2024 New York Yankees Preview

An extensive fantasy baseball preview of the 2024 season

2024 New York Yankees Preview

Shawn Childs is a legend in the fantasy baseball world and his advice is invaluable. A member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn has several top-5 finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship as well as five NFBC auction championship titles under his belt. He also boasts several prominent in the high-stakes market and multiple huge DFS wins. Shawn’s process and evaluation are among the most thorough in the sport and his exclusive FPGscore metric is changing the game. This 2024 New York Yankees preview and insight is courtesy of the brilliant mind of one of the sport’s best. 


This 2024 New York Yankees Preview is courtesy of Shawn Childs. Read Shawn’s expert fantasy analysis at his Substack.

The Yankees saw their six-year playoff run last season when the Orioles, Rays, and Blue Jays knocked them to fourth in the AL East despite a winning record (82-80). Their last World Series win and appearance came in 2009. New York has 11 playoff trips over the past 15 seasons.

Their pitching staff ranked 10th in ERA (3.97 – fourth in their division) while having the best bullpen (35-30 with a 3.34 ERA, 625 strikeouts, and 44 saves over 619 innings). The Yankees slipped to 25th in runs scored (673) and RBIs (650) despite having more success in home runs (219 – 9th). Their base runners stole 100 bags while getting caught 30 times (76.9%). New York had the second-worst batting average (.227) and on-base percentage (.298). 

In the offseason, the Yankees acquired OF Juan Soto and OF Trent Grisham from the Padres for C Kyle Higashioka, SP Michael King, SP Drew Thorpe, SP Jhony Brito, and SP Randy Vasquez. Boston shipped New York OF Alex Verdugo for SP Richard Fitts, RP Greg Weissert, and SP Nicholas Judice. New York claimed 2B Jeter Downs, OF Oscar Gonzalez, and OF Bubba Thompson off waivers for minor league depth. 

Their starting lineup has to find a way to wash out some of their fading veteran players. Soto should be a good fit for their home park, but he will be a free agent next season. The Yankees need SS Anthony Volpe and C Austin Wells to emerge as potential offensive building blocks. 

New York must develop the backend of their starting rotation and hope their bullpen pitches well for another year. Gerrit Cole is the only edge, while Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes come off injury seasons.

This year, I’ll be looking at Mike Kurland’s new website (https://mlbplayingtime.com/) when doing some of my research for each major league team. His research is a reference point, but I’ll take my stances on how I view rosters as I go through each team’s outlook.

Next up, is a deep dive into the 2024 New York Yankees Preview.

Starting Lineup

OF Juan Soto

The dream of Soto being a difference-maker in batting average over the past two seasons was a flawed theory. His contact batting average (.297) was a disaster in 2022, and he failed to reach his previous bar set in 2019 (.373), 2020 (.429), and 2021 (.384) last year (.355). His regression in 2023 at the plate came from taking too many called third strikes (51 times) while looking to walk. Soto finished with strength again in his average hit rate (1.891) while regaining his clutch ability with runners on base (RBI rate – 19).

Last year, he continued to have one of the best walk rates (18.6 – 19.0 in his career) in baseball, but he struck out 18.2% of the time (14.3% from 2020 to 2022). Soto was a below-par hitter vs. lefties (.256/26/8/21 over 172 at-bats) but better than the previous season (.210/31/7/23 over 195 at-bats). He saved his year with a monster September (.340/26/10/29/6 over 97 at-bats). 

Soto still hits too many ground balls (51.0% – 49.2 in his career). His HR/FB rate (24.5) has been higher than 22.0% every year except in 2022 (17.2%) when his swing path was the most balanced (21/42/37) of his career. His flyball rate (32.4) has never been higher than 37.2%. He ranked 11th in exit velocity (93.2), 16th in hard-hit rate (55.3), and 50th in barrel rate (13.0).

Fantasy Outlook: Soto finished 15th in FPGscore (5.98) for hitters last year while playing 162 games. The change in ballpark should treat him well in power and batting average, but the Yankee’s starting lineup lacks top-of-the-order bats. I decided to put Soto batting leadoff due to him getting on base so much and Judge having massive power behind him. His ADP (13) places him at the back of the first round in 12 and 15 team drafts. I expect 40 home runs with some help in speed and batting average. His floor should be 100 runs and 100 RBIs if his supporting cast plays much better than they did in New York in 2022. 

OF Aaron Judge

Judge finished first in FPGscore (16.89) for hitters in 2022, meaning a fantasy team that drafted him gained almost 17 points in roto standing by adding him to their 13 other players with league-average production. 

