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10 Early Fantasy Baseball Sleepers (2024)

10 Early Fantasy Baseball Sleepers (2024)

One of the primary goals for every fantasy baseball manager ahead of their drafts should be to find players who return a hefty return on their draft day investment. For most fantasy drafts, that investment is their average draft position (ADP). You can dominate your draft by identifying which guys have the highest chance of providing the most value every time you’re up to pick. This becomes more important the deeper you go into the draft, as late-round players will either be duds who you’ll drop within a few weeks, decent contributors who outperform expectations and stick around on your roster for most of the season, or studs who can boost your title chances.

We asked our experts to provide their favorite early fantasy baseball sleepers. Their favorite hitter and pitcher sleepers are below.

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Which hitter outside the top 150 overall in ECR do you expect to be this year’s biggest sleeper and why?

Jarren Duran (OF – BOS)

Jarren Duran is the definition of a post-hype sleeper. There are rumors of him possibly being traded to San Diego, but as of now, he is still a member of the Red Sox. If he stays a member of the Red Sox, we’ve heard Alex Cora say that he expects Duran to bat leadoff. Expect strong production across the board from Duran.”
Corey Pieper (Fantasy Six Pack)

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran is one of my favorite sleepers in 2024. He is currently ranked 178th in the latest FantasyPros consensus rankings and could easily smash his NFBC ADP of 177. The 27-year-old slashed .295/.346/.482 with eight home runs, 40 RBI, 46 runs, and 24 stolen bases over 361 plate appearances in 2023. His 46.3% hard-hit percentage is in the 77th percentile, while his sprint speed is in the 96th percentile. He is expected to fully recover from toe surgery that prematurely ended his season. Duran is projected to be Boston’s leadoff hitter and could easily pop 15 homers and steal 30 bases in 2024, making him one of my favorite value picks after 150. ”
Brad Camara (RotoBaller)

Willy Adames (SS – MIL)

Willy Adames posted a career-low .217 batting average last season, 30 points below his .247 career average. Blame it on an abnormally low .259 batting average on balls in play was only .259, which was well below his career .310 BABIP. Power is a given with Adames, who’s averaged 26.7 home runs and 83.7 RBI over the last three seasons and plays in a homer-friendly park in Milwaukee. Factor in a likely bounce in batting average, and Adames looks like a screaming value at an overall ADP of 169.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Jorge Polanco (2B – SEA)

Jorge Polanco is a sleeper at ECR of 222. A hamstring injury hampered his 2023 season, but he ended with 14 home runs and 48 RBI in 80 games. That’s a conservative 24-homer, 84-rbi pace over 140 games. An offseason trade to Seattle should boost his production as he’s currently projected to bat third between Julio Rodriguez and Mitch Garver in a home ballpark that could be a power boost according to Statcast data. If he can stay healthy, we could see his best fantasy season since 2021.”
Tristan Davis (SEMO Fantasy Sports Podcast)

Noelvi Marte (3B – CIN)

“Turning just 22, Noelvi Marte (166) is positioned to be a stud for the Reds in 2024. In 35 games last year with the big club, he slashed .316./.366/.456 with a .822 OPS. Will the league adjust and challenge him? Probably. However, Marte’s impressive minor league credentials and 15 HR/15 SB floor make him an incredible return on investment. The 20/20 ceiling is well within his grasp.”
Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Kris Bryant (1B, OF – COL)

“The experts often say to ignore the injury risk since it could happen to anyone, so in the spirit of that mandate, this year’s biggest sleeper for me is Kris Bryant. He is currently ranked 253 with an ADP of 275. Sure, the 32-year-old has struggled with injuries since landing in Colorado, but he is expected to be the Rockies starting first baseman, which will hopefully reduce that risk. Bryant has a career OPS of .863 and can still get on base and drive in runs. If Ezequiel Tovar and Nolan Jones can continue their ascent, the Rockies might not be ridiculously terrible in 2024, and Bryant should bat in the middle of that. He’s basically free in 12-team drafts, which is why that’s way too low for his 2024 potential.”
Kelly Kirby (FantasyPros)

Which starting pitcher outside the top 150 overall in ECR do you expect to be this year’s biggest sleeper and why?

Brandon Pfaadt (SP – ARI)

“The beginning of Brandon Pfaadt’s career has seemingly soured people on what he could be. However, after his demotion to the minor leagues, he came back and performed like everyone initially expected. From the start of August through the postseason, he had a 3.81 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 82 innings.”
Corey Pieper (Fantasy Six Pack)

Cristian Javier (SP – HOU)

“The 2023 season was an unmitigated disaster for Astros starter Cristian Javier, who had a 4.56 ERA and averaged less than a strikeout per inning. Compare that with the dominant version of Javier we saw in 2022, when he posted a 2.54 ERA, struck out 194 batters in 148.2 innings, and was nearly unhittable in a pair of playoff starts. Javier’s 2022 success was fueled largely by a nasty fastball with a great deal of movement. He lost some velocity on his heater in 2023, and it made him far more hittable. With Javier’s ADP at 191 overall, I’m happy to bet on him getting the bugs worked out and going back to being the Cy Young-caliber pitcher we saw in 2022.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Ryan Pepiot (SP – TB)

“Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Ryan Pepiot is one of my favorite pitchers to target in 2024 fantasy baseball drafts. Pepiot was traded from the Dodgers to the Rays as part of the Tyler Glasnow deal. The 26-year-old posted a 2.14 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and a 38:5 K: BB across 42 innings for the Dodgers in 2023. His 3.1 BB% was elite, albeit a limited sample. Between Triple-A and the majors, the right-hander had a 64:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2023. The Rays have usually succeeded in fixing or bringing out the best of their pitching staff. Zach Eflin was a great example last season. Pepiot should be locked into Tampa Bay’s rotation and could provide solid ratios and decent strikeout totals, making him a solid pick just under the 200 spot.”
Brad Camara (RotoBaller)

Michael King (SP, RP – SD)

Michael King (154) is lined up to potentially be the ace of the Padres in 2024. King’s K/9 rate over his 9 ’23 starts was 11.4. That’s higher than his 10.6 mark as a reliever. The 7.6 H/9, 2.75 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 3:1 K/BB ratio all scream front-end starter. The only question is how will he handle the increased workload. In 2017 and 2018, he threw more than 150 innings, so that is encouraging, and we’ve seen players like Johan Santana go from dominant reliever to fantasy ace in recent memory. The Padres were able to get a great season out of Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo last year, so imagine what could be in store for King in ’24!”
Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Carlos Rodon (SP – NYY)

“I had zero shares of Carlos Rodon last season because I want nothing to do with pitchers after huge free-agent contracts. However, in 2024, I expect a bounce back from him, making his ranking and ADP of 165 seem outlandish when it’s all said and done. With a career ERA of 3.83, last year’s 6.85 will not be his new norm. I expect his K% to return to the 28% range and his K/BB rate to be around 3.3. We often see over-correction in fantasy baseball, and while Rodon was never going to be worth his high price tag in 2023, he should vastly outperform this year’s price.”
Kelly Kirby (FantasyPros)

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