2024 Fantasy Baseball: The Biggest Boom-or-Bust Picks

By | March 9, 2024

I like oatmeal. I eat it about once a week. But if I ate oatmeal every day, I would go crazy. After all, while it’s nutritious, oatmeal is one of the most boring meals I can think of.

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

Building a fantasy baseball team full of boring players is the equivalent of eating oatmeal with every meal. You’ll survive, but you won’t really enjoy the experience. To get the most out of fantasy baseball, a manager must take some risks with boom-or-bust players.

The following players have issues that could cost you a few hours of sleep, but they also have the potential to be among the top picks for 2024.

Tree: After collecting 13 home runs and 35 steals in 98 games as a 21-year-old, the sky is the limit for De La Cruz in his sophomore season. He will likely improve his skills year after year at such a young age, and even if he doesn’t, he can still be a 20-50 player.

Bust: De La Cruz played well in his first month in the Majors before hitting .191 with a 36% strikeout rate after the All-Star break. Failure to improve this year could lead to a stint in the minors. Given his early-round status (Yahoo ADP 34.2), De La Cruz is the biggest boom-or-bust player in the 2024 pool.

Tree: It took Lewis just 58 games last season to produce 15 round trippers and 52 RBI. He also hit .309. And he didn’t hold back on the biggest stage, going four deep in six postseason games. Over a full season, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 MLB Draft could produce 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 15 steals and a high strikeout rate.

Bust: Lewis can’t stay healthy. Last year, he underwent three IL stints due to separate injuries. He missed the entire 2021 season due to a torn ACL and played in just 34 games in ’22. Managers are likely to go to extremes when projecting more than 120 games for the upcoming campaign.

Tree: While the jury is out on whether Chisholm is a good or great player, there is no doubt that he is a great fantasy asset. Over the past two seasons, the lefty hitter has 33 home runs and 34 steals in 157 games.

Bust: Like Lewis, Chisholm has struggled to stay off the IL. In 2022, he missed more than half the season due to a back injury and last year had to endure separate IL stints due to a sprained toe and oblique strain. The 26-year-old has spent the past three seasons in the Majors, but hasn’t played enough games to enjoy a 20-home run or 25-steal campaign.

Tree: Abrams was the sixth overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft and eventually produced in the Majors as he recorded 18 home runs and 47 steals last season. The speedster has a lifetime average of .331 in the minors, which offers hope he can improve on the .245 mark he posted in 2023. More hits would translate into an even higher number of swipes.

Bust: While Abrams stepped away from the fantasy lens in the second half of last season (11 HR, 33 SB), the same cannot be said from a real-world perspective (.246 BA, .733 OPS). Abrams doesn’t have much room for error and could fall to the bottom of the lineup if he hits a rough patch.

Tree: Jones could be the latest in a long line of successful Colorado hitters. The lefty hitter needed just 106 games to produce a 20-20 season while also hitting .297. He performed well both at home and on the road, and the incredible benefits of playing half his games at Coors Field should keep him from falling into extended slumps. A 30-30 season is ambitious, but not impossible.

Bust: To say Jones got lucky last season would be an understatement. The left-handed slugger enjoyed a BABIP (.401) and HR/FB percentage (22.2%) that could experience significant declines this year. Statcast assigned Jones a .247 xBA in 2023, 50 points lower than his actual mark, which was the second-largest gap of any player. A drop in his price statistics would certainly have an impact on his counting statistics.

Tree: Glasnow is an excellent pitcher who produced a 3.20 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 12.2 K/9 rate over 71 starts with the Rays. Now that he’s part of a Dodgers organization known for getting the most out of its pitchers, he should continue to excel on a per-start basis. A recent five-year contract extension shows that Los Angeles has no significant reservations about the right-hander’s future.

Bust: Glasnow is among the least durable starters in baseball, as his 120 innings last season were the highest total of his eight-year career. And while Dodgers starters tend to pitch effectively, the organization has no magic wand when it comes to sustainability. Glasnow is drafted as a fantasy ace and could put his fantasy teams at a huge disadvantage if he makes fewer than 20 starts.

Tree: The Dodgers didn’t accidentally give Yamamoto $325 million. The 25-year-old owns a lifetime ERA of 1.72 and a WHIP of 0.92 overseas, and the Los Angeles club believes he can produce a reasonable facsimile of those numbers in the majors. As a starter on one of baseball’s best teams, Yamamoto could be a top-five pitcher by combining plenty of wins with solid ratios.

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

Bust: Yamamoto’s solid but unspectacular career mark of 9.2 K/9 could drop as he faces better competition. Managers will need a lot of guts to bank on the right-hander as an ace, which is his current asking price in checkers. Due to Yamamoto’s ADP and strikeout rate, the best plan is to pair him with an SP2 who can sniff out a lot of scent. Unfortunately, the men who fit that description have warts themselves.

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