We can all be prisoners of wanting the new and shiny thing. It happens all the time in life. The same is true in Fantasy Baseball. Looking at the 2024 MLB season and fantasy baseball drafts, there are plenty of rookies, aka shiny things, to draw attention. 




From the signing of Yoshinobu Yamamoto by the Los Angeles Dodgers to historic showings and signings by prospects like Jackson Chourio, Evan Carter, and Wyatt Langford, there’s a lot to be interested in for 2024 fantasy baseball drafts. We’ll go over the top 10 rookies to look at drafting in fantasy baseball leagues this year along with a couple of honorable mentions who are worth paying attention to. For a full list of 2024 MLB Prospect Rankings, click here.

Before we get to who we should draft from the rookie class, let’s define a rookie and why some players aren’t on this list.

What is an MLB rookie? For hitters, a player with less than 130 at-bats at the major league level over the previous season (or seasons) is a rookie. For pitchers, a player with less than 50 innings pitched at the MLB level. A third way to lose rookie eligibility is to be on an active MLB roster for 45 total DAYS excluding injured list stints. So just because a player doesn’t hit the first milestones, doesn’t mean they haven’t topped the second.

Keep in mind as you’re reading this article that this is a fantasy baseball article. Why is that important? Well, the players included in this piece are the ones with the most fantasy baseball upside for 2024. There will be plenty of rookies left out, like Yuki Matsui for the Padres and Paul Skenes for the Pirates, because they won’t have enough value right off the bat. The rookies below should be up either from the start of the season or early in the year and provide nearly a full year of stats.

Top-10 Rookies for 2024 Fantasy Baseball

Evan Carter, OF Texas Rangers

We all saw what Carter did in the second half of the year and in the postseason on the way to the World Series win for the Rangers. The argument for him to be the top rookie is him building off of that showing, his pedigree as a prospect, and of course his chance to play as he’s locked in the starting lineup. 

There are a few things to be curious about with him though. Can he up his contact rate from 70.4-percent last year to closer to 80-percent to make his batting average, .306 in 2023, more than a hope and a dream. His xBA (expected batting average) was just under .250 due to his 32-percent K-rate and 59-percent pull rate. If he can make better contact, and hit left-handed pitching better, the draft price isn’t in question as a guy capable of 18-22 HR and 25 or more steals.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP Los Angeles Dodgers

The signing that was made possible, if you believe reports, by the contract of Shohei Ohtani. Known as Yoshi, Yamamoto was the prized starting arm on the free agent market this year and with good reason. He was a dominant ace in Nippon Professional Baseball including throwing a no-hitter this year. Over 172 games for the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto posted a 1.82 ERA and 922 strikeouts in 897 innings. He is a master of control with a deep five plus pitch repertoire. 

That is easily enough to front an MLB rotation, like he will in 2024 for the Dodgers, as well as being enough to make him an SP2 option in fantasy baseball. Why not SP1? Well, like Kodai Senga a year ago, it will take him time to adjust to the MLB schedule and ball. The five-day rotation and bigger ball will cost him some quality stats in the first couple of months before he turns a corner in the second half like Senga did. There’s a possibility he’s overpriced at draft stock so be careful of the price.

Jackson Churio, OF Milwaukee Brewers

Coming off the 19-year-old inking an eight-year, $82-million deal this offseason, Jackson Churio is expected to be on the Opening Day roster for the Brewers. So what can we expect from the young outfielder? Coming off a 22-HR, 43-SB season at Double-A Biloxi while hitting .280 with an .803 OPS, it’s easy to be excited. However, let’s temper expectations some. Could he replicate Corbin Carroll’s rookie year from 2023? He has the skills to do it, but it’s unlikely given Carroll was the first ever with that stat line. Overall though, Churio should be able to be a 20-20 OF in short order but might hurt you in average the more he’s exposed by off speed and breaking pitches in the majors.

Jackson Holliday, SS Baltimore Orioles

The second Jackson among the rookies might be a surprise to be this low in the list. Jackson Holliday is the top prospect in baseball — for good reason — and went through four levels in 2023. So what can be expected from Holliday in 2024? He should battle for a starting job in spring training, and will likely win the starting shortstop job, but what else? There’s no question he has the skills to be an impact bat at some point, but in 2024 expect more like 12-15 home runs, 10 or so steals, and perhaps a .260 or so batting average. 

It’s easy to be transfixed by his BB% and patience at the plate for a young hitter. Especially knowing he had a lower K% in Triple-A (in more games) than at Low-A last year. However, a few things keep him lower on this list. Firstly, his home ballpark isn’t kind to RHH with a cavernous left field; secondly, he will almost assuredly hit toward the bottom of the lineup and thus limit at-bats and chances to help your stats.

Wyatt Langford, OF Texas Rangers

As the 2023 MLB Draft drew nearer, the hype grew around Wyatt Langford’s stock. The same is happening again as the 2024 MLB season draws near. Langford hit the ground running in the minors following being drafted by putting up a .360/.480/.677 slash line in 44 games across four levels with a whopping 1.157 OPS. It’s not just the slash line though as the counting stats were great for the small sample size with 10 HR, 36 R, 30 RBI, and 12 SB. The batted ball profile is elite too, though again a small sample size. 

The only question is when he comes up for Texas. The reports from the Rangers’ beat writers is that Langford has a very good chance to be on the Opening Day roster thanks to his salary savings and a relatively open DH spot. He’s one of the riskier rookies in this list because of the questions about playing time but the upside is of a 25-HR hitter in a good lineup.

