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2024 Fantasy Baseball: 10 Deep League Fliers

When building a fantasy baseball team, we simply can’t afford to take any draft picks off. It doesn’t matter what round we are in, as you never know which player will be a difference maker for your season. Now, that’s not to say drafts are lost, or even won, once we get past pick 400, but these players can make a real impact. With that being said, we will take a look at 10 Deep League Fliers that could fall into that category. All 10 of these players can be secured after pick 400, with three going off the board after pick 500 and one with an ADP of over 600. It’s important to remember that the market is always subject to change, but directionally, these are players to target.

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10 Deep League Fliers

DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees, 1B/3B

Could we get any more boring with our first player? Sometimes though, boring is good.

DJ LeMahieu has a solid track record of both having strong plate skills and solid production. The career .292 hitter has struggled over the past few seasons, and while he isn’t the same player he once was, we shouldn’t throw the towel in yet. LeMahieu’s price has certainly corrected itself, but I would argue that it has done so to the extreme. It’s clear that the Yankees still have faith in the corner infielder as they expect him to be their leadoff hitter this year.

New York should have one of the best lineups in the league, and considering his .327 OBP last year, LeMahieu is expected to be in position to score 70 to 80 runs. Combine that with 60 RBI and 12 to 15 home runs along with a .250 average, and LeMahieu is a solid depth piece who should easily eclipse 500 plate appearances.

Joey Meneses, Washington Nationals, UT

After battling injuries last season, Joey Meneses should get back to having positional eligibility in short order. Meneses came up just one game short last year with 19 at first base and he is slated to start there in 2024 for Washington.

Yes, there are stronger lineups than Washington’s but getting a middle-of-the-order hitter at this point in the draft can’t be overlooked. While Meneses hit just 13 home runs last year, we can’t sell him short. In 154 games in 2023, Meneses drove in 89 runs despite the Nationals’ overall offensive struggles. He also hit a solid .275 to go along with 13 home runs with a 41.7% hard-hit rate. These are simply too many RBI to leave on the table for this long. The fact that Meneses enters the season only eligible at Util also helps to depress his value.

Harrison Bader, New York Mets, OF

The biggest thing here is that Harrison Bader needs to stay healthy. If he does, playing time shouldn’t be an issue as Bader begins the season as New York’s starting center fielder.

Bader made it through 98 games last year and managed to hit just .232. The outfielder historically walks less than 5% of the time, so that limits not only his OBP, but also his stolen base potential. With that being said, Bader still stole 20 bases last season. If you get to this point in the draft and find yourself in need of a few extra stolen bases, Bader is worth a look. The outfielder also scored 44 runs while driving in 40, so he isn’t strictly a one-dimensional player when on the field.

Zack Littell, Tampa Bay Rays, SP

The starting point here is clearly guilt by association. However, that is only with the best of intentions, as Tampa Bay continuously finds hidden gems when it comes to pitching. Zack Littell simply appears to be this year’s contestant.

In the second half of last season, Littell had a 3.57 ERA over 70.2 innings while hitters batted .248 against him. Littell isn’t especially overpowering as he struck out just 7.40 batters per nine innings last year. However, what do we expect from a pitcher going after pick 400?

Littell has a spot secured in the Tampa rotation to begin the year as he looks to build on his success. With just 1.20 walks per inning last year, control certainly works to Littell’s advantage. While he isn’t going to be a truly overpowering option, Littell can be a solid streaming option that provides depth.

Javier Baez, Detroit Tigers, SS

Javier Baez went from 31 home runs in 2021 to just nine last year. To say that it’s a complete letdown would be an understatement. Baez’s other production was also down as he drove in just 59 runs while scoring 58 runs. Hitting for average hasn’t been a thing for Baez over the past few years. It’s interesting though to see his strikeout rate actually decrease to 22.9%.

