed on FanGraphs (and updated daily during the season) for your perusal. Generally, Stuff+ takes the movement and velocity of the fastball and then defines a pitcher’s secondaries off of that pitch. The most important inputs are velocity, release point, and movement differential. When working with small samples, Stuff+ is a very powerful predictive statistic.

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Location+ looks at how well pitchers locate their pitches based on the count and the pitch type they’re throwing. Pitching+ is a third model that attempts to look at stuff and command in its own way. One hundred is the average for all three of these bespoke statistics and while 10 points is one standard deviation on the single pitch level, the spread is different once it’s aggregated at the pitcher level. There’s more on the spread in the glossary item here.

Thanks to Owen McGrattan, the Stuff+ model has been updated for these rankings, so the numbers won’t match up exactly with what FanGraphs has right now. In the new update, Stuff+ was trained on 2024 data for the first time, an adjustment was included for platoon splits on movement types, and pitch movement was adjusted for air density and altitude. During the season, subscribers will get minor-league updates in Stuff+ exclusively in this Google doc (as well as full downloadable rankings and other goodies).

Injury ratings

Created by Jeff Zimmerman, these ratings consider how old a pitcher is and how many days a pitcher has been on the injured list in the past two seasons and in their career. It also takes their fastball velocity into account, as velocity is the biggest single stressor on an elbow ligament. Pitchers were given a grade from A to F, which we included in the rankings and those also then influenced my hand-produced innings projection for each pitcher.

ppERA and ppK%

Jordan Rosenblum’s projections using Stuff+ performed well for their first year out in the wild, particularly among rookies. What’s exciting about folding Stuff+ into a projection is that it offers the ability to regress the aspects of a pitcher’s arsenal that are less sticky year to year, to put in a park factor, and also to adjust pitchers’ projections for age. You’ll find full projections on that Google doc mentioned above, with some in-season updates.

New in this release are the ppERA and ppK% projections, to which Rosenblum made the following changes:

• The revised Stuff+ and Location+ numbers are included in the projections.
• Starters and relievers are split in terms of how they were projected and regressed.
• Park factors are updated
• Stuff+ aging is now included.
• Called and swinging strikes are projected separately for better K% prediction.
• Clay Davenport translations and WBC Stuff+ are used to project league newcomers where possible.

These changes created some movement!

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• Yoshinobu Yamamoto has a projection now, and it’s beautiful, and pushed him up a couple of spots.
• Framber Valdez moved up seven spots as his projection dived below four, and that makes much more sense given his recent run of results.
• Michael King’s projection took a hit due to being projected differently as a starter now, but I still like him.
• Bailey Ober and Yusei Kikuchi both improved by about a quarter of a run of ERA, and that allowed them to move up a bit.
• Seth Lugo’s projected ERA took about as much of a hit, so I reined in my enthusiasm a bit.

Injury news also dominated this update.

• Obviously Kyle Bradish plummeted due to the news about his elbow, but Kevin Gausman’s sore shoulder also cost him a couple of spots.
• Chris Sale’s fastball has more life and more ride this spring, so there’s positive health news that caused him to move up a bit.
• More news about how the seasons for Walker Buehler and Shane Baz might be shaped came in — they’re still great pickups depending on your league settings.
• Alex Cobb is already throwing off a mound, which seems like good progress from his offseason hip surgery.

Here are the current top 175 as we see it, with more extensive breakdowns for the top 100. Head to the Google doc for a downloadable version of these rankings, along with additional information on pitchers that didn’t make the top 150. Good luck hunting!

Team ARI ATL BAL BOS CHC CHW CIN CLE DET HOU KCR LAA LAD MIA MIL MIN NYM NYY OAK PHI PIT SDP SEA SFG STL TBR TEX TOR WSNLoadingTry changing or resetting your filters to see more.1

Spencer Strider

132 Stuff+3.18 ppERABlurb ProcessIn terms of projected strikeout and walk rates and ERA, Strider is superior to all but maybe Jacob deGrom on a per-inning basis. His health scorecard looks pretty good, too, so this is a strong place to start your staff. The risk comes from the park and the size of his arsenal, perhaps. In 2022, those things didn’t matter as much, but they are facts, still. Could his changeup continue to improve? Could the defense behind him improve? Could his luck on batted balls improve? The bet is that at least one of these things will be answered in the affirmative. Even if they aren’t, Strider was the third-best fantasy pitcher in 2024, despite the ERA.Blurb ProcessIn terms of projected strikeout and walk rates and ERA, Strider is superior to all but maybe Jacob deGrom on a per-inning basis. His health scorecard looks pretty good, too, so this is a strong place to start your staff. The risk comes from the park and the size of his arsenal, perhaps. In 2022, those things didn’t matter as much, but they are facts, still. Could his changeup continue to improve? Could the defense behind him improve? Could his luck on batted balls improve? The bet is that at least one of these things will be answered in the affirmative. Even if they aren’t, Strider was the third-best fantasy pitcher in 2024, despite the ERA.In terms of projected strikeout and walk rates and ERA, Strider is superior to all but maybe Jacob deGrom on a per-inning basis. His health scorecard looks pretty good, too, so this is a strong place to start your staff. The risk comes from the park and the size of his arsenal, perhaps. In 2022, those things didn’t matter as much, but they are facts, still. Could his changeup continue to improve? Could the defense behind him improve? Could his luck on batted balls improve? The bet is that at least one of these things will be answered in the affirmative. Even if they aren’t, Strider was the third-best fantasy pitcher in 2024, despite the ERA.Stuff+132Location+104Pitching+113HealthBppERA3.18ppK%34.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022131.2212023186.23ATL2

Corbin Burnes

121 Stuff+3.59 ppERABlurb ProcessThe burgeoning offensive environment and maybe the shape of his season (his worst months were April and June) obscured the fact that Burnes had a near-vintage season in 2024. Still, he did lose nearly a tick on the fastball and some whiffs, so it wasn’t all good news. A strong health grade, top-of-the-line stuff, and a large enough arsenal that he could still tweak for whiffs if he wanted — these are reasons to believe. As an example, he had a top-three curve by Stuff+ and only threw it 18 percent of the time. He’s still got some tricks up his sleeve as he ages.Blurb ProcessThe burgeoning offensive environment and maybe the shape of his season (his worst months were April and June) obscured the fact that Burnes had a near-vintage season in 2024. Still, he did lose nearly a tick on the fastball and some whiffs, so it wasn’t all good news. A strong health grade, top-of-the-line stuff, and a large enough arsenal that he could still tweak for whiffs if he wanted — these are reasons to believe. As an example, he had a top-three curve by Stuff+ and only threw it 18 percent of the time. He’s still got some tricks up his sleeve as he ages.The burgeoning offensive environment and maybe the shape of his season (his worst months were April and June) obscured the fact that Burnes had a near-vintage season in 2024. Still, he did lose nearly a tick on the fastball and some whiffs, so it wasn’t all good news. A strong health grade, top-of-the-line stuff, and a large enough arsenal that he could still tweak for whiffs if he wanted — these are reasons to believe. As an example, he had a top-three curve by Stuff+ and only threw it 18 percent of the time. He’s still got some tricks up his sleeve as he ages.Stuff+121Location+102Pitching+104HealthAppERA3.59ppK%26.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202116742022202102023193.213BAL3

Gerrit Cole

120 Stuff+3.57 ppERABlurb ProcessWhy should the highest-earning starting pitcher in 2024 be anywhere but first going into 2024? Fair question, but Cole has a few things going against him. The park is one the hardest out there, the division is difficult, he lost a tick on his fastball last season, and he showed his worst whiff and strikeout rates since he became the beast he’s been since 2018. All that said, he increased the use of his cutter and curve, which offered fewer whiffs but reduced his oft-difficult home run rate — maybe some of it was on purpose. If you want floor, there’s none better. Cole has been on average, the ninth-best starting pitcher in fantasy over the past six seasons.Blurb ProcessWhy should the highest-earning starting pitcher in 2024 be anywhere but first going into 2024? Fair question, but Cole has a few things going against him. The park is one the hardest out there, the division is difficult, he lost a tick on his fastball last season, and he showed his worst whiff and strikeout rates since he became the beast he’s been since 2018. All that said, he increased the use of his cutter and curve, which offered fewer whiffs but reduced his oft-difficult home run rate — maybe some of it was on purpose. If you want floor, there’s none better. Cole has been on average, the ninth-best starting pitcher in fantasy over the past six seasons.Why should the highest-earning starting pitcher in 2024 be anywhere but first going into 2024? Fair question, but Cole has a few things going against him. The park is one the hardest out there, the division is difficult, he lost a tick on his fastball last season, and he showed his worst whiff and strikeout rates since he became the beast he’s been since 2018. All that said, he increased the use of his cutter and curve, which offered fewer whiffs but reduced his oft-difficult home run rate — maybe some of it was on purpose. If you want floor, there’s none better. Cole has been on average, the ninth-best starting pitcher in fantasy over the past six seasons.Stuff+120Location+104Pitching+108HealthCppERA3.57ppK%28.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021181.1112022200.22320232091NYY4

Zack Wheeler

113 Stuff+3.74 ppERABlurb ProcessComing off a year in which he threw a combined 219 2/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs, it’s easy to forget that Wheeler has had some health issues in the past. He’s spent 490 days on the injured list in his career, 30 over the past two seasons. He’s has had six significant arm injuries. He also throws really hard. All that earns him an F on Zimmerman’s health report card. In terms of on-field success, there’s nothing to be concerned with. He hasn’t lost velocity; he even added a sweeper that helped cut his second-half ERA by a full run, and he’s continued his excellence. But is there any concern about innings?Blurb ProcessComing off a year in which he threw a combined 219 2/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs, it’s easy to forget that Wheeler has had some health issues in the past. He’s spent 490 days on the injured list in his career, 30 over the past two seasons. He’s has had six significant arm injuries. He also throws really hard. All that earns him an F on Zimmerman’s health report card. In terms of on-field success, there’s nothing to be concerned with. He hasn’t lost velocity; he even added a sweeper that helped cut his second-half ERA by a full run, and he’s continued his excellence. But is there any concern about innings?Coming off a year in which he threw a combined 219 2/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs, it’s easy to forget that Wheeler has had some health issues in the past. He’s spent 490 days on the injured list in his career, 30 over the past two seasons. He’s has had six significant arm injuries. He also throws really hard. All that earns him an F on Zimmerman’s health report card. In terms of on-field success, there’s nothing to be concerned with. He hasn’t lost velocity; he even added a sweeper that helped cut his second-half ERA by a full run, and he’s continued his excellence. But is there any concern about innings?Stuff+113Location+106Pitching+110HealthFppERA3.74ppK%25.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021213.13202215325202319211PHI5

George Kirby

106 Stuff+3.73 ppERABlurb ProcessKirby is a pitching savant. As a foundation, he has his elite command — the best in baseball. Then, he set out to improve his slider, and added four inches of sweep and three inches of drop over his first two years, with almost no velocity drop. Done. Mid-season 2024, he turned his sights to his changeup, settling on a split-finger that featured more drop than his previous version. He really ramped up the usage of that pitch in the second half, and a 24.4 percent strikeout rate was his reward. That’s not quite elite, but it’s good enough when paired with that command and a strong health grade.Blurb ProcessKirby is a pitching savant. As a foundation, he has his elite command — the best in baseball. Then, he set out to improve his slider, and added four inches of sweep and three inches of drop over his first two years, with almost no velocity drop. Done. Mid-season 2024, he turned his sights to his changeup, settling on a split-finger that featured more drop than his previous version. He really ramped up the usage of that pitch in the second half, and a 24.4 percent strikeout rate was his reward. That’s not quite elite, but it’s good enough when paired with that command and a strong health grade.Kirby is a pitching savant. As a foundation, he has his elite command — the best in baseball. Then, he set out to improve his slider, and added four inches of sweep and three inches of drop over his first two years, with almost no velocity drop. Done. Mid-season 2024, he turned his sights to his changeup, settling on a split-finger that featured more drop than his previous version. He really ramped up the usage of that pitch in the second half, and a 24.4 percent strikeout rate was his reward. That’s not quite elite, but it’s good enough when paired with that command and a strong health grade.Stuff+106Location+110Pitching+108HealthAppERA3.73ppK%23.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022130582023190.29SEA6

Yoshinobu Yamamoto

#N/A3.57 ppERABlurb ProcessThe stuff-based comps (from the World Baseball Classic, where they used a non-tacky Rawlings ball and threw in front of the pitch-tracking machines) are enticing — Kevin Gausman with an elite curveball! — but there’s still some risk associated with a pitcher who’s never thrown in MLB, especially one who’s getting used to throwing once a week. The Dodgers have also been sneaking in extra days of rest for their starters for a while, which reduces the innings upside. But he’s landed in a good spot for wins that also won’t hurt him in terms of home runs, has a large arsenal and good command, and is 25 years old. Likely, he’ll only move up in the rankings.Blurb ProcessThe stuff-based comps (from the World Baseball Classic, where they used a non-tacky Rawlings ball and threw in front of the pitch-tracking machines) are enticing — Kevin Gausman with an elite curveball! — but there’s still some risk associated with a pitcher who’s never thrown in MLB, especially one who’s getting used to throwing once a week. The Dodgers have also been sneaking in extra days of rest for their starters for a while, which reduces the innings upside. But he’s landed in a good spot for wins that also won’t hurt him in terms of home runs, has a large arsenal and good command, and is 25 years old. Likely, he’ll only move up in the rankings.The stuff-based comps (from the World Baseball Classic, where they used a non-tacky Rawlings ball and threw in front of the pitch-tracking machines) are enticing — Kevin Gausman with an elite curveball! — but there’s still some risk associated with a pitcher who’s never thrown in MLB, especially one who’s getting used to throwing once a week. The Dodgers have also been sneaking in extra days of rest for their starters for a while, which reduces the innings upside. But he’s landed in a good spot for wins that also won’t hurt him in terms of home runs, has a large arsenal and good command, and is 25 years old. Likely, he’ll only move up in the rankings.HealthBppERA3.57ppK%27.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ALAD7

Luis Castillo

104 Stuff+3.91 ppERABlurb ProcessEver since he hit Seattle, Castillo has been more of a four-seam/slider guy and less of a sinker/changeup guy, and that’s meant the best strikeout-to-walk ratios of his career. The difference between 2024 (when he was the eighth-best fantasy starter) and 2022 (when he was more of a top-30 guy) was about 50 innings. With a mostly clean health report card, and strong innings counts most other years, he’s probably a good bet for 175-plus innings, around 200 strikeouts and an ERA in the low threes. The fact that he’s got two versions of himself makes him adaptable, and his health gives him a good floor.Blurb ProcessEver since he hit Seattle, Castillo has been more of a four-seam/slider guy and less of a sinker/changeup guy, and that’s meant the best strikeout-to-walk ratios of his career. The difference between 2024 (when he was the eighth-best fantasy starter) and 2022 (when he was more of a top-30 guy) was about 50 innings. With a mostly clean health report card, and strong innings counts most other years, he’s probably a good bet for 175-plus innings, around 200 strikeouts and an ERA in the low threes. The fact that he’s got two versions of himself makes him adaptable, and his health gives him a good floor.Ever since he hit Seattle, Castillo has been more of a four-seam/slider guy and less of a sinker/changeup guy, and that’s meant the best strikeout-to-walk ratios of his career. The difference between 2024 (when he was the eighth-best fantasy starter) and 2022 (when he was more of a top-30 guy) was about 50 innings. With a mostly clean health report card, and strong innings counts most other years, he’s probably a good bet for 175-plus innings, around 200 strikeouts and an ERA in the low threes. The fact that he’s got two versions of himself makes him adaptable, and his health gives him a good floor.Stuff+104Location+103Pitching+104HealthBppERA3.91ppK%25.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021187.21172022150.13420231977SEA8

Kevin Gausman

103 Stuff+3.78 ppERABlurb ProcessGausman may never have a plus breaking ball. He’s been trying forever. But it’s been four straight seasons now in which he’s been great, so it’s time to believe in him and his elite splitter. Over those four seasons, he’s struck out around 30 percent of the batters he’s seen and walked fewer than league average, and he hasn’t shown a home run problem. The innings have been there, too. Should he be higher? Should we stop focusing on what he can’t do and praise him for what he can do? (A sore shoulder that’s keeping him out of spring games may or may not be a big deal, but it’s worth noting.)Blurb ProcessGausman may never have a plus breaking ball. He’s been trying forever. But it’s been four straight seasons now in which he’s been great, so it’s time to believe in him and his elite splitter. Over those four seasons, he’s struck out around 30 percent of the batters he’s seen and walked fewer than league average, and he hasn’t shown a home run problem. The innings have been there, too. Should he be higher? Should we stop focusing on what he can’t do and praise him for what he can do? (A sore shoulder that’s keeping him out of spring games may or may not be a big deal, but it’s worth noting.)Gausman may never have a plus breaking ball. He’s been trying forever. But it’s been four straight seasons now in which he’s been great, so it’s time to believe in him and his elite splitter. Over those four seasons, he’s struck out around 30 percent of the batters he’s seen and walked fewer than league average, and he hasn’t shown a home run problem. The innings have been there, too. Should he be higher? Should we stop focusing on what he can’t do and praise him for what he can do? (A sore shoulder that’s keeping him out of spring games may or may not be a big deal, but it’s worth noting.)Stuff+103Location+104Pitching+106HealthCppERA3.78ppK%27.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202119272022174.243202318514TOR9

Tarik Skubal

95 Stuff+3.74 ppERABlurb ProcessLast year, coming off surgery, Skubal showed his best fastball velocity, his best slider and changeup shapes, and his best results (peripheral or otherwise) of his career. It was quite the 80-inning coming-out party. Now he’s projected as a top-ten, and he may deserve it. 96 mph with a bigger breaking ball, a nice hard gyro slider, and a changeup that looks better by results than by the models — that’s a strong arsenal backed up by good command. But he’s never crossed over 150 innings, and last year’s results were so out of the norm he’d established that it’s probably more prudent to build in some extra regression and reduce the expected innings output a little. This spring? Just an extra couple ticks and even sharper stuff.Blurb ProcessLast year, coming off surgery, Skubal showed his best fastball velocity, his best slider and changeup shapes, and his best results (peripheral or otherwise) of his career. It was quite the 80-inning coming-out party. Now he’s projected as a top-ten, and he may deserve it. 96 mph with a bigger breaking ball, a nice hard gyro slider, and a changeup that looks better by results than by the models — that’s a strong arsenal backed up by good command. But he’s never crossed over 150 innings, and last year’s results were so out of the norm he’d established that it’s probably more prudent to build in some extra regression and reduce the expected innings output a little. This spring? Just an extra couple ticks and even sharper stuff.Last year, coming off surgery, Skubal showed his best fastball velocity, his best slider and changeup shapes, and his best results (peripheral or otherwise) of his career. It was quite the 80-inning coming-out party. Now he’s projected as a top-ten, and he may deserve it. 96 mph with a bigger breaking ball, a nice hard gyro slider, and a changeup that looks better by results than by the models — that’s a strong arsenal backed up by good command. But he’s never crossed over 150 innings, and last year’s results were so out of the norm he’d established that it’s probably more prudent to build in some extra regression and reduce the expected innings output a little. This spring? Just an extra couple ticks and even sharper stuff.Stuff+95Location+105Pitching+107HealthDppERA3.74ppK%26.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021149.1862022117.261202380.121DET10

Logan Webb

116 Stuff+3.45 ppERABlurb ProcessOne of the best changeups in the game, great command, and one of the best home parks in the league, along with a great health report card — Webb has a high floor. In 2021, he added his best breaking ball and showed a strikeout rate (26.5 percent) that represents the remaining upside beyond what he showed last season. His average end-of-season result has been in the top 25 the past three seasons and he’s finished as high as 10th. We normally fixate on upside, but getting a high-floor guy with a lot of innings is worth something in today’s offensive environment.Blurb ProcessOne of the best changeups in the game, great command, and one of the best home parks in the league, along with a great health report card — Webb has a high floor. In 2021, he added his best breaking ball and showed a strikeout rate (26.5 percent) that represents the remaining upside beyond what he showed last season. His average end-of-season result has been in the top 25 the past three seasons and he’s finished as high as 10th. We normally fixate on upside, but getting a high-floor guy with a lot of innings is worth something in today’s offensive environment.One of the best changeups in the game, great command, and one of the best home parks in the league, along with a great health report card — Webb has a high floor. In 2021, he added his best breaking ball and showed a strikeout rate (26.5 percent) that represents the remaining upside beyond what he showed last season. His average end-of-season result has been in the top 25 the past three seasons and he’s finished as high as 10th. We normally fixate on upside, but getting a high-floor guy with a lot of innings is worth something in today’s offensive environment.Stuff+116Location+105Pitching+106HealthAppERA3.45ppK%22.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021148.1242022192.130202321610SFG11

Tyler Glasnow

129 Stuff+3.19 ppERABlurb ProcessThat’s a record scratch of a transition. From floor to upside in the space of one spot on the rankings. Some won’t touch Glasnow in drafts because of his well-earned F on the health card, but in just 120 innings last season he was the 24th-best starting pitcher. What if he managed 160 innings, how good would be? He certainly could be a top-three starter in baseball, with his combination of two elite breaking balls and that high-velo, high-ride fastball. That kind of volume seems impossible, maybe, but if you include the minor leagues, he’s cleared 120 innings four times in the past 10 seasons. Let’s call it improbable (but enticing nonetheless!).Blurb ProcessThat’s a record scratch of a transition. From floor to upside in the space of one spot on the rankings. Some won’t touch Glasnow in drafts because of his well-earned F on the health card, but in just 120 innings last season he was the 24th-best starting pitcher. What if he managed 160 innings, how good would be? He certainly could be a top-three starter in baseball, with his combination of two elite breaking balls and that high-velo, high-ride fastball. That kind of volume seems impossible, maybe, but if you include the minor leagues, he’s cleared 120 innings four times in the past 10 seasons. Let’s call it improbable (but enticing nonetheless!).That’s a record scratch of a transition. From floor to upside in the space of one spot on the rankings. Some won’t touch Glasnow in drafts because of his well-earned F on the health card, but in just 120 innings last season he was the 24th-best starting pitcher. What if he managed 160 innings, how good would be? He certainly could be a top-three starter in baseball, with his combination of two elite breaking balls and that high-velo, high-ride fastball. That kind of volume seems impossible, maybe, but if you include the minor leagues, he’s cleared 120 innings four times in the past 10 seasons. Let’s call it improbable (but enticing nonetheless!).Stuff+129Location+101Pitching+108HealthFppERA3.19ppK%30.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20218832#N/A202312024LAD12

