This article may return revenue to Yahoo Lifestyle Australia. For more great shopping content, check out our online shopping page.

2024 Fantasy Baseball: Top MLB prospects who deserve draft day attention

In pretty much every fantasy baseball league, there is at least one manager who wants nothing to do with the game’s top prospects.

Last year, when someone else drafted Corbin Carroll in the sixth round, your league’s most dour and joyless old frump rolled their eyes, smirked and mumbled something about the pick being a wild reach. And when their turn came around, they took a safe and projectable veteran like Starling Marte or Willy Adames.

Of course, there have been plenty of instances over the years in which an elite MLB prospect either face-planted in their initial callup — as famously happened to 19-year-old Mike Trout — or never managed to adjust to the game’s highest level. (In an alternate timeline, Jesse Foppert was a megastar.) But when a dynamic, every-tool prospect meets the moment and actually justifies the hype preceding them, that guy is often one of the decisive players in fantasy. Carroll was clearly a league-tilting force last season. Gunnar Henderson and Kodai Senga weren’t too shabby, either.

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

If you generally take a dismissive position on prospects and refuse to draft them at or near ADP, you are shutting off a proven path to winning your league. Don’t be such a skeptic that you run away from the highest ceilings in the player pool.

Today, our objective is to discuss the seven upper-tier prospects who need to be on your radar in even the shallowest leagues in 2024. We begin with one of the offseason’s buzziest signings.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

OK, this one feels a little like cheating. One of the smartest franchises in baseball just paid Yamamoto as if they expect him to be the game’s best pitcher very soon (and multiple teams reportedly offered him over $300 million).

He’s only 25, he has a deep and ridiculous arsenal and his career in Japan was nearly flawless. Look at this nonsense:

If we simply get 160-or-so innings from Yamamoto, he’s likely to be a top-five-ish starter. Understandably, he’s currently the heavy favorite (+200) to win the NL Rookie of the Year, followed by this not-quite-20-year-old …

Jackson Chourio, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Chourio just delivered a 22/44 season with 51 extra-base hits in the high minors at age 19, then crushed in the Venezuelan winter league, further solidifying his prospect credentials. Milwaukee signed him to a rich extension in December, and he eventually made the major league roster a few days before Opening Day. He hasn’t yet spent a day in the majors, but he’s been exceptional at every stop along the way while being young relative to his level. His K-rate isn’t worrisome and he has 70-grade speed, so we can expect his game to translate well for fantasy purposes. If Chourio is hitting at or near the top of the order, he might very well go 20/40 again.

Evan Carter, OF, Texas Rangers

Carter’s MLB cameo appearance really could not have gone much better last year. He slashed .306/.413/.645 with five homers and three steals over 23 regular season games, then hit .300/.417/.500 in the playoffs for the Rangers over 72 plate appearances. Carter reached base at a .410 clip over three minor league seasons with significant power and speed. Left-handed pitching is the puzzle he’s going to need to solve, but we’ve already seen him rake against major league righties on the biggest stage.

Wyatt Langford, OF, Texas Rangers

It’s fair to say that Texas does not have an immediate need for young outfield talent. Nonetheless, Langford made the Opening Day roster. Langford was a terror as a collegiate hitter at Florida, producing 52 XBH with 21 homers and a 1.282 OPS last season. He then demolished pitching at every minor league stop, including Double-A and Triple-A, finishing with an absurd .360/.480/.677 slash with 10 homers and 12 steals over 200 plate appearances. Langford walked more often than he struck out at the college level, then pulled off the same feat in the minors last year. Very strong franchise-cornerstone vibes here.

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

Jackson Holliday, SS, Baltimore Orioles

Fantasy legend Matt Holliday somehow has a human child who’s about to debut in the majors, which seems wild. At 19, Jackson made four different minor league stops in 2023, finishing up at Triple-A and vaulting to the top of the prospect ranks at every major outlet. He hit .323/.442/.499 last year with a dozen homers, 51 XBH and 24 steals. He’ll get time at second base this spring, giving him another path to the Opening Day roster. Even if we don’t see Holliday with the O’s in early April, it shouldn’t be too long.

Junior Caminero, Util, Tampa Bay Rays

Caminero had only just turned 20 when he hit this missile at Double-A:

His power is pretty obscene. Caminero hit 31 bombs in the minors last season while slashing .324/.384/.591. Defensively, he spent most of his time at third, but made 24 starts at shortstop as well. The Rays have a crowded infield at the big-league level at the moment, but Caminero definitely has the requisite talent to force his way into the mix.