The biggest question is trying to figure out what happened to Baez’s power. Last year, his ISO decreased to just .104. On the bright side, Baez did steal 12 bases, and every bit helps there. Now we have to try and determine how to feel about the flow of spring news. Over the past two years, Baez alluded to having back and core issues. It goes without saying that it can easily wreak havoc on a player’s power. If we are operating under the assumption that Baez is now fully healthy, at least a partial resurgence wouldn’t be surprising. And at this point, it’s worth taking a chance.

Hunter Goodman, Colorado Rockies, OF

The Coors Field advantage is only the start of things for Hunter Goodman. We can’t overstate that aspect of things, but Hunter Goodman has some real power. After hitting 36 home runs in 2022, Goodman went deep 35 times last year. He has had strong ISO numbers to go with those long balls. Additionally, Goodman has broken the century mark in RBI in each of the last two years.

We are going to have to worry about strikeouts and batting average, but near pick 500, things aren’t going to be perfect. Goodman is slated to have regular playing time with Colorado. His power potential is worthy of our attention.

Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels, 3B

This isn’t going to be a popular one. Recent comments haven’t helped Anthony Rendon’s case, but neither have the past few years. Since joining the Angels in 2020, Rendon has played in between 43 and 58 games. To say his Angels career has been a disappointment would be an understatement.

In 43 games last year, Rendon hit just two home runs while driving in 22 runs to go along with a .236 batting average. That is a steep drop for the career .283 hitter. In a previous life, Rendon has had some strong seasons in which he eclipsed 30 home runs and 100 RBI. By no means can we comfortably imply that Rendon will get back to those levels. However, he is batting cleanup for an MLB team and that has to count for something. Considering where he is going in drafts, it doesn’t hurt to find out.

Rowdy Tellez, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1B

Here we go with another middle-of-the-order hitter on a bad team. There is value in that, as Rowdy Tellez is in line for a big chunk of Pittsburgh’s RBI opportunities. When it comes to Tellez, we are sacrificing batting average to start with from the career .233 hitter. However, it is cheap power we are after, and with that, Tellez can deliver.

In 106 games last year, Tellez was dealing with injuries as he hit just 13 home runs. That came just a year after Tellez went deep 35 times while posting a .242 ISO. Tellez sells out for power, but with an 11.4% career barrel rate, he generally does a good job of producing quality contact. Regular playing time and renewed health could lead to a 25 to 30 home run season out of Tellez.

Victor Scott, St. Louis Cardinals, OF

While Victor Scott is likely to start the season in the minor leagues, we should see him spend a fair amount of time with the Cardinals this year. And that means one thing; stolen bases.

In 66 games at High-A and then another 66 at Double-A last season, Scott stole 50 and 44 bases, respectively. Scott hit .282 and .323 at the two levels while taking advantage of his speed. Considering his speed, it’s also a good sign that Scott has shown the ability to keep his strikeouts down. Ultimately, we want him to put the ball in in play to take advantage of his speed. And that, Scott can do.

Deeper leagues will have space for a player like Scott. Whenever Scott makes his appearance at the big league level, he likely be an instant source of stolen bases. And that could be a multi-point difference in the standings.

Mark Vientos, New York Mets, UT

Injuries and poor performances forced the Mets to promote Mark Vientos perhaps before he was ready last year. That was reflected in his performance as Vientos struggled to translate his minor league success to success at the major league level. The Mets didn’t have a choice but to give Vientos 233 plate appearances last year. However, the playing time was spotty, and the .211 batting average certainly reflected that.

Vientos did have nine home runs and 22 RBI, but that also came with a 30.5% strikeout rate. In 269 plate appearances at Triple-A, Vientos performed more in line with his expectations and talent. He hit 16 home runs while driving in 50 runs, and Vientos will get a second chance at big-league success this year. The only difference though, is that his adjustment period to big league pitching has now been completed.

Despite the struggles, Vientos did have a 10.7% barrel rate and a 51% hard-hit rate. Now let’s see him put those tools to good use.

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

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