2024 Fantasy Baseball: Fred Zinkie's most-drafted players this season

The old adage, “Put your money where your mouth is” applies perfectly to fantasy sports. At the outset of draft season, I wrote about my top targets for 2024 drafts. But between fluctuations in the market and changes in my opinions, there is a different group of players who are my most rostered this year.

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

Here are the players who will ultimately decide whether I have a stellar fantasy season.

Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)

As you can see on the Yahoo draft rankings page, I am higher on Alonso than anyone else in our four-person panel. In fact, I may rank Alonso higher than anyone else in the industry. The MLB leader in home runs since the outset of 2019, Alonso is going to have a monster season on his way to free agency next winter. And with the league-wide increase in steals having led to the availability of speedsters at all points in the draft, taking a pure slugger in the early rounds is now an appealing option.

José Altuve (2B, Houston Astros)

Altuve comes off the board in the range of pick 30 in Yahoo drafts and even later on many other sites. I have the 33-year-old ranked 24th, as I still see him as an elite five-category contributor who should not be faulted for missing nearly two months of the 2023 season after being hit by a pitch in the World Baseball Classic. The career .307 hitter is also the perfect complement for a slugger such as Alonso. Combining Alonso and Altuve with a first-round speedster such as Julio Rodríguez or Corbin Carroll is my preferred start to 2024 drafts.

Grayson Rodriguez (SP, Baltimore Orioles)

I have more ties to Rodriguez than any other player, as I currently have him rostered on all of my teams. Expected to be a star, Rodriguez overcame some initial struggles and a brief return to the minors when he posted a 2.58 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 13 starts after the All-Star break. Supported by a pitcher-friendly home park and one of the best teams in baseball, the 24-year-old should become a fantasy ace this year.

Alexis Díaz (RP, Cincinnati Reds)

My 2024 draft plan is to jump into the closer pool once 5-7 relievers have come off the board, which puts Díaz in my crosshairs. The 27-year-old woke up on Sept. 20 with a 2.10 ERA before two rough outings in the span of four days resulted in finishing the season with a 3.07 mark. Unfazed by his brief September blip, I don’t see any notable separation between Díaz and the closers who are being drafted 30 picks earlier.

Craig Kimbrel (RP, Baltimore Orioles)

If there is one player on whom I have planted my flag this year, it’s Kimbrel. Many analysts in the industry want nothing to do with the veteran closer, who last enjoyed a 30-save season in 2018. In fact, while I rank him 11th among relievers, two of my Yahoo colleagues (Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowski) place him outside the top 20. Nonetheless, I see Kimbrel as someone who has the skills, role and supporting cast to approach the 40-save plateau.

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

Andrew Vaughn (1B, Chicago White Sox)

The third overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Vaughn posted respectable but unremarkable statistics in his initial three seasons. The first baseman requires a minimal investment in the range of pick 250, and his 2023 numbers (21 HR, 80 RBI) represent his floor for the coming campaign. Vaughn will undoubtedly have a heavy workload on a rebuilding White Sox team and still has time to realize his potential in his age-26 season.

Mitch Garver (C, Seattle Mariners)

I love fantasy catchers who don’t play catcher, as the physical demands of the position impact playing time and offensive production. While many of his position mates are capped at 120 games, Garver can start as often as he wants as the Mariners' designated hitter. The 33-year-old hit .270 with 19 homers and 50 RBI in 296 at-bats last year and could log 500 at-bats this season.

Charlie Morton (SP, Atlanta Braves)

Late-round upside does not exclusively belong to young players. Morton may be on the wrong side of 40, but he is still going strong after posting a K/9 rate above 10.0 in each of his three seasons in Atlanta. The veteran logged a solid 3.77 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in those three campaigns, and Braves management clearly believes in him, as they agreed to pay him $20 million for the upcoming season. I’m happy to follow Atlanta’s lead for a cost in the range of pick 200.

Zack Littell (SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays)

I wouldn’t draft Littell in a 10-team league, but he’s a final-round option in 12-team formats and can round out a starting lineup in 15-team leagues. The right-hander used his outstanding control skills to post a 3.72 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP across 11 starts after July 30, and he is already cemented as a stable in Tampa’s 2024 rotation.

And if I can close this article with a big-picture draft tip, a late-round pairing of a high-strikeout starter (Morton) and a low-WHIP hurler (Littell) is a good way to have a balanced staff.