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We are barely over a week into the 2024 fantasy baseball season and if you are anything like me, injuries have ravaged.  Between Trevor Story, Luis Robert Jr., and Royce Lewis we are all hurting and starting to plug holes in creative ways.  This is the time of the season where a hot start can be nothing more than luck and a poor start could simply from facing Shane Bieber (too soon?).  This week, we sift through some of those hot starts and figure out who can simply plug a lineup hole versus a potential breakout where you should be dropping some real FAAB.  This is where season’s can certainly be won with an astute pickup or lost by hanging on too long to your drafts dreams.  Welcome to hitter profiles for 2024 fantasy baseball!

Conner Joe

Joe doing things at the plate!  Through six games he has amassed 16 runs plus runs batted in for the Pirates. While splitting time between first base and the outfield to give us nice flexibility, Joe has once again come out of the gate hot as he has done in the past.  One of the most added hitters in Yahoo league, is this the year?  Simply put, no.  Connor Joe is an average hitter with a perfect 100 wRC+ throughout his career.  With the small sample size to start the season, he has not hit the ball harder or even frankly in the air.  At this point in the season, we are looking for small signs and those signs are simply calling this a hot start.  Looking at his career splits, Joe loves the spring and maybe we should just pick him up for the first month every year:


Brice Turang

When a 24-year old with barely a season of experience starts off the season quick, it should be of note.  Turang has hit the ground running in 2024 by stealing six bases in his first four games.  For a guy that showed 30 steal speed in the minors and has 95th percentile sprint speed, that is a lot to like.  However, Turang has struggled with lefties throughout his career and looks like a platoon bat at least for now.  That plus the clear luck that has taken place early in the season and Turang looks much more like a one trick speed pony.  This is a player that can plug the hole if you had Estuery Ruiz sent down and his glove should keep him on the strong side platoon.  If you are hoping for much more than a middle infield platoon player, you will be disappointed.

Oswaldo Cabrera

Cabrera has tempted us before with hot steaks and I was hoping this one felt a bit different.  However, while Cabrera has noted that he is learning from playing with Juan Soto, the contact quality has not improved in the early going.  In addition, he remains in the bottom third of the lineup for the Yankees which will hurt all of his run producing opportunities.  In 2023, he was in the bottom decile for the majority of hitting statistics and in the early going the quick surge this season has only bumped those metrics to the bottom quartile.  I really want to like Cabrera and his multi-positional flexibility between 2B, SS, 3B and OF.  However, he is more of a bench tool than anything else.  It is amazing how ownership rates can jump based on a single four-hit game.

https://x.com/mlb/status/1773909651865661725?s=46&t=alKFHHjpCSNQI-aC-E_QHA

Nick Martini

May I have a Martini?  Well, with all of the injuries and even suspensions to the Reds, Nick Martini is trying to carve out a role for himself.  At 33-years old, his journeyman career has been worth a total of 1.5 WAR.  In 2024, across six games, he has hit two homers with nine runs batted ending and a .333 batting average.  While we have to like seeing the ball put in the air and the line drive approach, Martini is going to be nothing more than a role player while the Reds get healthy.  This is where a hot hand might fill a need, but don’t take a second look once he cools off.

Hot starts are always tempting, but use them for what they are which is to ride the hot hand.  Maybe there is a guy that turns into something down the line but that seems unlikely with this group.  The more exciting part about these players are all of the useful guys that get dropped for you to reap on the wire.

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mrhouston
mrhouston
1 month ago

What do think of Turang’s team-mate Oliver Dunn? Another power/speed lefty hitting well early and at the top of the lineup. I like them both against four righties @CIN this week. Will O.D. hold up?

mrhouston
mrhouston
Reply to  Jeremy Brewer
1 month ago

Thanks! You are right the K-rate history is crazy. And he and Turang’s BABIPs are nutty right now.

jimmy
jimmy
1 month ago

Thanks for the fine work! Thoughts on Josh Outman? Is he going to platoon all year? Starting to look that way! Thanks you!

Jacstorm
Jacstorm
1 month ago

Love this stuff! A note, though. You say Turang has struggled with lefties throughout his career. (He’s only 24 so there ain’t much of a career). But other than 64 ab’s his rookie year at age 23, that’s utterly wrong.

Here are some of his minor league numbers:
2022
181 ab vs. L .293 11 pts. HIGHER than vs. R
obp .373 v L  .353 v R

2021
109 ab vs. L .266  11 pts. HIGHER than vs R
obp .375 v L  .338 v R

They might still platoon him, but in his short career he’s actually shown that he might be able to handle lefties quite nicely.

jacstorm
jacstorm
Reply to  Jeremy Brewer
1 month ago

:) I hope so too. I think a fair number of careers get postponed, or completely derailed by that labeling. I hope they give this kid a fair shot.

Please keep your reactions coming- early or late. Great stuff!