Pablo López

104 Stuff+3.89 ppERABlurb ProcessWhat a season. López showed his highest strikeout rate and did so in the most innings he’d ever thrown in a single season. He upped his velocity, added a sweeper (which made more sense for his arsenal than his old cutter), firmed up his changeup, and showed the most ride on his fastball in his career. The biggest question is about his health. Is he past those old injuries? He had three significant arm injuries and spent 189 days on the IL in his career, but he’s been pretty clean over the past two seasons. If he’s turned the corner, he should be ranked higher.Blurb ProcessWhat a season. López showed his highest strikeout rate and did so in the most innings he’d ever thrown in a single season. He upped his velocity, added a sweeper (which made more sense for his arsenal than his old cutter), firmed up his changeup, and showed the most ride on his fastball in his career. The biggest question is about his health. Is he past those old injuries? He had three significant arm injuries and spent 189 days on the IL in his career, but he’s been pretty clean over the past two seasons. If he’s turned the corner, he should be ranked higher.What a season. López showed his highest strikeout rate and did so in the most innings he’d ever thrown in a single season. He upped his velocity, added a sweeper (which made more sense for his arsenal than his old cutter), firmed up his changeup, and showed the most ride on his fastball in his career. The biggest question is about his health. Is he past those old injuries? He had three significant arm injuries and spent 189 days on the IL in his career, but he’s been pretty clean over the past two seasons. If he’s turned the corner, he should be ranked higher.Stuff+104Location+107Pitching+109HealthCppERA3.89ppK%25.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021102.250202218057202319425MIN13

Logan Gilbert

116 Stuff+3.84 ppERABlurb ProcessGilbert made a lot of changes last season. He found a splitter that ended up giving him the highest whiff rate of his pitches. He switched to a true bullet-spin gyro slider that got better results. He got more drop out of his curve than he ever had. In the end, though, he was about the same as he was before. His strikeout rate is slightly better than it looks if you use K/9 (it’s actually easily above-average among starters), his walk rate is elite and his league-leading-type extension helps his stuff play up to the hitter. He probably won’t be a top-five pitcher at the end of the year, but the floor is very high and the health looks good.Blurb ProcessGilbert made a lot of changes last season. He found a splitter that ended up giving him the highest whiff rate of his pitches. He switched to a true bullet-spin gyro slider that got better results. He got more drop out of his curve than he ever had. In the end, though, he was about the same as he was before. His strikeout rate is slightly better than it looks if you use K/9 (it’s actually easily above-average among starters), his walk rate is elite and his league-leading-type extension helps his stuff play up to the hitter. He probably won’t be a top-five pitcher at the end of the year, but the floor is very high and the health looks good.Gilbert made a lot of changes last season. He found a splitter that ended up giving him the highest whiff rate of his pitches. He switched to a true bullet-spin gyro slider that got better results. He got more drop out of his curve than he ever had. In the end, though, he was about the same as he was before. His strikeout rate is slightly better than it looks if you use K/9 (it’s actually easily above-average among starters), his walk rate is elite and his league-leading-type extension helps his stuff play up to the hitter. He probably won’t be a top-five pitcher at the end of the year, but the floor is very high and the health looks good.Stuff+116Location+101Pitching+103HealthAppERA3.84ppK%24.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021119.1912022185.2392023190.216SEA14

Zac Gallen

103 Stuff+4 ppERABlurb ProcessSometimes, the projections you helped shape don’t make a ton of sense to you. Here’s Gallen. He’s got five average to above-average pitches by Stuff+. He’s got great command. He’s in a good park for pitchers — a neutral one, at least. His team should hand him wins. He’s 28, so age isn’t a huge concern yet. He’s coming off the eighth-best fantasy season among starting pitchers last year. He’s got a clean bill of health. And yet somehow he’s projected for a worse ERA if you use his Stuff+ than if you don’t. I don’t get it! So I’ll push him above his ppERA for now.Blurb ProcessSometimes, the projections you helped shape don’t make a ton of sense to you. Here’s Gallen. He’s got five average to above-average pitches by Stuff+. He’s got great command. He’s in a good park for pitchers — a neutral one, at least. His team should hand him wins. He’s 28, so age isn’t a huge concern yet. He’s coming off the eighth-best fantasy season among starting pitchers last year. He’s got a clean bill of health. And yet somehow he’s projected for a worse ERA if you use his Stuff+ than if you don’t. I don’t get it! So I’ll push him above his ppERA for now.Sometimes, the projections you helped shape don’t make a ton of sense to you. Here’s Gallen. He’s got five average to above-average pitches by Stuff+. He’s got great command. He’s in a good park for pitchers — a neutral one, at least. His team should hand him wins. He’s 28, so age isn’t a huge concern yet. He’s coming off the eighth-best fantasy season among starting pitchers last year. He’s got a clean bill of health. And yet somehow he’s projected for a worse ERA if you use his Stuff+ than if you don’t. I don’t get it! So I’ll push him above his ppERA for now.Stuff+103Location+105Pitching+106HealthAppERA4.00ppK%24.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021121.11182022184620232108ARI15

Framber Valdez

112 Stuff+3.71 ppERABlurb ProcessResist the urge to think too hard on Valdez in the playoffs. It wasn’t great. But all that sweat and those homers and walks … they were out of form for him, and only amounted to a 12-inning road bump. What really happened last year is that the lefty ramped up usage of an improving cutter and showed the best velocity of his career — that turned into the best whiff rate and second-best strikeout rate of his career. While that did cost him some grounders, fantasy players will prefer the strikeouts. Feel good about the floor here, especially if you went bat-heavy early in your draft.Blurb ProcessResist the urge to think too hard on Valdez in the playoffs. It wasn’t great. But all that sweat and those homers and walks … they were out of form for him, and only amounted to a 12-inning road bump. What really happened last year is that the lefty ramped up usage of an improving cutter and showed the best velocity of his career — that turned into the best whiff rate and second-best strikeout rate of his career. While that did cost him some grounders, fantasy players will prefer the strikeouts. Feel good about the floor here, especially if you went bat-heavy early in your draft.Resist the urge to think too hard on Valdez in the playoffs. It wasn’t great. But all that sweat and those homers and walks … they were out of form for him, and only amounted to a 12-inning road bump. What really happened last year is that the lefty ramped up usage of an improving cutter and showed the best velocity of his career — that turned into the best whiff rate and second-best strikeout rate of his career. While that did cost him some grounders, fantasy players will prefer the strikeouts. Feel good about the floor here, especially if you went bat-heavy early in your draft.Stuff+112Location+97Pitching+100HealthAppERA3.71ppK%23.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021134.2422022201.124202319818HOU16

Bobby Miller

125 Stuff+3.74 ppERABlurb ProcessThis is my restrained face. Miller is a god in stuff (and Stuff+), with five pitches that are above-average to elite in the statistic and a 100 mph two-plane fastball that sets up the whole arsenal. His command is fine, not a problem. His health looks good. His home park and team situation is good. That’s why the ERA projection is so delectable. Strangely, he barely struck out more batters than average last season. In the lower minors, he had way better strikeout rates, and his second-half strikeout rate was higher than his first-half one, so there’s a chance that natural regression and progression will help his case there. But that strikeout question is enough to try to rein in the enthusiasm a bit.Blurb ProcessThis is my restrained face. Miller is a god in stuff (and Stuff+), with five pitches that are above-average to elite in the statistic and a 100 mph two-plane fastball that sets up the whole arsenal. His command is fine, not a problem. His health looks good. His home park and team situation is good. That’s why the ERA projection is so delectable. Strangely, he barely struck out more batters than average last season. In the lower minors, he had way better strikeout rates, and his second-half strikeout rate was higher than his first-half one, so there’s a chance that natural regression and progression will help his case there. But that strikeout question is enough to try to rein in the enthusiasm a bit.This is my restrained face. Miller is a god in stuff (and Stuff+), with five pitches that are above-average to elite in the statistic and a 100 mph two-plane fastball that sets up the whole arsenal. His command is fine, not a problem. His health looks good. His home park and team situation is good. That’s why the ERA projection is so delectable. Strangely, he barely struck out more batters than average last season. In the lower minors, he had way better strikeout rates, and his second-half strikeout rate was higher than his first-half one, so there’s a chance that natural regression and progression will help his case there. But that strikeout question is enough to try to rein in the enthusiasm a bit.Stuff+125Location+103Pitching+107HealthCppERA3.74ppK%24.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023124.141LAD17

Grayson Rodriguez

120 Stuff+3.75 ppERABlurb ProcessMinor-league Stuff+ numbers were killer for Rodriguez. His results were there, too. He looked ready to go. But his early-season struggles (a first-half ERA over seven) reminded us that even the best prospects still have to adjust to the big leagues. In this case, Rodriguez learned to turf the bad cutter and throw the breaking balls harder, and he was great in the second half. A 2.58 ERA with a 24 percent strikeout rate and a seven percent walk rate — that’s strong work. The Stuff+-based projections think there’s even more swing and miss in there, and the price isn’t too high to take the chance … yet.Blurb ProcessMinor-league Stuff+ numbers were killer for Rodriguez. His results were there, too. He looked ready to go. But his early-season struggles (a first-half ERA over seven) reminded us that even the best prospects still have to adjust to the big leagues. In this case, Rodriguez learned to turf the bad cutter and throw the breaking balls harder, and he was great in the second half. A 2.58 ERA with a 24 percent strikeout rate and a seven percent walk rate — that’s strong work. The Stuff+-based projections think there’s even more swing and miss in there, and the price isn’t too high to take the chance … yet.Minor-league Stuff+ numbers were killer for Rodriguez. His results were there, too. He looked ready to go. But his early-season struggles (a first-half ERA over seven) reminded us that even the best prospects still have to adjust to the big leagues. In this case, Rodriguez learned to turf the bad cutter and throw the breaking balls harder, and he was great in the second half. A 2.58 ERA with a 24 percent strikeout rate and a seven percent walk rate — that’s strong work. The Stuff+-based projections think there’s even more swing and miss in there, and the price isn’t too high to take the chance … yet.Stuff+120Location+102Pitching+107HealthCppERA3.75ppK%26.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023122118BAL18

Freddy Peralta

104 Stuff+3.77 ppERABlurb ProcessIt was the tale of two halves for Peralta last season. In the first half, he had a 4.70 ERA with a high walk rate and a bad home run rate. In the second half, he featured his changeup more and threw his slider harder and with more drop. He was rewarded with a 2.81 ERA and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among starting pitchers. All systems would be good going into this next season except there’s still the matter of his lack of bulk and shaky injury history. If you drafted a bulk guy first and want to take a shot at a high-strikeout second starter, he’s a great pick. If you need a late ace, it works, but try a bulk guy second.Blurb ProcessIt was the tale of two halves for Peralta last season. In the first half, he had a 4.70 ERA with a high walk rate and a bad home run rate. In the second half, he featured his changeup more and threw his slider harder and with more drop. He was rewarded with a 2.81 ERA and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among starting pitchers. All systems would be good going into this next season except there’s still the matter of his lack of bulk and shaky injury history. If you drafted a bulk guy first and want to take a shot at a high-strikeout second starter, he’s a great pick. If you need a late ace, it works, but try a bulk guy second.It was the tale of two halves for Peralta last season. In the first half, he had a 4.70 ERA with a high walk rate and a bad home run rate. In the second half, he featured his changeup more and threw his slider harder and with more drop. He was rewarded with a 2.81 ERA and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among starting pitchers. All systems would be good going into this next season except there’s still the matter of his lack of bulk and shaky injury history. If you drafted a bulk guy first and want to take a shot at a high-strikeout second starter, he’s a great pick. If you need a late ace, it works, but try a bulk guy second.Stuff+104Location+102Pitching+102HealthCppERA3.77ppK%27.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021144.113202278642023165.223MIL19

Zach Eflin

100 Stuff+3.75 ppERABlurb ProcessEflin had a breakout season in 2024. He threw his cutter and curve more than he ever had before, switched his slider to a sweeper, and got more drop on his changeup than he ever had before. A career-high in strikeouts and a career-low in walk rate is a great combination. To pick the nits, none of his pitches is a standout killer of a pitch — his curve was pretty good by results, with an 18 percent whiff rate, but Stuff+ calls it average and it allowed a .160 isolated slugging percentage. This is more of a command-based wide arsenal, built on a frame that has had injury problems in the past. He may get overdrafted.Blurb ProcessEflin had a breakout season in 2024. He threw his cutter and curve more than he ever had before, switched his slider to a sweeper, and got more drop on his changeup than he ever had before. A career-high in strikeouts and a career-low in walk rate is a great combination. To pick the nits, none of his pitches is a standout killer of a pitch — his curve was pretty good by results, with an 18 percent whiff rate, but Stuff+ calls it average and it allowed a .160 isolated slugging percentage. This is more of a command-based wide arsenal, built on a frame that has had injury problems in the past. He may get overdrafted.Eflin had a breakout season in 2024. He threw his cutter and curve more than he ever had before, switched his slider to a sweeper, and got more drop on his changeup than he ever had before. A career-high in strikeouts and a career-low in walk rate is a great combination. To pick the nits, none of his pitches is a standout killer of a pitch — his curve was pretty good by results, with an 18 percent whiff rate, but Stuff+ calls it average and it allowed a .160 isolated slugging percentage. This is more of a command-based wide arsenal, built on a frame that has had injury problems in the past. He may get overdrafted.Stuff+100Location+109Pitching+106HealthCppERA3.75ppK%23.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021105.2111202275.2962023177.24TBR20

Blake Snell

111 Stuff+3.88 ppERABlurb ProcessSnell actually lost his slider early in the season, a fact that he pointed to as being beneficial in procuring his second Cy Young Award. That loss inspired him to throw his changeup and curve more often together, and that wrinkle helped him to keep the ball on the ground — weakly hit, at that. It probably also led to the career-worst walk rate, as he traditionally commands the changeup poorly. While there’s plenty of regression coming from an unsustainable batting average on balls in play, Snell got his slider back by the end of the season and can probably walk fewer people in the coming seasons. The real question is how many innings he’ll provide.Blurb ProcessSnell actually lost his slider early in the season, a fact that he pointed to as being beneficial in procuring his second Cy Young Award. That loss inspired him to throw his changeup and curve more often together, and that wrinkle helped him to keep the ball on the ground — weakly hit, at that. It probably also led to the career-worst walk rate, as he traditionally commands the changeup poorly. While there’s plenty of regression coming from an unsustainable batting average on balls in play, Snell got his slider back by the end of the season and can probably walk fewer people in the coming seasons. The real question is how many innings he’ll provide.Snell actually lost his slider early in the season, a fact that he pointed to as being beneficial in procuring his second Cy Young Award. That loss inspired him to throw his changeup and curve more often together, and that wrinkle helped him to keep the ball on the ground — weakly hit, at that. It probably also led to the career-worst walk rate, as he traditionally commands the changeup poorly. While there’s plenty of regression coming from an unsustainable batting average on balls in play, Snell got his slider back by the end of the season and can probably walk fewer people in the coming seasons. The real question is how many innings he’ll provide.Stuff+111Location+95Pitching+101HealthCppERA3.88ppK%28.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021128.2842022128492023180221

Eury Pérez

118 Stuff+3.97 ppERABlurb ProcessHow about a 98 mph fastball with an 86 mph power-curve-type slider, another 80-plus mph breaking ball with distinctly different movement, and oh yeah, that patented Marlins power change at 90 mph? It’s gobs and gobs of stuff for Pérez, just dripping with it. The only question is how often he’ll leave something middle-middle (home-run rate) and how the team will treat him (innings). He gave up a homer and a half last season, but that could improve, given what looks like average command. The Marlins gave him 128 innings, and he should put up more than that in his sophomore season. How quickly will the peak come? Will the new shape on the curveball this spring be a big deal? Blurb ProcessHow about a 98 mph fastball with an 86 mph power-curve-type slider, another 80-plus mph breaking ball with distinctly different movement, and oh yeah, that patented Marlins power change at 90 mph? It’s gobs and gobs of stuff for Pérez, just dripping with it. The only question is how often he’ll leave something middle-middle (home-run rate) and how the team will treat him (innings). He gave up a homer and a half last season, but that could improve, given what looks like average command. The Marlins gave him 128 innings, and he should put up more than that in his sophomore season. How quickly will the peak come? Will the new shape on the curveball this spring be a big deal? How about a 98 mph fastball with an 86 mph power-curve-type slider, another 80-plus mph breaking ball with distinctly different movement, and oh yeah, that patented Marlins power change at 90 mph? It’s gobs and gobs of stuff for Pérez, just dripping with it. The only question is how often he’ll leave something middle-middle (home-run rate) and how the team will treat him (innings). He gave up a homer and a half last season, but that could improve, given what looks like average command. The Marlins gave him 128 innings, and he should put up more than that in his sophomore season. How quickly will the peak come? Will the new shape on the curveball this spring be a big deal? Stuff+118Location+98Pitching+105HealthCppERA3.97ppK%26.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202391.148MIA22

Aaron Nola

98 Stuff+3.98 ppERABlurb Process58th. 18th. 51st. Those are the fantasy finishes for Nola among starting pitchers over the past three seasons. We all love his curveball and his command, and most of us think he’s an excellent real-life pitcher, especially after that last postseason run. But he’s going back to that same park, with mostly the same defenders behind him, and we have a clear view of what his upsides and downsides have been for fantasy players recently, and he’s only getting older … his is one of the bigger differences between real life and fantasy rankings on this list. Blurb Process58th. 18th. 51st. Those are the fantasy finishes for Nola among starting pitchers over the past three seasons. We all love his curveball and his command, and most of us think he’s an excellent real-life pitcher, especially after that last postseason run. But he’s going back to that same park, with mostly the same defenders behind him, and we have a clear view of what his upsides and downsides have been for fantasy players recently, and he’s only getting older … his is one of the bigger differences between real life and fantasy rankings on this list. 58th. 18th. 51st. Those are the fantasy finishes for Nola among starting pitchers over the past three seasons. We all love his curveball and his command, and most of us think he’s an excellent real-life pitcher, especially after that last postseason run. But he’s going back to that same park, with mostly the same defenders behind him, and we have a clear view of what his upsides and downsides have been for fantasy players recently, and he’s only getting older … his is one of the bigger differences between real life and fantasy rankings on this list. Stuff+98Location+107Pitching+105HealthBppERA3.98ppK%24.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021180.2582022205182023193.251PHI23

Max Fried

95 Stuff+3.95 ppERABlurb ProcessFrom the files of Derek Van Riper: Fried is one of seven pitchers since 2021 to throw 300 innings of a sub-three ERA. And yet he has never been a darling of Stuff+. At some point, that doesn’t really matter much because he’s demonstrated the ability to strike out guys at an above-average rate and walk guys at an elite rate. That stuff-generated strikeout rate would be the worst of the past three years and the ERA seems out of place, too. But exactly how healthy is he after the forearm strain that kept him out for three months of the season in 2024? There’s a little cluster of guys here that are good but share this risk, so call it a tier if you will.Blurb ProcessFrom the files of Derek Van Riper: Fried is one of seven pitchers since 2021 to throw 300 innings of a sub-three ERA. And yet he has never been a darling of Stuff+. At some point, that doesn’t really matter much because he’s demonstrated the ability to strike out guys at an above-average rate and walk guys at an elite rate. That stuff-generated strikeout rate would be the worst of the past three years and the ERA seems out of place, too. But exactly how healthy is he after the forearm strain that kept him out for three months of the season in 2024? There’s a little cluster of guys here that are good but share this risk, so call it a tier if you will.From the files of Derek Van Riper: Fried is one of seven pitchers since 2021 to throw 300 innings of a sub-three ERA. And yet he has never been a darling of Stuff+. At some point, that doesn’t really matter much because he’s demonstrated the ability to strike out guys at an above-average rate and walk guys at an elite rate. That stuff-generated strikeout rate would be the worst of the past three years and the ERA seems out of place, too. But exactly how healthy is he after the forearm strain that kept him out for three months of the season in 2024? There’s a little cluster of guys here that are good but share this risk, so call it a tier if you will.Stuff+95Location+99Pitching+100HealthCppERA3.95ppK%22.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021165.2172022185.115202377.242ATL24

Joe Musgrove

106 Stuff+3.88 ppERABlurb ProcessMusgrove can really spin it. He has three above-average to elite breaking pitches, and he throws them a combined 60 percent of the time. Last year, he added his best sinker and changeup, too, so he’s really got a large arsenal, and command of it all. He’s been excellent in San Diego and will be there for a while. It’s just too bad that he was plagued with health issues last season, ranging from breaking his toe in spring, to bursitis in the elbow, to shoulder inflammation at the end of the season — with a trip to the altitude in Mexico City as an inflammatory factor. That’s the only drawback, really.Blurb ProcessMusgrove can really spin it. He has three above-average to elite breaking pitches, and he throws them a combined 60 percent of the time. Last year, he added his best sinker and changeup, too, so he’s really got a large arsenal, and command of it all. He’s been excellent in San Diego and will be there for a while. It’s just too bad that he was plagued with health issues last season, ranging from breaking his toe in spring, to bursitis in the elbow, to shoulder inflammation at the end of the season — with a trip to the altitude in Mexico City as an inflammatory factor. That’s the only drawback, really.Musgrove can really spin it. He has three above-average to elite breaking pitches, and he throws them a combined 60 percent of the time. Last year, he added his best sinker and changeup, too, so he’s really got a large arsenal, and command of it all. He’s been excellent in San Diego and will be there for a while. It’s just too bad that he was plagued with health issues last season, ranging from breaking his toe in spring, to bursitis in the elbow, to shoulder inflammation at the end of the season — with a trip to the altitude in Mexico City as an inflammatory factor. That’s the only drawback, really.Stuff+106Location+104Pitching+103HealthCppERA3.88ppK%23.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021181.118202218128202397.138SDP25

Cole Ragans

106 Stuff+4.43 ppERABlurb ProcessRagans exploded onto the scene with a new fastball that was three ticks faster than the one he showed in 2022 — and it only got faster, peaking at a 97 mph average in September (and even faster this spring). That fastball, plus a strong curve and change combo, pushed him to a 29 percent strikeout rate and a tidy 3.47 ERA in 96 innings. His results weren’t quite as good in September, when his ERA approached four and his walk rate jumped, but there’s a little upside left: He’s tinkering with his cutter and a hard slider, with the latter being relatively new. A little more feel with that pitch could push back against any regression.Blurb ProcessRagans exploded onto the scene with a new fastball that was three ticks faster than the one he showed in 2022 — and it only got faster, peaking at a 97 mph average in September (and even faster this spring). That fastball, plus a strong curve and change combo, pushed him to a 29 percent strikeout rate and a tidy 3.47 ERA in 96 innings. His results weren’t quite as good in September, when his ERA approached four and his walk rate jumped, but there’s a little upside left: He’s tinkering with his cutter and a hard slider, with the latter being relatively new. A little more feel with that pitch could push back against any regression.Ragans exploded onto the scene with a new fastball that was three ticks faster than the one he showed in 2022 — and it only got faster, peaking at a 97 mph average in September (and even faster this spring). That fastball, plus a strong curve and change combo, pushed him to a 29 percent strikeout rate and a tidy 3.47 ERA in 96 innings. His results weren’t quite as good in September, when his ERA approached four and his walk rate jumped, but there’s a little upside left: He’s tinkering with his cutter and a hard slider, with the latter being relatively new. A little more feel with that pitch could push back against any regression.Stuff+106Location+101Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.43ppK%22.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A20224015020239649KCR26

