MLB Offseason Review: What impact will Blake Snell’s move to the Giants have on 2024 fantasy baseball?

By | March 19, 2024

Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto celebrate Team Japan winning the 2023 World Baseball Classic.  From 2024 they will be teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  (Photo by Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

For a little over a month, the baseball world waited for something, something to come out of Shohei Ohtani’s camp to guess where he would sign for the upcoming MLB season. Rumors circulated; many were unfounded.

Then on December 9, 2023, news broke via Ohtani’s Instagram that he had signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and since then it seems like the Dodgers have gotten all the baseball players they want via trade or free agency.

Actually just seems that way, but it’s close, and there are fantasy implications far and wide if the players move teams.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed with the Dodgers 13 days after Ohtani, the star pitcher of the Nippon Professional Baseball League who will immediately become one of the best starters for LA and likely a strikeout machine in the MLB. And the Dodgers still weren’t done (more on all those deals below).

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

While it only seemed like the Dodgers were recruiting every available player during the Hot Stove League, other teams were busy enough, and that will have quite an impact on fantasy baseball in 2024.

For fantasy managers who have been focusing on football in recent months, here’s a quick look at some of the big (and small) offseason acquisitions and their fantasy impact.

As mentioned above, you may see a certain shade of blue on the first few names in this lineup.

REMARK: This story will be updated when Jordan Montgomery signs with new teams.

Big moves, Dodger Division

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers

The best player in the game takes an even bigger stage in Chavez Ravine, making this the most impactful free-agent move for an athlete in any sport since LeBron James signed with the neighboring Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. The only bummer amid all this excitement is that Ohtani won’t be able to pitch until 2025, but he’ll still move the needle a lot with a bat in his hands.

Ohtani’s 2023 numbers of 44 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 102 runs, 95 RBI with a 1.066 OPS could be just the starting point, as he was at the top of the Dodgers lineup with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. The RBI opportunities for Will Smith and Max Muncy behind him will be plentiful, and without having to take the mound once a week, could Ohtani be even better at the plate in 2024? Even as a DH, Ohtani will be an early first-round pick with his elite power-speed combination.

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

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers had to do something to shore up a pitching staff hit hard by departures, so they signed Ohtani’s teammate from Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic. The 25-year-old has won the past three Sawamura Awards – the Japanese league’s equivalent of the Cy Young Award – with a pitch mix that will transfer well to the major leagues. In his most recent season, he flashed a 1.16 ERA with a 17-6 record.

He will now have to adjust to different baseball and pitching more than once a week, but with an elite arm in a pitcher’s park, backed by good defense and an explosive lineup, Yamamoto will be a great source for wins, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts .

And he’ll have some company in LA’s rotation, too.

Tyler Glasnow, Los Angeles Dodgers

Glasnow, one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, has a checkered injury history. Last year’s 120 innings were the most in his eight-year career by more than 30, but with that workload he recorded a dominant 162 strikeouts.

He finished the season healthy, which is a great sign, and the Dodgers’ recent history with pitchers has been very good. Again, with that margin and that lineup, Glasnow will do a lot of good when he’s on the mound.

Just one warning for fantasy managers: don’t make him your ace. If you do, be prepared to draft a deep pitching staff to prepare for any missed time from him.

Teoscar Hernández, Los Angeles Dodgers

This one came out of – pun intended – left field. That just so happens to be where Hernandez will play and strengthen a Dodgers lineup that is an embarrassment of riches. With the loss of J.D. Martinez to free agency (replaced by Ohtani), the Dodgers could use another right-handed bat in the lineup.

Hernandez hit 26 home runs with 93 RBI for the Mariners last year, his fifth consecutive full season with at least 20 home runs. Hernandez, still expected to have plenty of RBI chances after Smith and Muncy, is my nomination for Scott Pianowski’s Raul Ibañez All-Stars 2024, the players over 30 who, without fanfare, will put up solid numbers on fantasy rosters.

It’s hard to imagine a Dodger without much fanfare, but Hernandez could be one given who else is in the lineup.

Major acquisitions, non-Dodger division

Juan Soto, New York Yankees

Is there a better all-around hitter in baseball than Soto? Six seasons with more walks than strikeouts, five seasons with at least 20 home runs and a lifetime OPS of .946. And he’s sliding into his age-25 season.

