Every season, a new batch of rookies arrives to entice and intrigue the fantasy baseball world, not to mention the realm of “real” baseball. Is it the lure of the unknown, the excitement and hope that a gem could be sitting on the draft board just waiting to be plucked and inserted in a championship-bound roster? Tom Browning won 20 games as a rookie in 1985 and would have been a fantasy baseball hero had our little game been more popular back then. Even Mark Fidrych in 1976 composed a 19-9 record, led MLB with a 2.34 ERA. He easily won the Rookie of the Year and finished second in the Cy Young voting. More recently, Tanner Bibee went 10-4 last year with a 2.98 ERA and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning. He finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Kodai Senga is a more seasoned player, but he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting with a 12-7 record, 2.98 ERA, and 10.93 K/9.  Let’s take a look at some rookies coming onto the scene for fantasy acquisition this season, shall we?


Kyle Harrison, San Francisco Giants, ADP: 243

2024 Projections: 161 IP, 11 Wins, 145 Strikeouts, 4.31 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

Due to various injuries to members of the Giants starting rotation, most notably to Alex Cobb and Robbie Ray, it seems probable that Harrison will slot in as the second starting pitcher to open the season for the San Francisco squad. He has been effective at missing bats in the minors and struck out a batter per frame when he had his cup of coffee in the MLB last season. The concern is his inability to avoid handing out an inordinate number of free passes to opposing batters. To be fair, his BB/9 rate improved once he hit the majors. His innings will be limited as a young arm stepping into a starter’s role for his first extended MLB action, so the victories and counting stats will be somewhat depressed for a SP2 on a pitching staff, but as a SP4/5 on fantasy staff he can be valuable as a late-round selection. 

Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates, ADP: 256

2024 Projections: 139 IP, 8 Wins, 153 Strikeouts, 3.79 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

The 21-year-old was the first overall selection by the Pirates in the 2023 draft, and comparisons have been made to Stephen Strasburg in some circles. He is expected to begin the 2024 season in the high minors, and thus will offer limited innings for his fantasy owners, even once he is promoted to the big leagues. As with most young arms, the team will be careful not to overextend him on the hill. He did pitch 122.2 innings for his college team last year (LSU) before tossing 6.2 IP in the low minors. He features a plus-level fastball and slider and is working on developing a third offering, a changeup that shows great potential. He has been going late in drafts despite not yet being guaranteed a spot in the Pirates’ pitching staff coming out of spring training, so take note if you want to gamble on a potential future ace pitcher.

Ricky Tiedemann, Toronto Blue Jays, ADP: 320

2024 Projections: 136 IP, 9 Wins, 148 Strikeouts, 3.74 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

Due to shoulder soreness and bicep issues, he was limited to just 46 IP in Triple-A action last season. There is a significant concern regarding his durability given his past injury issues, but he offers tremendous strikeout potential with his plus-changeup and slider coupled with a hign-90s fastball. Expect the Blue Jays to be cautious with his development, likely allowing him to open the season pitching at Triple-A to make certain he can sustain prolonged action on the bump. He missed time this spring due to a hamstring issue, so the injury concerns are well founded.  He is the top prospect in the Toronto system, so the kid-gloves will come off at some point, but additional injury issues may keep him from making any significant impact this season. If you decide to take a chance on him for your fantasy roster, be advised that could end up being a total 2024 bust for you.

Max Meyer, Miami Marlins, ADP: 386

2024 Projections: 143 IP, 10 Wins, 151 Strikeouts, 4.16 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

The 25-year-old right-hander has been optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville, but it is not a guarantee that he won’t grace the Opening Day roster of the Marlins given the shoulder injuries suffered by both Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera, who are both likely to land on the IL to begin the 2024 campaign. Meyer has yet to allow a run in his spring training action, tossing seven innings and collecting a 5:1 K/BB ratio. He did undergo Tommy John surgery in August of 2022, so he has that stumbling block behind him. He features a plus-plus slider, a mid-90s fastball and a passable changeup, so he has the stuff to slot in as a starter, but could evolve into a late-inning hurler also.

Keaton Winn, San Francisco Giants, ADP: 509

2024 Projections: 164 IP, 10 Wins, 157 Strikeouts, 3.93 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

As noted in the discussion of Kyle Harrison above, San Francisco’s starting staff is one banged-up bunch, with Sean Hjelle and Tristian Beck also potentially starting the season on the IL. That makes for a possible opportunity for the 26-year-old righty to come back from the elbow injury that has limited his time on the mound this spring and toe the rubber early in the season for this pitching staff. He is not an elite strikeout producer, but he’s exceptionally skilled at inducing groundballs from opposing batters (58% rate and a 2.38 GB/FB ratio). He also flashes good control. Watch to see if he has sufficient time to stretch his arm out and join the starting staff out of spring training.

Randy Vasquez, San Diego Padres, ADP: 634

2024 Projections: 63 IP, 3 Wins, 56 Strikeouts, 4.72 ERA, 1.47 WHIP

The right-hander was stagnating as a long reliever with the Yankees but a trade to the West Coast and the Padres opens the possibility of him joining the San Diego starting rotation, which leads to an uptick in fantasy value. He will compete with Jhony Britto and Matt Waldron for the back of the rotation slot available with the Padres. Until his most recent Cactus League start, he was looking spectacular but allowing five runs (three home runs as part of five extra-base hits) to the Cincinnati Reds in his most recent start is not a sure-fire way to secure a rotation slot. He is worth monitoring but not drafting or adding to your active roster yet.