Noelvi Marte, 3B Cincinnati Reds

The late-season call-up in 2023 nearly kept him off this list with 123 plate appearances. Here he is though. The upside here lies in a few places, firstly with the home park being the best hitting park in baseball — Great American Ball Park. Secondly, it’s a very deep, good, lineup for the Reds. Marte combined for 453 at-bats between Double-A, Triple-A, and MLB in 2023 while posting a .289/.361/.459 slash line with 14 HR, 83 R, 60 RBI, and 24 SB. 

The good news about the profile is his better-than-league-average 91.3 mph average EV and a .296 xBA. The bad news is the launch angle of 1.9 percent and just an 7.9 percent Brl%. We can expect both of those to improve a tad in 2024 but you should still expect more speed in the stat line than power even with the home park being that good.

Matt Mervis, 1B Chicago Cubs

If you’re looking for a first baseman, which is entire possible given how shallow that position is, Mervis is a flier candidate. The power is enticing. He hit 29 in the upper minors in 2022 across 110 games and then backed it up with 22 in 100 games at Triple-A Iowa in 2023 before his call up. The problem is the average and patience weren’t great. There is hope here though. 

The batted ball profile is good with an average exit velocity of 91.0 mph and a 13.8-percent Barrel Rate, granted in a small sample size. Mervis’ xBA was .234 compared to his .167 AVG and xSLG of .412 compared to SLG of .289 shows the same upside. Just as a point of reference, between 2022 and 2023 Mervis played 157 games at Triple-A Iowa, a not-terribly-hitter-friendly home park, and slashed .287/.393/.555 with 37 HR, 118 R, and 117 RBI.

Kyle Harrison, SP San Francisco Giants

Had Kyle Harrison gotten his control under control (excuse the wording) he’d have been in the Bay Area sooner. With that said, he did pitch 34.2 innings in 2023 over seven starts in San Francisco amassing a mixed bag of results. His 4.15 ERA was solid but his 5.53 FIP, 5.01 xFIP, and 4.45 SIERA were so-so at best. His 9.09 K/9 and 23.8 K% were solid but his 2.86 BB/9, 16.3 K-BB%, and 2.08 HR/9 weren’t great. The home runs were a real problem. The good news though is that they mainly came on the road. Warning, these are small sample sizes but, they point to a trend. 

Harrison pitched 20.1 innings at home and 14.1 on the road and the splits are interesting. His ERA (2.86), FIP (3.75), and xFIP (4.50) are home are all significantly better than the road marks of 6.28, 8.07, and 5.74 respectively. The reason for the splits difference? The 0.89 HR/9 at home compared to 3.77 mark on the road. He has the skills to be a frontline starter and is in a great home park for that, but watch the home runs and walks for him to really approach his ceiling.

Kyle Manzardo, 1B Cleveland Guardians

Some of the shine was knocked off of Kyle Manzardo’s prospect hype a year ago. However, it started to recover following the trade to the Guardians. In the 21 games he played for Triple-A Columbus his AVG, OBP, SLG, and wOBA were all higher than his time a Triple-A Durham last year. While Manzardo posted 11 HR, 33 R, and 38 RBI in 73 games for Durham, he posted six HR, 16 R, and 16 RBI in just 21 games for Columbus. 

Now that he’s free of the crowded farm system and MLB roster of Tampa Bay, he should have a clear path to full time at-bats for Cleveland either from Opening Day or by the end of April. He’s a hit-over-power type first baseman but he’s got the upside of a 20-homer season if everything goes right.

Jung Hoo Lee, OF San Francisco Giants

Another unsexy player for the Giants right? Jung Hoo Lee is just the latest “good ballplayer” on the San Fran roster but one who may not be the most interesting for fantasy baseball. If we harken back to last year with Mastaka Yoshida coming over to the Red Sox and his profile, Lee has a similar-yet-less-powerful profile. You can expect Lee to be a great option for batting average with him never hitting worse than .324 in any season in which he played 100 or more games in the KBO season. However, that’s the only real good side of his value. 

The power is below-average at best having topped 15 homers just once in seven KBO seasons and double-digits just twice. The speed is decent and could reach 10 in 2024, however in the current stolen base environment that’s not a huge add to the profile. The home park doesn’t help either with Oracle ranking 25th in Park Factors over the last three years for LHHs. Take a flier but expecting more counting stats than Yoshida provided last year is asking too much.

Honorable Mentions

Wilyer Abreu, OF Boston Red Sox

While Wilyer Abreu’s pedigree might not be what the player listed below him here is, his performance has been steady. That’s what’s needed sometimes to get a shot. That’s exactly what Abreu is getting in 2024. In 28 games for Boston in 2023, Abreu hit .316/.368/.474 with two home runs, 14 RBI, 10 R, and three steals. That’s solid but his .375 wOBA. .355 xwOBA, 9.4 Brl%, and all field approach show it wasn’t necessarily a fluke. The huge upside from the 24-year-old outfielder might not be as high as others, but his path to playing time and solid floor make him interesting as a .260, 15 HR, 10 SB OF5 candidate.

Ceddanne Rafaela, OF Boston Red Sox

After showing everything Boston wanted Rafaela to show in the minors, they called him up late in the season for some time in the majors. It went okay. Let be honest about that. He slashed .241/.281/.386 with two home runs, 11 runs, five RBI, and three steals in the 28 games he played. The advanced numbers weren’t really in his favor though. A .287 wOBA, .239 xwOBA, .198 xBA, and just a 5.1-percent Brl% show didn’t really impact the ball well. Given that it’s not a shock to see him having to fight for a role in spring training. However, if he earns that role, the skills are there for him to be a decent source for average and pop with good speed metrics behind him.