2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakouts: 6 players ready to take things to the next level

2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakouts: 6 players ready to take things to the next level

One thing we will definitely not be doing today is wading in the rhetorical quagmire of sleeping man vs. breakthrough vs. design value vs. league winner vs. various other overused fancy terms.

Each fantasy league is its own unique community, featuring managers of varying experience levels and tendencies. A super sleeper in one league could be a third round pick in another.

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

Today we discuss six players who will generally (but not always) fall outside the top 75 picks in mixed league drafts, all of whom have a chance to massively beat their ADPs. The prospects are off because we dealt with these guys earlier in the week.

These are certainly not obscure names, but each is a strong candidate for a higher level in 2024.

When Morel makes contact with the pitch, it’s usually a loud and violent event. His strength outside the stadium and street is well established:

At age 24, Morrell hit 26 bombs for the Cubs in 107 games, plus he hit 11 more homers at Triple-A Iowa. He was one of just 18 major league hitters last season to maintain a slugging percentage of 50% or more over 400 plate appearances, which puts him in the company of guys like Judge, Shohei, Jordan, Soto, Olson and Acuña . There’s a lot of swing and miss in Morel’s game, but his power is undeniable. He worked at third base this spring, giving him an additional path to regular playing time. If we get 600 plate appearances from Morell, he’s clearly capable of a 40-homer season.

While my official position on starting pitchers is that they are all frauds out to hurt us, we can’t just ignore talent and team context. It’s kind of tempting to build a starting fantasy rotation around the Dodgers’ top 3-4 starters because A) the team is likely to win about 105 games and B) those pitchers are so reasonably priced in drafts.

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

Miller, of course, was excellent as a rookie, going 11-4 while striking out 119 batters in 124.1 innings and posting a WHIP of 1.10. His 3.76 ERA doesn’t adequately express all the things he did well (3.51 FIP, 3.45 xERA). Miller ranks among the leaders in limiting walks (2.32 BB/9) and home runs (0.87 HR/9), which is very encouraging. His minor league K-rates suggest serious hitting potential, as you’d expect from a guy with triple-digit speed. It is reported that he was prohibited in trade negotiations and he actually was attended Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s free agent presentation meetingsuggesting LA’s front office considers him a core piece.

It’s not crazy to hope for a top 15 finish this year.

Perez is a giant right-hander who throws fire and has been among the hottest young pitchers in the game in recent seasons, and he’s still just 20 years old. He hits 98-99 mph with relative ease and his secondary pitches were ridiculously effective last year at the big league level. Opposing hitters hit just .183 against his slider, .045 against his changeup, and .098 against his curveball (which obviously didn’t suit him, because he reshaped the field in the offseason). Perez is an incredible talent. We don’t know yet where the team will end their innings this season — probably in the 150-160 range — but we can assume that every frame will be of the highest quality.

Rojas is the kind of late-draft pick who could end up as the category leader. He stole 62 bases in the minors just two years ago, then swiped 44 last season while splitting time between Double-A and the bigs. He hasn’t looked great in the big leagues, slashing .302/.342/.430 with near-flawless center field play. Rojas has been the subject of a ton of hype this offseason — he’s added muscle, refined his swing, plenty of hours in the cage, etc. Assuming he locks down an everyday role, he has the potential to deliver double-digit power with over 40 steals.

Just in case things somehow take an unfortunate turn in your draft and you wind up at a deep position, Tovar is a still-developing young player coming off a season in which he reached double figures in both homers and steals. Unsurprisingly, he was a significantly better hitter at Coors Field than he was on the road, but his home park is a gift that will keep on giving. Tovar was able to break into the big leagues at age 21 while putting up useful power/speed numbers, plus his minor league record is full of good signs. Two years ago, he slashed .319/.387/.540 in the high minors with 14 homers and 17 steals in 71 games. He is a legal mage in defenseso he will never leave the lineup.

We previously mentioned the fact that you’ll need to get stolen bases from almost every spot in fantasy in 2024, given the spike in base stealing last year. Naylor managed five bags in as many attempts last year, and he’s just one season removed from stealing 20 bases in the minors, so he could easily reach double figures as Cleveland’s primary catcher. He also hit 24 home runs last year while splitting time between the majors and Triple-A, so this is a safety with multi-category utility buried in the ranks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *