What We’re Watching: MLB 2024 Season

25 March 2024 • by Bryan Oldham

Welcome to Week 1 of the 2024 Fantasy Baseball Season. There have been some great storylines in the offseason, and we’re excited for all of them. Today, we’re highlighting some of the stories to keep an eye on in the first few weeks of the season. We’ll highlight some more stories and topics throughout the 2024 season and what their impact might be on the DFS and Fantasy side.

Aces in New Places

Corbin Burnes, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, and Josh Hader are just a few stud pitchers on new teams this year. Whether via trade or through free agency, these guys got the bag and are now anchors for their new clubs’ rotations and bullpens. 

This also plays for Japanese pitchers like Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga, who are seeing live MLB action for the first time, but are expected to be valuable rotation pieces. 

While it’s usually a narrative piece, a change of scenery can be a huge positive or massive detriment to these guys. New ballparks, new divisions, and a catcher they likely never worked with before are just a piece of the learning curve. It might be a rough patch to start, or these guys could come out hot before hitting a cold streak in the dead of summer. 

Temper expectations with aces who changed teams and know they may have more than just new team colors to adjust to.

Year 2 Players

Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll, Elly De La Cruz, Jordan Walker, and Ezekiel Tovar are just a few of the many players entering their 2nd year in the MLB. These players all have amazing skill sets and tools that make them jump off the stat sheet as well as the screen. Carroll is an electric runner, De La Cruz has an absolute cannon, and Walker is an imposing physical presence. 

These players had their ups and downs in 2023, but that’s attributable to the learning curve they face when reaching the big leagues. 

There hasn’t been this much young star power in the league in a long time, and this isn’t even including guys like Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and others who are in year 3 plus, but are still fledgling in their careers. While there’s no reason to discount the old guard at the highest level, there’s a bright future ahead for the MLB and we’re excited to watch it. 

Many of these guys are great fantasy values with insane upside. You have to take the good with the bad here, but if these guys do perform, you’ll be glad you drafted and relied on them for your fantasy needs

The $700 Million Man

Before the Seoul Series, this would have been about how Shohei Ohtani’s presence in Los Angeles would impact an already star-studded lineup. While that’s obviously still important, we now have a bigger question surrounding the MLB’s Golden Boy, namely with illegal gambling by Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s interpreter and close friend.  

We’re not here to make any inferences or conclusions, but the story has changed several times already, and the Federal investigators, alongside the MLB, will go about their inquiry as they see fit. 

However, it does make us wonder what the impact will be on Ohtani. Not only does he lose a confidant who helps him navigate a primarily English-speaking sport and country, but now Ohtani must deal with the emotional toll, as well as the media storm. This could have no impact on his on-field performance, but will he be able to navigate the intricacies as well now? Will the media frenzy cause Shohei to take his eye off the ball? Could there be an impending suspension?

Baseball is a mental game, and distractions are hard to avoid when you’re the center of attention. Ohtani is a no-doubt stud and should be rostered everywhere, but there’s now a tinge of concern. Not the best way to start a $700 million agreement.

More Rules, More Problems?

The pitch clock and larger bases lead to some of the most exciting baseball in recent memory during 2023, but now we get another year and more chances to see if these rules are impacting player health. 

Will the pitch clock impact pitcher recovery, and as such make them more suseptible to injury? The new base blocking rules, while great for base runners, make it almost impossible for fielders to protect their bag and give catchers an even tighter throwing window to try and gun down attempted base stealers. 

A lot of this is conjecture and speculation, but these rules will almost certainly have their positive and negative impacts on the game. There could be more stolen bases, but less defensive gems. While that’s not a direct fantasy impact, you ought to keep that in mind in case the MLB becomes even more enamored with great hitters who have a less-than-average defensive profile. 

But hey, nothing will be worse than those see-thru Fanatics jerseys

What stories are most interesting to you for the 2024 MLB Season? Let us know on social media!

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