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League Winners at Every Position for 2024 Fantasy Baseball

Back in the olden days of fantasy baseball, many drafts were held after Opening Day so that we knew what rosters would look like. That’s changed in time but the two games in Korea this year have thrown a curve at fantasy baseball drafts in 2024. Even with those two games already producing stats, there will be a ton of fantasy baseball drafts over the next week. With that in mind, I decided it was well past time to break out my fantasy baseball league winners for the 2024 MLB season.

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League Winners for 2024 Fantasy Baseball

So what the heck do I mean by a league winner? I guess the big idea is that these players will give you the most bang for your fantasy baseball buck. Some of my choices fit the traditional sleeper mold and will come in the later rounds of your upcoming drafts. Others may seem like more obvious picks but I believe they have the upside to do special things that other players in their ADP neighborhood, can’t do.

So these league winners will give you the statistical profit it takes to win your leagues this year.

I’ve included the average ADP from FantasyPros in the event that some of you are silly enough to draft on platforms other than Fantrax. Of course, if you are a sensible person you’ll also want to check out the Fantrax Fantasy Baseball ADP. For each of my selections, I’ve also included a comparable player who is being drafted a lot higher. Kind of a game of “Would you rather.” I’m not saying my picks will outproduce their higher-ranked peers but they will provide more value… and value is what wins leagues.

Catcher – Bo Naylor, Cleveland Guardians (227 ADP)

Catcher is deeper than in recent memory but Naylor still seems an afterthought to many fantasy baseball managers, going off boards as the 16th catcher overall. I guess the .237 he put up last year scares some away. You need to look closer. While Naylor is never going to hit .300, he has the contact skills and speed to hit in the .260-.270 range and the power is very real. Naylor popped 11 homers in just 198 MLB at-bats last year and added 13 in 217 minor league ABs prior to getting called up. And I did mention his speed. He’s one of the few catchers who is very likely going to steal double-digit bases.

Still not sold? Quick, name the backup catcher in Cleveland. I’ll wait… You really worried Austin Hedges is going to steal time? Even if he makes no progress and we just double his second-half stats after he settles in and we’re looking at a 20-HR/10-SB catcher with a .250+ batting average… and that would be in just 300 at-bats. I’d expect a lot closer to 450-500.

Higher ADP Comp – J.T. Realmuto

Honorable Mention: Logan O’Hoppe, Los Angeles Angels

First Base – Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox (90 ADP)

At an average pick of 90 Casas isn’t being ignored but I think many people don’t realize just how good he can be. Take a gander at the splits for his 2023 rookie year. I realize first and second half splits can be very misleading but for young players I put a little more stock in them. As was the case with Naylor, Casas took some time to get comfortable. In 249 first-half at-bats, Casas hit .225 with 9 homers. He got red hot in the second half and popped 15 home runs with a sizzling .317 average in just 180 at-bats. Casas does struggle against lefties so he may get platooned a bit but we’re still talking about 600+ plate appearances. I think Casas is at minimum a 30-HR hitter with a solid .280 average. That Red Sox offense is sneaky good too, so the counting stats should be top-notch.

Higher ADP Comp – Vlad Guerrero Jr.

Honorable Mention: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Cincinnati Reds

Second Base – Edouard Julien, Minnesota Twins (210 ADP)

Julien is a strange bird as far as MLB hitters go. He is a very selective hitter and has had walk rates nearing 20% during his minor league career. He’s also hit for near .300 averages with solid double-digit steals and home runs. He’s been focusing on adding more power this spring. With just a little progress we could be looking at a 25-HR bat, with 15 steals and a bunch of runs. With second base being a bit top-heavy Julien represents a chance to get upper-tier production as the 22nd second baseman being drafted.

Higher ADP Comp – Gleyber Torres

Honorable Mention: Jordan Westburg, Baltimore Orioles

Third Base – Maikel Garcia, Kansas City Royals (247 ADP)

I’m not sure Garcia has the power upside to fit the mold perfectly but he adds speed that’s hard to find at third base and it’s going to come with a beneficial batting average and plenty of playing time. Garcia seems to have added a bit of pop over the offseason. If he can get to 12-15 HRs, we’re talking quite a value at his draft cost. While his stat line may not be of the league-winning variety, he could allow you to wait at the middle infield and grab a power bat, and get your steals from him. Garcia is not for every draft but he fits a specific team build that could help you win your league.

Higher ADP Comp – Ke’Bryan Hayes

Honorable Mention: Junior Caminero, Tampa Bay Rays

Shortstop – Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates (64 ADP)

It’s getting to be a common belief but I tend to agree that Cruz is a comp for Elly De La Cruz that you can get several rounds later. He won’t get you quite as many steals but he could easily hit more homers, as De La Cruz runs into groundball problems at times. Cruz and Oneil both bring plenty of risk into drafts with them. I’m happy to wait the almost 40 picks to get a player with the same type of upside. Will it surprise anyone if we’re talking about Oneil Cruz as a first-round pick in 2025?

Higher ADP Comp – Elly De La Cruz, Cincinnati Reds

Honorable Mention: Trevor Story, Boston Red Sox

Outfield League Winners

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (50 ADP)

Trout used to be a league winner with five-category stats that produced without fail. Injuries have stolen the playing time but they sure haven’t stolen the skills. Though Trout’s average was at a career-low in 2023, there’s nothing in the peripheral stats that says his skills have eroded. His Baseball Savant page is still bright red in all the right places, and get this; his sprint speed is still at the 96th percentile. Yes, he certainly presents some injury risk but what if we get 140+ games from Trout and new Angels manager Ron Washington convinces him to run more as has been rumored? These are far from certain things but the upside outcome would indeed be league-winning and it comes at a 5th-round price.

Higher ADP Comp – Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jazz Chisholm Jr. Miami Marlins (65 AP)

I have never been a Jazz guy. The tools are obvious and the production has been there at times but injuries have interrupted any progress he seemed to make. The cost was always too high… until now. Right now Chisholm is going in the 5th to 6th round and undoubtedly offers the upside of a first-round pick. The extrapolation game is a bit risky but if you ran out Jazz’s 2023 stats to 650 plate appearances, you’d be looking at a player with 32 HRs and 37 stolen bases with 80+ runs and RBIs. What other player in his draft territory offers that? You know the answer… No one.

Higher ADP Comp – Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego Padres

Daulton Varsho, Toronto Blue Jays (203 ADP)

It’s hard to see Varsho as a league winner. Without catcher eligibility, he seems pretty vanilla. His low batting averages over the last couple of years also don’t inspire much confidence. Why then do I see him as a huge value? Well, first of all, he’s going off the board in the very late rounds. At that point how many players have displayed a proven 25-HR, 20-SB upside? Varsho has also talked this spring about making more contact and the early results have been promising as he’s hitting .333 this spring with a 12.2 K%. Is Daulton Varsho going to produce the huge numbers we think of when we talk league winner? Highly unlikely, but he could be a quiet 20/20 bat that fills in your fantasy stats from a point in the draft when way too many people are grasping at straws. Call him a quiet league winner.

Higher ADP Comp – Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles

Honorable Mention: Wyatt Langford, Texas Rangers and Starling Marte, New York Mets

Final Take

Are you buying into my 2024 league winners? There’s certainly a mix of player types here. Whether I’ve nailed them all or not, hopefully I’ve pointed you in the direction of a few draft inefficiencies you can take advantage of. Draft day is finally here and real baseball is on the way. I can’t wait for these players to prove me right… and probably wrong as well.

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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