No matter how much failure we’ve witnessed in the past, fantasy baseball rookies remain one of the hottest commodities on Draft Day. That’s not to say we haven’t seen success in the past, but for every one Corbin Carroll, there are countless Bubba Starlings and Tim Beckhams out there. 

Even players like Mike Trout and Aaron Judge disappointed during their first shots at big-league stardom. We’re not telling you to avoid this crop of 2024 MLB rookies during your fantasy baseball draft, but considering the fantasy game is all about accruing statistics, you need to be sure you aren’t overvaluing a player simply because of “upside” and spring training hype.


To help you along, we’ve pulled the top-10 rookies drafted for this season and will evaluate them based on their current ADP (average draft position). We’ll look at some of the draft trends over the past month, statistical projections, expected role within their teams and from there, will determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP: 36.41) 

Jim Bowden said it best – “if Yamamoto doesn’t win NL Rookie of the Year this season, then the Dodgers made a $320M mistake.” He’s a top-tier starter who, according to most projections, should post a mid-3.00 ERA and average roughly a strikeout per inning. 

How many innings will he give us? That’s the question. If we’re talking about a roto league, I’m fine with adding Yamamoto where he is going in drafts. But head-to-head is a little different. As recently as Shohei Ohtani, we’ve seen Japanese pitchers struggle with the MLB workload, so teams have gone to a six-man rotation to accommodate. 

The Dodgers haven’t said anything in regard to that just yet, but if they do, that will limit Yamamoto’s upside in head-to-head formats because you won’t ever get a two-start week from him.

Evan Carter, OF Texas Rangers (118.35)

Despite a 32-percent strikeout rate, Carter’s cup of coffee last year -- .306/.413/.645 with five homers and three steals over 75 plate appearances – was so well-received, manager Bruce Bochy was hitting him in the top half of the order during the Rangers playoff run. 

However, we do expect some regression, most notably with his .412 BABIP. Even if he cuts his K-rate to a much more palatable 25-percent mark and his BABIP remains slightly above league-average, he still may only hit in the .250 to .260 range. He does profile to hit 15-20 home runs and steal 15-20 bases, so if his ADP stays close to the same, he should be worth the pick. 

Other outfielders going in that range include George Springer and Lane Thomas, so shooting for some of Carter’s upside here is fine. It’s when the hype builds and he starts going ahead of players like Teoscar Hernandez or Nick Castellanos that we then have to be concerned.

Wyatt Langford, OF Texas Rangers (120.58)

For those who like Carter, you may end up loving Langford, who actually profiles as the better player because of his hit tool. Most projection systems expect him to hit for more power with a slightly better average, though fewer stolen bases. Sounds delicious, right. Unfortunately, this kid’s ADP has jumped about 25 picks over the last two weeks as he’s been turning more heads in recent spring games. 

It would seem that he is worth this pick at this current ADP, but like Carter, if the hype gets too big, we may have to back off drafting him as the return-value lessens. There is also the chance, he opens the season in the minors, and you have to wait another month or so before you can use him.

Jackson Chourio, OF Milwaukee Brewers (124.85)

Not only do all signs point towards Chourio opening the season as the Brewers starting center fielder, but the projection systems are also showing 15-20 homers with 20-25 stolen bases. 

Unlike Langford, the risk of opening the season in the minors seems to be lower and his ADP puts him in that same range as both Texas rookies. I would consider him before both if I was in more need of stolen bases than power, so keep that in mind as you track your categories during your drafts. 

Noelvi Marte, 3B Cincinnati Reds (166.65)

His ADP has dipped about 10 spots in recent drafts, but that has little to do with his talent and more with people’s fear that he won’t be a full-time player. The Reds have a bit of a crowded infield, but nothing that should deter you from drafting him, especially at his current ADP. 

If you check out the Front Office Insights for the Cincinnati Reds, you’ll hear exactly how the infield configuration is expected to work and from there, you can make your own decision as to whether or not you want to draft Marte at his current ADP. For me, the answer is yes, especially over the likes of players with similar ADP like Ke’Bryan Hayes and Alec Bohm.

Shota Imanaga, SP Chicago Cubs (178.27)

There is less buzz surrounding Imanaga as he is really just a two-pitch pitcher for MLB. His fastball typically sits in the low-90s, though he has had moments where he’s touched 95 on the gun. He also has an above-average splitter that sits in the low-to-mid-80s that has late cut and indices a lot of ground balls. That definitely plays for Wrigley Field in the summertime. 

But his other two pitchers – a low-80s slider and a curve that could be confused with an eephus pitch (ok, I’m exaggerating, but low-70s here) – are very hittable and he’s not getting away with either right now. Obviously, we’ve seen pitchers have success with just two offerings, but with other pitchers like Cristian Javier, Hunter Brown and Ryan Pepiot going off the board in similar spots, I’d rather pass over Imanaga until I see something a little more solid.

Jackson Holliday, SS Baltimore Orioles (180.67)

The depth at shortstop allows us to wait a few rounds before diving into the position’s player pool, but I’m not so sure you want to wait all the way to Holliday for your starter. He is a burgeoning talent for sure, but this ADP jump of about 20 spots over the past month is a bit unnerving, especially when he seems like he could be a better player in reality than in fantasy for his first couple of seasons. 

While I hate to mention Wander Franco at any point, the comparison on the field is pretty close. Defensively, he’s rock-solid. Batting average shouldn’t be an issue. But the counting stats will likely come up short for fantasy purposes. Ten homers and 10 steals? Meh. Even if he is just your middle infield option. I would rather take the shot on a Trevor Story resurgence or the power potential for Willy Adames at this spot in the draft.

Jung Hoo Lee, OF San Francisco Giants (232.18)

A recent ADP surge of almost 30 spots in the past month has Lee going right around the likes of Jack Suwinski, Lourdes Gurriel and Henry Davis. If you are in need of batting average help, then he works, but you probably shouldn’t expect more than 10-12 home runs and a handful of steals. 

Playing in the KBO typically pads your power totals and we’ve seen plenty of guys come over to the States and struggle. But the spacious outfield of Oracle Park and that section they call Triples Alley, line up nicely for Lee’s left-handed bat. When picking players this far into your draft, you’re usually looking for category-specific help, so if it’s power and speed you covet, keep walking. 

Junior Caminero, 3B Tampa Bay Rays (253.49)

Be cautious drafting because he is not likely to find his way up to the majors in the first half unless we see a rash of injuries. The Rays are very happy with Isaac Paredes at the hot corner, and we already know the organization is all about service time and maintaining control of their youngsters. 

Caminero has great raw power and solid plate discipline, but he’s more of a long-term play in re-draft leagues. New keeper or dynasty leagues and yes, grab him for sure. Maybe even go a couple of rounds earlier in those formats, but if you’re just playing for this season, my recommendation is to draft him only if you can stash him away without any penalty. 

Colt Keith, 3B Detroit Tigers (287.18)

What I like about Keith is not just the power potential, but the fact that he is expected to break camp with the Tigers and play second base. On Draft Day, though, you have to take him as a third baseman and that’s a little tougher with guys like Matt Chapman and Eugenio Suarez going in that same range. 

Probably why he’s dropped in drafts about 20 spots over the past few weeks. But if you have your third baseman locked in, I don’t mind drafting him as a corner infielder or utility player, knowing that I will move him over to second base once he reaches the games-player eligibility number.

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