2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidates

by Connor Thomure
2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidates

There are six 2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidates that Fantasy managers need to keep an extremely close eye on. Breakouts happen every year, and being ahead of the pack could make or break a Fantasy Baseball season.

I'm targeting these 2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidates in various leagues in the expectation of them having great seasons. Among this group, we have a potential home run leader at his position, a Michael Harris II comparison, and a 20-year-old pitcher who could lead the league in strikeouts sooner rather than later.

The players listed here include former and current top prospects and a relief pitcher turned starter. There is also a steady mix of pitchers and hitters. The pitchers have elite strikeout potential. On the other hand, the hitters are a mixed batch of power hitters and speedsters.

2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidates

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Jackson Holliday, SS, Baltimore Orioles

This is the premiere 2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidate. At 20 years old, Jackson Holliday (MLB.com's #1 prospect) is set to become the face of Major League Baseball. At some point this season, Holliday will make his MLB debut, and it's bound to be great. Batting in a loaded Orioles lineup will surely help, and Holliday has a shot of reaching 60+ runs and RBI in his rookie season.

Holliday hits the ball well and hard. The youngster is having a great spring training despite not having any home runs. Through seven games, he's carrying a .983 OPS and 154 wRC+. RosterResource currently projects him to play second base and bat eighth in the Orioles lineup this season.

His ADP currently sits at 183, but at this time next year, we could be talking about Holliday going in the first five rounds of Fantasy Baseball drafts.

Michael King, SP, San Diego Padres

Michael King was the big piece the Padres received in the deal that sent Juan Soto to the Yankees. After serving as a relief pitcher for most of his five MLB seasons, King comes into this season with a guaranteed spot in the Padres' starting rotation.

This will be King's first season as a starting pitcher. Toward the end of the 2023 season, King made eight starts for the Yankees. He posted a 1-3 record across 38.1 innings while striking out 11.27 per nine and allowed 2.11 bases on balls per nine.

King's elite strikeout ability makes him an excellent choice to break out in 2024, but another factor to consider is that he is now in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

At his current ADP (142), King is the 38th starting pitcher off the board, but if he strikes out 11 batters per nine innings, I can guarantee that he will be a top-10 pitcher heading into 2025 Fantasy Baseball drafts.

Eury Perez, SP, Miami Marlins

Eury Perez graduated from rookie status as one of the best young pitchers in the game. Through 19 starts in 2023, he struck out 10.64 batters per nine while recording a slim 3.15 ERA.

He boasts an exciting fastball that averages 97.5 MPH, ideally setting up batters for his slider and curveball. Perez also throws a changeup about 10% of the time. All of this leads to the 20-year-old's potential to be an elite strikeout machine for years to come.

As for 2024, I expect Perez to compete with Spencer Strider as the esteemed strikeout leader of MLB. If this comes true, Perez will be a top-three pitcher in 2025 Fantasy Baseball drafts.

Nolan Gorman, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

At age 23, Nolan Gorman led the St. Louis Cardinals in home runs in 2023 with 27 in just 119 games. He scored 59 runs and 76 RBI in the process. Some might consider this a breakout, but his 173 ADP (18th among second-base eligible players) does not reflect that opinion.

Gorman has the power potential to belt 35+ home runs over an entire season, which could lead to 75+ runs and 100+ RBI. I would not be surprised to see Gorman finish as a top-75 player in Fantasy Baseball and a top-five second baseman.

Jackson Chourio, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

When writing this, MLB.com's No. 2 prospect, Jackson Chourio, is 19-years-old but will turn 20 on March 11. This marks the third 20-year-old to make it as a 2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidate. Chourio comes into the 2024 season as the expected everyday centerfielder after signing an eight-year $82M contract with the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason.

The young outfielder's build is very similar to that of Michael Harris. They are almost exactly the same height and weight, and both have an elite combination of power and speed. The difference is that Chourio could be even better. FanGraphs Prospect Report states Harris's speed and game power were graded as a 50 on the 20-80 scale. Chourio, on the other hand, grades 70 for speed and 60 for game power.

In 128 combined minor league games in 2023, Chourio recorded 22 home runs and 44 stolen bases. For comparison, Harris went 19 and 20 in 2022 and 18 and 20 in 2023.

A real breakout from Chourio will mean he is a first or second-round pick in next year's Fantasy Baseball drafts.

Kyle Harrison, SP, San Francisco Giants

The trend continues with another pitcher who can light up the scorecard with strikeouts. Like King and Perez, Kyle Harrison is a 2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidate due to his elite strikeout rate.

Harrison hasn't shown this ability yet in the majors (9.09 K/9 in 34.2 innings), but he has the potential. Across 20 Triple-A starts, Harrison struck out 14.39 batters per nine.

In last week's edition of Spring Training Risers and Fallers, I discussed how the talented lefty added a cutter to his arsenal, giving him a fifth option that will help him strike out batters.

Harrison's ADP (254) is on the rise, but he is still a relatively cheap option that Fantasy managers must consider.

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