As we get closer and closer to the start of the 2024 MLB season, fantasy baseball mock drafts turn to live drafts. By now you should have a firm grasp on whether you’re taking stud pitchers early on like Gerrit Cole, Spencer Strider, Corbin Burnes, or Zack Wheeler. But you do so at the detriment of missing out on the best bats at the top of the board. And pitchers may only give you one performance each week while hitters are daily contributors in fantasy baseball. Should you enter your drafts, either with the dedicated idea to wait on pitching, or simply find yourself in fourth round (or later) bereft of any arms to grace your roster, please consider the following pitchers as suitable for SP1 or SP2 status come draft day. It is sometimes simply too enticing to avoid stocking up on hitters that provide power and speed, both of which will begin to fade as the draft proceeds. 


Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers, ADP 53.1

2024 Projections: 160 IP, 10 Wins, 174 Strikeouts, 3.35 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

The 27-year-old southpaw underwent flexor tendon surgery on his throwing arm back in August of 2022, which caused him to sit on the sidelines until the middle of last season’s campaign. He appeared in 15 games in 2023 and demonstrated both command and control: 11.4 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 over his 80.1 innings of work. He was able to keep the ball in the park while also generating a significant number of groundballs to the tunes of 0.4 HR/9, 51.6% GB rate, and 1.94 GB/FB ratio. He accomplished these feats by employing his changeup as his second offering behind his four-seam fastball, retaining his slider as the tertiary pitch he showed opposing hitters. He has been named Detroit’s Opening Day starter already by his manager. The one downside is that his inning count will probably be limited but still expect him to toe the rubber for 28-30 starts this coming season.

Bobby Miller, Los Angeles Dodgers, ADP 82.0

2024 Projections: 145 IP, 11 Wins, 140 Strikeouts, 3.75, ERA, 1.16 WHIP

Coming off a highly successful rookie season, Miller figures to settle in as the third cog in a loaded rotation for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His strikeout rate sits below one per frame (8.6 K/9 over 124.1 IP in 2023), but part of that is due to his chase rate on balls outside of the strike zone (31.6%) as batters begin to chase the six different offerings he tosses. We can deduce his K rate will likely improve. As hitters begin to chase his varied offerings and cut down on the rate of swings at pitches over the plate in the zone, he will develop into an ace-level hurler. There is some competition on the Dodgers staff, obviously, but the youngster is poised for great things, should he remain healthy and able to take the ball every fifth or sixth day.

Jesus Luzardo, Miami Marlins, ADP 85.4

2024 Projections: 175 IP, 10 Wins, 198 Strikeouts, 3.83 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

The 26-year-old left-hander saw a hefty uptick in innings pitched last season, as he had never tossed over 100 innings in his prior four years in the majors. Granted, his first two years in the league saw limited action in Oakland, but a huge increase in usage is potentially a red flag. With that said, he demonstrated flashes of what could be Cy Young-type production, through the end of July. He exhibits exceptional swing and miss stuff (14.1% swinging strike rate), and this is reflected in a 10.6 K/9 rate last year. His control also improved last year, dropping below the league-average to 2.77 BB/9. Snagging an ace arm in the seventh round allows you to stock up on offense without taking a tremendous hit in your ability to develop a robust starting staff for your fantasy team.

Sonny Gray, St. Louis Cardinals, ADP 114.8

2024 Projections: 160 IP, 10 Wins, 147 Strikeouts, 3.64 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

The veteran righty is heading into his 12th MLB season, and the time on the bump will show some wear on his ability to take the ball and pitch deep into contests, but barring injury (he is dealing with a hamstring issue currently that is not expected to keep him out of action once the season begins), he projects as a pitcher that can be relied on for something just shy of 30 starts. His sub-3.00 ERA from 2023 may lead to his ADP rising as drafts go forward, but a SP that delivers a strikeout per frame (9.0 K/9), demonstrates above-average control (2.7 BB/9) and an ability to induce grounders (47.3% GB rate last season), and keeps the ball in the park should be targeted by drafters seeking utility in their pitching staff.

Kyle Bradish, Baltimore Orioles, ADP 138.6

2024 Projections: 90 IP, 6 Wins, 88 Strikeouts, 3.71 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

Bradish is being drafted fairly high for a pitcher dealing with an elbow issue that will keep him from taking the hill until a month or more of the season has been played out. He is another pitcher that features a sub-3.00 ERA in 2023 (Skubal, Gray), but his injury will keep his ADP depressed in draft season, presumably. He should be good for about a strikeout per inning, but the ERA will probably rise (xERA 3.82, xFIP 3.53 last season). He relies on his off-speed pitches (slider, curve), throwing his fastball less than 50% of the time he’s on the mound. His home ballpark is another factor in his favor, when coupled with his groundball inducing tendencies (49.2 GB%, 1.98 GB/FB ratio over 30 starts covering 168.2 IP in 2023). If you can deal with a pitcher who does not contribute for a few weeks to begin the season, he would make for a nice later round stash.

Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates, ADP 153.0

2024 Projections: 185 IP, 10 Wins, 177 Strikeouts, 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

Keller is not an ace, by any standards, but he demonstrated some superb production in the first half of 2023. His post All-Star experience was less than stellar evidenced by a 5.59 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over 13 starts. His strikeout rate and walk rate did not falter despite his struggles in the second half of the season, and his peripheral metrics indicate that he could have been the victim of some bad luck in July to September: 3.70 xFIP and 3.83 SIERA. Consistency through an entire season would lead to great value from a late-round starting pitcher option.

Braxton Garrett, Miami Marlins, ADP 197.0

2024 Projections: 132 IP, 7 Wins, 119 Strikeouts, 4.02 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

Another pitcher being delayed in taking his turn in the team’s rotation to open the campaign. Garrett does not look to be a long-term absence from the Marlin starting staff, coming off left shoulder soreness. He features six pitches in his repertoire, and all are capable of encouraging swing-and-miss behavior by opposing batters, especially his slider. He does not profile as a great strikeout producer, although he does rack up a decent number of whiffs. He does have excellent control (1.63 BB/9) and generates a large number of ground balls while toiling on the hill (49.1 GB%, 2.12 GB/FB in 2023). He is only 26, and while his innings are limited in the projections for him, he could easily surpass his 2023 numbers if his health cooperates, making him a late-round bargain.