2024 Fantasy Hitter Breakouts – Zimmerman’s Picks

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

For Breakouts, I think these hitters will outperform their current draft cost. With hitters, I’ve found I don’t have a knack to determine which hitters will outperform their projections besides looking at playing time. The projections catch most of the other adjustments (e.g. new home park, aging adjustments, etc…).

I divided the players up by 50 spots of ADP so fantasy managers could consider the players in their league depth. 


Changelog

  • 3/7/2024: Initial list

Ranking Methodology

  • ADP is based on 30-day rolling NFBC Draft Champions Leagues.
  • $ Values are based on standard 5×5 12-team league using the FanGraphs Depth Charts and these Auction Calculator settings. They default to a player’s most valuable position, so if the first base list includes a catcher, it will show that player’s value at catcher.
  • ADP and $ Values are updated as of the last update date on this post.
  • 5-game eligibility was used for these lists to cast the widest net (though that’s not a big deal at SP).

Hitter Breakouts in the Top 50 ADP

Hitter Breakouts in the Top 50 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Aaron Judge NYY OF 11 $34
2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR 1B 31 $24
3 Michael Harris II ATL OF 30 $24
4 Luis Robert Jr. CHW OF 35 $24

Aaron Judge was the run-a-way best fantasy player in 2022 when he hit 62 HR with 264 combined Runs and RBI. Even 90% of that season will make him a steal a pick 11.

The dislike for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has gotten to the point that Vlad is becoming a deal with a near 30 ADP.

Michael Harris II disappointed his managers to start last season by hitting .174/.260/.266 over the first two months while missing some time. The 22-year-old returned with a vengeance while hitting .326/.352/.535 with 16 HR and 15 SB over the final four months. And this production was happening while being buried in the ninth lineup spot for 88 games. He dug himself out and started hitting in the top two lineup spots or sixth to end the season.

If Luis Robert Jr. can stay healthy, he has the chance for a 40 HR/30 SB season. I know that his health history adds some downside risk. Where he’s going in drafts, that risk is already baked in so the upside of a healthy season exists.

Hitter Breakouts from 51 to 100 ADP

Hitter Breakouts from 51 to 100 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
5 Will Smith LAD C 88 $17
6 Willson Contreras STL C 139 $13
7 J.T. Realmuto PHI C 74 $16
8 Oneil Cruz PIT SS 81 $9

Will Smith, William Contreras, and J.T. Realmuto could all be sleepers depending on the league’s rules. In two-catcher leagues that are at least 12 teams deep, the top catchers are going at a discount compared to the production of later catchers. People are just waiting on catchers, so they become deals. Waiting isn’t a horrible strategy, but don’t wait too long before they are all gone.

There seems to be some hedging on Oneil Cruz’s playing time. Our Depth Charts have him at 586 PA and 566 PA from ATC’s aggregated total. If Cruz is healthy, and reports state he is right now, he should lead off most of the time. Last season, the Pirates leadoff hitter had 743 PA. Assuming Cruz gets 90% of them, he would have 669 PA.

Hitter Breakouts from 101 to 150 ADP

Hitter Breakouts from 101 to 150 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
9 Andres Gimenez CLE 2B 104 $15
10 Thairo Estrada SFG 2B/SS 135 $6
11 Salvador Perez KCR C/1B 136 $20
12 Wyatt Langford TEX OF 165 $5

Andrés Giménez is an ideal rabbit who should provide 25 to 35 steals but do it with a mid-teens home run total. Additionally, the 25-year-old’s batting average will be a positive.

The Giants didn’t get the memo on the new rules allowing guys to steal more. With many other rabbits taking off, Thairo Estrada saw his stolen bases go from 21 to 23. The Giants have brought in a new manager so I’d not be surprised if Estrada pushes 30 to 40 steals.

By my numbers, Salvador Perez’s late ADP is based on him getting just 425 PA. His totals from the last three seasons are 665, 473, and 580. I’ll take the over on his plate appearance and bank a .250 AVG and 25 HR from my catcher.

If Wyatt Langford starts the season in the majors, his near-150 ADP would be a steal. If valued using Steamer600, Lanford comes in as the 53rd overall hitter.

Hitter Breakouts from 151 to 200 ADP

Hitter Breakouts from 151 to 200 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
13 Chas McCormick HOU OF 172 $5
14 Noelvi Marte CIN 3B 164 $1
15 Trevor Story BOS SS 172 $10

Sorry to the powers to be here at FanGraphs, but I don’t buy for one second just 500 plate appearances (127 games) for Chas McCormick. Dusty Baker is no longer the manager and I expect McCormick, if healthy, to accumulate over 600 PA.

The Reds have too many league-average or better infielders, so all projections are down on them. Noelvi Marte seems to be taking a major hit with him having just 500 PA. He takes the third base job and runs with it, he could see 600+ PA

Trevor Story is going so late in drafts, that he doesn’t need to break out. With limited playing time, he’s projected for 20 HR and 20 SB. If he gets healthy and adds some strength, 25/25 is not out of the question.

Hitter Breakouts from 201 to 250 ADP

Hitter Breakouts from 201 to 250 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
16 Maikel Garcia KCR 3B/SS 212 -$2
17 Vaughn Grissom BOS SS 229 $3

I have another disagreement with Maikel Garcia being projected for fewer than 500 PA. Over the last 67 games, Garcia led off in 60 of them. Last season, the Royals accumulated 732 PA from the leadoff spot and if Garcia gets 90% of them, he would be 659 PA.

At this point, I keep betting on more playing time. The Red Sox are giving Vaughn Grissom the second base job. If Grissom remains semi-productive, he’ll play every day and hit near the bottom of the lineup. The Red Sox got 636 PA from their eighth hitter and 90% of that is 572 PA, or more than any of our projections. Additionally, Grissom will be providing some positional flexibility by being qualified at second and short.

Hitter Breakouts from 251 to 300 ADP

Hitter Breakouts from 251 to 300 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
18 Jung Hoo Lee SFG OF 256 $3

Jung Hoo Lee is leading off for the Giants in Spring Training. Assuming he gets 90% of last season’s 743 PA puts Lee at 669 PA, not the 581 we have him at.


Full Rankings Without Tiers

No tiers. Just the rankings.
Full Rankings Without Tiers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Aaron Judge NYY OF 11 $34
2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR 1B 31 $24
3 Michael Harris II ATL OF 30 $24
4 Luis Robert Jr. CHW OF 35 $24
5 Will Smith LAD C 88 $17
6 Willson Contreras STL C 139 $13
7 J.T. Realmuto PHI C 74 $16
8 Oneil Cruz PIT SS 81 $9
9 Andres Gimenez CLE 2B 104 $15
10 Thairo Estrada SFG 2B/SS 135 $6
11 Salvador Perez KCR C/1B 136 $20
12 Wyatt Langford TEX OF 165 $5
13 Chas McCormick HOU OF 172 $5
14 Noelvi Marte CIN 3B 164 $1
15 Trevor Story BOS SS 172 $10
16 Maikel Garcia KCR 3B/SS 212 -$2
17 Vaughn Grissom BOS SS 229 $3
18 Jung Hoo Lee SFG OF 256 $3





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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hebrewmember
1 month ago

Since you put so much stock into playing time (rightfully so, mind you) are you still feeling the same way on Grissom now that he’s hurt and is expected to miss time?