Dylan Cease

114 Stuff+4.03 ppERABlurb ProcessThis might be surprising: 10 pitchers have thrown at least 300 innings over the past three seasons and have a worse walk rate than Cease. And three of those 10 (Blake Snell, Johan Oviedo, and Patrick Sandoval) also have an ERA that was better than league average over that time frame. This is all to say that Cease doesn’t have good command. But it doesn’t seem like the kind of huge, honking problem that will either make him one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball or eventually send him to the pen. At the time of this writing, he’s a huge-stuff, poor-command starter on a bad team who should bounce back to previously established levels. That’s a buy low — before you consider what a trade might do for his value.Blurb ProcessThis might be surprising: 10 pitchers have thrown at least 300 innings over the past three seasons and have a worse walk rate than Cease. And three of those 10 (Blake Snell, Johan Oviedo, and Patrick Sandoval) also have an ERA that was better than league average over that time frame. This is all to say that Cease doesn’t have good command. But it doesn’t seem like the kind of huge, honking problem that will either make him one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball or eventually send him to the pen. At the time of this writing, he’s a huge-stuff, poor-command starter on a bad team who should bounce back to previously established levels. That’s a buy low — before you consider what a trade might do for his value.This might be surprising: 10 pitchers have thrown at least 300 innings over the past three seasons and have a worse walk rate than Cease. And three of those 10 (Blake Snell, Johan Oviedo, and Patrick Sandoval) also have an ERA that was better than league average over that time frame. This is all to say that Cease doesn’t have good command. But it doesn’t seem like the kind of huge, honking problem that will either make him one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball or eventually send him to the pen. At the time of this writing, he’s a huge-stuff, poor-command starter on a bad team who should bounce back to previously established levels. That’s a buy low — before you consider what a trade might do for his value.Stuff+114Location+96Pitching+102HealthAppERA4.03ppK%27.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021165.237202218492023177163CHW27

Michael King

107 Stuff+3.88 ppERABlurb ProcessEverything is built on a really good sinker and perhaps the biggest sweeper in the business, but the reason King has been just as dominant a starter as he was a reliever is that he’s also got a pretty good four-seamer and changeup. Both of those “secondary” pitches allowed an isolated slugging percentage under .100 last season. The huge question for the new Padres righty is probably volume. After an elbow injury in 2022 that had him “writhing in pain,” King came back and put in 104 2/3 innings, tops in his professional career since 2018. Can he continue to throw 95 mph, as he has over his dominant stretch, and also put in 150 innings? Come back in October for an answer. For now, he’s saying there are no limits on his innings this year.Blurb ProcessEverything is built on a really good sinker and perhaps the biggest sweeper in the business, but the reason King has been just as dominant a starter as he was a reliever is that he’s also got a pretty good four-seamer and changeup. Both of those “secondary” pitches allowed an isolated slugging percentage under .100 last season. The huge question for the new Padres righty is probably volume. After an elbow injury in 2022 that had him “writhing in pain,” King came back and put in 104 2/3 innings, tops in his professional career since 2018. Can he continue to throw 95 mph, as he has over his dominant stretch, and also put in 150 innings? Come back in October for an answer. For now, he’s saying there are no limits on his innings this year.Everything is built on a really good sinker and perhaps the biggest sweeper in the business, but the reason King has been just as dominant a starter as he was a reliever is that he’s also got a pretty good four-seamer and changeup. Both of those “secondary” pitches allowed an isolated slugging percentage under .100 last season. The huge question for the new Padres righty is probably volume. After an elbow injury in 2022 that had him “writhing in pain,” King came back and put in 104 2/3 innings, tops in his professional career since 2018. Can he continue to throw 95 mph, as he has over his dominant stretch, and also put in 150 innings? Come back in October for an answer. For now, he’s saying there are no limits on his innings this year.Stuff+107Location+102Pitching+106HealthFppERA3.88ppK%25.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202163.1106#N/A2023104.240SDP28

Justin Steele

105 Stuff+3.9 ppERABlurb ProcessThere are a few small things that Steele did in 2024 that led to his breakout. He threw his slider harder, he found more sink on his sinker, he focused in on his two best pitches and he stayed healthy for 30 starts. There’s a lot of focus on his strikeout rate, which might not be quite as good as the elite starters out there, but he halved his walk rate between 2022 and 2024, and that was a huge statistical difference in his outcomes. Steele is a little tough to rank as a two-pitch guy with a short track record, but the reality is probably that he’s a good starting pitcher, if not a Cy Young Award-type.Blurb ProcessThere are a few small things that Steele did in 2024 that led to his breakout. He threw his slider harder, he found more sink on his sinker, he focused in on his two best pitches and he stayed healthy for 30 starts. There’s a lot of focus on his strikeout rate, which might not be quite as good as the elite starters out there, but he halved his walk rate between 2022 and 2024, and that was a huge statistical difference in his outcomes. Steele is a little tough to rank as a two-pitch guy with a short track record, but the reality is probably that he’s a good starting pitcher, if not a Cy Young Award-type.There are a few small things that Steele did in 2024 that led to his breakout. He threw his slider harder, he found more sink on his sinker, he focused in on his two best pitches and he stayed healthy for 30 starts. There’s a lot of focus on his strikeout rate, which might not be quite as good as the elite starters out there, but he halved his walk rate between 2022 and 2024, and that was a huge statistical difference in his outcomes. Steele is a little tough to rank as a two-pitch guy with a short track record, but the reality is probably that he’s a good starting pitcher, if not a Cy Young Award-type.Stuff+105Location+101Pitching+103HealthBppERA3.90ppK%23.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021571122022119942023173.112CHC29

Jesús Luzardo

104 Stuff+4.04 ppERABlurb ProcessHere’s what worries me about Luzardo: The biggest difference, pitch-wise, between his six-plus ERA in 2021 and his two mid-three ERA seasons that came after is basically one mph on the fastball. That’s it! His slider drops maybe a half-inch more than it used to, he’s using the sinker less, but functionally, it looks like just one mph separates 2021 and what came after. At 26 years old, maybe that’s not something we need to worry about since velocity loss really starts around 30. But with a slider that is more above-average than elite, poor extension and only average command, it’s only that 90th-percentile fastball velocity that’s his best foot forward right now.Blurb ProcessHere’s what worries me about Luzardo: The biggest difference, pitch-wise, between his six-plus ERA in 2021 and his two mid-three ERA seasons that came after is basically one mph on the fastball. That’s it! His slider drops maybe a half-inch more than it used to, he’s using the sinker less, but functionally, it looks like just one mph separates 2021 and what came after. At 26 years old, maybe that’s not something we need to worry about since velocity loss really starts around 30. But with a slider that is more above-average than elite, poor extension and only average command, it’s only that 90th-percentile fastball velocity that’s his best foot forward right now.Here’s what worries me about Luzardo: The biggest difference, pitch-wise, between his six-plus ERA in 2021 and his two mid-three ERA seasons that came after is basically one mph on the fastball. That’s it! His slider drops maybe a half-inch more than it used to, he’s using the sinker less, but functionally, it looks like just one mph separates 2021 and what came after. At 26 years old, maybe that’s not something we need to worry about since velocity loss really starts around 30. But with a slider that is more above-average than elite, poor extension and only average command, it’s only that 90th-percentile fastball velocity that’s his best foot forward right now.Stuff+104Location+99Pitching+101HealthCppERA4.04ppK%25.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202195.12072022100.1522023178.243MIA30

Carlos Rodón

113 Stuff+3.97 ppERABlurb ProcessThe weirdest thing about Rodón in 2024 was that his pitches were all about the same. The four-seam had the same velo as it did the year before, his slider had the same velo and movement. He even got a lot of whiffs! But he didn’t turn that stuff or those whiffs into strikeouts like he used to, and every fly ball seemingly turned into a homer. The theory here is that the balky back (and forearm strain) that kept him off the field also hurt his command on the field when he was out there. A couple of months of rest and rehab might be all it takes to get him back to his projections, but there’s no way to argue with that health grade, which will be too much risk for many to stomach.Blurb ProcessThe weirdest thing about Rodón in 2024 was that his pitches were all about the same. The four-seam had the same velo as it did the year before, his slider had the same velo and movement. He even got a lot of whiffs! But he didn’t turn that stuff or those whiffs into strikeouts like he used to, and every fly ball seemingly turned into a homer. The theory here is that the balky back (and forearm strain) that kept him off the field also hurt his command on the field when he was out there. A couple of months of rest and rehab might be all it takes to get him back to his projections, but there’s no way to argue with that health grade, which will be too much risk for many to stomach.The weirdest thing about Rodón in 2024 was that his pitches were all about the same. The four-seam had the same velo as it did the year before, his slider had the same velo and movement. He even got a lot of whiffs! But he didn’t turn that stuff or those whiffs into strikeouts like he used to, and every fly ball seemingly turned into a homer. The theory here is that the balky back (and forearm strain) that kept him off the field also hurt his command on the field when he was out there. A couple of months of rest and rehab might be all it takes to get him back to his projections, but there’s no way to argue with that health grade, which will be too much risk for many to stomach.Stuff+113Location+96Pitching+102HealthFppERA3.97ppK%28.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021132.29202217814202364.1185NYY31

Chris Sale

101 Stuff+4.02 ppERABlurb ProcessOver the past three seasons, Sale has had an ERA under four, struck out nearly 30 percent of the batters he’s seen and had an average Stuff+. He’s an example of how the model is more useful the smaller your sample is. We know who Sale is by now. He’s going to strike out a ton of guys and is increasingly likely to give up homers (which may be exacerbated in Atlanta), and he’s also a risk to get hurt. Just over 150 innings — combined — in three seasons is going to give you an F on your health report card.Blurb ProcessOver the past three seasons, Sale has had an ERA under four, struck out nearly 30 percent of the batters he’s seen and had an average Stuff+. He’s an example of how the model is more useful the smaller your sample is. We know who Sale is by now. He’s going to strike out a ton of guys and is increasingly likely to give up homers (which may be exacerbated in Atlanta), and he’s also a risk to get hurt. Just over 150 innings — combined — in three seasons is going to give you an F on your health report card.Over the past three seasons, Sale has had an ERA under four, struck out nearly 30 percent of the batters he’s seen and had an average Stuff+. He’s an example of how the model is more useful the smaller your sample is. We know who Sale is by now. He’s going to strike out a ton of guys and is increasingly likely to give up homers (which may be exacerbated in Atlanta), and he’s also a risk to get hurt. Just over 150 innings — combined — in three seasons is going to give you an F on your health report card.Stuff+101Location+100Pitching+99HealthFppERA4.02ppK%27.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202142.278#N/A2023102.264ATL32

Yu Darvish

107 Stuff+4.13 ppERABlurb ProcessSince 2019, Darvish has alternated decent seasons with better ones, so maybe he’s due for a good one! Last year’s offensive explosion brought on by the rule changes masked that he was once again decent, with good strikeout and walk numbers and some of his worst luck on balls in play and stranding base runners. The spin is still there, the stuff is still there, the strikeouts are still there, and given good health again (this past injury is actualy a repeat of one he had earlier in his career, before a good season in 2019), he can certainly put together 150+ innings of a good ERA. That’s what the track record says.Blurb ProcessSince 2019, Darvish has alternated decent seasons with better ones, so maybe he’s due for a good one! Last year’s offensive explosion brought on by the rule changes masked that he was once again decent, with good strikeout and walk numbers and some of his worst luck on balls in play and stranding base runners. The spin is still there, the stuff is still there, the strikeouts are still there, and given good health again (this past injury is actualy a repeat of one he had earlier in his career, before a good season in 2019), he can certainly put together 150+ innings of a good ERA. That’s what the track record says.Since 2019, Darvish has alternated decent seasons with better ones, so maybe he’s due for a good one! Last year’s offensive explosion brought on by the rule changes masked that he was once again decent, with good strikeout and walk numbers and some of his worst luck on balls in play and stranding base runners. The spin is still there, the stuff is still there, the strikeouts are still there, and given good health again (this past injury is actualy a repeat of one he had earlier in his career, before a good season in 2019), he can certainly put together 150+ innings of a good ERA. That’s what the track record says.Stuff+107Location+102Pitching+105HealthFppERA4.13ppK%23.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021166.1462022194.2122023136.1117SDP33

Justin Verlander

120 Stuff+4.22 ppERABlurb ProcessYup, Verlander had a below-average strikeout rate last year, and yup, he’s 40. That’s going to affect the projections a lot, since strikeouts are the stickiest stat year to year and the most important single result in terms of predicting the future. But the good news is that he still has three average or above-average pitches by Stuff+, and his strikeout percentage was above-average in the second half (when his fastball recovered some missing ride and his slider dropped more like it had before in his career). He’s still Justin Verlander, just with a little more risk and a slightly lower ceiling. (And some cobwebs in there somewhere, as his early spring comments about shoulder soreness seemed to suggest.)Blurb ProcessYup, Verlander had a below-average strikeout rate last year, and yup, he’s 40. That’s going to affect the projections a lot, since strikeouts are the stickiest stat year to year and the most important single result in terms of predicting the future. But the good news is that he still has three average or above-average pitches by Stuff+, and his strikeout percentage was above-average in the second half (when his fastball recovered some missing ride and his slider dropped more like it had before in his career). He’s still Justin Verlander, just with a little more risk and a slightly lower ceiling. (And some cobwebs in there somewhere, as his early spring comments about shoulder soreness seemed to suggest.)Yup, Verlander had a below-average strikeout rate last year, and yup, he’s 40. That’s going to affect the projections a lot, since strikeouts are the stickiest stat year to year and the most important single result in terms of predicting the future. But the good news is that he still has three average or above-average pitches by Stuff+, and his strikeout percentage was above-average in the second half (when his fastball recovered some missing ride and his slider dropped more like it had before in his career). He’s still Justin Verlander, just with a little more risk and a slightly lower ceiling. (And some cobwebs in there somewhere, as his early spring comments about shoulder soreness seemed to suggest.)Stuff+120Location+104Pitching+108HealthFppERA4.22ppK%23.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202217512023162.120HOU34

Hunter Greene

119 Stuff+4.09 ppERABlurb ProcessOur first pitcher with modeled stuff that reaches way beyond his on-field results, Greene obviously has his question marks. His walk rate is worse than average, and he gives up a lot of fly balls in a ballpark that loves to turn those into homers. His health report card isn’t stellar, and he’s a two-pitch pitcher. Yeah, those things are true. Here’s another true thing: Among starters with more than 100 innings last season, only Bobby Miller and Gerrit Cole owned a fastball and secondary pitch that were rated as highly by Stuff+. Bet on the upside, harvest the strikeouts either way. Hearing that he’s feeling good about a new curve and changeup this spring is really good news.Blurb ProcessOur first pitcher with modeled stuff that reaches way beyond his on-field results, Greene obviously has his question marks. His walk rate is worse than average, and he gives up a lot of fly balls in a ballpark that loves to turn those into homers. His health report card isn’t stellar, and he’s a two-pitch pitcher. Yeah, those things are true. Here’s another true thing: Among starters with more than 100 innings last season, only Bobby Miller and Gerrit Cole owned a fastball and secondary pitch that were rated as highly by Stuff+. Bet on the upside, harvest the strikeouts either way. Hearing that he’s feeling good about a new curve and changeup this spring is really good news.Our first pitcher with modeled stuff that reaches way beyond his on-field results, Greene obviously has his question marks. His walk rate is worse than average, and he gives up a lot of fly balls in a ballpark that loves to turn those into homers. His health report card isn’t stellar, and he’s a two-pitch pitcher. Yeah, those things are true. Here’s another true thing: Among starters with more than 100 innings last season, only Bobby Miller and Gerrit Cole owned a fastball and secondary pitch that were rated as highly by Stuff+. Bet on the upside, harvest the strikeouts either way. Hearing that he’s feeling good about a new curve and changeup this spring is really good news.Stuff+119Location+103Pitching+105HealthCppERA4.09ppK%28.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022125.21012023112153CIN35

Sonny Gray

106 Stuff+4.11 ppERABlurb ProcessA sweeper, a harder slider, a cutter, a curveball, a four-seam that cuts … Gray’s got breaking balls on top of breaking balls. He’s headed to a good park for pitchers and if the Cards’ offense can get going again, he should be OK wins-wise. The strikeouts are almost always there. But health was the difference between 2022, when he was a top-50 pitcher, and 2024, when he was a top-20 pitcher. He’s bounced around, innings-wise, in his career — you can count on 100+ innings most years, but will it be 120 or 180? You never know. But that’s where he sits in the rankings: He could be great and should provide some innings, but can’t be counted on for a full allotment.Blurb ProcessA sweeper, a harder slider, a cutter, a curveball, a four-seam that cuts … Gray’s got breaking balls on top of breaking balls. He’s headed to a good park for pitchers and if the Cards’ offense can get going again, he should be OK wins-wise. The strikeouts are almost always there. But health was the difference between 2022, when he was a top-50 pitcher, and 2024, when he was a top-20 pitcher. He’s bounced around, innings-wise, in his career — you can count on 100+ innings most years, but will it be 120 or 180? You never know. But that’s where he sits in the rankings: He could be great and should provide some innings, but can’t be counted on for a full allotment.A sweeper, a harder slider, a cutter, a curveball, a four-seam that cuts … Gray’s got breaking balls on top of breaking balls. He’s headed to a good park for pitchers and if the Cards’ offense can get going again, he should be OK wins-wise. The strikeouts are almost always there. But health was the difference between 2022, when he was a top-50 pitcher, and 2024, when he was a top-20 pitcher. He’s bounced around, innings-wise, in his career — you can count on 100+ innings most years, but will it be 120 or 180? You never know. But that’s where he sits in the rankings: He could be great and should provide some innings, but can’t be counted on for a full allotment.Stuff+106Location+100Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.11ppK%21.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021135.1742022119.247202318417STL36

Shane Bieber

96 Stuff+4.08 ppERABlurb ProcessThe Stuff model never liked Bieber as much as the on-field results might indicate, but it is nice to see that the post-injury Stuff+ says he recovered his four-seamer to a better place than he’d seen in the previous two seasons. Otherwise, he’s built on spin, which ages well, and pitches in a decent enough park in front of a decent enough team that it’s probably a good idea to bet on an ERA in the high threes with double-digit wins as long as the forearm issues are behind him. The injury risk has brought the cost down enough to make him an interesting pickup, for now.Blurb ProcessThe Stuff model never liked Bieber as much as the on-field results might indicate, but it is nice to see that the post-injury Stuff+ says he recovered his four-seamer to a better place than he’d seen in the previous two seasons. Otherwise, he’s built on spin, which ages well, and pitches in a decent enough park in front of a decent enough team that it’s probably a good idea to bet on an ERA in the high threes with double-digit wins as long as the forearm issues are behind him. The injury risk has brought the cost down enough to make him an interesting pickup, for now.The Stuff model never liked Bieber as much as the on-field results might indicate, but it is nice to see that the post-injury Stuff+ says he recovered his four-seamer to a better place than he’d seen in the previous two seasons. Otherwise, he’s built on spin, which ages well, and pitches in a decent enough park in front of a decent enough team that it’s probably a good idea to bet on an ERA in the high threes with double-digit wins as long as the forearm issues are behind him. The injury risk has brought the cost down enough to make him an interesting pickup, for now.Stuff+96Location+101Pitching+99HealthCppERA4.08ppK%22.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202196.247202220022202312880CLE37

Bryan Woo

111 Stuff+4.09 ppERABlurb ProcessWoo has two pitches (a fastball and slider), or maybe he has five (that’s how many he threw more than fifty times last year). Two above-average fastballs, a great sweeper, and a good hard slider, all rated above-average by Stuff+ — it’s a full arsenal. Against lefties, he was a little bit more predictable. His walk rate spiked and he gave up two homers per nine innings. He’s still got some work to do there, as the change doesn’t seem great. But he’s got a good home park and has proven his ability to strike guys out, so he has his strengths, too.Blurb ProcessWoo has two pitches (a fastball and slider), or maybe he has five (that’s how many he threw more than fifty times last year). Two above-average fastballs, a great sweeper, and a good hard slider, all rated above-average by Stuff+ — it’s a full arsenal. Against lefties, he was a little bit more predictable. His walk rate spiked and he gave up two homers per nine innings. He’s still got some work to do there, as the change doesn’t seem great. But he’s got a good home park and has proven his ability to strike guys out, so he has his strengths, too.Woo has two pitches (a fastball and slider), or maybe he has five (that’s how many he threw more than fifty times last year). Two above-average fastballs, a great sweeper, and a good hard slider, all rated above-average by Stuff+ — it’s a full arsenal. Against lefties, he was a little bit more predictable. His walk rate spiked and he gave up two homers per nine innings. He’s still got some work to do there, as the change doesn’t seem great. But he’s got a good home park and has proven his ability to strike guys out, so he has his strengths, too.Stuff+111Location+102Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.09ppK%24.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202387.290SEA38

Shota Imanaga

#N/A4.15 ppERABlurb ProcessSporting a big fastball — big by movement, as it will immediately have top-five ride in MLB as soon as it gets here — and a strong sweeper/splitter combo, Imanaga struck out a ton of people in Japan and is ready to rock. He even had a higher strikeout percentage than countryman Yoshinobu Yamamoto last year in the same league. But there’s a home run problem. Maybe one that he can fix with a different approach and some new coaching, but a home run problem nonetheless. His best comps are lefty Joe Ryan or Nestor Cortes, but this ranking hews to his upside.Blurb ProcessSporting a big fastball — big by movement, as it will immediately have top-five ride in MLB as soon as it gets here — and a strong sweeper/splitter combo, Imanaga struck out a ton of people in Japan and is ready to rock. He even had a higher strikeout percentage than countryman Yoshinobu Yamamoto last year in the same league. But there’s a home run problem. Maybe one that he can fix with a different approach and some new coaching, but a home run problem nonetheless. His best comps are lefty Joe Ryan or Nestor Cortes, but this ranking hews to his upside.Sporting a big fastball — big by movement, as it will immediately have top-five ride in MLB as soon as it gets here — and a strong sweeper/splitter combo, Imanaga struck out a ton of people in Japan and is ready to rock. He even had a higher strikeout percentage than countryman Yoshinobu Yamamoto last year in the same league. But there’s a home run problem. Maybe one that he can fix with a different approach and some new coaching, but a home run problem nonetheless. His best comps are lefty Joe Ryan or Nestor Cortes, but this ranking hews to his upside.HealthBppERA4.15ppK%26.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ACHC39

