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‘What’s In My Wallet’: Pianowski’s 2024 fantasy baseball draft targets

March 16th, 2024

The rules are simple for the “What’s In My Wallet” piece. Mostly these are guys I have already drafted several times, but I also leave the door open for My Guys, players I have conviction on who might not be on my roster as much because of draft slots and timing.

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

Bottom line, these are players I love this year (especially at ADP) and hopefully their successes will define my fantasy season.

Scott Pianowski reveals the top guys he's targeting this season. (Photo by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

Scott Pianowski reveals the top guys he’s targeting this season. (Photo by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

His first year in Philadelphia was bumpy, which is not uncommon for when high-priced players change teams. He was crushing at the end of the year, though. Sometimes Turner sneaks into the second round, which is highway robbery. Grab that as often as you can.

The Braves have the most lineup buoyancy in baseball, even more than the Dodgers, and Riley’s posted near-identical stats for three years running. The career arc lines up as well, as Riley steps into his age-27 season. A perfect second-round pick.

Occasionally he slips into the third round, which for my money should never happen. Semien is the frontman for the AL’s deepest offense, and his career durability should be seen as a feature, not a superstitious bug. Semien wants to maximize his talent and play in every game possible. Wouldn’t it be nice if every player did? Volume for the win, man.

Michael Harris II, OF, Atlanta Braves

His per-AB stats are already excellent, but the depth of the Atlanta lineup kept him buried in the order for a while. That’s no longer a concern, and Harris steps into his third MLB season. He’s already a five-category man and has a chance to push for first-round consideration next year. Harris doesn’t walk a lot, but given his elite contact skills, that’s a bonus for us — it means we get more mileage from his plus batting average.

This really is a placeholder for “Seattle Rotation.” I want them all: Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo as well. But Kirby gets the note written for him because of his elite control, which makes him one of the easiest pitchers to watch on a per-start basis. The roomy ballpark is also a plus. Kirby is never going to be one of the K/9 leaders, but he misses enough bats (remember he led the majors in K/BB last year) and is excellent at inducing weak contact. Sign up for some Kirby enthusiasm.

Most of what I wrote for Kirby applies to Webb. Big ballpark, elite control and although Webb’s K/BB wasn’t in Kirby’s stratosphere last year, Webb did lead all NL pitchers in that category. We’re always searching for length and volume with our starting pitchers, and the elite control masters are generally going to be good bets for that.

Greene was ready to have a breakout year last season, but two injuries screened it. So, we get an affordable draft price in him, one last time. Detroit’s capable of putting together a quality offense, and Greene will be at the key point in the order, the coveted No. 2 slot. He’s powerful enough to push for 20-25 homers, athletic and crafty enough to steal double-digit bases. He’s already shown he can post a slash line that makes him a fantasy target. The No. 5 overall pick back in 2019 has superstar written all over him; this is the last time to draft him at a reasonable price.

(Yes, I’m also all-in on Detroit’s pitching ace, Tarik Skubal. But he’s somewhat trendy and isn’t nearly as easy to acquire.)

The MVP days are gone — accept it. Appreciate the nifty price we can land on one of those classic boring veterans, the Ibañez All-Stars. Yelich will hit for a plus average, he’ll be around 15-20 homers, he’ll probably steal 20-30 bases, he should score 100 runs and knock in maybe 65-70. Somehow the market feels that’s only worth Pick 68 in Yahoo. Scoop up the value.

A second-half slump and some hard-hit spikes have the market spooked. I’ll jump back in. Valdez is another K/BB ace who bails himself out of regular trouble because of a plus ground-ball rate. The Astros provide a winning backdrop, and Valdez has been good for 400 innings over the last two seasons. Somehow he’s currently the SP16 in Yahoo drafts, a screaming discount.

He’s started slowly the last two years because of offseason health concerns. That’s not a problem this year. If Bregman merely matches his level of production from the last two years, he pays back his ADP. But given his current health and offensive support, I won’t be surprised if he bumps his production up a tier.

Every spring I like to focus on a few second-tier closers who have a chance to finish in the top three by season’s end. Romano and Doval earned the check-mark for me, long-leash closers with track records, and guys who are tied to winning programs.

Nobody expects him to match his OF9 monster season from last year, me included. But Thomas is currently carrying a global ADP between OF 25-28; he can give back an awful lot of last year’s numbers and still bang you out a profit. The Nationals don’t have a deep lineup, but the top half of it looks competitive.

Yes, go get CJ Abrams, too. He is an easy pitch — pedigree player, took off as the leadoff man last year, on the up escalator, has the athletic ability and more importantly the desire to steal a ridiculous amount of bases. An easy pluck in the fourth round.

Another control master and volume collector who can be projected for a plus WHIP and a solid contribution in strikeouts because he rarely misses a start. We thought Toronto’s park redesign would favor offense last year, but it played as a pitcher park. Bill James said once upon a time that the best pitchers were usually the smartest guys; Bassitt checks that box.

Nobody expects José Leclerc to last in the Texas closing chair, and although Robertson turns 39 next month, he still offers a plus strikeout rate and is good at suppressing home runs. This is a very cheap ticket for 20 possible saves.

[2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

These types of lists can go on forever; here are some of the others receiving votes:

  • Seiya Suzuki qualifies as an Ibañez All-Star, even if it’s just his third season

  • J.P. Crawford clicked as a post-hype sleeper last year and might score 100 runs

  • Your late-round pitching picks are all about upside; put a circle around Brandon Pfaadt, who was excellent in October

  • Jonah Heim‘s defense keeps him on the field, and even if last year’s batting average isn’t fully real, his power and run production should justify his ADP

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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