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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Opening Weekend Highlights

The 2024 Fantasy Baseball season is underway, which means a whole new crop of rookies and first-year players are making their debuts across Major League Baseball. Each week this Rookie Report will look at the recent production of these players and what it means in a fantasy baseball context.

Rookies are among the most volatile assets in the fantasy baseball game, with the opportunity both to boom or bust right in front of us. Rookies and first-year players are a part of teams’ plans more than ever before; just take the World Series Champion Texas Rangers, for example. Rookie Evan Carter actually played in the postseason for the Rangers, but now there are DH Wyatt Langford and SP Cody Bradford joining him as key cogs of a team that hopes to repeat their championship.

This weekly piece will track some of the notable performances from 2024 rookies over the past seven days with an eye toward actionable advice for each one. In dynasty and keeper formats, most of these players will be long gone, but in seasonal leagues, is it worth clogging up a roster spot with a rookie? Diving into their past performances will hopefully help us look into a little bit of their future.

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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Hitters

Jackson Chourio (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .417/.462/.500, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 0 R

Not only does Chourio have a nice average through his three games, but he is also walking at an 11% clip, which means his patience and discipline are already translating to the big leagues. He led off in his first-ever MLB game (against a left-hander) but has hit ninth in the two games since.

Jung Hoo Lee (OF, San Francisco Giants

  • .286/.368/.500, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 1 R

Jung Hoo Lee has led off four straight games for the Giants, albeit against four right-handed pitchers. He is not having much trouble adjusting, and he even has tried to steal once already but was caught in his only attempt. But the best part about his first four games? He only has one strikeout.

Wyatt Langford (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .333/.400/.500, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 1 R

It’s just a matter of time before Langford blasts his first home run, as he has shown an uncanny ability to adapt to Major League Pitching through just three games. Sunday showed a glimpse of what Langford will be asked to do when some of the Rangers’ regulars get some rest. With Corey Seager taking a seat on Sunday, Langford moved up to the number two spot in the Rangers’ lineup.

Evan Carter (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .000/.385/.000, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 3 R

The hits have eluded Carter in his second stint with the Rangers in this early going. But he still has five walks through three games to salvage players in OBP leagues, and he has been able to generate three runs despite not getting a hit yet. Against lefties, Carter is batting eighth. Against righties, he hits third.

Victor Scott II (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .143/.200/.214, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 SB, 3 R

Scott got his first two Major League hits on Sunday night and was able to get his first steal as well. His speed is absolutely insane, as was advertised. If for nothing else, he is worth a spot on your rosters in case you get in a bind for runs or steals. Remember, this is a player who stole 94 bases across two levels last year.

Curtis Mead (2B/3B Tampa Bay Rays)

  • .200/.200/.200, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 R

Mead has only been granted one start at second base to start the year, and he hit seventh. Mead struggled in his short stint with the Rays in 2023, but the good news is he has not struck out yet this season.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 1 Start, 5.2 IP, 1 W, 4.76 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 15.9 K/9

Don’t let the 4.76 ERA from Jared Jones’ first MLB start fool you. He was flat-out dominant, striking out 10 batters in under six innings. He kept runners off the bases and made batters miss. According to Sarah Langs, Jones’ 22 swings and miss were the most by a pitcher in their debut since 2008. I can’t say I recommend him against Baltimore this week, but if he cruises through that one, he will be universally rostered.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 2 Starts, 6.0 IP, 0 W, 7.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 10.5 K/9

After getting blasted in his Major League debut in South Korea (1 IP, 5 ER), Yamamoto was MUCH better in his follow-up outing. He allowed no runs and struck out five batters in five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night. Yamamoto is universally rostered, of course, but his managers needed an outing like that to keep them off the ledge after the disaster in his first game.

Abner Uribe (RP, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • 2 Saves, 2.0 IP, 0 W, 4.50 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 9.0 K/9

All that FAAB spent on Trevor Magill and Joel Payamps might have been worthless because it looks like Abner Uribe is the guy in the ninth for Milwaukee. Until Devin Williams returns, Uribe looks like the guy to have. He has basically cruised through two outings and only allowed one baserunner.

Yuki Matsui (RP, San Diego Padres)

  • 0 Saves, 4.0 IP, 1 W, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 3.0 K/9

Padres manager Mike Shildt has remained true to his word. Robert Suarez has the first two saves for the Padres, and Matsui has none. Matsui hasn’t had any problems getting batters out, but Sunday gave him just his second strikeout in four appearances. Matsui may be up for many high leverage spots for San Diego right now, but that may not mean the ninth is his for a while.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Who’s Next?

This section will look at any noteworthy rookies who are on the verge of debuting or might be on their way up soon, and whether they are worth the roster position on your fantasy squads.

Max Meyer (SP, Miami Marlins) – Top pitching prospect Max Meyer is slated to make his Major League debut today against the Los Angeles Angels. Meyer gets his first shot after making the Marlins out of spring with a 0.00 ERA and a sparkling 0.71 WHIP.

Ben Brown (SP, Chicago Cubs) – Ben Brown was called up over the weekend after Justin Steele went on the IL, and it was presumed Brown would start in his place this coming week. That’s not what happened as Brown gave up six runs in relief on Saturday night. He may go back to the minors now, after a performance like that over 44 pitches.

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

Jackson Holliday (SS, Baltimore Orioles) – All #1 prospect Jackson Holliday has done with his first 11 plate appearances in AAA is hit .556/.545/.1.111 with six runs and four RBI in two games. It’s a farce right now that he is still in the minors, but the second that Baltimore can claim another year of team control, Holliday will be up with the big club.

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