This season, DraftKings is bringing its popular Best Ball contests to Major League Baseball. This format gives players a chance to draft a fantasy baseball team for a season-long competition that requires no active in-season management but still provides a full season of drama and competition.
You can find all the details, scoring and rules for the format in this overview post along with links to the rest of our season preview content.
In this post, you can find my second set of 30 starting pitchers ranked coming into the season. Check back throughout Spring Training for more content to help get you ready for all your Best Ball contests.
|57||Lance McCullers Jr.||HOU|
33. Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves
At 39, Morton continues to put up outstanding numbers, and he will be backed by one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Despite his age, he has been remarkably durable and has continued to post a high strikeout rate. As a result, he can be a relatively low-risk pick once the top 30 are off the board.
Morton has made 30-plus starts in four of the past five years with the only exception being the abbreviated 2020 season. He has produced at least 10.4 strikeouts per nine in each of those seasons, as well, including last year, which was his second with the Braves. He also had 14 or more wins in each of those seasons, at least until 2022, when he only had nine wins due to some rough luck and an increase in his HR rate.
His stuff didn’t have a significant drop-off, and he continues to blend his elite curve ball with a 95 mph fastball. He’s looked sharp again this spring, and he’s a great way to balance out some boom-or-bust picks in other slots in your rotation.
43. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
Sale is one of the most volatile picks in this range. He brings an elite ceiling, but is loaded with risk. His upside makes him a solid option to consider at No. 43, though, especially if you’ve already drafted some relatively reliable options at pitcher. He can also make sense if you’ve waited at the position and are looking for a high ceiling to make up for the lost time.
Sale made only two starts last season due to multiple injuries to his wrist, finger and elbow, and has only logged 43.1 innings over the last three seasons combined. While that definitely indicates an extended run of injury issues, it also means he doesn’t have a ton of recent mileage on his arm.
He was an elite SP at his best and had a 13.2 K/9 rate and a 2.57 FIP over his three seasons in Boston prior to the injury woes. For what it’s worth, he has looked great in Spring Training and hit all his milestones in dominant form. He’s definitely boom-or-bust, but as long as you get insurance in other spots, he can be a great pick at this point.
55. Grayson Rodriguez, Baltimore Orioles
Another way to get good upside in this price range is by taking a shot on Rodriguez, who is potentially one of the biggest impact rookie starting pitchers coming into the season.
The 23-year-old righty hasn’t made his MLB debut yet, but he’s expected to start the season in Baltimore’s rotation. He likely would have made the Majors down the stretch last year if it wasn’t for a mid-season lat strain. Before the injury, Rodriguez went 6-1 in 14 Triple-A starts racking up 97 strikeouts in just 69.2 innings.
He’s projected to work over 100 innings in the coming season and should offer a great strikeout rate and high ceiling. He has had some control issues and home runs concerns in Spring Training, so there is risk with reaching on him, but there’s also a great upside to consider.
58. Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels
Detmers has been one of the buzziest starting pitchers on any team this Spring Training and he’s climbed into my top 60.
He made his MLB debut at 21 in 2021 and then spent most of last year in the Majors at only 22-years-old. While there were definitely highs and lows, he finished a solid 7-6 with a 3.79 FIP and 8.51 K/9. He threw a no-hitter early in the season, but actually was much better after a demotion to Triple-A. He made adjustments and reduced his home run rate from 1.41 HR/9 in the first half to just 0.31 HR/9 in the second half.
As a flyball pitcher in a home-run-friendly park, Detmers will have some rough outings, but at this point of drafts, he brings a very nice ceiling as one of the Halos’ top arms, as the team tries to make the most of Shohei Ohtani’s last season under his current contract. Detmers has a solid strikeout rate and plenty of room for growth headed into his second full year with the Angels.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.