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Post-Hype Outfield Breakout Candidates for Fantasy Baseball (2024)

Matt Wallner - fantasy baseball draft sleepers DFS MLB injury news

Last week we highlighted several infielders in the 26-29 age bracket who could break out in 2024. Today, we shift to outfielders.

The key to a successful draft is hitting on some players who may be undervalued by your peers in the draft room. You should always be looking for players who could take the next step, whether it be a deeper development of skills, an increase in playing time, or both.

Let's take a look at some outfielders who could help fill the stat sheets for your fantasy team after the top-tier players are off the board.

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Kerry Carpenter, Detroit Tigers

Carpenter came on strong last year after getting an opportunity with Detroit. His current ADP is 214. Carpenter hit 20 home runs in 418 at-bats, chipping in 64 RBI and six stolen bases with an appealing .278 batting average. Strikeouts are a concern. His strikeout rate was 25% last year to go with a meager 7% walk rate. Carpenter has a full-time job in 2024 hitting in the middle of an improving Detroit lineup. ATC projections call for 540 plate appearances, 23 HRs, 67 runs, 73 RBI, six SBs, and a decent .258 batting average. Carpenter hit his stride in last season's second half. He hit 12 of his HRs, and stole all six of his SBs, with regular playing time. He also had a .287 batting average. The graphic below shows his growth in the second half of the season:

Carpenter feels like a guy who will outperform his ADP. Expect his stock to rise as we go through March and players realize he's a cleanup hitter with talented guys like Riley Greene, Parker Meadows, and Spencer Torkelson hitting in front of him.

 

Seiya Suzuki, Chicago Cubs

ATC projects 22 HRs, 75 RBI, 76 runs, and eight steals to go with a nifty .271 batting average. At this moment at the start of spring training, it appears that the Chicago Cubs will have Suzuki batting cleanup. Suzuki essentially carried a late-season playoff run on his back. Suzuki hit .321 with five HRs and 13 RBI in August and then followed that hitting .370 with seven HRs and 26 RBI in September.

Suzuki's Statcast page shows that lovely red color we like to see when scouting players for our fantasy teams. Of particular interest is the hard hit rate of 48% which puts him in the 84th percentile, as well as the 91.4 mph exit velocity which puts him in the 83rd percentile. The 22.1 K% is fine when paired with a 10.1 BB%. With improved health, Suzuki could easily outperform projections with no discernible splits between RHP and LHP, meaning he will play daily. Suzuki's ADP of 113 makes him the 25th outfielder off the board. The ingredients are there for 30 HRs, 15 SBs, and a .280 BA. Draft with confidence and push him up a round or two.

 

Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox

There is much to like about Duran even though he seems to fly under the radar in many leagues. Manager Alex Cora announced Duran is going to bat leadoff for the Red Sox, and he is slated to play either left or center field. That largely depends on the emergence of Ceddane Rafaela and whether he makes the team out of spring training. The ATC projections for Duran are 13 HRs, 71 runs, 55 RBI, and 28 SBs with a .262 batting average. Duran's biggest obstacle is health. Duran did not play after August 20 due to a turf toe injury that required surgery.

In only 102 games and 362 plate appearances, Duran hit .295 with eight HRs and 24 SBs. After moving to the leadoff spot early in the summer, Duran hit .319 and proved adept at getting on base. Duran had a clean bill of health as he entered spring training. In 2024, he could hit for a good average, over .270, slug 12-15 HRs, and steal 40 bases.  An ADP of 177 represents a great buying opportunity at this time.

 

Matt Wallner, Minnesota Twins

This is a pure pick for power only. If you get to the end of your draft and find that you are lacking HRs, Wallner could be the guy for your squad. To roster Wallner, be sure your batting average can handle having him. Wallner hit 14 HRs in 254 plate appearances in 2023. The ATC projections base Wallner's numbers on 117 games played and show him with 18 HRs, 58 RBI, and a .232 batting average. Wallner appears to be the starter in left field, so he may get more playing time than what the early projections indicate, which represents a buying opportunity for you. With 130 games played, Wallner could easily hit 25 HRs. With a current ADP of 372, it will be cheap to find out if he can produce the power he has shown glimpses of thus far.

 

Brandon Marsh, Philadelphia Phillies

Lots of fantasy players bought into Marsh at the start of the 2023 season. Marsh is injured now and could be delayed to start the season with knee surgery. Marsh said to the press this week that he feels great and will be ready for Opening Day. This uncertainty represents a buying opportunity for you as many players will write Marsh off due to the injury.  You should not write him off. There is still a 20/20 season in there. If he can improve his at-bats and quality of contact against left-handed pitching, he will be an everyday player, not just a strong-side platoon bat. Marsh is 26 and has 1,200 major league at-bats going into 2024.

Marsh raised his batting average to .277 with 12 HRs and 10 SBs with a .372 on-base percentage. His 12.5 BB% was in the 88th percentile in MLB in 2o23. He gets on base and has terrific sprint speed. The ingredients for a breakout are there for Marsh.

 

Other Outfielders to Consider

Edward Olivares, Kansas City Royals: Will he finally get a long-awaited real opportunity? He's been productive in limited chances: 24 HRs and 15 SBs in more than 700 at-bats. A late-round flyer?

Dominic Fletcher, Chicago White Sox: Fletcher was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks as the White Sox continue to try and solve their right field problem. He should get an opportunity to play even if he has to platoon with veteran Kevin Pillar. Fletcher could hit 15 HRs and steal 15 bases with a clear shot at playing time.

Tyrone Taylor, New York Mets: A trade to the New York Mets could be just what the doctor ordered for Taylor. It's very possible that Taylor could get some playing time even though the Mets starting outfield right now appears to be Starling Marte, Harrison Bader, and Brandon Nimmo. DJ Stewart might get some at-bats at the designated hitter spot, but so could Taylor. This is a double-digit HR and SB skill set.

Victor Robles, Washington Nationals: Yes, commence your eye roll. But Robles showed a pulse last year and should have a starting job in Washington to begin the year. Robles hit .299 in only 126 plate appearances. In that brief time, he also stole eight bases while cutting his strikeout rate to 14.3%. It's also his contract year, so if he wants another contract, he needs to show that improvement in 2024. Worth a late-round flyer in deeper leagues?

Luke Raley, Seattle Mariners: Raley was traded to the Mariners this offseason by the Tampa Bay Rays. He should see ample playing time in left field, and he could get double-digit HRs and SBs. The one issue could be a batting average below .240.



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