Bryce Miller

116 Stuff+4.22 ppERABlurb ProcessHis mustache, his fastball, and his harder breaking ball are all unassailable. Miller is resplendent. Unfortunately, his high Stuff+ sweeper comes out of his hand so differently that hitters can see it coming and mostly choose not to swing at it. Miller’s response has been to focus on his two best pitches and use the sweeper as a “freeze take” pitch as he told me. The upside will come from refining that second breaking ball, most likely, but could come from the changeup, too. Bet on the fastball.Blurb ProcessHis mustache, his fastball, and his harder breaking ball are all unassailable. Miller is resplendent. Unfortunately, his high Stuff+ sweeper comes out of his hand so differently that hitters can see it coming and mostly choose not to swing at it. Miller’s response has been to focus on his two best pitches and use the sweeper as a “freeze take” pitch as he told me. The upside will come from refining that second breaking ball, most likely, but could come from the changeup, too. Bet on the fastball.His mustache, his fastball, and his harder breaking ball are all unassailable. Miller is resplendent. Unfortunately, his high Stuff+ sweeper comes out of his hand so differently that hitters can see it coming and mostly choose not to swing at it. Miller’s response has been to focus on his two best pitches and use the sweeper as a “freeze take” pitch as he told me. The upside will come from refining that second breaking ball, most likely, but could come from the changeup, too. Bet on the fastball.Stuff+116Location+104Pitching+108HealthCppERA4.22ppK%22.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023131.167SEA40

Jordan Montgomery

101 Stuff+4.24 ppERABlurb ProcessIt’s not just stuff-based projections that are seeing regression for a starter who ran all through the regular and postseason last year — other systems see him with an ERA around four as well. He strikes out batters at a below-average rate, and though he doesn’t walk hitters much, his ground-ball rate is middle of the pack as well. Obviously, he has his strengths and can mix his four average-ish pitches with command, and he’s kept his ERA below four for three seasons. Maybe he can again, and this ranking reflects that possibility.Blurb ProcessIt’s not just stuff-based projections that are seeing regression for a starter who ran all through the regular and postseason last year — other systems see him with an ERA around four as well. He strikes out batters at a below-average rate, and though he doesn’t walk hitters much, his ground-ball rate is middle of the pack as well. Obviously, he has his strengths and can mix his four average-ish pitches with command, and he’s kept his ERA below four for three seasons. Maybe he can again, and this ranking reflects that possibility.It’s not just stuff-based projections that are seeing regression for a starter who ran all through the regular and postseason last year — other systems see him with an ERA around four as well. He strikes out batters at a below-average rate, and though he doesn’t walk hitters much, his ground-ball rate is middle of the pack as well. Obviously, he has his strengths and can mix his four average-ish pitches with command, and he’s kept his ERA below four for three seasons. Maybe he can again, and this ranking reflects that possibility.Stuff+101Location+101Pitching+99HealthCppERA4.24ppK%20.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021157.1852022178.1452023188.23541

Tanner Bibee

101 Stuff+4.37 ppERABlurb ProcessWhat an excellent rookie effort for Bibee. Like most Guardians prospects, he showed excellent command (good!) and an elite slider (great!) and an iffy fastball with below-average movement (not so great!). At 24, you wouldn’t expect much velocity loss, but it’s worth pointing out that Bibee was almost two ticks lower in his last three starts than he was in his first three. The excellent secondaries and command should make him a good pitcher every year, but to be as excellent as he was in his debut, every bit of velocity is going to count with that fastball shape.Blurb ProcessWhat an excellent rookie effort for Bibee. Like most Guardians prospects, he showed excellent command (good!) and an elite slider (great!) and an iffy fastball with below-average movement (not so great!). At 24, you wouldn’t expect much velocity loss, but it’s worth pointing out that Bibee was almost two ticks lower in his last three starts than he was in his first three. The excellent secondaries and command should make him a good pitcher every year, but to be as excellent as he was in his debut, every bit of velocity is going to count with that fastball shape.What an excellent rookie effort for Bibee. Like most Guardians prospects, he showed excellent command (good!) and an elite slider (great!) and an iffy fastball with below-average movement (not so great!). At 24, you wouldn’t expect much velocity loss, but it’s worth pointing out that Bibee was almost two ticks lower in his last three starts than he was in his first three. The excellent secondaries and command should make him a good pitcher every year, but to be as excellent as he was in his debut, every bit of velocity is going to count with that fastball shape.Stuff+101Location+100Pitching+101HealthCppERA4.37ppK%22.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202314233CLE42

Bailey Ober

95 Stuff+4.43 ppERABlurb ProcessOber’s poor Stuff+ matters less and less with every passing inning with good results backed by a good strikeout rate and an elite walk rate. His unique combination of height and release point may be confounding the model somehow — those things are definitely confounding hitters. He doesn’t throw hard and has a homer issue historically, but a 4.70 ERA projection doesn’t seem right either. Expect more of a high-threes, low-fours number with a strong WHIP.Blurb ProcessOber’s poor Stuff+ matters less and less with every passing inning with good results backed by a good strikeout rate and an elite walk rate. His unique combination of height and release point may be confounding the model somehow — those things are definitely confounding hitters. He doesn’t throw hard and has a homer issue historically, but a 4.70 ERA projection doesn’t seem right either. Expect more of a high-threes, low-fours number with a strong WHIP.Ober’s poor Stuff+ matters less and less with every passing inning with good results backed by a good strikeout rate and an elite walk rate. His unique combination of height and release point may be confounding the model somehow — those things are definitely confounding hitters. He doesn’t throw hard and has a homer issue historically, but a 4.70 ERA projection doesn’t seem right either. Expect more of a high-threes, low-fours number with a strong WHIP.Stuff+95Location+106Pitching+103HealthBppERA4.43ppK%23.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202192.1101202256762023144.132MIN43

Aaron Civale

93 Stuff+4.2 ppERABlurb ProcessAnother pitcher with a feel for spin and an innings issue, Civale is undervalued in many drafts. The case is not quite a slam dunk from an arsenal standpoint. He has an elite curveball, an above-average slider, and an average cutter, so he checks those boxes. Unfortunately, his fastballs are not even average-ish. Batters hit .356 with a .489 slugging against his four-seam, and though the numbers are better against his sinker, he pitches backward with it and the Stuff+ model doesn’t like it. He’s got some demonstrated results to fall back on, though.Blurb ProcessAnother pitcher with a feel for spin and an innings issue, Civale is undervalued in many drafts. The case is not quite a slam dunk from an arsenal standpoint. He has an elite curveball, an above-average slider, and an average cutter, so he checks those boxes. Unfortunately, his fastballs are not even average-ish. Batters hit .356 with a .489 slugging against his four-seam, and though the numbers are better against his sinker, he pitches backward with it and the Stuff+ model doesn’t like it. He’s got some demonstrated results to fall back on, though.Another pitcher with a feel for spin and an innings issue, Civale is undervalued in many drafts. The case is not quite a slam dunk from an arsenal standpoint. He has an elite curveball, an above-average slider, and an average cutter, so he checks those boxes. Unfortunately, his fastballs are not even average-ish. Batters hit .356 with a .489 slugging against his four-seam, and though the numbers are better against his sinker, he pitches backward with it and the Stuff+ model doesn’t like it. He’s got some demonstrated results to fall back on, though.Stuff+93Location+106Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.20ppK%22.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021124.1442022971242023122.150TBR44

Yusei Kikuchi

107 Stuff+4.17 ppERABlurb ProcessKikuchi settled on the best version of his slider in 2024. It had a little less drop than before, but by the end of the season, it was humming along at 88 mph and combining the best ball-in-play results with good whiff numbers and probably the best command of his career. He brought the curve back in gradually throughout the season, and now he looks legit. That 3.39 second-half ERA was backed by excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers and that arsenal change, at least. The command will never be plus, but he’s pushed the stuff to the top of his range of outcomes.Blurb ProcessKikuchi settled on the best version of his slider in 2024. It had a little less drop than before, but by the end of the season, it was humming along at 88 mph and combining the best ball-in-play results with good whiff numbers and probably the best command of his career. He brought the curve back in gradually throughout the season, and now he looks legit. That 3.39 second-half ERA was backed by excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers and that arsenal change, at least. The command will never be plus, but he’s pushed the stuff to the top of his range of outcomes.Kikuchi settled on the best version of his slider in 2024. It had a little less drop than before, but by the end of the season, it was humming along at 88 mph and combining the best ball-in-play results with good whiff numbers and probably the best command of his career. He brought the curve back in gradually throughout the season, and now he looks legit. That 3.39 second-half ERA was backed by excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers and that arsenal change, at least. The command will never be plus, but he’s pushed the stuff to the top of his range of outcomes.Stuff+107Location+100Pitching+102HealthAppERA4.17ppK%24.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20211571272022100.21672023167.258TOR45

Nick Pivetta

116 Stuff+4.32 ppERABlurb ProcessA pitcher who has long underperformed his stuff, Pivetta had a bit of a breakout in 2024. He had the fifth-best strikeout rate among starters with 100 innings or more, and put up the best ERA of his career (4.04). At this point, though, the home run problem is established. The argument that he has more in the tank mostly depends on the physical characteristics of his pitches — he has good velocity, throws a really good hard slider (that he’s been altering), and has an above-average curve with big drop — but he’s also had that stuff forever. He’s undervalued, but he may be someone you want to be careful with in shallower leagues. Boston is a tough park.Blurb ProcessA pitcher who has long underperformed his stuff, Pivetta had a bit of a breakout in 2024. He had the fifth-best strikeout rate among starters with 100 innings or more, and put up the best ERA of his career (4.04). At this point, though, the home run problem is established. The argument that he has more in the tank mostly depends on the physical characteristics of his pitches — he has good velocity, throws a really good hard slider (that he’s been altering), and has an above-average curve with big drop — but he’s also had that stuff forever. He’s undervalued, but he may be someone you want to be careful with in shallower leagues. Boston is a tough park.A pitcher who has long underperformed his stuff, Pivetta had a bit of a breakout in 2024. He had the fifth-best strikeout rate among starters with 100 innings or more, and put up the best ERA of his career (4.04). At this point, though, the home run problem is established. The argument that he has more in the tank mostly depends on the physical characteristics of his pitches — he has good velocity, throws a really good hard slider (that he’s been altering), and has an above-average curve with big drop — but he’s also had that stuff forever. He’s undervalued, but he may be someone you want to be careful with in shallower leagues. Boston is a tough park.Stuff+116Location+102Pitching+106HealthAppERA4.32ppK%26.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021155952022179.21642023142.237BOS46

Joe Ryan

87 Stuff+4.47 ppERABlurb ProcessWrit large, Ryan’s biggest strength is also a weakness. His best pitch is his funky, deceptive four-seamer, which he throws so often at the top of the zone that he also gives up a ton of homers. He’s established an OK splitter (by the models), which could serve as a third option but got hit badly last year as his primary secondary (.568 slugging). The hope is that all that toggling between a harder “gyro” slider and a sweeper last year will produce a great secondary to pair with that fastball and reduce his reliance on the four-seam. That’s his path up out of this relative middle ground he finds himself in.Blurb ProcessWrit large, Ryan’s biggest strength is also a weakness. His best pitch is his funky, deceptive four-seamer, which he throws so often at the top of the zone that he also gives up a ton of homers. He’s established an OK splitter (by the models), which could serve as a third option but got hit badly last year as his primary secondary (.568 slugging). The hope is that all that toggling between a harder “gyro” slider and a sweeper last year will produce a great secondary to pair with that fastball and reduce his reliance on the four-seam. That’s his path up out of this relative middle ground he finds himself in.Writ large, Ryan’s biggest strength is also a weakness. His best pitch is his funky, deceptive four-seamer, which he throws so often at the top of the zone that he also gives up a ton of homers. He’s established an OK splitter (by the models), which could serve as a third option but got hit badly last year as his primary secondary (.568 slugging). The hope is that all that toggling between a harder “gyro” slider and a sweeper last year will produce a great secondary to pair with that fastball and reduce his reliance on the four-seam. That’s his path up out of this relative middle ground he finds himself in.Stuff+87Location+107Pitching+102HealthBppERA4.47ppK%25.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022147372023161.254MIN47

Merrill Kelly

97 Stuff+4.54 ppERABlurb ProcessThe good: Kelly has one of the best changeups in the game along with a strong curveball, and has pushed his slider into an above-average offering over the past three seasons. He also has displayed top-shelf command every year since he’s come back to the league. The bad: Kelly’s hard pitches are all below-average pitches (with the four-seam being the worst by Stuff+ and also allowing a .505 slugging last season) and rely solely on that command to perform at a near-average rate. Pitchers with large arsenals and good command can overperform model projections but Kelly’s also had two pretty mediocre seasons out of his five in MLB. He’ll provide innings at the very least.Blurb ProcessThe good: Kelly has one of the best changeups in the game along with a strong curveball, and has pushed his slider into an above-average offering over the past three seasons. He also has displayed top-shelf command every year since he’s come back to the league. The bad: Kelly’s hard pitches are all below-average pitches (with the four-seam being the worst by Stuff+ and also allowing a .505 slugging last season) and rely solely on that command to perform at a near-average rate. Pitchers with large arsenals and good command can overperform model projections but Kelly’s also had two pretty mediocre seasons out of his five in MLB. He’ll provide innings at the very least.The good: Kelly has one of the best changeups in the game along with a strong curveball, and has pushed his slider into an above-average offering over the past three seasons. He also has displayed top-shelf command every year since he’s come back to the league. The bad: Kelly’s hard pitches are all below-average pitches (with the four-seam being the worst by Stuff+ and also allowing a .505 slugging last season) and rely solely on that command to perform at a near-average rate. Pitchers with large arsenals and good command can overperform model projections but Kelly’s also had two pretty mediocre seasons out of his five in MLB. He’ll provide innings at the very least.Stuff+97Location+105Pitching+102HealthAppERA4.54ppK%21.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20211581382022200.1382023177.230ARI48

Braxton Garrett

95 Stuff+4.1 ppERABlurb ProcessDespite poor velocity, Garrett has good sink and fade on his sinker and it rates around average by Stuff+. His 82 mph two-plane power-curve-type breaking ball is obviously his best pitch, by model or results. The rest of his pitches rate as clearly below average, but it all plays up because he has average or better-than-average command on four offerings. Still, stuff is stickier year to year than command, and if that command takes a step back, he won’t have the ability to nasty his way out of trouble with just one outstanding pitch.Blurb ProcessDespite poor velocity, Garrett has good sink and fade on his sinker and it rates around average by Stuff+. His 82 mph two-plane power-curve-type breaking ball is obviously his best pitch, by model or results. The rest of his pitches rate as clearly below average, but it all plays up because he has average or better-than-average command on four offerings. Still, stuff is stickier year to year than command, and if that command takes a step back, he won’t have the ability to nasty his way out of trouble with just one outstanding pitch.Despite poor velocity, Garrett has good sink and fade on his sinker and it rates around average by Stuff+. His 82 mph two-plane power-curve-type breaking ball is obviously his best pitch, by model or results. The rest of his pitches rate as clearly below average, but it all plays up because he has average or better-than-average command on four offerings. Still, stuff is stickier year to year than command, and if that command takes a step back, he won’t have the ability to nasty his way out of trouble with just one outstanding pitch.Stuff+95Location+101Pitching+96HealthAppERA4.10ppK%21.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202288952023159.245MIA49

José Berríos

94 Stuff+4.38 ppERABlurb ProcessHe’s had two pretty good seasons around a terrible one, and he’s done it with average-ish stuff and command each year, so it’s tempting to say the mid-threes ERA guy is who Berríos is, true talent-wise. And maybe that’s true! But if his upside is the 44th-best fantasy starting pitcher — which is where he ended up last year — then his best foot forward is really the volume. He’s seventh in innings pitched over the past three seasons. He did have the best ride of his career on his four-seamer last year, but otherwise he is who he is: a decent pitcher who should put up innings and has a non-zero chance of putting together a disasterpiece of a season.Blurb ProcessHe’s had two pretty good seasons around a terrible one, and he’s done it with average-ish stuff and command each year, so it’s tempting to say the mid-threes ERA guy is who Berríos is, true talent-wise. And maybe that’s true! But if his upside is the 44th-best fantasy starting pitcher — which is where he ended up last year — then his best foot forward is really the volume. He’s seventh in innings pitched over the past three seasons. He did have the best ride of his career on his four-seamer last year, but otherwise he is who he is: a decent pitcher who should put up innings and has a non-zero chance of putting together a disasterpiece of a season.He’s had two pretty good seasons around a terrible one, and he’s done it with average-ish stuff and command each year, so it’s tempting to say the mid-threes ERA guy is who Berríos is, true talent-wise. And maybe that’s true! But if his upside is the 44th-best fantasy starting pitcher — which is where he ended up last year — then his best foot forward is really the volume. He’s seventh in innings pitched over the past three seasons. He did have the best ride of his career on his four-seamer last year, but otherwise he is who he is: a decent pitcher who should put up innings and has a non-zero chance of putting together a disasterpiece of a season.Stuff+94Location+104Pitching+101HealthAppERA4.38ppK%21.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20211922020221721982023189.244TOR50

Hunter Brown

101 Stuff+3.9 ppERABlurb ProcessJust about every month, Brown added another run to his ERA in 2024. It’s hard to pinpoint one culprit since he has two really strong breaking balls and a fastball with really good velocity. The scouting reports gave him poor command on the way up, and his fastball locations are probably a big part of the blame … but he had a 99 Location+ on the fastball, and was above-average in that stat in September, his worst month, suggesting he’s not far from putting it all back together and being more like the pitcher we saw in the first two months last year when he had a 3.61 ERA and a 29 percent strikeout rate. He’s still an exciting young pitcher with question marks, right in the middle of a little tier of those types.Blurb ProcessJust about every month, Brown added another run to his ERA in 2024. It’s hard to pinpoint one culprit since he has two really strong breaking balls and a fastball with really good velocity. The scouting reports gave him poor command on the way up, and his fastball locations are probably a big part of the blame … but he had a 99 Location+ on the fastball, and was above-average in that stat in September, his worst month, suggesting he’s not far from putting it all back together and being more like the pitcher we saw in the first two months last year when he had a 3.61 ERA and a 29 percent strikeout rate. He’s still an exciting young pitcher with question marks, right in the middle of a little tier of those types.Just about every month, Brown added another run to his ERA in 2024. It’s hard to pinpoint one culprit since he has two really strong breaking balls and a fastball with really good velocity. The scouting reports gave him poor command on the way up, and his fastball locations are probably a big part of the blame … but he had a 99 Location+ on the fastball, and was above-average in that stat in September, his worst month, suggesting he’s not far from putting it all back together and being more like the pitcher we saw in the first two months last year when he had a 3.61 ERA and a 29 percent strikeout rate. He’s still an exciting young pitcher with question marks, right in the middle of a little tier of those types.Stuff+101Location+101Pitching+99HealthCppERA3.90ppK%24.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023155.2146HOU51

Taj Bradley

111 Stuff+4.23 ppERABlurb ProcessA 96 mph fastball with great ride is Bradley’s best foot forward, but it’s a great foundation. His cutter got pounded when it got too soft, so he was sent to the minor leagues to recover that velo. When he came back, he still struggled, and that might be because he hasn’t quite found that third pitch yet. There’s a chance he never quite comes through on the promise of that fastball — Taijuan Walker’s fastball has been his best pitch his entire career — but it’s enticing enough (along with stellar strikeout rates) to give him a shot here as we transition into starters with more question marks.Blurb ProcessA 96 mph fastball with great ride is Bradley’s best foot forward, but it’s a great foundation. His cutter got pounded when it got too soft, so he was sent to the minor leagues to recover that velo. When he came back, he still struggled, and that might be because he hasn’t quite found that third pitch yet. There’s a chance he never quite comes through on the promise of that fastball — Taijuan Walker’s fastball has been his best pitch his entire career — but it’s enticing enough (along with stellar strikeout rates) to give him a shot here as we transition into starters with more question marks.A 96 mph fastball with great ride is Bradley’s best foot forward, but it’s a great foundation. His cutter got pounded when it got too soft, so he was sent to the minor leagues to recover that velo. When he came back, he still struggled, and that might be because he hasn’t quite found that third pitch yet. There’s a chance he never quite comes through on the promise of that fastball — Taijuan Walker’s fastball has been his best pitch his entire career — but it’s enticing enough (along with stellar strikeout rates) to give him a shot here as we transition into starters with more question marks.Stuff+111Location+101Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.23ppK%23.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023104.2167TBR52

Chris Bassitt

93 Stuff+4.43 ppERABlurb ProcessBassitt is top 10 in innings over the past three seasons, and he’s done it with a 3.41 ERA. He’s been a top-40 fantasy pitcher in each of those seasons, too. So why is he down here, worse than his worst season in the past three? Maybe he should be higher, but it’s worth pointing out that every ERA estimator has put Bassitt around a half-run higher than his on-field results, he’s lost velocity in each of the past two offseasons (and this spring, yet again), and no projection system has him under a four ERA for next season. His breaking pitches grade out well and he throws a lot of pitches with good command, but as that velocity drops, his hard pitches (none of which registers over a 91 Stuff+) are going to get worse and worse. Given how close to average his strikeout rates are, it just seems like a riskier package than his three-year ERA would suggest it is.Blurb ProcessBassitt is top 10 in innings over the past three seasons, and he’s done it with a 3.41 ERA. He’s been a top-40 fantasy pitcher in each of those seasons, too. So why is he down here, worse than his worst season in the past three? Maybe he should be higher, but it’s worth pointing out that every ERA estimator has put Bassitt around a half-run higher than his on-field results, he’s lost velocity in each of the past two offseasons (and this spring, yet again), and no projection system has him under a four ERA for next season. His breaking pitches grade out well and he throws a lot of pitches with good command, but as that velocity drops, his hard pitches (none of which registers over a 91 Stuff+) are going to get worse and worse. Given how close to average his strikeout rates are, it just seems like a riskier package than his three-year ERA would suggest it is.Bassitt is top 10 in innings over the past three seasons, and he’s done it with a 3.41 ERA. He’s been a top-40 fantasy pitcher in each of those seasons, too. So why is he down here, worse than his worst season in the past three? Maybe he should be higher, but it’s worth pointing out that every ERA estimator has put Bassitt around a half-run higher than his on-field results, he’s lost velocity in each of the past two offseasons (and this spring, yet again), and no projection system has him under a four ERA for next season. His breaking pitches grade out well and he throws a lot of pitches with good command, but as that velocity drops, his hard pitches (none of which registers over a 91 Stuff+) are going to get worse and worse. Given how close to average his strikeout rates are, it just seems like a riskier package than his three-year ERA would suggest it is.Stuff+93Location+101Pitching+98HealthCppERA4.43ppK%20.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021157.1192022181.235202320022TOR53

