Wow, has it already been a week since the first installment of the 2024 Top Keepers was unveiled? Time flies when the baseball playoffs are in full swing.

Last week I looked at the top relievers to keep (2024 Fantasy Baseball Keepers – Relievers). This week the focus is on starting pitchers.

Like relievers, starting pitchers can be a little inconsistent from year to year, making it tough to nail down the top keepers. I went pretty deep this year with a list of 85, allowing for a nice mix of veteran pitchers and young up-and-comers.

That said, I’m sure I missed some pitchers you probably like more and listed players higher than you think they deserve to be.

However, I like the list I have put together and I hope you find it useful as you build your fantasy staff.

Now let’s get on with the rankings!

The Walking Wounded

The first four pitchers I am going to highlight are all hurlers who won’t be pitching next season thanks to injuries. In keeper leagues, they are still worth keeping unless you have limited keeper limits. Then you have to decide if they are worth keeping and then stash on the IL list to keep them again for 2025.

Without knowing what set of rules your league uses, I decided to just not rank Shohei Ohtani, Brandon Woodruff, Shane McClanahan and Sandy Alcantara. Ohtani will be able to hit next year, but we’re talking about pitchers here. If you’re league splits Ohtani into two players, his value as a pitcher is obviously not there.

I have McClanahan in two of my leagues and I’m keeping him without even thinking twice. All four of these pitchers would be ranked in my top 15 below, and they will certainly be ranked in my future dynasty rankings of all the players.

To me, it is worth stashing these players on the IL and hope to find a decent pitching replacement.


85 Brandon Pfaadt Ari 25
84 Lance McCullers Hou 30
83 Aaron Civale TB 28
82 Josiah Gray Was 26
81 Bryce Elder Atl 24
80 Taj Bradley TB 23
79 MacKenzie Gore Was 25
78 Reese Olson Det 24
77 Dustin May LAD 25
76 Hunter Brown Hou 25
75 Hunter Greene Cin 24
74 Logan Allen Cle 25
73 Andrew Abbott Cin 24
72 Javier Assad ChC 26
71 Cristopher Sánchez Phi 27

Can They Be Healthy?

Lance McCullers missed the entire season with a forearm injury and Dustin May missed most of the season with an injury, but both are expected to return next season.

When healthy, McCullers is a top pitcher. The problem is he has been injured just as much as he has been available to pitch the last few seasons. But his upside is still there to be a productive pitcher.

May was off to a good start in 2023 with a 2.63 ERA in his first nine starts until he was injured. He should be 100 percent healthy next year and could easily blow past the expectations that this ranking has him at. However, he has also pitched in 20 games total since the start of 2021, making me very skeptical to rank him at all.

The Hunters

Hunter Brown and Hunter Greene have both shown flashes of brilliance on the mound. But they have both also been frustrating at times.

For Brown, he appeared to run out of steam as his rookie season progressed. In the first half he had a 4.12 ERA and 1.33 WHIP with a 10.6 K/9 ratio. The second half saw him post a 6.57 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a 9.8 K/9 rate. He is a good pitcher, but he has to cut his walk rate down as well as the home runs he allows as batters knocked 17 balls over the fence in the second half and 26 overall.

Greene was limited to 22 starts this year and finished 4-7 with a 4.82 ERA. But he has the ability to be so much better. He had a 12.2 K/9 rate this season but also walked 3.9 batters per nine. If he can ever command the arsenal of pitches he has, he can be a dominant pitcher.

Assad and Sanchez?

Javier Assad and Cristopher Sanchez may be surprising choices for this list, but I really like the upside of these two pitchers. Assad saw most of his action out of the bullpen, but I think he has a place in the starting rotation for the Cubs. In his eight starts from Aug. 20 – Sept. 28, he was 3-1 with a 2.84 EA and 1.203 WHIP while holding opposing hitters to a .238/.300/.392 slash line.

Sanchez made 19 appearances and 18 start for the Phillies and did well when on the mound, posting a 3.44 ERA and 1.047 WHIP. He is not a huge strikeout pitcher (8.7 K/9) but he doesn’t walk hitters and finished the year with a nice 6.0 K/BB ratio.