Soto will fit well into the Yankees’ lineup after being traded from the Padres, teaming up with Aaron Judge to become perhaps the most powerful duo in baseball. Even though he has all-field power, that short porch in right field will be so inviting for Soto. The same goes for the various bandstands in AL East. Mark him for 40+ home runs, 100+ runs and RBI and a double-digit sneak steals rating. He will be a first round pick in fantasy drafts.

One note on what the San Diego Padres got in return: Michael King was the most important piece returning to the Padres. He’ll look to build on a season with a 2.75 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 104.2 innings and could be worth a late-round flier in drafts.

Blake Snell, San Francisco Giants

Snell will receive his 2023 NL Cy Young Award and move from the state of California to San Francisco on March 18. His Bay Area landing spot simply turns up the volume to the “Beat LA!” chants that will blare every time he faces Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman. When these confrontations happen, it will be appointment television.

The southpaw finished second in the National League in strikeouts with 234 and allowed the fewest hits per nine innings at 5,750. That was almost a full hit better than second place. Moving from one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball in Petco Park to Oracle Park, Snell will benefit from plenty of long fly balls that turn into outs. Although he has built up his pitch count on his own, Snell will still have to prepare for the competitive season in just over a week and a half. There could be some rough performances early on after his extended free agency, but if he leaves with a 76.7 ADP, he’s worth the flyer in case he gets hot like he did in his last 22 starts: 1.18 ERA , 180 strikeouts and a 13-3 record.

Corbin Burnes, Baltimore Orioles

On February 1, the Orioles made a big move and traded for Brewers’ ace, Corbin Burnes. The 2021 Cy Young Award winner will go to one of the most exciting young teams in the game. Baltimore is coming off a 101-win season but needs starting pitching on the front line. Burnes is the No. 3 pitcher in our 2024 rankings, coming off a three-year stretch in which he made 93 starts with a cumulative 2.94 ERA and 0.994 WHIP. He struck out 677 batters in that run and allowed just 408 hits in 562.2 innings. And he did all this by pitching half his games in a hitter’s park in Milwaukee.

Now pitching for the Orioles, Burnes will be an asset, backed by a high-powered offense that could push his win total into the high teens, especially as he goes deep into games — his 193.2 innings ranked tied for 10th in the League. As he will be pitching in his quadrennial free agency season, expect a big season from this tough pitcher, who is no stranger to pitching for a contender.

Josh Hader, Houston Astros

Even with 90 saves over the last three seasons, this move will put Ryan Pressly in a setup role. Hader joins Houston after a three-year run with 103 saves, 268 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA in 165 innings. In one word: dominance.

As a pitcher for a team with 291 wins over the past three seasons, there should be plenty of save options, so expect Hader to be one of the first relievers taken in fantasy drafts.

And if you look beyond the regular season, imagine Hader facing Ohtani in the World Series. Get the popcorn ready.

Major takeovers, international division

Two other players are coming to the major leagues after becoming stars in Asia, and they could take on prominent roles that will make them players to watch for fantasy managers.

Jung Hoo Lee, San Francisco Giants

Known as “Grandson of the Wind,” Lee was one of the best hitters in the KBO with a .340 average, .407 on-base percentage and .898 OPS in his seven-year career. He’s only 25 and hit 23 home runs with 113 RBI in 2022 – he missed about three months of the 2023 season due to ankle surgery.

Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs

Imanaga joins the North Siders after a pair of dominant seasons in Japan, where he went 12-4 with a 2.04 ERA in 2022 and 7-5 with a 2.66 ERA last year. The left-hander struck out 339 batters in 317 2/3 innings during those two seasons.

Other trades with fantasy relevance

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs

Matt Chapman, San Francisco Giants

Whit Merrifield, Philadelphia Phillies

Rhys Hoskins, Milwaukee Brewers

Sonny Gray, St. Louis Cardinals

Chris Sale, Atlanta Braves

Marcus Stroman, New York Yankees

Eduardo Rodriguez, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jeimer Candelario, Cincinnati Reds

Mitch Garver, Seattle Mariners

Eugenio Suarez, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jarred Kelenic, Atlanta Braves

Vaughn Grissom, Boston Red Sox

Justin Turner, Toronto Blue Jays

Jorge Polanco, Seattle Mariners

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