Nathan Eovaldi

98 Stuff+4.28 ppERABlurb ProcessThe story is much wilder than the outcomes, in the end. Every year, Eovaldi starts the year with great velocity and lights the league on fire with his splitter and a deadly fastball. An undervalued sleeper making good! Then the velo drops. Three years combined now, he’s allowed a .679 OPS in the first half and a .757 in the second half. Those kinds of splits aren’t normally predictive, but there’s a reason here for the slides. Despite all that, he’s been a top-40 fantasy starter in two of those years and useful in the other. Don’t count on him for a full season of value. One-hundred good innings and then some tough decisions, that’s about right.Blurb ProcessThe story is much wilder than the outcomes, in the end. Every year, Eovaldi starts the year with great velocity and lights the league on fire with his splitter and a deadly fastball. An undervalued sleeper making good! Then the velo drops. Three years combined now, he’s allowed a .679 OPS in the first half and a .757 in the second half. Those kinds of splits aren’t normally predictive, but there’s a reason here for the slides. Despite all that, he’s been a top-40 fantasy starter in two of those years and useful in the other. Don’t count on him for a full season of value. One-hundred good innings and then some tough decisions, that’s about right.The story is much wilder than the outcomes, in the end. Every year, Eovaldi starts the year with great velocity and lights the league on fire with his splitter and a deadly fastball. An undervalued sleeper making good! Then the velo drops. Three years combined now, he’s allowed a .679 OPS in the first half and a .757 in the second half. Those kinds of splits aren’t normally predictive, but there’s a reason here for the slides. Despite all that, he’s been a top-40 fantasy starter in two of those years and useful in the other. Don’t count on him for a full season of value. One-hundred good innings and then some tough decisions, that’s about right.Stuff+98Location+100Pitching+99HealthFppERA4.28ppK%21.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021182.1402022109.191202314436TEX54

Gavin Williams

95 Stuff+4.41 ppERABlurb ProcessThe two-plane four-seam fastball Williams throws is above-average in both movement and velocity and provides a great foundation. His power bullet slider is also above average in velocity and outcomes. He doesn’t seem to trust the changeup, and it doesn’t get good results, so the real question is if the curveball can be the third pitch that helps him turn the lineup over. Batters hit .151 and slugged .288 off it last year, with above-average whiffs, so maybe the poor Stuff+ is missing something, or maybe it just works as a third alternative and shouldn’t get more playing time. Either way, the park (at least early in the year) is decent and his on-field results were strong.Blurb ProcessThe two-plane four-seam fastball Williams throws is above-average in both movement and velocity and provides a great foundation. His power bullet slider is also above average in velocity and outcomes. He doesn’t seem to trust the changeup, and it doesn’t get good results, so the real question is if the curveball can be the third pitch that helps him turn the lineup over. Batters hit .151 and slugged .288 off it last year, with above-average whiffs, so maybe the poor Stuff+ is missing something, or maybe it just works as a third alternative and shouldn’t get more playing time. Either way, the park (at least early in the year) is decent and his on-field results were strong.The two-plane four-seam fastball Williams throws is above-average in both movement and velocity and provides a great foundation. His power bullet slider is also above average in velocity and outcomes. He doesn’t seem to trust the changeup, and it doesn’t get good results, so the real question is if the curveball can be the third pitch that helps him turn the lineup over. Batters hit .151 and slugged .288 off it last year, with above-average whiffs, so maybe the poor Stuff+ is missing something, or maybe it just works as a third alternative and shouldn’t get more playing time. Either way, the park (at least early in the year) is decent and his on-field results were strong.Stuff+95Location+101Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.41ppK%23.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A20238281CLE55

Nestor Cortes

95 Stuff+4.35 ppERABlurb ProcessCortes had a bad year. Or at least, by ERA he did, with a number nearing five. But his strikeout and walk rates were better than average, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was in the top third of the league. He only stranded 69 percent of the batters that got on base, and that number has been 78 percent for his career, so there was some bad luck. He does look like someone who will give up homers, though, and that will keep his ERA above four, especially in Yankee Stadium. Then again, the league’s ERA is over 4.30 now, so that’s still valuable production, and it should come with more wins in 2024. This spring, he’s gotten extra ride and velo on his four-seamer, which speaks well to his health. Blurb ProcessCortes had a bad year. Or at least, by ERA he did, with a number nearing five. But his strikeout and walk rates were better than average, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was in the top third of the league. He only stranded 69 percent of the batters that got on base, and that number has been 78 percent for his career, so there was some bad luck. He does look like someone who will give up homers, though, and that will keep his ERA above four, especially in Yankee Stadium. Then again, the league’s ERA is over 4.30 now, so that’s still valuable production, and it should come with more wins in 2024. This spring, he’s gotten extra ride and velo on his four-seamer, which speaks well to his health. Cortes had a bad year. Or at least, by ERA he did, with a number nearing five. But his strikeout and walk rates were better than average, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was in the top third of the league. He only stranded 69 percent of the batters that got on base, and that number has been 78 percent for his career, so there was some bad luck. He does look like someone who will give up homers, though, and that will keep his ERA above four, especially in Yankee Stadium. Then again, the league’s ERA is over 4.30 now, so that’s still valuable production, and it should come with more wins in 2024. This spring, he’s gotten extra ride and velo on his four-seamer, which speaks well to his health. Stuff+95Location+103Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.35ppK%24.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202193542022158.113202363.1111NYY56

Seth Lugo

100 Stuff+4.34 ppERABlurb ProcessWhy didn’t any other team step to the table if the cost of acquiring Lugo was only $45 million over three years? He has what it takes to be a starter in terms of arsenal: two decent enough fastballs and two elite breaking balls, with the possibility of a third in the sweeper he threw 91 times last year. He can spin the ball well — he’s always at the top of the RPM leaderboards — and spin ages well. He’s 33, but it’s not like he has a ton of mileage on his arm. I’m into Lugo.Blurb ProcessWhy didn’t any other team step to the table if the cost of acquiring Lugo was only $45 million over three years? He has what it takes to be a starter in terms of arsenal: two decent enough fastballs and two elite breaking balls, with the possibility of a third in the sweeper he threw 91 times last year. He can spin the ball well — he’s always at the top of the RPM leaderboards — and spin ages well. He’s 33, but it’s not like he has a ton of mileage on his arm. I’m into Lugo.Why didn’t any other team step to the table if the cost of acquiring Lugo was only $45 million over three years? He has what it takes to be a starter in terms of arsenal: two decent enough fastballs and two elite breaking balls, with the possibility of a third in the sweeper he threw 91 times last year. He can spin the ball well — he’s always at the top of the RPM leaderboards — and spin ages well. He’s 33, but it’s not like he has a ton of mileage on his arm. I’m into Lugo.Stuff+100Location+103Pitching+102HealthFppERA4.34ppK%21.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023146.152KCR57

Cristopher Sánchez

108 Stuff+4.08 ppERABlurb ProcessDuring the most recent update to Stuff+, which included accounting for platoon splits when it came to the shapes of pitches, Sánchez got one of the biggest boosts. That’s good, because it lines up with the eye test on a nasty diving, fading changeup that befuddled batters to the tune of a .148 batting average and a 22 percent whiff rate. The velo isn’t plus, and he’s throwing a sinker to opposite-handed hitters (who slugged .566 off it), so maybe a cutter or even an iffy four-seam could help. But the foundation is laid, the upside is there, and the Phillies need his innings.Blurb ProcessDuring the most recent update to Stuff+, which included accounting for platoon splits when it came to the shapes of pitches, Sánchez got one of the biggest boosts. That’s good, because it lines up with the eye test on a nasty diving, fading changeup that befuddled batters to the tune of a .148 batting average and a 22 percent whiff rate. The velo isn’t plus, and he’s throwing a sinker to opposite-handed hitters (who slugged .566 off it), so maybe a cutter or even an iffy four-seam could help. But the foundation is laid, the upside is there, and the Phillies need his innings.During the most recent update to Stuff+, which included accounting for platoon splits when it came to the shapes of pitches, Sánchez got one of the biggest boosts. That’s good, because it lines up with the eye test on a nasty diving, fading changeup that befuddled batters to the tune of a .148 batting average and a 22 percent whiff rate. The velo isn’t plus, and he’s throwing a sinker to opposite-handed hitters (who slugged .566 off it), so maybe a cutter or even an iffy four-seam could help. But the foundation is laid, the upside is there, and the Phillies need his innings.Stuff+108Location+101Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.08ppK%21.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202399.153PHI58

Mitch Keller

102 Stuff+4.26 ppERABlurb ProcessKeller’s breakout came in 117 first-half innings with a 3.31 ERA built on the addition of a new cutter and the maturation of his recently added sinker and sweeper. A second half with an ERA two runs higher brought a lot of that breakout into question. During that struggle, Keller was mostly living with his hard pitches — he threw his cutter, sinker, four-seam and slider 95 percent of the time in the latter months. Other than the slider, his pitches are average-ish despite great velo, so his best attack plan is probably to bring the curve or change back in and mix velocities more. The command is improving, and he’s done it for a few months at a time, so there’s something to bet on here.Blurb ProcessKeller’s breakout came in 117 first-half innings with a 3.31 ERA built on the addition of a new cutter and the maturation of his recently added sinker and sweeper. A second half with an ERA two runs higher brought a lot of that breakout into question. During that struggle, Keller was mostly living with his hard pitches — he threw his cutter, sinker, four-seam and slider 95 percent of the time in the latter months. Other than the slider, his pitches are average-ish despite great velo, so his best attack plan is probably to bring the curve or change back in and mix velocities more. The command is improving, and he’s done it for a few months at a time, so there’s something to bet on here.Keller’s breakout came in 117 first-half innings with a 3.31 ERA built on the addition of a new cutter and the maturation of his recently added sinker and sweeper. A second half with an ERA two runs higher brought a lot of that breakout into question. During that struggle, Keller was mostly living with his hard pitches — he threw his cutter, sinker, four-seam and slider 95 percent of the time in the latter months. Other than the slider, his pitches are average-ish despite great velo, so his best attack plan is probably to bring the curve or change back in and mix velocities more. The command is improving, and he’s done it for a few months at a time, so there’s something to bet on here.Stuff+102Location+103Pitching+103HealthAppERA4.26ppK%21.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021100.222020221591542023194.157PIT59

Charlie Morton

99 Stuff+4.5 ppERABlurb ProcessThe age is finally starting to show for the 40-year-old Morton. His fastball dipped below 80 Stuff+ for the first time, as he lost some ride on the pitch and it started moving into sinker movement territory. He tried to replace some of those four-seamers with sliders, sinkers, and changeups, but those just aren’t as good in a vacuum as his four-seamer and curve have been. Despite good velo, he’s inching his way toward the same place that many other elite curveball guys eventually ended up — he can be brilliant on any given night, but he’s more prone to bad stretches as his non-curve pitches deteriorate.Blurb ProcessThe age is finally starting to show for the 40-year-old Morton. His fastball dipped below 80 Stuff+ for the first time, as he lost some ride on the pitch and it started moving into sinker movement territory. He tried to replace some of those four-seamers with sliders, sinkers, and changeups, but those just aren’t as good in a vacuum as his four-seamer and curve have been. Despite good velo, he’s inching his way toward the same place that many other elite curveball guys eventually ended up — he can be brilliant on any given night, but he’s more prone to bad stretches as his non-curve pitches deteriorate.The age is finally starting to show for the 40-year-old Morton. His fastball dipped below 80 Stuff+ for the first time, as he lost some ride on the pitch and it started moving into sinker movement territory. He tried to replace some of those four-seamers with sliders, sinkers, and changeups, but those just aren’t as good in a vacuum as his four-seamer and curve have been. Despite good velo, he’s inching his way toward the same place that many other elite curveball guys eventually ended up — he can be brilliant on any given night, but he’s more prone to bad stretches as his non-curve pitches deteriorate.Stuff+99Location+96Pitching+97HealthFppERA4.50ppK%24.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021185.2142022172882023163.173ATL60

Eduardo Rodriguez

79 Stuff+4.67 ppERABlurb ProcessBetween the stuff-based projections and the rest of the numbers out there lies almost three-quarters of a run in ERA. My answer here is to push Rodriguez higher than you’d expect given just these ppERA projections, but basically, this ranking still means I won’t end up with him in drafts. He seems likely to throw 150 innings, and the park and team situations are decent, so maybe I’ll be missing out. But about half the time over his career, he’s been a miss — fantasy-wise, at least. It’s not outlandish to think he’ll have an ERA well north of four.Blurb ProcessBetween the stuff-based projections and the rest of the numbers out there lies almost three-quarters of a run in ERA. My answer here is to push Rodriguez higher than you’d expect given just these ppERA projections, but basically, this ranking still means I won’t end up with him in drafts. He seems likely to throw 150 innings, and the park and team situations are decent, so maybe I’ll be missing out. But about half the time over his career, he’s been a miss — fantasy-wise, at least. It’s not outlandish to think he’ll have an ERA well north of four.Between the stuff-based projections and the rest of the numbers out there lies almost three-quarters of a run in ERA. My answer here is to push Rodriguez higher than you’d expect given just these ppERA projections, but basically, this ranking still means I won’t end up with him in drafts. He seems likely to throw 150 innings, and the park and team situations are decent, so maybe I’ll be missing out. But about half the time over his career, he’s been a miss — fantasy-wise, at least. It’s not outlandish to think he’ll have an ERA well north of four.Stuff+79Location+103Pitching+97HealthDppERA4.67ppK%20.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021157.21032022911272023152.228ARI61

Edward Cabrera

101 Stuff+4.22 ppERABlurb ProcessThe command is obviously a problem. Cabrera had the second-worst walk rate among starters, and a 15 percent walk rate is not tenable if he wants to remain in that role. Over the past five seasons, the highest walk rate (minimum 400 innings) is Blake Snell’s 11 percent. The good news is that Cabrera’s fastball command (as judged by Location+) has improved in each of the past three seasons, and his slider command is around average. The overall command he showed last season is more viable by that stat: 13 starters have had a 97 Location+ and put together 250 innings over the past three seasons. Command will never be his strength, but he could ride the nastiness to outs instead. And he’s nasty.Blurb ProcessThe command is obviously a problem. Cabrera had the second-worst walk rate among starters, and a 15 percent walk rate is not tenable if he wants to remain in that role. Over the past five seasons, the highest walk rate (minimum 400 innings) is Blake Snell’s 11 percent. The good news is that Cabrera’s fastball command (as judged by Location+) has improved in each of the past three seasons, and his slider command is around average. The overall command he showed last season is more viable by that stat: 13 starters have had a 97 Location+ and put together 250 innings over the past three seasons. Command will never be his strength, but he could ride the nastiness to outs instead. And he’s nasty.The command is obviously a problem. Cabrera had the second-worst walk rate among starters, and a 15 percent walk rate is not tenable if he wants to remain in that role. Over the past five seasons, the highest walk rate (minimum 400 innings) is Blake Snell’s 11 percent. The good news is that Cabrera’s fastball command (as judged by Location+) has improved in each of the past three seasons, and his slider command is around average. The overall command he showed last season is more viable by that stat: 13 starters have had a 97 Location+ and put together 250 innings over the past three seasons. Command will never be his strength, but he could ride the nastiness to outs instead. And he’s nasty.Stuff+101Location+96Pitching+99HealthCppERA4.22ppK%24.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202271.256202399.2127MIA62

Kutter Crawford

107 Stuff+4.5 ppERABlurb ProcessCrawford is a starting pitcher and has the chance to be a good one, too. Last year, he threw five pitches more than 100 times that all registered above-average by Stuff+: a sweeper, a slider, a four-seamer, a cutter (of course) and a curve in order of quality by that model. Just having a great four-seam and the ability to spin the ball is a great place to start. The big mystery is why he had an ERA over six at home. Some of it is luck (a much larger batting average on balls in play), but some of it is just weird (his strikeout rate was six points lower at home). Boston is a tough place to pitch, or he’d be ranked higher with that arsenal.Blurb ProcessCrawford is a starting pitcher and has the chance to be a good one, too. Last year, he threw five pitches more than 100 times that all registered above-average by Stuff+: a sweeper, a slider, a four-seamer, a cutter (of course) and a curve in order of quality by that model. Just having a great four-seam and the ability to spin the ball is a great place to start. The big mystery is why he had an ERA over six at home. Some of it is luck (a much larger batting average on balls in play), but some of it is just weird (his strikeout rate was six points lower at home). Boston is a tough place to pitch, or he’d be ranked higher with that arsenal.Crawford is a starting pitcher and has the chance to be a good one, too. Last year, he threw five pitches more than 100 times that all registered above-average by Stuff+: a sweeper, a slider, a four-seamer, a cutter (of course) and a curve in order of quality by that model. Just having a great four-seam and the ability to spin the ball is a great place to start. The big mystery is why he had an ERA over six at home. Some of it is luck (a much larger batting average on balls in play), but some of it is just weird (his strikeout rate was six points lower at home). Boston is a tough place to pitch, or he’d be ranked higher with that arsenal.Stuff+107Location+102Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.50ppK%23.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202277.11682023129.156BOS63

Brandon Pfaadt

102 Stuff+4.48 ppERABlurb ProcessWithout the postseason, this would seem like an aggressive ranking for Pfaadt based mostly on the model loving his sweeper and thinking his curve and four-seam were close enough to average to be a viable arsenal in a decent home park in front of a decent team. But with the postseason, we have those 22 innings of a proof of concept, which is to say that sinker he started throwing then looks like it makes him really good against righties, nearly dominant. Lefties? It was tough to watch him against them, even in the playoffs, but he does have the weapons and seems likely to figure out some sort of plan.Blurb ProcessWithout the postseason, this would seem like an aggressive ranking for Pfaadt based mostly on the model loving his sweeper and thinking his curve and four-seam were close enough to average to be a viable arsenal in a decent home park in front of a decent team. But with the postseason, we have those 22 innings of a proof of concept, which is to say that sinker he started throwing then looks like it makes him really good against righties, nearly dominant. Lefties? It was tough to watch him against them, even in the playoffs, but he does have the weapons and seems likely to figure out some sort of plan.Without the postseason, this would seem like an aggressive ranking for Pfaadt based mostly on the model loving his sweeper and thinking his curve and four-seam were close enough to average to be a viable arsenal in a decent home park in front of a decent team. But with the postseason, we have those 22 innings of a proof of concept, which is to say that sinker he started throwing then looks like it makes him really good against righties, nearly dominant. Lefties? It was tough to watch him against them, even in the playoffs, but he does have the weapons and seems likely to figure out some sort of plan.Stuff+102Location+104Pitching+104HealthCppERA4.48ppK%22.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202396186ARI64

Shane Baz

#N/A3.59 ppERABlurb ProcessBack before his injury in 2022, Baz was nasty. A 96 mph fastball with good ride, a hard 87 mph gyro slider, a two-plane curve at 82 mph, and a change that had good movement but iffy results. He was a top-20 starter by Stuff+, and that lined up with the scouting reports and minor-league results. He should shove when he’s on the field, but with 132 innings pitched in the past three seasons combined, he’s an extreme volume risk. Pair him with a horse (or three) if you can. If you have injury list spots where you can stash him for a bit, he should rank higher for you, especially in shallower leagues. He’s not currently hurt, they’re just slow walking him this spring, and that might be scaring too many people away. Blurb ProcessBack before his injury in 2022, Baz was nasty. A 96 mph fastball with good ride, a hard 87 mph gyro slider, a two-plane curve at 82 mph, and a change that had good movement but iffy results. He was a top-20 starter by Stuff+, and that lined up with the scouting reports and minor-league results. He should shove when he’s on the field, but with 132 innings pitched in the past three seasons combined, he’s an extreme volume risk. Pair him with a horse (or three) if you can. If you have injury list spots where you can stash him for a bit, he should rank higher for you, especially in shallower leagues. He’s not currently hurt, they’re just slow walking him this spring, and that might be scaring too many people away. Back before his injury in 2022, Baz was nasty. A 96 mph fastball with good ride, a hard 87 mph gyro slider, a two-plane curve at 82 mph, and a change that had good movement but iffy results. He was a top-20 starter by Stuff+, and that lined up with the scouting reports and minor-league results. He should shove when he’s on the field, but with 132 innings pitched in the past three seasons combined, he’s an extreme volume risk. Pair him with a horse (or three) if you can. If you have injury list spots where you can stash him for a bit, he should rank higher for you, especially in shallower leagues. He’s not currently hurt, they’re just slow walking him this spring, and that might be scaring too many people away. HealthFppERA3.59ppK%28.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ATBR65

Nick Lodolo

116 Stuff+3.84 ppERABlurb ProcessThe strikeout rate lines up with the plus stuff for Lodolo, who has struck out just short of 30 percent of the batters he’s seen. The command is fine, and it’s a true four-pitch mix full of pitches that rate above average by Stuff+. There are only two problems with drafting him, and they’re pretty severe. Cincinnati’s ballpark is one of the two or three most extreme hitters’ parks in the league, for one. The other is that he’s had a tough time staying on the field, with only 41 2/3 innings across the majors and minors last year, and only 166 2/3 innings combined the two previous years. Pick your poison at this point: At least the upside is tantalizing.Blurb ProcessThe strikeout rate lines up with the plus stuff for Lodolo, who has struck out just short of 30 percent of the batters he’s seen. The command is fine, and it’s a true four-pitch mix full of pitches that rate above average by Stuff+. There are only two problems with drafting him, and they’re pretty severe. Cincinnati’s ballpark is one of the two or three most extreme hitters’ parks in the league, for one. The other is that he’s had a tough time staying on the field, with only 41 2/3 innings across the majors and minors last year, and only 166 2/3 innings combined the two previous years. Pick your poison at this point: At least the upside is tantalizing.The strikeout rate lines up with the plus stuff for Lodolo, who has struck out just short of 30 percent of the batters he’s seen. The command is fine, and it’s a true four-pitch mix full of pitches that rate above average by Stuff+. There are only two problems with drafting him, and they’re pretty severe. Cincinnati’s ballpark is one of the two or three most extreme hitters’ parks in the league, for one. The other is that he’s had a tough time staying on the field, with only 41 2/3 innings across the majors and minors last year, and only 166 2/3 innings combined the two previous years. Pick your poison at this point: At least the upside is tantalizing.Stuff+116Location+99Pitching+101HealthCppERA3.84ppK%27.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022103.180#N/ACIN66