70 Matt Manning Det 26
69 Kutter Crawford Bos 28
68 Trevor Rogers Mia 26
67 Kenta Maeda Min 35
66 Nathan Eovaldi Tex 34
65 Lucas Giolito CWS 29
64 Griffin Canning LAA 27
63 Bryce Miller Sea 25
62 Yusei Kikuchi Tor 32
61 Michael Wacha SD 32
60 Ryan Pepiot LAD 26
59 Nestor Cortes NYY 29
58 Chris Sale Bos 35
57 Mitch Keller Pit 27
56 Merrill Kelly Ari 35

A Little of Old, A Little Bit of New

This tier is a mix of players when it comes to ages. Six of the players are going to be 32 or older on April 1 of next year. The rest of the players are all under 29 with the youngest player being 25. You could call this the “I’ll be safe tier” as I think the older players will still perform well while the younger players have a lot of upside. When I do my dynasty rankings later this year, this group will likely see the most movement as the older players will be shoved down and the younger players moved up.

A Lost Season

Trevor Rogers basically missed the entire season as he was held to four starts, going 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.222 WHIP. But he had a 9.5 K/9 rate, not too far off his career rate of 10.2. I know he wasn’t good in 2022, but I see him bouncing back and be more like the pitcher he was in 2021 when he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Look to the West

If you are looking for young pitchers to build around, there are four West Coast players in this tier who I really like and may be undervaluing in Griffin Canning, Bryce Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Bryan Woo.

After missing all of 2022, Canning had a decent bounce-back season. What I like about him is the fact he had a 9.9 K/9 rate and 3.86 K/BB rate. With ERA always being volatile, those two rates go a long way with me when determining a pitcher’s value.

That leads us to Miller and Woo, teammates with Seattle, and Pepiot of the Dodgers. In my weekly Top Keepers posts this season I talked about Miller and Woo and their value. Miller didn’t have a great K/9 rate (8.2) but he walked only 26 batters in 131.1 innings to end the year with a 4.58 K/BB rate. Meanwhile, Woo finished with 93 strikeouts in 87.2 innings of work. If he can cut down on his 3.2 BB/9 rate, he can be a solid starter for any fantasy team.

Pepiot didn’t get much of a chance with the Dodgers this year, starting only three games and appearing in eight overall. He had a 2.14 ERA and 0.762 WHIP, allowing only 27 hits and five walks (against 38 strikeouts) in 42 innings. I’m bullish on Pepiot and I think he still has a future in the rotation.


55 Clayton Kershaw LAD 36
54 Justin Verlander Hou 41
53 Max Scherzer Tex 39
52 Jacob deGrom Tex 35
51 Bryan Woo Sea 24
50 Michael King NYY 28
49 Michael Lorenzen Det 32
48 Chase Silseth LAA 23
47 Mason Miller Oak 25
46 Chris Bassitt Tor 35
45 Walker Buehler LAD 29
44 J.P. France Hou 28
43 Dylan Cease CWS 27
42 Reid Detmers LAA 24
41 Gavin Williams Cle 24

The Old Men

The four pitchers in his group can all still pitch really well, but they are also battling Father Time.

Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Jacab DeGrom are no longer spring chickens. Kershaw will be 36 next season while the other three pitchers will be 41, 39 and 35 respectively.

Kershaw is not sure if he is going to pitch. But until he retires, he continues to pitch well enough to be a solid keeper. Verlander doesn’t look to be slowing down, especially if you go by how he ended the season with the Astros and his 3.22 ERA and 1.133 WHIP for the season. At his age, he is a risky keeper, but you can’t ignore him.

The same goes for Scherzer. After being traded to the Rangers he was doing great on the mound until an injury sidelined him toward the end of the year. Still, he had a 3.77 ERA and 1.120 WHIP this season while maintaining a 10.3 K/9 rate.

DeGrom is still one of the top pitchers in baseball when he is healthy. But the problem is you can count on him to make a trip or three to the IL every season. In his six starts this season he had a 2.67 ERA and 0.758 WHIP while posting a 13.9 K/9 rate and 11.25 K/BB ratio. Outstanding numbers that we have seen before. But due to his injury history and the fact he may be out until August of next year (at best), there is no way I can rank him higher.

A Place in the Rotation?

The Yankees needed Michael King to start for them late in the season. After pitching well as a starter, I would hope he gets the chance to be in the rotation in 2024. From Aug. 24 until the end of the season, King had a 1.88 ERA and 1.069 WHIP as a starter, though he averaged less than five innings per start as he was not stretched out to handle a full workload. But in his 38.1 innings of work, he struck out 48 while walking only nine.

