2024 Fantasy Baseball: This Year’s Jake Burger

by Joe Bond
2024 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Jake Burger

Your Fantasy Baseball drafts are right around the corner of have already occurred. What we try to do each year is find those players who will vastly outperform their ADP. We're (I recruited some other F6P writers to give their opinions) going to give you some of ours for the 2024 Fantasy Baseball season by trying to identify this year's Jake Burger.

Jake Burger last season went undrafted in fantasy. Despite being a former first-round pick he was overlooked due to a disappointing 2022 and a myriad of injuries throughout the minors.

Burger decided to shock us all by playing 141 games and jacking 34 home runs. He did all this while finishing in the 98th percentile of Barrel%, 91st percentile in xSLG and Hard-Hit percentage. So we've got some tough shoes to fill.

Yes, the strikeout and walk rate could improve, but nobody is really complaining about picking up a 34 home run hitter off waivers. These hitters below are either going undrafted or so late that you won't care about a few holes in their overall game.

2024 Fantasy Baseball: This Year's Jake Burger

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Matt Wallner, OF, Minnesota Twins

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Wallner and Jake Burger could be twins (pun intended) if you look at their underlying stats. Just go look at a side-by-side comparison of their Baseball Savant pages.

Berger: 16.7 Barrell%, 49.6 Hard-Hit%, 91.9 EV, .359 xwOBA.

Wallner: 18.8% Barrell%, 48.1 Hard-Hit%, 91.9 EV, .374 xwOBA.

The only thing holding Wallner back is he can't hit lefties so he is likely to at least start the year in a platoon. You see this with their xBA where Burger's is .270, Wallner's is .233.

At least Wallner is on the strong side of the platoon, so there are still plenty of at-bats to be had by him. Another bonus if you're in an OBP league, Wallner walks at a very respectable 11% rate. Go get him in OBP leagues for sure.

Christopher Morel, OF, Chicago Cubs

Pick by Corey Pieper

Morel had top 10 percentile finishes in expected slugging, hard-hit %, and barrel %. He converted those metrics into 26 home runs in under 400 at-bats.

Even though he had a strikeout percentage over 30%, he was still able to maintain a .247 batting average which was identical to his expected batting average.

His third season with the Cubs should be the first season we see a full-time position from Morel. I expect to see a new career high in home runs this season from Morel.

If you drop the qualification to 350 plate appearances, Morel finished 9th in all of baseball with a 24.8% home run/fly ball ratio. The player who finished 8th was.....you guessed it.....Jake Burger.

Logan O'Hoppe, C, Los Angeles Angels

Pick by DapScout
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Turning 24 this year, Logan O’Hoppe is hoping for his first full season in the majors.

In 51 games last year, he hit 14 home runs which would put him on pace for 52. His K rate was a bit inflated last year at 24% which is higher than his career rate of 23.7%.

Last year his OBP was the lowest it has been in his career, .296, but his xwOBA .352 that number should rise as he sees more games.

But does O’Hoppe just hope every hit is a home run? The underlying data says the home runs will continue. He has a 46.7% hard-hit rate, 19-degree launch angle, maxEV of 110 mph. We don’t have to hope anymore. If O’Hoppe plays 130 games I say he easily goes over 30 HRs.

Nelson Velazquez, OF, Kansas City Royals

Pick by Michael Schneider

Velazquez has a minor league track record of hitting the ball hard but striking out too much. He got an opportunity in 2022 with the Cubs but hit just six homers with a 31.6% strikeout rate in 77 games.

Last year after spending most of the season at AAA with average results, the Cubs traded Velazquez to the Royals for Jose Cuas. The Royals, who were finishing out a season where they would lose 106 games, called up Velazquez up on August 10th.

Velazquez proceeded to hit 14 homers in 147 plate appearances. His barrels-to-plate appearance rate of 13.4% in 2023 was second only to Aaron Judge. Velazquez is a one-dimensional player but on the Royals he has a chance to play regularly and at his price has a chance to be an excellent source of cheap power.

Ryan Noda, Oakland Athletics

Pick by Josh Stevens

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A really cheap guy I like is Ryan Noda of the A’s. In his first year, he hit .230 with 16 homers in 125 games and has a clear path to an everyday start in year two.

He was top 50 in the league in EV50 last year and had a 45% hard hit rate, similar to guys like Bobby Witt Jr. and Sean Murphy, and better than all-stars like Pete Alonso, Nolan Jones and Luis Robert

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

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