Walker Buehler

#N/A4.11 ppERABlurb ProcessFocusing too much on the names littering the list of second Tommy John surgeries might be a red herring. Yeah, you’ve got some careers that ended shortly after that second surgery — as it was for Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, and Brian Anderson — but recent returns seem to suggest progress in the science, as Jameson Taillon, Kirby Yates, Mike Clevinger and others have had better success. Your taste for risk and your league settings will have a great impact on your own Buehler ranking. The bad news this spring is just that you won’t get many innings early in the season, making him a tough pick in leagues without bigger benches. Blurb ProcessFocusing too much on the names littering the list of second Tommy John surgeries might be a red herring. Yeah, you’ve got some careers that ended shortly after that second surgery — as it was for Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, and Brian Anderson — but recent returns seem to suggest progress in the science, as Jameson Taillon, Kirby Yates, Mike Clevinger and others have had better success. Your taste for risk and your league settings will have a great impact on your own Buehler ranking. The bad news this spring is just that you won’t get many innings early in the season, making him a tough pick in leagues without bigger benches. Focusing too much on the names littering the list of second Tommy John surgeries might be a red herring. Yeah, you’ve got some careers that ended shortly after that second surgery — as it was for Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, and Brian Anderson — but recent returns seem to suggest progress in the science, as Jameson Taillon, Kirby Yates, Mike Clevinger and others have had better success. Your taste for risk and your league settings will have a great impact on your own Buehler ranking. The bad news this spring is just that you won’t get many innings early in the season, making him a tough pick in leagues without bigger benches. HealthFppERA4.11ppK%22.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021207.2220226598#N/ALAD67

Brayan Bello

97 Stuff+4.34 ppERABlurb ProcessA plus sinker and a plus changeup and decent command mean that Bello will always be decent, but how much better he can be depends mostly on his slider. While the pitch has good sink and velocity, the Stuff+ model says it’s only meh and hitters slugged .429 off it last year, which is high for that pitch type. He started throwing it harder with more sweep and less drop in August and September, and it got more whiffs and allowed less slugging. If he can continue that trend, he has real breakout potential. You need a good slider in this league.Blurb ProcessA plus sinker and a plus changeup and decent command mean that Bello will always be decent, but how much better he can be depends mostly on his slider. While the pitch has good sink and velocity, the Stuff+ model says it’s only meh and hitters slugged .429 off it last year, which is high for that pitch type. He started throwing it harder with more sweep and less drop in August and September, and it got more whiffs and allowed less slugging. If he can continue that trend, he has real breakout potential. You need a good slider in this league.A plus sinker and a plus changeup and decent command mean that Bello will always be decent, but how much better he can be depends mostly on his slider. While the pitch has good sink and velocity, the Stuff+ model says it’s only meh and hitters slugged .429 off it last year, which is high for that pitch type. He started throwing it harder with more sweep and less drop in August and September, and it got more whiffs and allowed less slugging. If he can continue that trend, he has real breakout potential. You need a good slider in this league.Stuff+97Location+101Pitching+100HealthCppERA4.34ppK%20.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202257.11762023157110BOS68

Marcus Stroman

99 Stuff+4.15 ppERABlurb ProcessTeams like strikeouts and you should too, considering they are a category in almost every fantasy league (and also the batting average on a strikeout is zero). Is it possible that the lack of strikeouts makes Stroman undervalued, and he should be higher? He has kept his ERA under four for four straight seasons with this below-average strikeout rate due to his great sinker and the commensurate ground-ball rate. If he was a guarantee for more innings, the case would be easy to make. As is, the new park and division, the strikeout rate and the injury history combine to produce this ranking.Blurb ProcessTeams like strikeouts and you should too, considering they are a category in almost every fantasy league (and also the batting average on a strikeout is zero). Is it possible that the lack of strikeouts makes Stroman undervalued, and he should be higher? He has kept his ERA under four for four straight seasons with this below-average strikeout rate due to his great sinker and the commensurate ground-ball rate. If he was a guarantee for more innings, the case would be easy to make. As is, the new park and division, the strikeout rate and the injury history combine to produce this ranking.Teams like strikeouts and you should too, considering they are a category in almost every fantasy league (and also the batting average on a strikeout is zero). Is it possible that the lack of strikeouts makes Stroman undervalued, and he should be higher? He has kept his ERA under four for four straight seasons with this below-average strikeout rate due to his great sinker and the commensurate ground-ball rate. If he was a guarantee for more innings, the case would be easy to make. As is, the new park and division, the strikeout rate and the injury history combine to produce this ranking.Stuff+99Location+99Pitching+101HealthDppERA4.15ppK%20.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021179282022138.2682023136.271NYY69

Jon Gray

96 Stuff+4.48 ppERABlurb ProcessGray’s best pitch is his breaking ball. He’s got three of them. The primary one, a hard 88 mph gyro slider, still stymies hitters. He added the sweeper and worked on firming up the curve to different levels of success, as he gave up three homers on the curve on 20 balls in play despite a good whiff rate. The real problem is that the four-seam just isn’t any good. It’s a dead zone by movement and propped up by velocity — for now. Even at 95-96, he allowed a .335 batting average and .536 slugging last season on the pitch. He’s already using it less than his other pitches combined, not sure he can use it much less. But he can try!Blurb ProcessGray’s best pitch is his breaking ball. He’s got three of them. The primary one, a hard 88 mph gyro slider, still stymies hitters. He added the sweeper and worked on firming up the curve to different levels of success, as he gave up three homers on the curve on 20 balls in play despite a good whiff rate. The real problem is that the four-seam just isn’t any good. It’s a dead zone by movement and propped up by velocity — for now. Even at 95-96, he allowed a .335 batting average and .536 slugging last season on the pitch. He’s already using it less than his other pitches combined, not sure he can use it much less. But he can try!Gray’s best pitch is his breaking ball. He’s got three of them. The primary one, a hard 88 mph gyro slider, still stymies hitters. He added the sweeper and worked on firming up the curve to different levels of success, as he gave up three homers on the curve on 20 balls in play despite a good whiff rate. The real problem is that the four-seam just isn’t any good. It’s a dead zone by movement and propped up by velocity — for now. Even at 95-96, he allowed a .335 batting average and .536 slugging last season on the pitch. He’s already using it less than his other pitches combined, not sure he can use it much less. But he can try!Stuff+96Location+101Pitching+99HealthFppERA4.48ppK%21.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20211491282022127.1672023157.198TEX70

Ryan Pepiot

105 Stuff+4.2 ppERABlurb ProcessFastball with decent shape and velocity? Check. Plus power changeup that pleases both models and scouts? Check. Emerging good-enough hard slider that had great results last year? Check. Command? Well, err, let’s give Pepiot an incomplete on that one. He came up through the minors with below-average command grades, but Location+ says he was above-average there in both the minors and majors last year, maybe because of his new, tighter slider — smaller shapes are traditionally easier to command. His first spring outing showed that he doesn’t always execute exactly what he’s looking for on any one pitch, but that the stuff is good enough for him to be successful in Tampa anyway. One of the most exciting sleepers in this area of the rankings.Blurb ProcessFastball with decent shape and velocity? Check. Plus power changeup that pleases both models and scouts? Check. Emerging good-enough hard slider that had great results last year? Check. Command? Well, err, let’s give Pepiot an incomplete on that one. He came up through the minors with below-average command grades, but Location+ says he was above-average there in both the minors and majors last year, maybe because of his new, tighter slider — smaller shapes are traditionally easier to command. His first spring outing showed that he doesn’t always execute exactly what he’s looking for on any one pitch, but that the stuff is good enough for him to be successful in Tampa anyway. One of the most exciting sleepers in this area of the rankings.Fastball with decent shape and velocity? Check. Plus power changeup that pleases both models and scouts? Check. Emerging good-enough hard slider that had great results last year? Check. Command? Well, err, let’s give Pepiot an incomplete on that one. He came up through the minors with below-average command grades, but Location+ says he was above-average there in both the minors and majors last year, maybe because of his new, tighter slider — smaller shapes are traditionally easier to command. His first spring outing showed that he doesn’t always execute exactly what he’s looking for on any one pitch, but that the stuff is good enough for him to be successful in Tampa anyway. One of the most exciting sleepers in this area of the rankings.Stuff+105Location+104Pitching+106HealthCppERA4.20ppK%25.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202236.1111#N/ATBR71

Chris Paddack

99 Stuff+4.07 ppERABlurb ProcessThe changeup is tasty, and has been there for Paddack for most of his career. When the fastball is right, it has good ride and decent velocity. The search for a good breaking ball has defined the righty’s up-and-down career so far, though. He worked really hard on a cutter, and that took away some of the ride on his four-seam and he had one of the worst seasons of his career before ending up injured. He’s back now, and sitting 94-plus in spring outings, with a fastball that has regained some (if not all) of its former shape, and a sweeping breaking ball that looks like it could be a weapon. Paddack is projected well, and has always had great command — he’s worth a shot, no matter how many innings he’ll give coming off of surgery.Blurb ProcessThe changeup is tasty, and has been there for Paddack for most of his career. When the fastball is right, it has good ride and decent velocity. The search for a good breaking ball has defined the righty’s up-and-down career so far, though. He worked really hard on a cutter, and that took away some of the ride on his four-seam and he had one of the worst seasons of his career before ending up injured. He’s back now, and sitting 94-plus in spring outings, with a fastball that has regained some (if not all) of its former shape, and a sweeping breaking ball that looks like it could be a weapon. Paddack is projected well, and has always had great command — he’s worth a shot, no matter how many innings he’ll give coming off of surgery.The changeup is tasty, and has been there for Paddack for most of his career. When the fastball is right, it has good ride and decent velocity. The search for a good breaking ball has defined the righty’s up-and-down career so far, though. He worked really hard on a cutter, and that took away some of the ride on his four-seam and he had one of the worst seasons of his career before ending up injured. He’s back now, and sitting 94-plus in spring outings, with a fastball that has regained some (if not all) of its former shape, and a sweeping breaking ball that looks like it could be a weapon. Paddack is projected well, and has always had great command — he’s worth a shot, no matter how many innings he’ll give coming off of surgery.Stuff+99Location+97Pitching+91HealthFppERA4.07ppK%23.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021108.1131#N/A#N/AMIN72

Luis Severino

102 Stuff+4.28 ppERABlurb ProcessHe’s lost an inch of ride on the four-seamer, and the changeup isn’t quite as good as it was before, but Severino hasn’t lost all his stuff. There’s still a 96-plus mph fastball with above-average ride, and an 85 mph slider with two-plane movement, set against at least average command. It turns out that Severino was tipping his pitches some last year, in all likelihood, and that could explain how such a small change in movement and velocity would produce such disastrous results. He’s made a massive change in parks and will have new voices to listen to among the coaches, and this is a cheap enough price to see if he can bounce back.Blurb ProcessHe’s lost an inch of ride on the four-seamer, and the changeup isn’t quite as good as it was before, but Severino hasn’t lost all his stuff. There’s still a 96-plus mph fastball with above-average ride, and an 85 mph slider with two-plane movement, set against at least average command. It turns out that Severino was tipping his pitches some last year, in all likelihood, and that could explain how such a small change in movement and velocity would produce such disastrous results. He’s made a massive change in parks and will have new voices to listen to among the coaches, and this is a cheap enough price to see if he can bounce back.He’s lost an inch of ride on the four-seamer, and the changeup isn’t quite as good as it was before, but Severino hasn’t lost all his stuff. There’s still a 96-plus mph fastball with above-average ride, and an 85 mph slider with two-plane movement, set against at least average command. It turns out that Severino was tipping his pitches some last year, in all likelihood, and that could explain how such a small change in movement and velocity would produce such disastrous results. He’s made a massive change in parks and will have new voices to listen to among the coaches, and this is a cheap enough price to see if he can bounce back.Stuff+102Location+102Pitching+101HealthFppERA4.28ppK%22.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202210241202389.1220NYM73

Kyle Harrison

89 Stuff+4.22 ppERABlurb ProcessNinety-four mph, with two-plane movement from the left side, means that Harrison’s fastball is above-average. Stuff+ says it’s his only above-average pitch — and batters seem to agree, as they’ve slugged .500+ on the rest of his offerings, while the .176 batting average and .379 slugging off the fastball are both good numbers. Any good pitching coach would be happy to start with that fastball, but it’s a little weird that so many pitching coaches have had the chance to work with him as he’s advanced to the big leagues, and they still haven’t found a great secondary. Maybe converting the slurve to a sweeper could make it work, but you’re probably asking for a new pitch for him to break out. That’s something to look for in the spring!Blurb ProcessNinety-four mph, with two-plane movement from the left side, means that Harrison’s fastball is above-average. Stuff+ says it’s his only above-average pitch — and batters seem to agree, as they’ve slugged .500+ on the rest of his offerings, while the .176 batting average and .379 slugging off the fastball are both good numbers. Any good pitching coach would be happy to start with that fastball, but it’s a little weird that so many pitching coaches have had the chance to work with him as he’s advanced to the big leagues, and they still haven’t found a great secondary. Maybe converting the slurve to a sweeper could make it work, but you’re probably asking for a new pitch for him to break out. That’s something to look for in the spring!Ninety-four mph, with two-plane movement from the left side, means that Harrison’s fastball is above-average. Stuff+ says it’s his only above-average pitch — and batters seem to agree, as they’ve slugged .500+ on the rest of his offerings, while the .176 batting average and .379 slugging off the fastball are both good numbers. Any good pitching coach would be happy to start with that fastball, but it’s a little weird that so many pitching coaches have had the chance to work with him as he’s advanced to the big leagues, and they still haven’t found a great secondary. Maybe converting the slurve to a sweeper could make it work, but you’re probably asking for a new pitch for him to break out. That’s something to look for in the spring!Stuff+89Location+98Pitching+97HealthCppERA4.22ppK%26.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ASFG74

Triston McKenzie

102 Stuff+4.34 ppERABlurb ProcessMcKenzie has had stretches of brilliance in his short career so far. A 2.70 ERA in the second half of 2022. A strong eight-start debut in the shortened 2020 season. Then he’s had the other stretches, in which his ERA has been over five and his walk rate has exploded. The guess here is that it has to do with health. His velo was at its best in 2022, and last year, he couldn’t command his fastball at all. There’s a really good three-pitch mix in here spear-headed by a plus curveball, though, and if he’s feeling good in the spring, he’ll only move up this list. Blurb ProcessMcKenzie has had stretches of brilliance in his short career so far. A 2.70 ERA in the second half of 2022. A strong eight-start debut in the shortened 2020 season. Then he’s had the other stretches, in which his ERA has been over five and his walk rate has exploded. The guess here is that it has to do with health. His velo was at its best in 2022, and last year, he couldn’t command his fastball at all. There’s a really good three-pitch mix in here spear-headed by a plus curveball, though, and if he’s feeling good in the spring, he’ll only move up this list. McKenzie has had stretches of brilliance in his short career so far. A 2.70 ERA in the second half of 2022. A strong eight-start debut in the shortened 2020 season. Then he’s had the other stretches, in which his ERA has been over five and his walk rate has exploded. The guess here is that it has to do with health. His velo was at its best in 2022, and last year, he couldn’t command his fastball at all. There’s a really good three-pitch mix in here spear-headed by a plus curveball, though, and if he’s feeling good in the spring, he’ll only move up this list. Stuff+102Location+94Pitching+94HealthCppERA4.34ppK%24.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20211201102022191.119#N/ACLE75

Griffin Canning

99 Stuff+4.3 ppERABlurb ProcessThe velocity is increasing over time, but the shape on Canning’s fastball makes it a “dead zone” pitch — it’s exactly average, and that’s what hitters see the most. He gave up a whopping .625 slugging on the pitch last year, so this is no model mirage. What Canning does have is a really good slider and changeup pairing, and the ability to command those pitches as well as the four-seamer. Mixing, matching and pitching backward will be the plan for the Angels righty, and it’s worked for other pitchers before, but you’ll want to be careful with him in certain matchups — and he may not get a ton of wins on that team this year. Blurb ProcessThe velocity is increasing over time, but the shape on Canning’s fastball makes it a “dead zone” pitch — it’s exactly average, and that’s what hitters see the most. He gave up a whopping .625 slugging on the pitch last year, so this is no model mirage. What Canning does have is a really good slider and changeup pairing, and the ability to command those pitches as well as the four-seamer. Mixing, matching and pitching backward will be the plan for the Angels righty, and it’s worked for other pitchers before, but you’ll want to be careful with him in certain matchups — and he may not get a ton of wins on that team this year. The velocity is increasing over time, but the shape on Canning’s fastball makes it a “dead zone” pitch — it’s exactly average, and that’s what hitters see the most. He gave up a whopping .625 slugging on the pitch last year, so this is no model mirage. What Canning does have is a really good slider and changeup pairing, and the ability to command those pitches as well as the four-seamer. Mixing, matching and pitching backward will be the plan for the Angels righty, and it’s worked for other pitchers before, but you’ll want to be careful with him in certain matchups — and he may not get a ton of wins on that team this year. Stuff+99Location+102Pitching+101HealthFppERA4.30ppK%24.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202162.2156#N/A202312783LAA76

Trevor Rogers

92 Stuff+4.31 ppERABlurb ProcessLast year was a lost year for Rogers. Originally placed on the injured list for a biceps strain, a partial tear in his right lat extended his stay there. In the end, he only threw 18 innings. Supposedly healthy right now, the Marlins are still going to slow-walk his spring, so there’s a chance he’s behind when the games start. He’s always had a good changeup and sinker combo, and has been searching for a good slider for a couple of years now, so it’s not only health that’s a question mark. The good news is that he has good command of all four of his pitches, and pitches in a great park. That shouldn’t change.Blurb ProcessLast year was a lost year for Rogers. Originally placed on the injured list for a biceps strain, a partial tear in his right lat extended his stay there. In the end, he only threw 18 innings. Supposedly healthy right now, the Marlins are still going to slow-walk his spring, so there’s a chance he’s behind when the games start. He’s always had a good changeup and sinker combo, and has been searching for a good slider for a couple of years now, so it’s not only health that’s a question mark. The good news is that he has good command of all four of his pitches, and pitches in a great park. That shouldn’t change.Last year was a lost year for Rogers. Originally placed on the injured list for a biceps strain, a partial tear in his right lat extended his stay there. In the end, he only threw 18 innings. Supposedly healthy right now, the Marlins are still going to slow-walk his spring, so there’s a chance he’s behind when the games start. He’s always had a good changeup and sinker combo, and has been searching for a good slider for a couple of years now, so it’s not only health that’s a question mark. The good news is that he has good command of all four of his pitches, and pitches in a great park. That shouldn’t change.Stuff+92Location+105Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.31ppK%23.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021133312022107200#N/AMIA77

Kenta Maeda

90 Stuff+4.44 ppERABlurb ProcessEvery year, Maeda’s fastball gets closer to dropping under 90 mph, and every year he just throws his splitter more in response. The current strategy seems to be using the slider and four-seam equally in counts where he needs a strike, all in an effort to get to counts where he can throw the splitter for whiffs. At some point, he won’t be able to hide that fastball any more and it will go kaput. But landing in Detroit with that park and division probably means he will be slightly better than league average through his two-year contract, at least. Blurb ProcessEvery year, Maeda’s fastball gets closer to dropping under 90 mph, and every year he just throws his splitter more in response. The current strategy seems to be using the slider and four-seam equally in counts where he needs a strike, all in an effort to get to counts where he can throw the splitter for whiffs. At some point, he won’t be able to hide that fastball any more and it will go kaput. But landing in Detroit with that park and division probably means he will be slightly better than league average through his two-year contract, at least. Every year, Maeda’s fastball gets closer to dropping under 90 mph, and every year he just throws his splitter more in response. The current strategy seems to be using the slider and four-seam equally in counts where he needs a strike, all in an effort to get to counts where he can throw the splitter for whiffs. At some point, he won’t be able to hide that fastball any more and it will go kaput. But landing in Detroit with that park and division probably means he will be slightly better than league average through his two-year contract, at least. Stuff+90Location+103Pitching+101HealthFppERA4.44ppK%23.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021106.1119#N/A2023104.169DET78

Kyle Bradish

116 Stuff+3.87 ppERABlurb ProcessIf you start with perhaps the best slider in the game, you get a ton of chances to make the whole arsenal work. By the second half of last season, Bradish figured out how: He made the four-seam more of a cutter (it always had those tendencies), started throwing the sinker regularly and turfed the changeup, settling in with a four-pitch mix that basically all works off the slider. If the sinker is the primary fastball, he doesn’t have an above-average fastball. But maybe the slider is the ‘fastball’ and that flaw doesn’t matter if you look at the arsenal as a whole. Now, trying to use rest and rehab and an injection to recover from a UCL strain, he drops down to join the other major health risks with ace-like upside. Blurb ProcessIf you start with perhaps the best slider in the game, you get a ton of chances to make the whole arsenal work. By the second half of last season, Bradish figured out how: He made the four-seam more of a cutter (it always had those tendencies), started throwing the sinker regularly and turfed the changeup, settling in with a four-pitch mix that basically all works off the slider. If the sinker is the primary fastball, he doesn’t have an above-average fastball. But maybe the slider is the ‘fastball’ and that flaw doesn’t matter if you look at the arsenal as a whole. Now, trying to use rest and rehab and an injection to recover from a UCL strain, he drops down to join the other major health risks with ace-like upside. If you start with perhaps the best slider in the game, you get a ton of chances to make the whole arsenal work. By the second half of last season, Bradish figured out how: He made the four-seam more of a cutter (it always had those tendencies), started throwing the sinker regularly and turfed the changeup, settling in with a four-pitch mix that basically all works off the slider. If the sinker is the primary fastball, he doesn’t have an above-average fastball. But maybe the slider is the ‘fastball’ and that flaw doesn’t matter if you look at the arsenal as a whole. Now, trying to use rest and rehab and an injection to recover from a UCL strain, he drops down to join the other major health risks with ace-like upside. Stuff+116Location+103Pitching+106HealthBppERA3.87ppK%23.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022117.21792023168.25BAL79

