Dark-horse candidates to lead MLB in home runs could also offer fantasy baseball draft value (2024)

If you're looking for power beyond the obvious fantasy baseball sluggers like Matt Olson and Kyle Schwarber, Dalton Del Don put together a collection of under-the-radar hitters who could lead the major leagues in home runs in 2024.

Go here for my dark-horse Cy Young candidates.

Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves 30/1

Riley has averaged 159 games played over the last three seasons and 37.5 homers over the last two. He finished seventh in expected homers last year, yet he’s curiously not among the dozen most favored players to win the HR title in 2024. Atlanta is one of the best parks for home runs for right-handed batters, and Riley sports elite exit velocity numbers. THE BAT X projects Riley to finish with the seventh-most homers in baseball this season and well within striking distance of the leader (a currently injured Aaron Judge). The soon-to-be 27-year-old is just entering his prime and hit 21 homers over 283 at bats during the second half of last season, so Riley could approach 50 in 2024. His power makes him worth a top-20 fantasy pick despite the lack of steals.

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

Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners 55/1

Rodríguez hit 19 homers over just 289 at bats after the All-Star break as a 22-year-old last season. Only inner-circle Hall of Famers average 30 homers over two seasons at his age. T-Mobile is one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball, but it thankfully plays neutral to homers for right-handed batters. Rodríguez is obviously a fantasy star and consensus top-5 pick, but he’s also a dark horse to finish with the most home runs in 2024.

Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers 66/1

Torkelson is a No. 1 overall MLB draft pick who was one of the best college hitters ever. It appears he’s figuring out major league pitching after a slow start to his pro career; Torkelson clubbed 19 homers over just 273 at-bats after the All-Star break last season. He was also unlucky, sporting the fifth-biggest difference among all hitters in expected homers (35.2) and actual dingers (31). Torkelson is just entering his prime at 24 years old and possesses “70” grade power. He finished with a Hard-Hit% in the top 6% of the league last season despite struggling throughout the first half, and there’s no reason why Torkelson can’t approach 40 homers this year. His power potential makes him a fantasy steal with a Yahoo ADP outside the top 115.

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

Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Cincinnati Reds 125/1

Encarnacion-Strand swatted 20 homers over just 278 at bats in Triple-A last season before more than holding his own (112 wRC+) in Cincinnati. He sports “70” grade power and is now locked into an everyday role with the Reds thanks in part to Noelvi Marte’s suspension (and Joey Votto leaving). CES gets to call home to the most HR-friendly venue in baseball, as Great American Ballpark has increased long balls for right-handed batters an MLB-high 26% over the last three seasons. Using Steamer’s per 600 plate appearances projections, Encarnacion-Strand finishes with the 11th most home runs in 2024, so he’s a dark horse for the title. CES also looks like one of the most affordable (131.9 ADP) power sources in fantasy drafts.

Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins 150/1

We all know Buxton’s extensive injury history, which is why he’s such a long shot here at a whopping 150/1 – Salvador Perez, who has topped 27 homers once during his 13-year career, has better odds. Buxton’s stats from 2023 can be thrown out, as he was badly compromised and probably shouldn’t have been playing. He feels 100% entering 2024 and good enough to play center field and to aim for 30 stolen bases. Buxton clobbered the most home runs per at bat (11.75) among all hitters in baseball from 2020-2022 before playing on one leg last year, when he still hit 17 long balls over just 304 ABs (and finished with a Barrel% in the top 10% of the league).

Especially with Aaron Judge entering the year banged up and also with a recurring toe injury, the home run leader race should be wide open this season. His health needs to cooperate, but Buxton is still just 30 years old and hopefully his knee injury is behind him. He’s a dark horse to win the HR crown and a fantasy steal with an ADP outside the top 225.

Dark-horse candidates to lead MLB in home runs could also offer fantasy baseball draft value (2024)


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2James WoodOF
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4Jasson DominguezOF
22 more rows
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Who gets the first pick in the MLB draft 2024? ›

At the winter meetings in December, the second-ever draft lottery produced a stunning result at the top, with Cleveland and Cincinnati garnering the first two selections in the 2024 draft despite microscopic odds to land the prized picks. Here's the order of the top 10 picks: Guardians.

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Four different Burton Stash Parks are sprinkled around the mountain, mixing up natural terrain features, local wood and all of the creative elements the mountain has to offer. By using what's already around, the Stash has more impact on your riding and less impact on the environment.

Was Holliday the number one pick? ›

The Baltimore Orioles called up infielder Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, after a torrid start at Triple-A this season. Holliday, 20, who was the top pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball draft, excelled in spring training but was sent to the minor leagues to begin the season.

Who is projected to be the best fantasy running back? ›

2024 PPR running back rankings
  • Christian McCaffrey, SF. 1.0.
  • Breece Hall, NYJ. 2.3.
  • Bijan Robinson, AtlQ. 2.8.
  • Jonathan Taylor, Ind. 4.6.
  • Saquon Barkley, Phi. 4.9.
  • Kyren Williams, LAR. 6.5.
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Which NFL rookies will have the biggest fantasy impact? ›

Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings For 2024 And Beyond
  • Ray Davis, RB, Buffalo Bills.
  • Drake Maye, QB, New England Patriots.
  • Ricky Pearsall, WR, San Francisco 49ers.
  • Troy Franklin, WR, Denver Broncos.
  • Javon Baker, WR, New England Patriots.
  • Jaylen Wright, RB, Miami Dolphins.
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Who will be the best rookie in fantasy football? ›

Wide receivers dominate the top of the draft: Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze are the clear top players to consider in the draft regardless of position, and their destinations are unlikely to change their spots in the top three.

What did fantasy baseball used to be called? ›

history of fantasy baseball

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The traditional standard is to start nine pitchers (starters or relievers), two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one middle infielder (second baseman or shortstop), one corner infielder (first or third baseman), five outfielders, one DH (if it's an AL league) or one ...

Can MLB employees play fantasy baseball? ›

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Who are the best MLB draft prospects for 2024? ›

Who's the best Draft prospect at each position? Our experts make picks
  • Catcher: Caleb Lomavita, Cal. ...
  • First base: Jac Caglianone, Florida. ...
  • Second base: Travis Bazzana, Oregon State. ...
  • Third base: Seaver King, Wake Forest. ...
  • Shortstop: Bryce Rainier, Harvard Westlake (Calif.) ...
  • Callis: “I would probably take Konnor Griffin.
Apr 24, 2024

Who is the number one prospect in the MLB 2024? ›

Jackson Holliday

What is rule 5 baseball? ›

Definition. Held each December, the Rule 5 Draft allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Clubs draft in reverse order of the standings from the previous season.

Will Jackson Holliday get called up? ›

The Baltimore Orioles are calling up shortstop and top overall prospect Jackson Holliday, the team announced Wednesday.

Where will Jackson Holliday be assigned? ›


BALTIMORE -- Jackson Holliday is returning to the Minors. On Friday, the Orioles optioned Holliday (MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect) to Triple-A Norfolk only 16 days after he was called up to the big leagues for the first time. The 20-year-old infielder went 2-for-34 (.

Is Jackson Holliday Matt Holliday's son? ›

Matt Holliday and his family learned that Tuesday night. But there was never a chance the 44-year-old was going to miss the MLB debut of his firstborn son, Jackson, roughly 22 hours from then.


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