Fantasy Baseball: These are our favorite pitchers for the 2024 MLB season

Whether you're an avid fantasy baseball player, a beginner or casual enthusiast or just a fan of the game of baseball, we all walk into every season keying in on our favorite players. So, too, does the Yahoo crew enter the 2024 MLB season with certain favorites at the pitcher position. Check out whom they're most excited to see take the mound this year.

Could the top-ranked fantasy pitcher actually be underrated?

The first two full seasons of Strider’s (current ADP: 10.1) MLB career have been electrifying … and historically unlucky.

Across 320 2/3 innings, Atlanta’s mustachioed ace has a 3.37 ERA and a 2.48 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, a metric that estimates ERA by removing all balls hit into play). In 2023, Strider delivered the second-best K/9 season in MLB history, punching out 13.55 hitters per nine innings — and somehow he ended up with a 3.86 ERA. According to the batted-ball data, Strider’s ERA should've been right around 3.00, but the baseball gods were not kind to the 25-year-old flamethrower.

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Strider’s incredibly bizarre season was still dominant enough to earn a fourth-place Cy Young finish, but there’s no doubt that from a pure production standpoint, there’s much more in the tank. If he repeats his output from last year and stays healthy, his numbers will almost certainly improve. What’s more, Strider, who has been primarily a two-pitch, fastball/slider pitcher, looks to have added a curveball to his arsenal over the winter, a pitch that should help him keep left-handed hitters at bay.

It’s weird to call one of the game’s best pitchers “underrated,” but I think Strider could be in line for a truly memorable pitching season. — Jake Mintz

Leave the past in the past when it comes to this Dodger ace

Tyler Glasnow (ADP: 44.3) ranks behind only the aforementioned Spencer Strider when it comes to skills (and stuff), and his ADP comes at a discount thanks to past health issues. Roughly 40% of starting pitchers spend time on the injured list each season, but Glasnow enters fully healthy and finally over his one arm injury that took years to properly diagnose. He’s also now pitching for the Dodgers in the NL West, so he should be a big help in the wins category, even if his volume doesn’t quite match others. Glasnow has topped 155 innings before (counting the minors), and he’s a real threat to win the Cy Young if health cooperates.

Don't let fear stop you from drafting Glasnow, as there are many examples of athletes who were "injury-prone" — until they weren't. — Dalton Del Don

Will the D-backs' workhorse be the top pitcher in the NL?

Right-hander Zac Gallen (ADP: 45.5) has quietly become one of the premier starting pitchers in Major League Baseball, and he's already one of its true aces. The D-backs’ workhorse has three top-10 NL Cy Young Award finishes in the past four seasons, including fifth place in 2022 and third place last season. Not only does Gallen have electric, no-hit stuff, but he also goes deep into games, and every fifth day he has a chance to shut down any lineup. Arizona’s improved roster and possible increase in regular-season wins could give the team enough success and national eyes to give Gallen the momentum to finally win his first Cy Young Award. Russell Dorsey

There's a new ace in Detroit

The Tigers have been trying to find a true ace since losing Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer a few years back. With Tarik Skubal (ADP: 53.8), that ace has finally arrived.

Skubal's wipeout stuff renders left-handed batters helpless, but he has also learned how to navigate the platoon disadvantage — righties slashed just .210/.254/.314 against him last year, with a piddly three home runs. And Skubal was probably fantasy baseball's best pitcher down the stretch in 2023, posting a 1.25 ERA and 52 strikeouts (against just six walks) over his final six appearances.

The AL Central is full of pillow landings, offering plenty of plus matchups. Don't be surprised if Skubal has a full breakout season and enters the Cy Young discussion. He won't be cheap, but a Yahoo ADP in the mid-50s provides reasonable room for profit. — Scott Pianowski

Is the best yet to come from the kid in Miami?

As the lone third-place voter for Eury Pérez (ADP: 82.8) on last year’s NL Rookie of the Year ballot, it’s no secret that I’ve been extraordinarily high on this guy for a while now. What he was able to accomplish in his first big-league season — even in a relatively limited sample — was so impressive considering his age; we simply don’t see pitchers that young dominate the way he did as a 20-year-old in 2023. Now entering his sophomore season, Pérez is still younger than the handful of top pitching prospects in baseball: Paul Skenes, Andrew Painter, Jackson Jobe, Cade Horton, Ricky Tiedemann and Kyle Harrison are all older than Perez!

At the same time, I recognize that the Marlins are likely to play it safe with him this year from a workload standpoint, especially considering he finished last season on the IL. But from a pure talent perspective, it’s hard to pick many arms with a greater combination of polish and upside than Pérez, who was touching 99 mph in his first Grapefruit League outing earlier this week and seems to have added a curveball.

Even if we’re only talking about 120-140 innings, I’m more amped to watch Pérez continue to evolve as a big-league ace than just about any other pitcher in baseball. — Jordan Shusterman

The newest Dodgers hurler will live up to the hype

I cannot officially condone the use of any early-round fantasy pick on a pitcher, for reasons previously discussed. But I'm willing to look the other way if you intend to target Yoshinobu Yamamoto (ADP: 36.8).

Yamamoto has a ludicrous arsenal of plus-plus pitches, he's still only 25 years old, and several of the smartest franchises in baseball aggressively tried to pay him $300 million or more earlier this offseason. Sometimes, it's OK to let major-league teams do the work for you; the expectation within the game is clearly that Yamamoto can be the best pitcher in baseball over the next five to 10 years.

[2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

Last year in Japan, Yamamoto delivered dead-ball-era ratios (1.16 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) while striking out 176 batters and walking only 28 over 171 innings. Assuming good health, he's a great bet to deliver a top-five season for fantasy purposes, which makes him a screaming value at his ADP. Good luck making contact with anything this gentleman throws. He should be excellent, immediately. — Andy Behrens