Jordan Hicks

131 Stuff+3.66 ppERABlurb ProcessFrom a, “Does he have the pitches to start?” standpoint, Hicks is probably set. Both of his fastballs sat triple-digits and have the shape to service the inevitable velocity loss that comes with moving from the bullpen to the rotation, as the Giants have planned for Hicks this spring. His changeup and two breaking balls are model-pleasers, and his sweeper has been his go-to out of the pen. It’s probably also unfair to say a pitcher with eight starts in the major has used up all his chances to start. But for this experiment to work, Hicks has to find some command he hasn’t really shown in the past. None of his pitches had above-average locations last year, and that’s in line with past results. Watch the walk column closely this spring.Blurb ProcessFrom a, “Does he have the pitches to start?” standpoint, Hicks is probably set. Both of his fastballs sat triple-digits and have the shape to service the inevitable velocity loss that comes with moving from the bullpen to the rotation, as the Giants have planned for Hicks this spring. His changeup and two breaking balls are model-pleasers, and his sweeper has been his go-to out of the pen. It’s probably also unfair to say a pitcher with eight starts in the major has used up all his chances to start. But for this experiment to work, Hicks has to find some command he hasn’t really shown in the past. None of his pitches had above-average locations last year, and that’s in line with past results. Watch the walk column closely this spring.From a, “Does he have the pitches to start?” standpoint, Hicks is probably set. Both of his fastballs sat triple-digits and have the shape to service the inevitable velocity loss that comes with moving from the bullpen to the rotation, as the Giants have planned for Hicks this spring. His changeup and two breaking balls are model-pleasers, and his sweeper has been his go-to out of the pen. It’s probably also unfair to say a pitcher with eight starts in the major has used up all his chances to start. But for this experiment to work, Hicks has to find some command he hasn’t really shown in the past. None of his pitches had above-average locations last year, and that’s in line with past results. Watch the walk column closely this spring.Stuff+131Location+96Pitching+104ppERA3.66ppK%24.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202261.1131#N/ASFG80

Reynaldo López

121 Stuff+3.77 ppERABlurb ProcessThere’s a good case for Reynaldo López as the best of the three relievers trying to stretch out this spring. He’s got a wider arsenal than A.J. Puk, at least, and more fastball command than Jordan Hicks. He’s shown the ability to throw more innings than either guy, too. Why is he down here, then? Well, Atlanta can be an unforgiving park when it comes to homers, and that was part of why López was moved from the rotation to the bullpen in the first place. He’s also had some fastball command issues in the past, so it’s not really a strength. There are some leagues where taking a shot like this makes a ton of sense, but if you need to roster him all season and very much only want a starting pitcher, the risk can’t be denied. Blurb ProcessThere’s a good case for Reynaldo López as the best of the three relievers trying to stretch out this spring. He’s got a wider arsenal than A.J. Puk, at least, and more fastball command than Jordan Hicks. He’s shown the ability to throw more innings than either guy, too. Why is he down here, then? Well, Atlanta can be an unforgiving park when it comes to homers, and that was part of why López was moved from the rotation to the bullpen in the first place. He’s also had some fastball command issues in the past, so it’s not really a strength. There are some leagues where taking a shot like this makes a ton of sense, but if you need to roster him all season and very much only want a starting pitcher, the risk can’t be denied. There’s a good case for Reynaldo López as the best of the three relievers trying to stretch out this spring. He’s got a wider arsenal than A.J. Puk, at least, and more fastball command than Jordan Hicks. He’s shown the ability to throw more innings than either guy, too. Why is he down here, then? Well, Atlanta can be an unforgiving park when it comes to homers, and that was part of why López was moved from the rotation to the bullpen in the first place. He’s also had some fastball command issues in the past, so it’s not really a strength. There are some leagues where taking a shot like this makes a ton of sense, but if you need to roster him all season and very much only want a starting pitcher, the risk can’t be denied. Stuff+121Location+100Pitching+103ppERA3.77ppK%27.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202157.266#N/A#N/AATL81

Emmet Sheehan

103 Stuff+4.25 ppERABlurb ProcessSheehan has a plus two-plane fastball from an interesting release point, an elite changeup, and an above-average slider, so he’s a nasty pitcher to face. The question is if he can command it all enough to come through on all the promise he showed as a prospect. Advanced metrics say he didn’t command any of his pitches at an average rate, and neither his fastball (95 Location+) or slider (93 Location+) at a passable rate, even. This matches up with the grades many scouts put on him, too. The Dodgers give their starters tons of rest days and limit their innings potential, so the team context is not all positive. But the stuff! The stuff is there!Blurb ProcessSheehan has a plus two-plane fastball from an interesting release point, an elite changeup, and an above-average slider, so he’s a nasty pitcher to face. The question is if he can command it all enough to come through on all the promise he showed as a prospect. Advanced metrics say he didn’t command any of his pitches at an average rate, and neither his fastball (95 Location+) or slider (93 Location+) at a passable rate, even. This matches up with the grades many scouts put on him, too. The Dodgers give their starters tons of rest days and limit their innings potential, so the team context is not all positive. But the stuff! The stuff is there!Sheehan has a plus two-plane fastball from an interesting release point, an elite changeup, and an above-average slider, so he’s a nasty pitcher to face. The question is if he can command it all enough to come through on all the promise he showed as a prospect. Advanced metrics say he didn’t command any of his pitches at an average rate, and neither his fastball (95 Location+) or slider (93 Location+) at a passable rate, even. This matches up with the grades many scouts put on him, too. The Dodgers give their starters tons of rest days and limit their innings potential, so the team context is not all positive. But the stuff! The stuff is there!Stuff+103Location+95Pitching+98HealthCppERA4.25ppK%27.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202360.1103LAD82

Cristian Javier

99 Stuff+4.63 ppERABlurb ProcessEl Reptil was at his best when his four-seam fastball had great ride relative to a release point that was very similar to the one you’ll find on Spencer Strider’s pitches. Last year, his release point drifted up over the course of the season, and his ride came and went, and Javier’s results mosty went. Late in the season, there were signs of life on the fastball, and he’s dedicated himself to slimming down and recovering what he once lost. There’s still a decent amount of risk with a player whose fastball velocity has been in decline for some time now and mostly only throws two pitches with below-average command — even if he recovers all the ideal shapes on his pitches. Blurb ProcessEl Reptil was at his best when his four-seam fastball had great ride relative to a release point that was very similar to the one you’ll find on Spencer Strider’s pitches. Last year, his release point drifted up over the course of the season, and his ride came and went, and Javier’s results mosty went. Late in the season, there were signs of life on the fastball, and he’s dedicated himself to slimming down and recovering what he once lost. There’s still a decent amount of risk with a player whose fastball velocity has been in decline for some time now and mostly only throws two pitches with below-average command — even if he recovers all the ideal shapes on his pitches. El Reptil was at his best when his four-seam fastball had great ride relative to a release point that was very similar to the one you’ll find on Spencer Strider’s pitches. Last year, his release point drifted up over the course of the season, and his ride came and went, and Javier’s results mosty went. Late in the season, there were signs of life on the fastball, and he’s dedicated himself to slimming down and recovering what he once lost. There’s still a decent amount of risk with a player whose fastball velocity has been in decline for some time now and mostly only throws two pitches with below-average command — even if he recovers all the ideal shapes on his pitches. Stuff+99Location+97Pitching+99HealthAppERA4.63ppK%25.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021101.1632022148.2162023162102HOU83

Dean Kremer

96 Stuff+4.64 ppERABlurb ProcessKremer’s four-seamer and cutter provide a strong foundation. 95 mph with good ride on the fastball, and an 89 mph cutter with good cut — that works. His curveball, changeup, and sinker are all pretty meh, though, at least judged by their physical characteristics and whiff rates. By results, the curve was his worst pitch, but he’s throwing that harder and harder, and maybe there’s some upside there. He threw 96 sweepers that Stuff+ liked, too. What makes him interesting is that he has two above-average pitches, a good home team and park, and four other pitches that he could improve that would change his true talent as a pitcher.Blurb ProcessKremer’s four-seamer and cutter provide a strong foundation. 95 mph with good ride on the fastball, and an 89 mph cutter with good cut — that works. His curveball, changeup, and sinker are all pretty meh, though, at least judged by their physical characteristics and whiff rates. By results, the curve was his worst pitch, but he’s throwing that harder and harder, and maybe there’s some upside there. He threw 96 sweepers that Stuff+ liked, too. What makes him interesting is that he has two above-average pitches, a good home team and park, and four other pitches that he could improve that would change his true talent as a pitcher.Kremer’s four-seamer and cutter provide a strong foundation. 95 mph with good ride on the fastball, and an 89 mph cutter with good cut — that works. His curveball, changeup, and sinker are all pretty meh, though, at least judged by their physical characteristics and whiff rates. By results, the curve was his worst pitch, but he’s throwing that harder and harder, and maybe there’s some upside there. He threw 96 sweepers that Stuff+ liked, too. What makes him interesting is that he has two above-average pitches, a good home team and park, and four other pitches that he could improve that would change his true talent as a pitcher.Stuff+96Location+102Pitching+100HealthAppERA4.64ppK%19.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202153.22082022125.1752023172.282BAL84

Max Scherzer

94 Stuff+4.38 ppERABlurb ProcessBack surgery is a total wild card, especially for a pitcher turning 40 this year. Anybody drafting him would have to be happy to get 100 innings from the erstwhile ace, it seems. The good news for the pitcher and his fans is that while he’s aged and his body has let him down more often, his strikeout rate has remained high, and he’s been able to mix and match his (Three? Four?) breaking balls and his signature change with a fastball that still hovers above average in the velocity department. The bad news is that the nicks and cuts have cost him some breaking ball command, and that’s led to more homers over time. Expect a high-threes ERA and good K totals for your troubles, no matter what the model says. He’s Max Scherzer.Blurb ProcessBack surgery is a total wild card, especially for a pitcher turning 40 this year. Anybody drafting him would have to be happy to get 100 innings from the erstwhile ace, it seems. The good news for the pitcher and his fans is that while he’s aged and his body has let him down more often, his strikeout rate has remained high, and he’s been able to mix and match his (Three? Four?) breaking balls and his signature change with a fastball that still hovers above average in the velocity department. The bad news is that the nicks and cuts have cost him some breaking ball command, and that’s led to more homers over time. Expect a high-threes ERA and good K totals for your troubles, no matter what the model says. He’s Max Scherzer.Back surgery is a total wild card, especially for a pitcher turning 40 this year. Anybody drafting him would have to be happy to get 100 innings from the erstwhile ace, it seems. The good news for the pitcher and his fans is that while he’s aged and his body has let him down more often, his strikeout rate has remained high, and he’s been able to mix and match his (Three? Four?) breaking balls and his signature change with a fastball that still hovers above average in the velocity department. The bad news is that the nicks and cuts have cost him some breaking ball command, and that’s led to more homers over time. Expect a high-threes ERA and good K totals for your troubles, no matter what the model says. He’s Max Scherzer.Stuff+94Location+104Pitching+102HealthDppERA4.38ppK%25.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021179.112022145.1112023152.227TEX85

Clarke Schmidt

102 Stuff+4.17 ppERABlurb ProcessSchmidt has all the weapons against righties. His sinker, sweeper, and curveball all move away from their barrels and can cause fits when he’s right. Against lefties, though, he’s searching for a plan that works. The Yankees righty has only had one above-average month against southpaws. He’s never tried zeroing in on his best two pitches against them (the cutter and the curve) and turfing everything else, but maybe his cutter isn’t good enough for that idea. His sweeper had a .750 slugging against lefties, and still he threw it because he felt he needed more wrinkles. If he can figure this bit out, he has more upside than most of the pitchers in this tier. Blurb ProcessSchmidt has all the weapons against righties. His sinker, sweeper, and curveball all move away from their barrels and can cause fits when he’s right. Against lefties, though, he’s searching for a plan that works. The Yankees righty has only had one above-average month against southpaws. He’s never tried zeroing in on his best two pitches against them (the cutter and the curve) and turfing everything else, but maybe his cutter isn’t good enough for that idea. His sweeper had a .750 slugging against lefties, and still he threw it because he felt he needed more wrinkles. If he can figure this bit out, he has more upside than most of the pitchers in this tier. Schmidt has all the weapons against righties. His sinker, sweeper, and curveball all move away from their barrels and can cause fits when he’s right. Against lefties, though, he’s searching for a plan that works. The Yankees righty has only had one above-average month against southpaws. He’s never tried zeroing in on his best two pitches against them (the cutter and the curve) and turfing everything else, but maybe his cutter isn’t good enough for that idea. His sweeper had a .750 slugging against lefties, and still he threw it because he felt he needed more wrinkles. If he can figure this bit out, he has more upside than most of the pitchers in this tier. Stuff+102Location+102Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.17ppK%22.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023159145NYY86

Kodai Senga

100 Stuff+4.04 ppERABlurb ProcessIt’s possible Stuff+ doesn’t capture all that is great about the Ghost Fork splitter that Senga throws. It’s hard to argue with the optics of the pitch or the .155 slugging percentage it allowed last year. The results against the cutter and four-seam, though, line up with the middling model numbers. Then you’ve got the low batting average on balls in play and the high strand rate, both traditional luck indicators that suggest regression is coming. There’s just a surprising amount of questions left for the 30-year-old who put up 166 1/3 innings with an ERA under three in his first season stateside. And now add an additional question, as a shoulder strain (with mention of the dreaded capsule!) will sideline him into the summer.Blurb ProcessIt’s possible Stuff+ doesn’t capture all that is great about the Ghost Fork splitter that Senga throws. It’s hard to argue with the optics of the pitch or the .155 slugging percentage it allowed last year. The results against the cutter and four-seam, though, line up with the middling model numbers. Then you’ve got the low batting average on balls in play and the high strand rate, both traditional luck indicators that suggest regression is coming. There’s just a surprising amount of questions left for the 30-year-old who put up 166 1/3 innings with an ERA under three in his first season stateside. And now add an additional question, as a shoulder strain (with mention of the dreaded capsule!) will sideline him into the summer.It’s possible Stuff+ doesn’t capture all that is great about the Ghost Fork splitter that Senga throws. It’s hard to argue with the optics of the pitch or the .155 slugging percentage it allowed last year. The results against the cutter and four-seam, though, line up with the middling model numbers. Then you’ve got the low batting average on balls in play and the high strand rate, both traditional luck indicators that suggest regression is coming. There’s just a surprising amount of questions left for the 30-year-old who put up 166 1/3 innings with an ERA under three in his first season stateside. And now add an additional question, as a shoulder strain (with mention of the dreaded capsule!) will sideline him into the summer.Stuff+100Location+95Pitching+98HealthCppERA4.04ppK%26.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023166.119NYM87

Jameson Taillon

97 Stuff+4.63 ppERABlurb ProcessIn the first half of the 2024 season, Taillon gave up an OPS over .950 against left-handed hitters. He’d added a sweeper he was excited about and was de-emphasizing his four-seamer in favor of a cutter, and frankly it was a bit of a mess. In the second half, he returned to his bread and butter four-seamer, threw the curve more and the cutter less, and figured something out. Lefties only hit for a .695 OPS against him after July 1. Taillon may not have a ton of upside, but he does have three plus breaking balls and command of all five of his pitches. He’s a good way to get decent innings in deeper leagues. Blurb ProcessIn the first half of the 2024 season, Taillon gave up an OPS over .950 against left-handed hitters. He’d added a sweeper he was excited about and was de-emphasizing his four-seamer in favor of a cutter, and frankly it was a bit of a mess. In the second half, he returned to his bread and butter four-seamer, threw the curve more and the cutter less, and figured something out. Lefties only hit for a .695 OPS against him after July 1. Taillon may not have a ton of upside, but he does have three plus breaking balls and command of all five of his pitches. He’s a good way to get decent innings in deeper leagues. In the first half of the 2024 season, Taillon gave up an OPS over .950 against left-handed hitters. He’d added a sweeper he was excited about and was de-emphasizing his four-seamer in favor of a cutter, and frankly it was a bit of a mess. In the second half, he returned to his bread and butter four-seamer, threw the curve more and the cutter less, and figured something out. Lefties only hit for a .695 OPS against him after July 1. Taillon may not have a ton of upside, but he does have three plus breaking balls and command of all five of his pitches. He’s a good way to get decent innings in deeper leagues. Stuff+97Location+106Pitching+103HealthFppERA4.63ppK%20.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021144.1772022177.1502023154.1135CHC88

Sean Manaea

93 Stuff+4.31 ppERABlurb ProcessArmed with a decent fastball and elite lettuce, Manaea has been on a constant search for better secondary stuff. Last year, he added a sweeper, and that worked for a while, but he struggled to command it, and it’s not a great weapon against righties. This offseason, he altered his changeup grip (again) to try to get more drop, and refined a cutter. Given that he’s headed to a pitcher’s park (again) with a decent lineup behind him, he’s got plus context. To be any better than he’s been, though, one of those secondaries has to pop. Blurb ProcessArmed with a decent fastball and elite lettuce, Manaea has been on a constant search for better secondary stuff. Last year, he added a sweeper, and that worked for a while, but he struggled to command it, and it’s not a great weapon against righties. This offseason, he altered his changeup grip (again) to try to get more drop, and refined a cutter. Given that he’s headed to a pitcher’s park (again) with a decent lineup behind him, he’s got plus context. To be any better than he’s been, though, one of those secondaries has to pop. Armed with a decent fastball and elite lettuce, Manaea has been on a constant search for better secondary stuff. Last year, he added a sweeper, and that worked for a while, but he struggled to command it, and it’s not a great weapon against righties. This offseason, he altered his changeup grip (again) to try to get more drop, and refined a cutter. Given that he’s headed to a pitcher’s park (again) with a decent lineup behind him, he’s got plus context. To be any better than he’s been, though, one of those secondaries has to pop. Stuff+93Location+101Pitching+100HealthDppERA4.31ppK%23.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021179.15120221581572023117.285NYM89

Louie Varland

100 Stuff+4.46 ppERABlurb ProcessHe might be the sixth starter right now, but at some point Varland will be starting for the Twins this season. That much is pretty much set in stone given pitcher injury rates and historical usage patterns. He’s got a very nice four-seamer that he commands well, a decent cutter that he commands well, and a slider that could make the whole package hum. That gives him weapons against both lefties and righties, and while that’s not a large arsenal, it looks like it can be an effective one. He’s a decent sleeper if you can wait out the roster churn during the spring and early summer. Blurb ProcessHe might be the sixth starter right now, but at some point Varland will be starting for the Twins this season. That much is pretty much set in stone given pitcher injury rates and historical usage patterns. He’s got a very nice four-seamer that he commands well, a decent cutter that he commands well, and a slider that could make the whole package hum. That gives him weapons against both lefties and righties, and while that’s not a large arsenal, it looks like it can be an effective one. He’s a decent sleeper if you can wait out the roster churn during the spring and early summer. He might be the sixth starter right now, but at some point Varland will be starting for the Twins this season. That much is pretty much set in stone given pitcher injury rates and historical usage patterns. He’s got a very nice four-seamer that he commands well, a decent cutter that he commands well, and a slider that could make the whole package hum. That gives him weapons against both lefties and righties, and while that’s not a large arsenal, it looks like it can be an effective one. He’s a decent sleeper if you can wait out the roster churn during the spring and early summer. Stuff+100Location+107Pitching+106HealthCppERA4.46ppK%21.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202368106MIN90

Tanner Houck

99 Stuff+4.28 ppERABlurb ProcessApparently, nobody came to Red Sox spring camp with a bigger velocity boost than Houck. That’s from his manager, but the implication — that Houck is in good health — is a big one because the sidewinding righty is in line for the fifth starter spot on the team. He dominates right-handed hitters with his low slot sinker and slider combo that looks like a mirror image of Chris Sale, but he’s been struggling to find either a cutter or splitter that works enough to get lefties out. That he’s thrown both of those is a good sign — now he just needs to lock one of them down. This spring he’s talking about the cutter. Blurb ProcessApparently, nobody came to Red Sox spring camp with a bigger velocity boost than Houck. That’s from his manager, but the implication — that Houck is in good health — is a big one because the sidewinding righty is in line for the fifth starter spot on the team. He dominates right-handed hitters with his low slot sinker and slider combo that looks like a mirror image of Chris Sale, but he’s been struggling to find either a cutter or splitter that works enough to get lefties out. That he’s thrown both of those is a good sign — now he just needs to lock one of them down. This spring he’s talking about the cutter. Apparently, nobody came to Red Sox spring camp with a bigger velocity boost than Houck. That’s from his manager, but the implication — that Houck is in good health — is a big one because the sidewinding righty is in line for the fifth starter spot on the team. He dominates right-handed hitters with his low slot sinker and slider combo that looks like a mirror image of Chris Sale, but he’s been struggling to find either a cutter or splitter that works enough to get lefties out. That he’s thrown both of those is a good sign — now he just needs to lock one of them down. This spring he’s talking about the cutter. Stuff+99Location+101Pitching+101HealthCppERA4.28ppK%22.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank20216980#N/A2023106151BOS91

Reid Detmers

94 Stuff+4.49 ppERABlurb ProcessThe fastball shapes in Anaheim, they are not good. Here’s another Angels starter with good secondaries and a fastball that — despite decent velocity — gets hurt because it’s just too average. At times last year, Detmers was throwing three breaking balls (a sweeper, a hard gyro slider, and a curveball) and that’s probably the best way for him to succeed despite the fastball that gave up a .291 batting average and a .505 slugging last season. The hard slider can be the one he throws for strikes, and then the other three pitches get mixed around that one as he tries to dance his way to excellence. At least he’s demonstrated a propensity for strikeouts that some of the sleepers down here have lacked so far. Blurb ProcessThe fastball shapes in Anaheim, they are not good. Here’s another Angels starter with good secondaries and a fastball that — despite decent velocity — gets hurt because it’s just too average. At times last year, Detmers was throwing three breaking balls (a sweeper, a hard gyro slider, and a curveball) and that’s probably the best way for him to succeed despite the fastball that gave up a .291 batting average and a .505 slugging last season. The hard slider can be the one he throws for strikes, and then the other three pitches get mixed around that one as he tries to dance his way to excellence. At least he’s demonstrated a propensity for strikeouts that some of the sleepers down here have lacked so far. The fastball shapes in Anaheim, they are not good. Here’s another Angels starter with good secondaries and a fastball that — despite decent velocity — gets hurt because it’s just too average. At times last year, Detmers was throwing three breaking balls (a sweeper, a hard gyro slider, and a curveball) and that’s probably the best way for him to succeed despite the fastball that gave up a .291 batting average and a .505 slugging last season. The hard slider can be the one he throws for strikes, and then the other three pitches get mixed around that one as he tries to dance his way to excellence. At least he’s demonstrated a propensity for strikeouts that some of the sleepers down here have lacked so far. Stuff+94Location+98Pitching+98HealthBppERA4.49ppK%24.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022129772023148.2149LAA92

