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Fantasy Baseball Draft Advice: Shane Baz, Ryan Pepiot, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2024)

Fantasy Baseball Draft Advice: Shane Baz, Ryan Pepiot, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2024)

It’s never too early to begin thinking about innings limits for starting pitchers. MLB teams are certainly thinking about them already. Teams spend so much money on pitchers’ arms that they need to treat them as delicately as possible. You may think that this article is too early, but consider how we’re already drafting.

Eury Perez is coming off a season where he struck out 108 batters in only 91 innings. He also had a 3.15 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP all as a 20-year-old. While the excitement is still high with an ADP of 99, it sure seems possible that it could have been higher. However, we’ve already seen the Marlins limit his innings last season. Even though he had a 2.36 ERA through 11 major league starts, the team sent him back to the minor leagues in July to limit his innings. He was recalled again in August, but you have to be aware of the possibility of it happening again when drafting him.

Below you’ll see more pitchers that could have innings limit this season for a variety of reasons.

Innings Limits to Monitor (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

Every Starting Pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have an incredible number of starting pitcher options. For their big league team, it’s a great problem to have. The team has talked of using a six-man rotation and has plenty of options to get to the end of the season with hopefully a healthy rotation. For your fantasy team, it caps the innings of all their options. With how high some of their pitchers are going in fantasy drafts, you have to be aware of what the caps could be.

A quick list of starting pitchers in the Dodgers’ organization who could make starts at the big league level this season: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, Bobby Miller, James Paxton, Emmet Sheehan, Ryan Yarbrough, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Michael Grove, Gavin Stone, Landon Knack and River Ryan. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a quick list. That is 14 different options that the Dodgers have to choose from. The interesting thing is that not one of them is a lock for innings.

Those with injury concerns that will limit their innings are Tyler Glasnow, James Paxton, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May. Note that all the projection systems are bullish on Glasnow setting a new career high in innings pitched. Also recognize that a new career high in innings for him could still be less than 130, even though he is entering his ninth season.

The young pitchers who may have their innings limited include Bobby Miller, Emmet Sheehan, Michael Grove, Gavin Stone, Landon Knack and River Ryan. Miller and Sheehan are the two that RosterResource projects as being in the starting rotation to start the season. Each of those pitchers threw over 120 innings already last season. The concern is that the Dodgers are going to want their electric arms available for the playoffs. They can do that in the middle of the season with the return of Kershaw, or by calling up some of their other minor league options.

Yamamoto is the Dodgers’ pitcher with the highest ADP at 40 overall. Based on his career in Japan, that would be a steal, as his career ERA is under two with a WHIP under one and over a strikeout per inning. While he has had a couple of seasons over 190 innings in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, it’s hard to envision that happening with the Dodgers. After all, the Dodgers have $325 million riding on his right arm over the next dozen seasons.

Ryan Pepiot (SP – TB) and Shane Baz (SP – TB)

Pegged as a breakout candidate by many analysts going into last season, Zach Eflin delivered on that promise. He set new career bests in wins, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and innings pitched. One of this year’s popular projected breakouts is Ryan Pepiot. Much like Eflin, he is joining a Rays team that seemingly can maximize all pitcher arsenals. While the Rays may maximize Pepiot’s talent, it seems very unlikely that it will come with anywhere near the 177 innings that Eflin pitched.

Pepiot could set a new career high in professional innings pitched in a season. At this point, he has two seasons in his career where he has eclipsed 100 innings pitched in 2021 and 2022. Last year, he only pitched 64 innings as he injured his oblique at the end of spring training, which caused him to miss substantial time. It’s hard to envision a pathway for Pepiot to have more than 130 innings with the many options that the Rays should have by midseason.

One of those options is Shane Baz. He missed all of last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. That surgery was in the summer of 2022, so he should be ready for the start of spring training. However, that doesn’t mean that the Rays are just going to let him pitch without monitoring his innings. The most innings that Baz has had as a professional was only 92, and that was back in the 2021 season. Much like with Pepiot, a new career high in innings pitched for Baz may happen, but that will still be in the 100-innings pitched range.

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