Fantasy Baseball 2024: Top MLB prospects worthy of draft day attention

By | March 8, 2024

In virtually every fantasy baseball league, there is at least one manager who wants nothing to do with the game’s top players.

Last year, when someone else drafted Corbin Carroll in the sixth round, the most dour and joyless old fool in your league rolled his eyes, grinned, and muttered something about the pick being a wild reach. And when it was their turn, they took a safe and projectable veteran like Starling Marte or Willy Adames.

Of course, there have been plenty of examples over the years where an elite MLB prospect was either planted at the first call – as famously happened to 19-year-old Mike Trout – or never managed to adapt to the highest level of the game. (In an alternate timeline, Jesse Foppert was a megastar.) But when a dynamic prospect with all the trimmings arrives at the moment and actually justifies the hype that precedes it, that guy is often one of fantasy’s defining players. Carroll was clearly a force in the league last season. Gunnar Henderson and Kodai Senga weren’t too shabby either.

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

If you take a generally dismissive stance on potential candidates and refuse to field them at or near ADP, you are closing off a proven path to winning your competition. Don’t be so skeptical that you run from the highest ceilings in the player pool.

Today our goal is to discuss the seven top players who should be on your radar in 2024 in even the shallowest leagues. We start with one of the most talked-about signings of this season.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Okay, this one feels a bit like cheating. One of the smartest franchises in baseball just paid Yamamoto as if they expect him to soon be the game’s best pitcher (and multiple teams reportedly offered him more than $300 million).

He’s only 25, he has a deep and ridiculous arsenal, and his career in Japan has been pretty much flawless. Look at this nonsense:

If we simply get about 160 innings from Yamamoto, he’s likely a top-five starter. Understandably, he is currently the big favorite (+200) to win the NL Rookie of the Year, followed by this less than 20-year-old…

Jackson Chourio, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

At age 19, Chourio just delivered a 22-44 season with 51 extra-base hits in the high minors, after which crushed in the Venezuelan winter competition, further strengthening its prospect credentials. Milwaukee signed him to a rich extension in December, so he’s clearly in the team’s plans for Opening Day. He hasn’t spent a day in the majors yet, but he’s been exceptional at every stop along the way while being young for his level. His K-rate isn’t concerning and he has 70 grade speed, so we can expect his play to translate well for fantasy purposes. If Chourio is at or near the top of the order, he could very well go 20/40 again.

Evan Carter, OF, Texas Rangers

Carter’s cameo appearance in the MLB really couldn’t have gone much better last year. He slashed .306/.413/.645 with five home runs and three steals in 23 regular season games, then hit .300/.417/.500 in the playoffs for the Rangers over 72 plate appearances. Carter reached base at a .410 clip over three minor league seasons with considerable power and speed. Left-handed pitching is the puzzle he has to solvebut we’ve already seen him compete on the biggest stage against Major League righties.

Wyatt Langford, OF, Texas Rangers

It’s fair to say that Texas doesn’t have an immediate need for young outfield talent. Langford was a terror as a collegiate hitter at Florida, producing 52 XBH with 21 home runs and a 1.282 OPS last season. He went on to destroy pitching at every minor league stop, including Double-A and Triple-A, finishing with an absurd .360/.480/.677 slash with 10 home runs and 12 steals in 200 at-bats. Langford walked more often than he hit at the college level, and performed the same in the minors last year. Very strong franchise cornerstone vibes here.

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

Jackson Holliday, SS, Baltimore Orioles

Fantasy legend Matt Holliday somehow has a human child about to debut in the big leagues, which seems wild. At 19, Jackson made four different minor league stops in 2023, ending up at Triple-A and rising to the top of the prospect list at every major outlet. Last year he hit .323/.442/.499 with a dozen home runs, 51 XBH and 24 steals. He’ll get time at second base this spring, which gives him another path to the Opening Day roster. Even if we don’t see Holliday with the O’s in early April, it shouldn’t be too long.

Junior Caminero, Util, Tampa Bay Rays

Caminero had barely turned 20 when he hit this rocket at Double-A:

His power is quite obscene. Caminero hit 31 bombs in the minors last season while slashing .324/.384/.591. Defensively, he spent most of his time at third, but also made 24 starts at shortstop. The Rays currently have a crowded infield at the big league level, but Caminero definitely has the requisite talent to force his way into the mix.

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