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3 NL-Only Draft Sleepers: Fantasy Baseball Mid-Round Picks (2024)

James Outman - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Prospects News

Welcome back RotoBallers to our NL-Only fantasy baseball draft values article about players to target in the middle rounds of AL-Only league drafts in 2024. You can see our AL-Only draft values article as well.

Playing in an Only league can be tricky in fantasy baseball. With half of the players in baseball eliminated from the draft pool, the depth at every position is severely compromised. Sometimes, it’s difficult just to find players who actually take the field on a regular basis.

Not only is the draft pool limited, but things get even worse when injuries start to pile up. Hitting on players in drafts can go a long way to winning a fantasy championship, given the lack of viable options that are usually available on waivers. With that in mind, let’s highlight three players to target in the middle-to-late rounds of NL-Only fantasy baseball leagues.

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James Outman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Talk about a star-studded lineup. The Dodgers are loaded with Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman at the top of their batting order. They also have Will Smith, Teoscar Hernandez, and Max Muncy. One name that might fly under the radar a bit is Outman, who appeared in 151 games for the Dodgers during his rookie season.

Outman showed a good combination of speed and power, finishing with 23 home runs and 16 stolen bases. While he had a 12.0 percent walk rate, his 31.9 percent strikeout rate was alarming. He showed a propensity for striking out in the minors, including posting a 29.0 percent strikeout rate over 68 games at Double-A in 2022.

The good news for Outman is that he will have very little pressure on him with so much talent in the lineup around him. THE BAT is projecting Outman to hit .226 with 20 home runs and 11 stolen bases. ATC has him projected to bat .233 with 19 home runs and 12 steals. While none of that is eye-popping, his power and speed combo, potential upside, and regular playing time leave him as an appealing option in an Only format.


Michael King, San Diego Padres

King was one of the more reliable relievers for the Yankees the last few seasons. His real breakout campaign came in 2022 when he posted a 2.29 ERA, 2.23 FIP, and a 33.2 percent strikeout rate over 34 relief appearances. He began last season as a reliever, but the Yankees were forced to eventually move him into their starting rotation because of injuries.

King not only held his own as a starter, but he dominated. Over his last seven outings, he allowed nine runs (eight earned) and recorded 45 strikeouts over 35.2 innings. He made himself such an appealing starting option that he became one of the centerpieces that the Padres wanted in the deal that sent Juan Soto to the Yankees.

King enters this season primed to fill a spot within the Padres’ starting rotation. He only logged 104.2 innings last year, so no matter how well he performs, it’s highly unlikely that he throws much more than 150 innings. ATC has him projected to log 136 innings and finish with a 3.59 ERA, 3.74 FIP, and a 26.5 percent strikeout rate. He’s not going to lead a fantasy rotation on a championship squad, but as far as mid-tier options go, he is one of the more appealing choices.


Jarred Kelenic, Atlanta Braves

Kelenic couldn’t live up to the hype that followed him throughout his time in the minors for the Mariners organization. He hit .181 over 93 games for the Mariners in 2021, then followed that up by hitting .141 over 54 games for them in 2022. While his .253 average over 105 games last season was an improvement, he was a bit lucky with his .359 BABIP.

What’s alarming with Kelenic has been his inability to make contact. He had a 33.7 percent strikeout rate in 2022, which he followed up with a 31.7 percent strikeout rate last season. On the plus side, his 45.5 percent hard-hit rate last season was by far the best mark of his career.

The Mariners decided it was time to move on from Kelenic during the offseason, dealing him to the Braves. While he carried a lot of weight on his shoulders in the Mariners organization, the pressure is off for him in Atlanta. The Braves already have a lineup loaded with excellent hitters, so they don’t need Kelenic to carry their scoring attack.

In addition to hitting in a much better lineup that could leave him with added opportunities for RBI and runs scored, Kelenic has a fantasy-friendly combination of speed and power. Even with his struggles to make contact last season, he still hit 11 home runs and had 13 stolen bases.

ATC has Kelenic projected to bat .242 with 17 home runs and 14 stolen bases. THE BAT has similar projections of a .241 batting average, 17 home runs, and 16 steals. It’s not out of the question that he could bat .250 with 20 home runs and 20 steals given an everyday role in a great lineup, so keep him in mind as your NL-Only draft moves along.

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