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6 Fantasy Baseball Draft Values in AL-Only Leagues (2024)

6 Fantasy Baseball Draft Values in AL-Only Leagues (2024)

Single-league drafts aren’t for the faint of heart. They require a deep knowledge of a particular league and a certain amount of patience. While AL- or NL-only leagues can be more rewarding for the die-hard baseball fan, the draft takes on added significance because there’s very little to choose from once it’s over. It’s imperative to make the right selections and to make sure you fill out every starting spot before you move onto depth because you don’t want to be left with the weak side of a platoon for your fourth outfielder.

The good news is, that the American League has plenty to choose from and loads of promising upside. When playing in single leagues, the return value you get on your first 10 selections is even more significant than usual. They are your moneymakers and if you don’t do well there, you likely won’t do well at all. But it’s not like the rest of the draft isn’t important – it’s just much harder than in mixed leagues to find productive players later on. You must do all you can to find those steady producers early, then some hidden gems in the middle rounds, and the diamonds in the rough towards the end.

Lucky for you, I’m here to help. After countless hours of research, I’ve singled out six players you should target in AL-Only leagues this year who are massively undervalued. If you can draft one or more of these guys at or near their current ADP you’re already two steps ahead of the competition.

Without further ado, here are players broken down into early, middle, and late-round categories that you should target in AL Only leagues.

2024 Fantasy Baseball AL-Only League Deep Dive

Early Rounds

Bo Bichette (SS – TOR)

Bichette has been a consensus late first-round/early second-round pick (in mixed leagues) since his second year in the league. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays as a whole struggled to meet expectations in 2023 and went through plenty of lull phases. Bichette was arguably their best hitter but even he produced slightly under projections because of time spent on the injured list. Had Bichette not gotten hurt, he could easily have met his career norms and finished with something in the neighborhood of 26 home runs, a .300 average, 85 runs and RBI. He surprisingly didn’t run as much on the basepaths last year but 10 bags this season seem well within reach.

With the Jays working hard to bounce back and with Justin Turner adding to the mix, look for Bichette to come back with a vengeance and remind everyone that he has no business lasting until the fourth round in mixed leagues and the late second in AL-only ones. If you get him past 17th overall, consider yourself lucky.

Royce Lewis (3B – MIN)

After missing the first two months of last season, Lewis hit well before heading back to the IL with an oblique injury. He then returned in August and closed out the year as one of the most productive hitters in baseball. Lewis finished the 2023 season with a robust .309/.372/.548 slash line. He then mashed four dingers in the playoffs over six games.

If it weren’t for all the injuries he’s already endured, Lewis may already be a second-round pick. If he can stay off the IL or at the very least start 135 games, the 23-year-old could generate first-round value. His BABIP was elevated this past season (.354) but the man rakes with power to all fields so his .300 plus average should be possible once again. He’s expected to bat somewhere between second and fourth in the lineup this year and could flirt with 100 RBIs and runs. The former top pick in the draft did steal four bases in September this past year but with his injury history, the team may play it safe and limit his aggressiveness.

Lewis could end up the most valuable pick in fantasy drafts this season if he can just stay on the field. The budding superstar comes with plenty of risk, but in the fourth round, he’s highly worth it.

Middle Rounds

Jarren Duran (OF – BOS)

Duran will likely be Boston’s leadoff hitter this year where he could easily finish as a top-50 player in AL-Only leagues. The 27-year-old was a force on the base paths last season snagging 24 bags on 26 attempts before missing nearly the final two months of the season due to turf toe. Despite the injury, Duran finished with an excellent .295/.347/.482 triple slash in just over 100 games.

Projections have him down for around 15 homers and 28 steals in 2024 which would easily catapult him into the top-100 players. If he can reach 500+ plate appearances, Duran could sniff 85 runs scored and about 65-70 RBIs. His power hasn’t been much of a factor yet in his major league career but at the classic break-out age of 27 and his ability to hit home runs in the minor leagues, 18-20 homers isn’t out of the question. Duran’s .295 average will be difficult to repeat but if he can cut down on his strikeouts with another year of experience under his belt, a .280 average is a strong possibility. The Red Sox center fielder is a solid pick just after the top 100 are off the board.

Triston McKenzie (SP – CLE)

McKenzie was one of the top pitchers in the American League in 2022 but missed nearly all of the 2023 season due to injury. The good news is all early reports state that he is a full-go coming into camp and is reportedly feeling great. Another great sign is that the 27-year-old was able to return to the mound this past season for three starts where his fastball averaged the same speed it always has. His control was off but the strikeouts still came in bunches as he racked up 16 in as many innings.

If McKenzie is truly healthy then getting him past the top 100 is an absolute steal. The electric starter has never allowed an opponent batting average above .200 in his four-year career. If he can regain his control to the level it was two years ago (5.9 BB%), then his WHIP could easily be one of the lowest in the league. If he stays healthy, a 13-win season with over 150 Ks and a 3.25 ERA and 1.05 WHIP are plausible projections. Drafting him at 115 is highway robbery even with the risk. Target McKenzie no later than the 10th round in AL Only leagues.

Late Rounds

Matt Wallner (OF – MIN)

The Twins are counting on Wallner to be a big part of their offense in 2024. He doesn’t generate as much attention as the other young studs and stand-out names on the team do, but make no mistake, Wallner is going to mash.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound outfielder crushed 14 homers in 2023 in just 213 at-bats. The former first-round pick (CB-A’s) has a great eye at the dish too, working a walk 11% of the time. Wallner’s also great in the clutch, driving in 41 runs last year in less than half a season. He grades well on the basepaths as well, obtaining high marks by FanGraphs and Baseball Savant. The former Southern Miss star will need to cut down on his strikeouts if he ever wants to hit above .260, but with 20 homers and 60 RBI/Runs and his floor, we can stomach the .240 average that is likely to come with. Target the hulking outfielder in the early 200s.

Logan Allen (SP – CLE)

When selecting late in the draft, especially in leagues with smaller player pools, I’m looking to maximize upside. Yes, you could close out your draft with a steady back end of the rotation type like Patrick Sandoval  or Jose Urquidy, but I’d rather go for the home run with someone like Allen. Allen’s been a highly touted prospect since his early draft selection in 2020 and has looked the part ever since. While he did struggle with command a bit down the stretch this past year, the young lefty was regularly able to limit the damage and come away unscathed. He finished his rookie campaign with a 3.81 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 8.55 K/9, and seven wins.

Allen’s got a nasty arsenal headlined by one of the best changeups in the American League. The filthy offering that he regularly paints on the black, resulted in a .191 BA and .223 SLG. He struck out over 30% of the batters he faced in his Minor League career and could be in for a prominent sophomore season. Target Allen in the last few rounds of your draft and a bit earlier if you went heavy offense early.

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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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