Fantasy baseball picks: Breakout pitchers to draft in 2024

Can this Minnesota Twins starting pitcher become an "Ober-achiever" in 2024? Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The days of the "set it and forget it" fantasy pitching staff are a distant memory. In 2024, a fantasy manager must be as mindful as ever scrutinizing individual pitching matchups, monitoring trends, examining new or adjusted pitch repertoires, and being prepared to pounce the instance a pitching opportunity presents itself either via trade or the waiver wire.

The past three seasons, after all, represented the three seasons (excluding the abbreviated 1981, 1994 and 2020 campaigns) with the fewest number of 200 IP and 162 IP (the traditional benchmark for ERA qualification) pitchers, as well as the three with the fewest 100-pitch outings in the 36 seasons in which detailed game pitch counts are readily available. As baseball teams continue to cycle arms while leaning heavily upon pitching matchups, we must follow suit.

This quest is far from easy, and it's why fantasy managers require much guidance to successfully steer them toward these sporadically appearing pitching gems -- shall we liken it to an often-maddening game of whack-a-mole?

That's where this column comes in. My favorite method of unearthing pitching value is to isolate pitchers who possess potentially elite skill sets, but whose surface statistics (think: the "back of the baseball card" stats like wins and ERA) belie their true talent. They are my annual "Kings of Command," pitchers who met a specific set of statistical baselines indicating excellence with these skills.