The old “IF”

If Gavin Williams, Chase Silseth and Mason Miller learn to command their pitches, then all three have a very high ceiling. All three averaged more than four walks per nine innings. But the trio averaged between 7.2 and 6.5 hits per nine innings. I’m betting on their ability to learn to command their pitches as they are all going to be 25 or younger heading into next season.

I didn’t mention Dylan Cease and Reid Detmers with the three pitchers above, but the same holds for the duo when it comes to walking hitters. Cease averaged 4.0 BB/9 and Detmers was a little better with a 3.6 BB/9 rate. But unlike Williams, Silseth and Miller, who had low H/9 rates, Cease allowed 8.7 hits per nine innings this year and Detmers 8.5.

I believe both pitchers lower those numbers next season and post much better overall numbers than they did this past year.


40 Nick Pivetta Bos 31
39 Cole Ragans KC 26
38 Kodai Senga NYM 31
37 Aaron Nola Phi 30
36 Eduardo Rodriguez Det 30
35 Bobby Miller LAD 24
34 Cristian Javier Hou 27
33 José Berríos Tor 30
32 Tanner Bibee Cle 25
31 Joe Ryan Min 27
30 Freddy Peralta Mil 27
29 Bailey Ober Min 28
28 Tyler Wells Bal 29
27 Braxton Garrett Mia 26
26 Sonny Gray Min 34

Betting Those Numbers Are Real

The 2023 season was a tale of two cities for Cole Ragans. He started the year in Texas and appeared in 17 games, all out of the bullpen. He was not very good in that role, compiling a 5.92 ERA and 1.397 WHIP to go with a 8.9 K/9 rate and a horrid 5.2 BB/9 rate.

But after he was traded to the Royals, something clicked for Ragans. In 12 starts he was 5-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 1.074 WHIP. His strikeout rate jumped to 11.2 per nine innings and his walked rate fell to 3.4 per nine innings. He may not duplicate exactly what he did with the Royals next season, but I don’t think he reverts back to the pitcher he was at Texas.

Time to Give Ober Credit

I don’t get to watch a lot of Minnesota Twins games, so I have not been able to see a lot of Bailey Ober’s starts. So I have often overlooked what he has done on the mound. As a rookie in 2021 he had a 102 ERA+ and a 9.4 K/9 rate to go with a 5.05 K/BB rate. While he was limited to 11 starts in 2022, he did have a 3.21 ERA and 1.054 WHIP with a decent 8.2 K/9 rate and a solid 4.64 K/BB rate.

So what did he do this year? In 26 starts he posted a 125 ERA+ with a 3.43 ERA and 1.067 WHIP. His K/9 rate jumped back up to 9.1 to pair with a 5.03 K/BB rate. If you have been like me and underrating Ober, it is time to stop doing so. He strikes out hitters and doesn’t issue free passes. That is nice combination to have in a starting pitcher.


25 Framber Valdez Hou 30
24 Jordan Montgomery Tex 31
23 Kevin Gausman Tor 33
22 Kyle Bradish Bal 27
21 Tarik Skubal Det 27
20 Pablo López Min 28
19 Joe Musgrove SD 31
18 Logan Gilbert Sea 26
17 Blake Snell SD 31
16 Zac Gallen Ari 28
15 Zack Wheeler Phi 33
14 Max Fried Atl 30
13 Justin Steele ChC 28
12 Zach Eflin TB 29
11 Edward Cabrera Mia 25

Framber Valdez had a great 2022 season, going 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA, 1.157 WHIP and a 135 ERA+. Additionally, he had a 8.7 K/9 rate and 3.0 BB/9 rate. This season, depending on which numbers you go by, he was nearly as good as last year if not a little better.

He had a higher ERA at 3.45 but a better WHIP thanks to a 2.6 BB/9 rate. His ERA+ was 122, so not a huge drop off and his K/9 rate improved to 9.1. He even threw a no-hitter against Cleveland. But after the no-no, his final 10 starts of the season were a mix of good and bad. Over those final 10 starts, he allowed six earned runs or more in three of them and also had four or more walks in three starts while seeing his K/9 rate drop to 7.04. Still, he is an obvious keeper for next season.

Bullish on Bradish

I added Kyle Bradish to my roster in one of my dynasty leagues midway through last season when he started to get hot with the hopes that he would build on what he was doing over the final half of his 2022 campaign. Luckily, he did just that.

