2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Outfielders

by Josh Stevens
2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Outfielders

Our 2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers series continues this time for the outfielders.

Outfield has arguably been the most star-studded spot in baseball in history. You can even argue for the top five of all time being any order of Ruth, Mays, Bonds, Aaron, and Williams, all outfielders.  The position is just as loaded today, with young talents such as Ronald Acuna, Julio Rodriguez, and Corbin Carroll dominating Fantasy Baseball.

However, we step back from the well-known superstars and highlight some outfielders who are currently underrated but can still help out your Fantasy team immensely.

Note: I will not be covering any prospects in this article. If you want to know who the prospects you should pay attention to are, check out my top 10 outfield prospects.

2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Outfielders

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Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles

After 2021, it seemed like nobody could possibly sleep on Cedric Mullins.

In his first year after abandoning switch-hitting, Mullins ascended far past what most had envisioned for him. He posted a 30/30 season, hitting .291 and finishing within the top ten of MVP voting. At just 27 years old, the sky seemed to be the limit for Mullins.

2022 was pretty positive too. While not at the same level as 2021, Mullins still enjoyed a solid follow-up campaign to his breakout season. While the OPS+ dropped from 131 to just above-average 107, there were still plenty of things to like about his season.

Despite not coming close to repeating as a 30-homer guy, with just 16 homers in 2022, there was still plenty to like about Mullins’s game. He hit for a decent average, played solid defense, and stole 30 bags.

So what the heck happened last year? Mullins dropped down to a .233 average, and his power stayed the same, with 15 homers. Even more concerning, Mullins failed to steal 20 bags this year. While he only appeared in 116 games due to injury, this is still not a good sign.

So what went wrong for Mullins? Per the Orioles experts at Camdenchat.com:

“In many ways, Mullins’ work at the plate in 2023 was not entirely dissimilar to what he did in 2022. He found his barrel more often, hit the ball slightly harder and walked at the highest clip of his entire career (9.5%). But what sunk him was an elevated strikeout rate (22.2%) and some poor batted ball luck (.271 BABIP), which was exacerbated by the most extreme launch angle (21.6 degrees) of his time in the bigs.”

Mullins also seemingly rushed a return to the lineup from multiple nagging injuries. This, along with his overcorrection in launch angle, likely caused his downfall from a strong start.

Overall, Mullins is being cautiously ranked by the community at OF31. However, he’s shown that when healthy, he is as good as almost any outfielder in the game. Expect a reinvigorated Cedric Mullins to finish among the top 15 outfielders in 2024.

Alex Verdugo, New York Yankees

We’ve seen what Verdugo is as a player, right? He hits at a .270-.280 clip, has an OPS+ that is pretty average and plays solid enough defense to post a WAR of around 2.5-3 each year. Surely this won’t change going into his sixth full year as a starter, will it?

Not so fast. Not enough people are paying enough attention to how Verdugo’s new landing spot in the Bronx will immensely help him.

While the Red Sox and Yankees being trading partners is pretty inauspicious, the details of the trade were seemingly nothing to raise an eyebrow at. Verdugo, the main piece in the trade, has seemed to cap out as an average player.

However, playing half of his games at Yankee Stadium will immensely help Verdugo. While Fenway is great for left-handed hitters who go the other way, its 380-foot right field fence is brutal for players whose power comes to the pull side, such as Verdugo.

Verdugo pulls the ball about a third of the time, above the league average of 29%. This pulled number is significantly higher when looking at balls hit in the air. Getting a 72-foot reduction in the right-field fence length could add a few homers to Verdugo’s total.

The lineup construction should also provide Verdugo with ample amounts of Fantasy points.

Either Verdugo hits leadoff, in front of  Soto and Judge who can drive him in all the time, or he hits in the 5-6 range, where he can drive in Soto and Judge, who walk an obscene amount of the time.

There’s something else that can’t be measured by advanced stats or lineup construction.  Personality.

Verdugo’s willingness to be in the spotlight and larger-than-life personality seems to fit right into New York. We’ve seen New York make or break players. Heck, even Randy Johnson struggled miserably in New York after four straight Cy Young wins with the Diamondbacks.

However, I think New York will have the opposite effect on Alex Verdugo. The bright lights are drawn to him, and this is where he plays his best. Look for a career year from him in his new place.

Brandon Marsh, Philadelphia Phillies

I felt like I was being punked when I had to scroll forever to see Brandon Marsh. No disrespect to guys like Nelson Velazquez (79), but are these really the guys that we’re taking over Marsh?

Marsh played very well during his first full season with the Phillies.  He hit .277 with 12 homers and a 127 OPS+ across 433 at-bats. He carried this momentum into the postseason, where he hit .417 in the NLDS and .333 in the NLCS.

This strong performance ensures that Marsh will have an everyday spot on a contending team in the outfield in 2024.

While he hit in the bottom third of the lineup throughout much of 2023, Marsh could be moved toward the middle or even top of the lineup in 2024, as the Phillies look to develop him more. Moving up in the lineup would allow Marsh to drive in, and get driven in by superstars like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber, an immense help in Fantasy.

Brandon Marsh’s career path reminds me of another grossly underrated outfielder (and for some reason a favorite of mine on MLB Power Pros): Milton Bradley.

Like Marsh, who began on the Angels, Bradley started with a lower caliber team at the time in the Expos. Around the same point early in their careers, both players were traded. Both players also enjoyed solid, but unspectacular campaigns in their first season with a new, contending squad.

In Bradley’s second year with Cleveland, he hit .321, with 11 homers and an OPS of .947. This really kickstarted a very solid career for Bradley, who enjoyed another decade in the MLB.

Marsh has the capacity to make a similar jump. He hits well for both contact and power, as shown during his breakout playoff performance. More importantly, he can focus on being himself, and not try to do too much in a loaded lineup.

All of these factors are why it confuses me that Marsh is all the way down at 90 for the outfield rankings. Take advantage while you can.

Check out the rest of the Fantasy Baseball content from all of the F6P writers.

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