Joe Boyle

129 Stuff+4.52 ppERABlurb ProcessBoyle has 100 grand stuff and 10 cent command, but buried in his advanced metrics is probably the revelation that could make his career: He places his slider in above-average locations. That gives him something he can do when he absolutely needs a strike. When he’s got leverage in the count, he can blow you away with three excellent breaking balls and a high-velo, high-ride monster of a four-seamer. The park gives him a soft landing, the team will steal wins, but the A’s just have to give him a spot and let him go. He’s one of the highest-ceiling arms down here in the rankings, and has opportunity. Find a spot for him.Blurb ProcessBoyle has 100 grand stuff and 10 cent command, but buried in his advanced metrics is probably the revelation that could make his career: He places his slider in above-average locations. That gives him something he can do when he absolutely needs a strike. When he’s got leverage in the count, he can blow you away with three excellent breaking balls and a high-velo, high-ride monster of a four-seamer. The park gives him a soft landing, the team will steal wins, but the A’s just have to give him a spot and let him go. He’s one of the highest-ceiling arms down here in the rankings, and has opportunity. Find a spot for him.Boyle has 100 grand stuff and 10 cent command, but buried in his advanced metrics is probably the revelation that could make his career: He places his slider in above-average locations. That gives him something he can do when he absolutely needs a strike. When he’s got leverage in the count, he can blow you away with three excellent breaking balls and a high-velo, high-ride monster of a four-seamer. The park gives him a soft landing, the team will steal wins, but the A’s just have to give him a spot and let him go. He’s one of the highest-ceiling arms down here in the rankings, and has opportunity. Find a spot for him.Stuff+129Location+100Pitching+106HealthCppERA4.52ppK%24.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/AOAK93

John Means

98 Stuff+4.66 ppERABlurb ProcessHe has weapons. Means’ straight changeup and curveball are good pitches that he can command for strikes both swinging and called. But the fastball and slider aren’t that good, and this is a fastball-slider league. He’s looking more like the patron saint of straight changeups — Marco Estrada — by the day, complete with the poor projected strikeout rate. Maybe another offseason of work on the slider after arm surgery will push it far enough to improve on this strikeout rate. Either way, Means will be useful for a good deal of his starts at home in front of Mt. Walltimore. Blurb ProcessHe has weapons. Means’ straight changeup and curveball are good pitches that he can command for strikes both swinging and called. But the fastball and slider aren’t that good, and this is a fastball-slider league. He’s looking more like the patron saint of straight changeups — Marco Estrada — by the day, complete with the poor projected strikeout rate. Maybe another offseason of work on the slider after arm surgery will push it far enough to improve on this strikeout rate. Either way, Means will be useful for a good deal of his starts at home in front of Mt. Walltimore. He has weapons. Means’ straight changeup and curveball are good pitches that he can command for strikes both swinging and called. But the fastball and slider aren’t that good, and this is a fastball-slider league. He’s looking more like the patron saint of straight changeups — Marco Estrada — by the day, complete with the poor projected strikeout rate. Maybe another offseason of work on the slider after arm surgery will push it far enough to improve on this strikeout rate. Either way, Means will be useful for a good deal of his starts at home in front of Mt. Walltimore. Stuff+98Location+104Pitching+104HealthFppERA4.66ppK%19.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021146.243#N/A#N/ABAL94

Matt Manning

101 Stuff+4.74 ppERABlurb ProcessThe strikeout rate is not there for Manning, or rather it hasn’t been in the major leagues. In the minors, he was better at the punchout. The weapons are there for him to get the Ks, though: He has a plus slider, an average curveball he commands well and an average fastball that he commands well. Over the past two years we have a mid-threes ERA over 140 innings, so the results have been fine. This spring, the reports on his stuff have been good, and he’s struck out six of the 18 batters he’s faced as of this writing. Good home park, emerging team, wide enough arsenal, good command … none of these things are elite, but there’s enough “good” here to fuel another mid-to-high-threes ERA with more strikeouts if it all falls in line.Blurb ProcessThe strikeout rate is not there for Manning, or rather it hasn’t been in the major leagues. In the minors, he was better at the punchout. The weapons are there for him to get the Ks, though: He has a plus slider, an average curveball he commands well and an average fastball that he commands well. Over the past two years we have a mid-threes ERA over 140 innings, so the results have been fine. This spring, the reports on his stuff have been good, and he’s struck out six of the 18 batters he’s faced as of this writing. Good home park, emerging team, wide enough arsenal, good command … none of these things are elite, but there’s enough “good” here to fuel another mid-to-high-threes ERA with more strikeouts if it all falls in line.The strikeout rate is not there for Manning, or rather it hasn’t been in the major leagues. In the minors, he was better at the punchout. The weapons are there for him to get the Ks, though: He has a plus slider, an average curveball he commands well and an average fastball that he commands well. Over the past two years we have a mid-threes ERA over 140 innings, so the results have been fine. This spring, the reports on his stuff have been good, and he’s struck out six of the 18 batters he’s faced as of this writing. Good home park, emerging team, wide enough arsenal, good command … none of these things are elite, but there’s enough “good” here to fuel another mid-to-high-threes ERA with more strikeouts if it all falls in line.Stuff+101Location+102Pitching+101HealthDppERA4.74ppK%18.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202185.119420226310220237860DET95

Graham Ashcraft

109 Stuff+4.51 ppERABlurb ProcessAshcraft needs less stuff. He used to have one of the better Stuff+ numbers in the league, and some really poor results to pair with them. Once the model was revised to include platoon splits, his Stuff+ came down to earth, though, because he throws a cutter (better against opposite-handed hitters) and a sweeper (better against same-handed hitters) primarly. That makes him a one-pitch pitcher depending on the handedness of the batter. The curve and change that he’s been fiddling with forever — he should throw them. No matter what the model says. They’ll help keep the batter off balance and maybe get Ashcraft past the fourth- and fifth-inning stumbles that have hurt his ERA so much. Let’s hope Ashcraft’s spring injury allows him the practice time he needs to refine those secondary offerings, because they’re the dividing line between the rotation and the bullpen for the Reds’ righty.Blurb ProcessAshcraft needs less stuff. He used to have one of the better Stuff+ numbers in the league, and some really poor results to pair with them. Once the model was revised to include platoon splits, his Stuff+ came down to earth, though, because he throws a cutter (better against opposite-handed hitters) and a sweeper (better against same-handed hitters) primarly. That makes him a one-pitch pitcher depending on the handedness of the batter. The curve and change that he’s been fiddling with forever — he should throw them. No matter what the model says. They’ll help keep the batter off balance and maybe get Ashcraft past the fourth- and fifth-inning stumbles that have hurt his ERA so much. Let’s hope Ashcraft’s spring injury allows him the practice time he needs to refine those secondary offerings, because they’re the dividing line between the rotation and the bullpen for the Reds’ righty.Ashcraft needs less stuff. He used to have one of the better Stuff+ numbers in the league, and some really poor results to pair with them. Once the model was revised to include platoon splits, his Stuff+ came down to earth, though, because he throws a cutter (better against opposite-handed hitters) and a sweeper (better against same-handed hitters) primarly. That makes him a one-pitch pitcher depending on the handedness of the batter. The curve and change that he’s been fiddling with forever — he should throw them. No matter what the model says. They’ll help keep the batter off balance and maybe get Ashcraft past the fourth- and fifth-inning stumbles that have hurt his ERA so much. Let’s hope Ashcraft’s spring injury allows him the practice time he needs to refine those secondary offerings, because they’re the dividing line between the rotation and the bullpen for the Reds’ righty.Stuff+109Location+99Pitching+102HealthCppERA4.51ppK%18.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A20221051782023145.2171CIN96

Robbie Ray

99 Stuff+4.19 ppERABlurb ProcessI prefer to take pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery the season after they return to the mound for the first time and demonstrate their health. Complications still happen on any surgery, and the research is clear that fastball command is one of the last things to come back. Ray never had great fastball command to begin with, either. But he only threw one start last season before going down with the injury, so it seems like he could throw more than half of a season, and he’ll do so in a good park for pitchers. As an injury stash or a late pitcher in draft and holds, Ray should have some value this season. Blurb ProcessI prefer to take pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery the season after they return to the mound for the first time and demonstrate their health. Complications still happen on any surgery, and the research is clear that fastball command is one of the last things to come back. Ray never had great fastball command to begin with, either. But he only threw one start last season before going down with the injury, so it seems like he could throw more than half of a season, and he’ll do so in a good park for pitchers. As an injury stash or a late pitcher in draft and holds, Ray should have some value this season. I prefer to take pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery the season after they return to the mound for the first time and demonstrate their health. Complications still happen on any surgery, and the research is clear that fastball command is one of the last things to come back. Ray never had great fastball command to begin with, either. But he only threw one start last season before going down with the injury, so it seems like he could throw more than half of a season, and he’ll do so in a good park for pitchers. As an injury stash or a late pitcher in draft and holds, Ray should have some value this season. Stuff+99Location+84Pitching+89HealthFppERA4.19ppK%25.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202120222023SFG97

Jack Flaherty

92 Stuff+4.55 ppERABlurb ProcessGood early spring velocity can be a mirage. The starters are out there throwing a couple of innings and can air it out without regard to going long. But it’s still a fact that Flaherty has shown good early spring velocity — with an extra inch of ride on the fastball to boot — so that’s worth taking into consideration when thinking about him this year. So, too, is the park behind him, which will help some. Flaherty is in a group of arms that are more interesting in leagues where you can move on if the velo doesn’t hold when the games count. Blurb ProcessGood early spring velocity can be a mirage. The starters are out there throwing a couple of innings and can air it out without regard to going long. But it’s still a fact that Flaherty has shown good early spring velocity — with an extra inch of ride on the fastball to boot — so that’s worth taking into consideration when thinking about him this year. So, too, is the park behind him, which will help some. Flaherty is in a group of arms that are more interesting in leagues where you can move on if the velo doesn’t hold when the games count. Good early spring velocity can be a mirage. The starters are out there throwing a couple of innings and can air it out without regard to going long. But it’s still a fact that Flaherty has shown good early spring velocity — with an extra inch of ride on the fastball to boot — so that’s worth taking into consideration when thinking about him this year. So, too, is the park behind him, which will help some. Flaherty is in a group of arms that are more interesting in leagues where you can move on if the velo doesn’t hold when the games count. Stuff+92Location+99Pitching+98HealthDppERA4.55ppK%22.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202178.1382022361342023144.1209DET98

Reese Olson

94 Stuff+4.39 ppERABlurb ProcessA little bit more slider command could realy help Olson. His fastballs aren’t very good, but he commands them fine. His changeup was good and also got better over the course of the season, adding both vertical and horizontal movement as the season progressed. But he had below-average command of his secondaries generally. The slider command progressed right up to average, though, and if he can push that any bit further, he can be less predictable and steal more strikes with that pitch. This young Detroit righty just needs a little refinement to make good on the minor-league strikeout rates — does that sound familiar? Blurb ProcessA little bit more slider command could realy help Olson. His fastballs aren’t very good, but he commands them fine. His changeup was good and also got better over the course of the season, adding both vertical and horizontal movement as the season progressed. But he had below-average command of his secondaries generally. The slider command progressed right up to average, though, and if he can push that any bit further, he can be less predictable and steal more strikes with that pitch. This young Detroit righty just needs a little refinement to make good on the minor-league strikeout rates — does that sound familiar? A little bit more slider command could realy help Olson. His fastballs aren’t very good, but he commands them fine. His changeup was good and also got better over the course of the season, adding both vertical and horizontal movement as the season progressed. But he had below-average command of his secondaries generally. The slider command progressed right up to average, though, and if he can push that any bit further, he can be less predictable and steal more strikes with that pitch. This young Detroit righty just needs a little refinement to make good on the minor-league strikeout rates — does that sound familiar? Stuff+94Location+101Pitching+100HealthCppERA4.39ppK%22.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023103.266DET99

MacKenzie Gore

96 Stuff+4.64 ppERABlurb ProcessFor whatever reason, Gore didn’t throw as many four-seam fastballs in the top third of the zone as he should have last year. He’s not a ground-ball pitcher! He should be throwing that thing high, higher, and highest to set up his big curveball, especially since his fastball is his best pitch by Stuff+. That four-seamer is a good foundation, as its easier to tweak shapes on secondary pitches than it is to change a pitcher’s arm slot and make a big difference on their fastball shape. At 25 years old, with a fastball that’s been holding velo (and is up so far this spring), and demonstrated above-average strikeout rates, Gore deserves more love (and better coaching) than he’s gotten so far.Blurb ProcessFor whatever reason, Gore didn’t throw as many four-seam fastballs in the top third of the zone as he should have last year. He’s not a ground-ball pitcher! He should be throwing that thing high, higher, and highest to set up his big curveball, especially since his fastball is his best pitch by Stuff+. That four-seamer is a good foundation, as its easier to tweak shapes on secondary pitches than it is to change a pitcher’s arm slot and make a big difference on their fastball shape. At 25 years old, with a fastball that’s been holding velo (and is up so far this spring), and demonstrated above-average strikeout rates, Gore deserves more love (and better coaching) than he’s gotten so far.For whatever reason, Gore didn’t throw as many four-seam fastballs in the top third of the zone as he should have last year. He’s not a ground-ball pitcher! He should be throwing that thing high, higher, and highest to set up his big curveball, especially since his fastball is his best pitch by Stuff+. That four-seamer is a good foundation, as its easier to tweak shapes on secondary pitches than it is to change a pitcher’s arm slot and make a big difference on their fastball shape. At 25 years old, with a fastball that’s been holding velo (and is up so far this spring), and demonstrated above-average strikeout rates, Gore deserves more love (and better coaching) than he’s gotten so far.Stuff+96Location+98Pitching+100HealthCppERA4.64ppK%22.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022701402023136.1141WSN100

DL Hall

113 Stuff+3.74 ppERABlurb ProcessHere’s something that might be surprising to people that have watched a lot of Hall over the past few years: in the major leagues, he’s thrown his fastball and slider to above-average locations once you adjust for count and pitch type. His minor-league fastball command was iffier, but he was also making some changes along the way that the Brewers hope will bear fruit for them as a starting pitcher. That’s what Milwaukee needs anyway, so Hall has opportunity. In the fastball and the two breaking balls, he has the stuff he needs. So, yeah, his command of the fastball (or the slider!), that will be the key to his future. Blurb ProcessHere’s something that might be surprising to people that have watched a lot of Hall over the past few years: in the major leagues, he’s thrown his fastball and slider to above-average locations once you adjust for count and pitch type. His minor-league fastball command was iffier, but he was also making some changes along the way that the Brewers hope will bear fruit for them as a starting pitcher. That’s what Milwaukee needs anyway, so Hall has opportunity. In the fastball and the two breaking balls, he has the stuff he needs. So, yeah, his command of the fastball (or the slider!), that will be the key to his future. Here’s something that might be surprising to people that have watched a lot of Hall over the past few years: in the major leagues, he’s thrown his fastball and slider to above-average locations once you adjust for count and pitch type. His minor-league fastball command was iffier, but he was also making some changes along the way that the Brewers hope will bear fruit for them as a starting pitcher. That’s what Milwaukee needs anyway, so Hall has opportunity. In the fastball and the two breaking balls, he has the stuff he needs. So, yeah, his command of the fastball (or the slider!), that will be the key to his future. Stuff+113Location+106Pitching+110ppERA3.74ppK%29.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202120222023MIL101

Keaton Winn

115 Stuff+4.1 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+115Location+100Pitching+108HealthCppERA4.10ppK%20.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202342.1107SFG102

Andrew Abbott

86 Stuff+4.76 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+86Location+101Pitching+97HealthBppERA4.76ppK%24.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023109.176CIN103

Ranger Suárez

84 Stuff+4.52 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+84Location+101Pitching+97HealthBppERA4.52ppK%19.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021106152022155.11042023125155PHI104

Andrew Heaney

90 Stuff+4.56 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+90Location+100Pitching+98HealthFppERA4.56ppK%23.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021129.2164202272.2542023147.1116TEX105

Lucas Giolito

95 Stuff+4.75 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+95Location+101Pitching+100HealthAppERA4.75ppK%23.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021178.2262022161.21702023184.1148BOS106

Frankie Montas

96 Stuff+4.36 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+96Location+98Pitching+100HealthFppERA4.36ppK%23.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021187252022144.1117#N/ACIN107

Miles Mikolas

93 Stuff+4.82 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+93Location+108Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.82ppK%16.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202144.21252022202.1322023201.1180STL108

Lance Lynn

86 Stuff+4.73 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+86Location+102Pitching+100HealthDppERA4.73ppK%20.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021157162022121.2652023183.2198STL109

David Peterson

90 Stuff+4.08 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+90Location+96Pitching+97HealthCppERA4.08ppK%23.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202166.21662022105.2902023111200NYM110

Alex Cobb

101 Stuff+3.93 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+101Location+103Pitching+104HealthFppERA3.93ppK%21.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202193.1702022149.21032023151.1113SFG111

Domingo Germán

103 Stuff+4.29 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+103Location+100Pitching+99HealthCppERA4.29ppK%22.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202198.1107202272.11062023108.270112

Paul Skenes

#N/A4.3 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      ppERA4.30ppK%21.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202120222023PIT113

Sawyer Gipson-Long

99 Stuff+4.6 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+99Location+103Pitching+104HealthCppERA4.60ppK%20.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ADET114

Patrick Sandoval

91 Stuff+4.65 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+91Location+97Pitching+96HealthBppERA4.65ppK%21.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202187812022148.2732023144.2174LAA115

Tyler Wells

100 Stuff+4.55 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+100Location+102Pitching+101HealthCppERA4.55ppK%22.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022103.2932023118.234BAL116

Luis Medina

106 Stuff+4.6 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+106Location+94Pitching+96HealthCppERA4.60ppK%20.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023109.2206OAK117

Paul Blackburn

88 Stuff+4.61 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+88Location+101Pitching+96HealthDppERA4.61ppK%18.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202138.11732022111.11222023103.2175OAK118

JP Sears

89 Stuff+4.7 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+89Location+101Pitching+97HealthAppERA4.70ppK%20.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022701052023172.1140OAK119

Randy Vásquez

93 Stuff+4.58 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+93Location+97Pitching+96HealthCppERA4.58ppK%19.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202337.295SDP120

Gavin Stone

89 Stuff+4.35 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+89Location+99Pitching+94HealthCppERA4.35ppK%22.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ALAD121

Taijuan Walker

102 Stuff+4.67 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+102Location+99Pitching+98HealthFppERA4.67ppK%19.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021159922022157.1552023172.292PHI122

Chase Silseth

97 Stuff+4.28 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+97Location+97Pitching+98HealthCppERA4.28ppK%23.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202352.193LAA123

Alex Wood

85 Stuff+4.53 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+85Location+97Pitching+97HealthFppERA4.53ppK%19.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021138.2482022130.2139202397.2154OAK124

Kyle Gibson

96 Stuff+4.57 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+96Location+100Pitching+98HealthAppERA4.57ppK%18.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021182562022167.21802023192132STL125

Nick Martinez

102 Stuff+4.23 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+102Location+102Pitching+103ppERA4.23ppK%22.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A2022106.1812023110.168CIN126

José Quintana

77 Stuff+4.77 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+77Location+101Pitching+95HealthCppERA4.77ppK%18.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021632032022165.259202375.2114NYM127

Kyle Hendricks

102 Stuff+4.73 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+102Location+105Pitching+103HealthCppERA4.73ppK%17.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021181142202284.1142202313777CHC128

Steven Matz

87 Stuff+4.39 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+87Location+102Pitching+97HealthFppERA4.39ppK%20.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021150.2592022481152023105119STL129

Erick Fedde

#N/A#N/ABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021133.11912022127216#N/ACHW130

Logan Allen

78 Stuff+4.72 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+78Location+101Pitching+96HealthCppERA4.72ppK%20.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023125.1120CLE131

Bryce Elder

101 Stuff+4.56 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+101Location+100Pitching+99HealthAppERA4.56ppK%19.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A202254972023174.272ATL132

Dane Dunning

82 Stuff+4.69 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+82Location+102Pitching+96HealthAppERA4.69ppK%19.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021117.21592022153.11892023172.261TEX133

Clayton Kershaw

109 Stuff+3.74 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+109Location+99Pitching+100HealthFppERA3.74ppK%25.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021121.2292022126.1202023131.26LAD134

James Paxton

88 Stuff+4.58 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+88Location+100Pitching+95HealthFppERA4.58ppK%22.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202396109LAD135

José Urquidy

106 Stuff+4.72 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+106Location+103Pitching+102HealthDppERA4.72ppK%19.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021107412022164.162202363158HOU136

Connor Phillips

114 Stuff+4.73 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+114Location+93Pitching+97HealthCppERA4.73ppK%24.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ACIN137

Brady Singer

84 Stuff+4.55 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+84Location+100Pitching+95HealthCppERA4.55ppK%19.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021128.11932022153.1422023159.2213KCR138

Jakob Junis

114 Stuff+4.1 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+114Location+101Pitching+106ppERA4.10ppK%22.8%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202139.11462022112135#N/AMIL139

Michael Wacha

93 Stuff+4.8 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+93Location+103Pitching+100HealthFppERA4.80ppK%19.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021124.21702022127.1462023134.126KCR140

Will Warren

#N/A4.32 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      ppERA4.32ppK%20.4%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ANYY141

Jared Jones

#N/A4.66 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      ppERA4.66ppK%20.2%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/APIT142

Max Meyer

#N/A4.39 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      ppERA4.39ppK%20.9%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/AMIA143

J.P. France

98 Stuff+4.73 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+98Location+100Pitching+101HealthCppERA4.73ppK%20.7%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023136.196HOU144

Mason Black

0 Stuff+4.38 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      ppERA4.38ppK%22.0%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202120222023SFG145

Joey Cantillo

#N/A4.59 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      ppERA4.59ppK%22.5%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A#N/ACLE146

Ryne Nelson

96 Stuff+5.15 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+96Location+104Pitching+101HealthCppERA5.15ppK%17.1%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023144203ARI147

Lance McCullers Jr.

#N/A#N/ABlurb Process   Blurb Process      HealthFSeason StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank2021162.127202247.270#N/AHOU148

Hayden Wesneski

98 Stuff+4.52 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+98Location+101Pitching+100HealthCppERA4.52ppK%21.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A202389.1134CHC149

Ken Waldichuk

84 Stuff+4.7 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+84Location+95Pitching+94HealthCppERA4.70ppK%21.3%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank#N/A#N/A2023141221OAK150

Josiah Gray

90 Stuff+5.1 ppERABlurb Process   Blurb Process      Stuff+90Location+96Pitching+93HealthAppERA5.10ppK%20.6%Season StatsSeasonInningsEnd Rank202170.21632022148.21752023159150WSN

(Illustration by Dan Goldfarb / The Athletic; Photo of Walker Buehler: Rob Tringali / SportsChrome / Getty Images; Photo of Nestor Cortes:
Adam Hunger / Getty Images; Photo of Tarik Skubal: Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images)

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Eno Sarris is a senior writer covering baseball analytics at The Athletic. Eno has written for FanGraphs, ESPN, Fox, MLB.com, SB Nation and others. Submit mailbag questions to [email protected]. Follow Eno on Twitter @enosarris

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