To refresh your memory, Bradish had a 7.38 ERA and 1.770 WHIP in 10 first half starts while allowing 11 home runs and 12.4 H/9 in 46.1 innings. In 13 second half starts covering 71.1 innings, he had a 3.28 ERA and 1.164 WHIP while lowering his home runs allowed to 6 and his H/9 to 6.9.

This year he really put it together for the Orioles with a 2.83 ERA and 1.043 WHIP. He had a 9.0 K/9 rate and a 3.82 K/BB rate while allowing only seven hits per nine innings. I don’t think this season was a fluke and I expect him to be a solid pitcher for the next several years.

Loving Cabrera

Ranking Edward Cabera 11th here is a little aggressive. In those keeper leagues with limited spots, a pitcher coming off a season with a 4.24 ERA and 6.0 BB/9 rate would not be ranked as the 11th overall pitcher.

But he increased his K/9 rate from 9.4 in 2022 to 10.7 this season while keeping his H/9 rate to a decent 7.0. You can debate his ranking here, but not the fact that he is a keeper with a very high upside.


10 Logan Webb SF 27
9 Grayson Rodriguez Bal 24
8 Corbin Burnes Mil 29
7 Luis Castillo Sea 31
6 George Kirby Sea 26
5 Jesús Luzardo Mia 26
4 Eury Pérez Mia 20
3 Tyler Glasnow TB 30
2 Gerrit Cole NYY 33
1 Spencer Strider Atl 25

What a Turnaround

Grayson Rodriguez was horrible for Baltimore in his first 10 starts. He had a 7.35 ERA and 1.744 WHIP (much like Bradish in 2022). Opposing batters slashed .307/.374/.582 with 13 home runs allowed over 45.1 innings of work. Those numbers sent Rodriguez back to the minors to allow him to completely reboot his season. And he did just that.

Recalled in July, Rodriguez was a completely different pitcher over his final 13 starts. He had a 2.58 ERA and 1.097 WHIP. In 76.2 innings, he allowed only three homers and held hitters to a .227/.284/.306 slash line. Yes, his strikeout rate dropped from 11.1 K/9 during those first 10 starts to 8.6, but his walk rate also fell from 4.2 to 2.5 BB/9. In this case, I will take the second version of Rodriguez any day compared to the first version. Sometimes strikeouts aren’t everything – sometimes.

Marlins and Mariners – Oh My!

I have a Marlins pitcher ranked 11th and two more Marlins along with two Mariners grace my Top 10. Luis Castillo and George Kirby represent the best of a very nice Seattle pitching staff while Jesus Luzardo and Eury Perez are the best of a very, very strong Miami staff.

Castillo had yet another excellent season with a 3.34 ERA and 1.096 WHIP to go along with 10.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Then you have Kirby. All he did was post a 3.35 ERA and 1.038 WHIP. He did not have an eye-popping strikeout rate (8.1), but he did have an eye-popping 0.9 BB/9 rate. In 190.2 innings of work, Kirby issued only 19 walks. Yes, 19 walks!

Meanwhile, Luzardo and Perez are two pitchers who will anchor a fantasy staff (and a real staff as well) for years. Luzardo had a 10.5 K/9 rate and 3.78 K/BB rate this year while posting a 3.63 ERA and 1.220 WHIP. Then there is Perez, who will only be 20 years old on April 1 of next season. In 19 starts this year, Perez showed why he was the top pitching prospect in the minors.

In 91.1 innings he struck out 108 while allowing only 72 hits and 31 walks. That led to a 10.6 K/9 rate, a 3.15 ERA and a 1.128 WHIP with an ERA+ of 142.

Cole vs. Strider

Garrit Cole and Spencer Strider both had outstanding seasons. In two key fantasy categories, Cole had the better ERA (2.63 vs. 3.86) and WHIP (0.981 vs. 1.093) and had a better ERA+ (165 vs. 115).

Strider had an amazing 281 strikeouts to lead the majors and a 13.5 K/9 rate. And that rate proves that last season’s 13.8 K/9 rate was not a fluke. Strider also lowered his walk rate from 3.1 to 2.8 this season. The only glaring problem was allowing 22 home runs in 186.2 innings compared to only seven last year in 131.6 innings of work.

Choosing between Garrit Cole and Spencer Strider as the top keeper basically comes down to age. Strider is eight years younger than Cole and thus will be a better keeper for a longer period of time compared to Cole.

Come Back Next Week

Thanks for reading and come back next week for a look at the 2024 Top Keepers – Catchers.