2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle: Yamamoto vs Nola

Yoshinobu Yamamoto vs Aaron Nola

by Corey Pieper
2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle: Yamamoto vs Nola

Fantasy Six Pack's 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft coverage continues with a look at a new ADP battle. In this 2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle, we look at Yamamoto vs Nola, two starting pitchers who are very polarizing.

The only place to start your starting pitcher research is to read the Fantasy Six Pack starting pitcher preview for 2024. Fantasy Six Pack is the website to use to prepare for fantasy drafts. The website to use to play those fantasy drafts is Fantrax. You can set up your league in any method that you want with their customizable platform.

Our final position ADP battle is between the Los Angeles Dodgers' Yoshinobu Yamamoto and the Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola. Each pitcher has an ADP that has them being a 4th-round selection on average. While they are being drafted in a similar range, as MLB pitchers they couldn't be much more different. While proven in Japan, Yamamoto is a rookie in Major League Baseball. Nola has started the most games in all of baseball going back to 2018. That volume has helped him to accumulate impressive strikeout numbers.

But which pitcher should you be selecting at their current ADPs? Find out in our next 2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP battle: Yoshinobu Yamamoto vs Aaron Nola?

2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle: Yamamoto vs Nola

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers

FantasyPros ADP 45.6 overall 11th among starting pitchers
2023 Stats: Rookie season in MLB
ATC Projection: 12-8, 178 K, 3.71 ERA

Yoshinobu Yamamoto's accomplishments in Japan read like a Hall of Fame career. He is already a five-time All-Star. In the last three seasons, he has won both the league MVP and the Sawamura Award (Japanese equivalent to the Cy Young award). Every one of those three seasons he earned the pitching Triple Crown.  He has already thrown two no-hitters. It's important to note that he is still only 25 years of age. And now, he is bringing his talent to the United States.

There are differences between Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball. Firstly, the ball is slightly smaller than the American baseball. Perhaps more important is the schedule that pitchers operate within Japan. Every team in Japan uses a six-man rotation. While the Dodgers have plenty of options if they want to go that route, it is uncommon in the United States. There is always going to be much more travel than Yamamoto is used to.

Yamamoto signed a massive 12-year $325 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers this off-season. He did allow five earned runs in a spring training start as he struggled with command. He walked three batters in three innings and gave up six hits. However, as you can see from the video below, five of them were rather lucky hits.

There may be a bit of an adjustment period, but he has a fantastic offense backing him. I have no concerns with taking Yamamoto at his ADP. Projections are usually a bit pessimistic on rookies. That isn't the case with him. As a rookie, projections already see the potential for positive contributions in all four of the starting pitcher categories.

Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies

FantasyPros ADP 47.6 overall 12th among starting pitchers
2023 Stats: 12-9, 202 K, 4.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
ATC Projection: 12-9, 195 K, 3.89 ERA

Consistent starts, innings, and strikeouts have what fantasy owners have come to expect from Aaron Nola during his Phillies tenure. Going back to the 2018 season, Nola leads the league in games started with 175 games started. He is also second (New York Yankees Gerrit Cole) in innings pitched during that period with 1065 innings pitched. If you look at strikeouts, he falls to third behind Cole and Texas Rangers' Max Scherzer with 1,209 strikeouts.

Nola's inconsistencies during that time have come in the ERA and WHIP categories. Nola seems to alternate good ratio seasons with poor ratio seasons. In the even-numbered years, Nola's ERA's have been 2.37, 3.28, and 3.25. In the odd-numbered years, his ERA's have been 3.87, 4.63, and last year's 4.46. Nola's three lowest career WHIPs have been in the last three even-numbered years. Meanwhile, his odd-numbered year WHIPs have been 1.27, 1.13, and 1.15.

The every other year phenomenon is a coincidence as opposed to predictive. If Nola comes out and pitches well this year, it doesn't mean that he will struggle again next season. His surface numbers from last season were worse than he pitched. His expected ERA was a much better 3.77. He had an extremely low strand rate because he gave up more home runs than ever before. If that reverts to his previous career norms, he could jump right back to being a top starting pitching option.

Yamamoto vs Nola

There is a debate that you often see in game shows like Let's Make a Deal. The contestant is offered a choice between an item such as a boat, and what is behind a curtain. The joke is that what awaits behind that curtain there may even be a boat.

That's what I think of when I see this debate. You can feel confident with Aaron Nola giving you volume to get strikeouts. His ERA and WHIP though are very sporadic. That doesn't mean they are always bad. We've seen good ratios out of him not long ago. If you get four productive categories out of him again, it shouldn't surprise anyone. He is the boat that you know what to expect.

That being said, I'm going to go with what is behind the curtain and take Yamamoto. Could we get the elevated ratios from Yamamoto that Nola gave us last season? That is possible, but it is also possible that he becomes a fantasy force right away.


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