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Fantasy Baseball Second-Year Player Draft Primer: Pitchers (2024)

Fantasy Baseball Second-Year Player Draft Primer: Pitchers (2024)

Young players are all the rage. We are coming off of one of the best seasons in recent memory for rookie players to emerge and play a big part in the fantasy landscape. A year later we need to take a look at the crop of last year’s rookies to see who may have a sophomore slump and who may take another step forward. After reviewing the top second-year hitters, let’s dive into this year’s crop of returning pitchers.

Fantasy Baseball Second-Year Player Primer: Pitchers (2024)

Grayson Rodriguez (SP – BAL): (NFBC ADP: 66.61)

Rodriguez really struggled in his first go-around before being sent down to the minors, throwing 45.1 innings with a 7.35 ERA. However, he was pretty unlucky with a .372 BABIP and the Orioles let him wear a few bad outings before his demotion. Once Rodriguez returned, he was a much better and luckier pitcher – throwing 76.2 innings with a 2.58 ERA and 73 strikeouts. There is a ton of upside in his arm and he could easily be a top 15 starting pitcher heading into 2025.

Eury Perez (SP – MIA): (NFBC ADP: 72.39)

Perez was kind of the inverse of Rodriguez. He had a fantastic start to his Major League career, but struggled after he returned from a quick trip to the minors that was meant to curtail some of his innings. I am willing to excuse the poor end of his season because he was just 20 years old and there was a decent size jump in his workload. However, in spite of fantastic stuff, there is some risk that he tires out again and with his price that is a decent size gamble. That being said, if you pair him with a workhorse style ace, he gives you a ton of upside if he can deliver 140-150 great innings.

Kodai Senga (SP – NYM): (NFBC ADP: 68.65)

Senga is coming off a pretty impressive first season in America throwing 166.1 innings with a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts. The only real issue with Senga is his tendency to walk too many guys. Half of his starts resulted in three or more walks and that can lead to bad innings which can ruin an outing. He does pitch in a good park and while the Mets won’t be great, they should still give him a shot at repeating 12 or more wins.

Bobby Miller (SP – LAD): (NFBC ADP: 76.43)

Miller is coming off of an impressive rookie campaign, throwing 124.1 innings with 119 strikeouts and a 3.76 ERA. I am actually a little surprised he isn’t going as high as Rodriguez and Perez considering his prospect pedigree and the fact he pitches for the Dodgers. He has ace stuff and a great frame for innings. The Dodgers may run a six-man rotation which limits some of his innings upside, but he could be a 150 inning guy with a lot of wins and strikeouts.

Tanner Bibee (SP – CLE): (NFBC ADP: 107.21)

Bibee may be one of my favorite pitchers to draft this season. He threw 142 innings of a 2.98 ERA with 141 strikeouts, but the most impressive part was how good his command and control was while getting those strikeouts. Bibee’s walk rate was good at 7.7% and his command was excellent, allowing just 13 home runs on the season. Bibee is one of the less-heralded pitching prospects from this class, but he has one of the safest floors of all of them.

Gavin Williams (SP – CLE): (NFBC ADP: 151.40)

Williams had a lot more prospect hype from his time in the minors compared to his teammate, Bibee, but Williams struggles with what Bibee excels at –  command and control. While Williams had a 3.29 ERA his xERA was 4.16 and his SIERA was 4.61 which shows the floor is much lower than it seems on the surface.

Hunter Brown (SP – HOU): (NFBC ADP: 182.14)

Brown is coming off of a disappointing season in which he had a 5.09 ERA in 155.2 innings. It did come with 178 strikeouts which is really impressive and the underlying numbers are much better. Brown’s BABIP was pretty unlucky and like Bobby Miller, Brown has a great frame for innings and good stuff but he doesn’t have the command that Miller does. There is some risk here, but he is going cheap enough to make it worth the gamble.

Bryan Woo (SP – SEA): (NFBC ADP: 185.26)

Woo had a pretty impressive rookie season especially considering he wasn’t on many radars coming into 2023. He threw 87.2 innings with a 4.21 ERA and 93 strikeouts, but his xERA was 3.48. Woo has mediocre command but decent control. My main concern with Woo is his health. He was shut down for a bit because of elbow soreness which often is a precursor to Tommy John surgery. He did finish the season on the mound which is what I look for, but if we start comparing him to other guys going around his ADP, that is a tiebreaker that means I will likely go somewhere else.

Bryce Miller (SP – SEA): (NFBC ADP: 186.92)

Miller doesn’t get a ton of love because he was mostly a two-pitch guy throwing his fastball and cutter 77% of the time. However, the fastball is great and I think with more slider usage he could really take a nice jump in production. His command and control are pretty good, but he just needs that third pitch to come through and watch out.

Ryan Pepiot (SP, RP – TB): (NFBC ADP: 193.98)

I think at first people were not really happy with Pepiot being traded away from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Tampa Bay Rays, but it is kind of the perfect move for him. Pepiot is firmly in the rotation and the Rays don’t have the depth that they used to. I think the main issue for Pepiot is innings. He only threw 64.2 innings between the Majors and the minors which means it seems unlikely he can get to 140 innings this season. I think whatever he does throw, they will be great innings, but you have to temper your expectations.

Brandon Pfaadt (SP – ARI): (NFBC ADP: 210.05)

Pfaadt had a pretty crazy season. He was one of the most talked about pitching prospects coming into the year and then when he arrived in the Majors, he was terrible, throwing 96 innings of a 5.72 ERA with a massive home runs problem due to issues with command. However, in the postseason he was great, throwing 22 innings with a 3.27 ERA and only allowing three home runs in his five outings. He is definitely a gamble of which version of him you will get, but at this price, I think this is a great gamble to take.

Mason Miller (SP – OAK): (NFBC ADP: 231.68)

On a per inning basis, Miller is one of the most talented young pitchers in the game. However, he has never been able to stay healthy in the minors or last year in the Majors. There is already talk that he will be in the bullpen this season. I don’t know that he would be the closer which means he really only would have value in deep formats or in leagues where you have an SP/RP split and you want a reliever that can go into an SP slot.

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