MLB Breakouts 2024: Who Will Make a Fantasy Baseball Splash This Season?

By | March 16, 2024

You predict the correct outbreak, and well, you’ll probably find fantasy baseball success. In the spirit of wish-casting, the Yahoo Fantasy and MLB crews reveal their top breakout candidates for the 2024 season.

Don’t forget the Cardinals young slugger

A year ago we were talking about Jordan Walker as one of the best players in baseball and a potential NL Rookie of the Year candidate. While his poor defense and inconsistent first half firmly kept him out of the price talks, it would also be a bit of an exaggeration to call his rookie year some sort of dramatic disappointment, as he was a comfortably above-average hitter (116 wRC+). as a 21 year old.

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

Now entering his second season with seemingly a fraction of the hype, Walker is younger than some of the top prospects currently atop this year’s top 100, such as Wyatt Langford, Dylan Crews and Colson Montgomery. I was both encouraged and impressed by the extent to which Walker was able to move the ball increasingly to the next level as the season progressed, directly addressing one of the main concerns going into his rookie year, which was that his plus-brute power was dampened by too many ground balls. I’d like a few more walks and some more success against lefties to boot, but overall, Walker’s raw ability seems too loud to be overlooked at this stage of his young career.

It may take a few more years for him to be a fully actualized superstar, but I could see the merits of a more substantial breakout as early as 2024. Jordan Shusterman

The former Dodgers’ top prospect will shine for Chicago

Michael Busch was as thoroughly blocked in Los Angeles as a prospect can be, considering the number of All-Star and Hall of Fame level players currently on the Dodgers’ roster. But there was also no doubt that Busch had proven all he could do in the high minors; he was a near-perfect hitter at Triple-A last season, slashing .323/.431/.618 with 27 home runs and 57 XBH over 98 games. He had to be moved in the worst way.

Luckily, the Cubs came along to break up another team’s logjam. After being transferred to Chicago in January, Busch has a clear path to regular at-bats at first base and DH. He’s done well in spring training, per his usual (.273/.360/.636, 2 HR), not that there was much doubt about his playing time early in the season. Busch now finds himself in a favorable situation where he has to indulge in right-handed pitching while filling a position he can handle. He’s a great bet to hit for average with series production and about 25 home runs. –Andy Behrens

The Giants’ No. 2 starter looks like a steal

Kyle Harrison still needs to improve his control, but the best lefty pitcher in baseball is poised to breakout in 2024. He posted a 35.6 K% mark in Triple-A last year and will benefit from pitching in a park that dramatically reduces the number of home runs. . Harrison strange struggled mightily against left-handed hitters (.333 BAA) once reached the majors after not giving up a single home run to a lefty in Triple-A all season (.171 BAA).

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

He posted a 0.87 WHIP with a 25.7 K-BB% against right-handed hitters during his brief stint in San Francisco, so while both splits are on the decline, you could consider them quite encouraging. Harrison is already the Giants’ No. 2 starter, so expectations are high. He has been a steal in fantasy drafts. —Dalton Del Don

Former top pitcher should sort it all out

MacKenzie Gore has perhaps the most important building block in pitching: a special fastball. The lefty’s heater averaged 150 km/h last year, has an elite extension and stays on plané. It’s the kind of offering that should dominate, but the lack of fastball command and a shallow arsenal meant Gore was merely solid instead of downright fantastic. But the 25-year-old still possesses all the traits that made him one of the game’s best pitchers not too long ago. And while the Nats have a poor reputation for developing pitchers, Gore is considered an analytical guy who spent a lot of time in a pitching lab over the winter.

There aren’t many left-handed starters who throw that hard, and I’m betting Gore will solve the rest of the puzzle. Jake Mintz

Health is the only obstacle on the way to a monster season for this third baseman

Royce Lewis has been through a lot in a short time in the big leagues. The No. 1 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft hasn’t suffered just one but two torn cruciate ligaments and has had to work his way back to form. But if 2023 was any indication, Lewis is in for a monster ’24 season.

The Twins third baseman had a .309/.372/.548 slash line with 15 home runs in just 58 games last season and showed the qualities of a player who is starting to tap into his true potential. Any projection with Lewis is always dependent on his health, but if he can stay healthy even in a lineup with Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, Lewis could be the one to take Minnesota to new heights. Russell Dorsey

Enjoy the draft discount on this budding star outfielder

Maybe putting Riley Greene on a breakout list is a mild cheat because he was on his way to breaking out last year. Two injuries held him back for part of the season: a stress fracture in his fibula and a season-ending elbow injury that required surgery in September (he’s fine now and looking good this spring). Last year’s .288/.349/.447 slash makes him look like a future star, and we’re chasing his pedigree here, too; Greene was the fifth overall pick in his draft class. If Greene plays a full season, more than 20 home runs and double-digit steals are likely in his age-23 season.

There’s a lot of red-shaded juice on Greene’s Baseball Savant page: He hits the ball hard and deserves the positive rate stats on the back of his card. Detroit is ready to make a run in the weakened AL Central, and Greene will likely be second in a respectable lineup. Enjoy the OF 36/151 ADP Greene currently in Yahoo; I promise you that the price will increase significantly next spring. —Scott Pianowski

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