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Fantasy Baseball Frauds To Begin The 2024 Season

paul blackburn fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers starting pitchers waiver wire

Adding the correct players off the waiver wire early in the season can help carry a fantasy manager to a championship. However, overreacting and dropping someone for a player who is off to an unsustainable hot start can be a problem.

This isn’t just a waiver wire problem, either. It could also be a grave mistake to overpay for a player in a trade who won’t be able to keep up their early hot streak.

Let’s dig into some Fantasy Frauds through the first week of the season that we shouldn’t be expecting to continue to have so much success.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:


Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Arizona Diamondbacks

Gurriel had an off 2022 campaign with the Blue Jays in which he only had a .108 ISO, although he did bat .291 with a .343 OBP. He saw his batting average drop to .261 with the Diamondbacks last year, but he saw a significant spike in power that resulted in a .201 ISO.

Throughout his career, Gurriel has done a good job of making contact. He only had a 17.4 percent strikeout rate last season and he has a 19.6 percent strikeout rate for his career.

The first series of this season couldn’t have gone better for Gurriel. He demolished the Rockies, hitting 8-for-17 with three home runs, two doubles, 10 RBI, six runs scored, two walks, and a stolen base. He had 82 RBI and five stolen bases all of last season, so he is clearly off to a great start in both departments.

The Rockies have one of the worst starting rotations in baseball, which certainly helped Gurriel get off to a hot start. He has never hit more than 24 home runs in a season and he has a career .797 OPS, so don’t expect him to continue to produce at this rate. For fantasy managers who already roster him, it might not be a bad idea to float him out in trade offers to try and get someone to overpay for his services.


Michael Taylor, Pittsburgh Pirates

After spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, Taylor has bounced around a bit. He then spent two seasons with the Royals, one with the Twins, and now joined the Pirates prior to this season. While he did record 21 home runs and 13 stolen bases last season, he hit a dismal .220 with a .308 wOBA.

One of the problems with Taylor is that he doesn’t do a good job of making contact. He had a 33.5 percent strikeout rate last year and he has a 29.9 percent strikeout rate for his career. He also has a modest 36.7 percent hard-hit rate for his career.

Taylor started off the 2024 campaign on a high note, going 5-for-13 with three RBI, four runs scored, two doubles, two walks, and one stolen base over four games against the Marlins. The games were played in Miami, which isn’t exactly a great place to hit. However, he did strike out four times in the series.

As good as Taylor was against the Marlins, he’s not someone to rush out and add off the waiver wire in most leagues. He has remained in baseball because of his defense, not for his production at the plate. Unless he were to dramatically cut down on his strikeouts, another underwhelming stat line is likely in the cards for him this season.


Paul Blackburn, Oakland Athletics

Blackburn is likely the ace of the Athletics’ starting rotation. It’s a dubious honor, given the sad state of the franchise. For his career, he has a 4.80 ERA, 4.31 FIP, and a 1.41 WHIP. He does not miss many bats, recording just a 17.5 percent strikeout rate during his time in the majors.

Blackburn could not have looked much better in his first start of the season. He dominated the Guardians, needing just 88 pitchers to throw seven scoreless innings. He only allowed three hits and one walk along the way. The downside was that he produced just three strikeouts.

Don’t get overly excited about one good start from Blackburn. He didn’t record many strikeouts, was facing a bad Guardians lineup, and he had the luxury of taking the mound in his pitcher-friendly home park. Last season, he had a 3.57 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP at home. On the road, he had a 5.33 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP.

When Blackburn has a favorable matchup at home, he can be worth streaming in many leagues. However, he’s not someone who should be regularly rostered in most leagues since he won’t be worth deploying for the vast majority of his outings.

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