For the third time in his career, he finished with over 540 at-bats. The difference between 2021 and 2022 was 20 more at-bats with an improvement of 44 runs, 23 home runs, 33 RBIs, and 25 percentage points in batting average. His stats last season, prorated over 550 at-bats, came to 118 runs, 55 home runs, 112 RBIs, and four steals. 

In 2023, Judge missed 56 games with hip and top injuries, with the latter costing him the most time. Judge’s contact batting average has been higher than .400 in four of his past five seasons while continuing to have an elite average hit rate (2.296). His RBI chances (2.2 per game) were well below in 2022 (2.66 per game), with no change in his RBI rate (16.6). 

His strikeout rate (28.4) almost matched his career average (28.7%) but off his gains over the previous two years (25.1%). Judge posted his highest walk rate (19.2) of his career. 

Judge had the most success in May (.342/23/12/25/1 over 76 at-bats). 

His exit velocity (97.6), barrel rate (27.5), and hard-hit rate (64.2) led the majors for the second consecutive season. He finished with the highest flyball rate (50.0) of his career, thanks to a spike in his launch angle (20.4 – 15.0 in 2022 and 14.4 in his career).

Fantasy Outlook: Judge looks poised to have another massive run in his home run total in 2024, and Juan Soto will help him in runs or RBIs. The rise in flyballs will lead to easier outs, so he must shave off some strikeouts to push higher in batting average. His toe issue led to almost no value in speed last year. Judge has an ADP of 12 in the early draft season in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, inviting a double tap of Yankees on the turn in 12-team formats. Do I dare say: .280 with 110 runs, 70 home runs, 120 RBIs, and 15 steals?

2B Gleyber Torres

Over the past four seasons, Torres failed to match his overall production in runs (96), home runs (38), and RBIs (90) in 2019, leaving the fantasy market wanting more from his bat. He added speed to his resume over the last three years (14, 10, and 13) while showing growth at the plate in 2023 (strikeout rate – 14.6 and walk rate – 10.0). His contact batting average (.327) was a three-year low, with no upward movement on his average hit rate (1.656). Torres will be an unrestricted free agent in 2025.

The Yankees hit him anywhere from first to fifth in the batting order for 588 of his 596 at-bats last season. His best stats came from hitting third (.297/30/9/24/5 over 212 at-bats). Torres had more power when facing lefties (.278 with 20 runs, eight home runs, and 15 RBIs over 108 at-bats). Over the final three months, he hit .298 with 46 runs, 13 home runs, 36 RBIs, and seven stolen bases over 302 at-bats.

Torres had a balanced swing path (21/39/40) in 2023. His flyball rate (39.6 – 45.9 in 2022), HR/FB rate (12.6 – 13.1 in 2022), launch angle (15.1 – 17.1 in 2022), and hard-hit rate (40.3 – 45.3 in 2022) were lower last year. In 2019, he had 43 barrels with 38 home runs. Over the previous two seasons, Torres had 43 and 40 barrels but only 49 combined home runs. 

Fantasy Outlook: Not many baseball players enter their contract year at age 27, pointing to Torres flying high in 2024. The improvement of his approach could lead to batting leadoff as he has never been a great run producer as far as RBI rate (13.4 over the past four seasons – 16.1 in his first two years in the majors). His ADP (89) in the early draft season in the high-stakes market prices him as the eighth second baseman off the table (52nd overall batter). Last year, he finished 42nd in FPGscore (1.90) for hitters. I view Torres as a steady piece to a winning puzzle with a higher ceiling across the board. In my thoughts, especially if his price point slides.

1B Anthony Rizzo

For someone shopping in the veteran aisle in 2022, Rizzo rewarded his supporters with a rebound season in power (32 home runs) with steady production in runs (77) and RBIs (75). He finished 59th in FPGscore (1.07) while sitting out 32 games. A back issue flared up three times over the final three months. 

Last season, Rizzo had the worst approach of his career (strikeout rate – 23.0 and walk rate – 8.3) while also posting a much weaker average hit rate (1.549 – 2.144 in 2022). He did have a higher contact batting average (.330), but his batting average has been under .250 for four consecutive seasons. Between the lines, Rizzo did shine over his first 204 at-bats (.304 with 30 runs, 11 home runs, and 32 RBIs), but a neck issue in late May triggered a sharp downturn in his bat for the next two months (.172/15/1/9 over 169 at-bats). His season ended on August 2nd due to a bad concussion. 

His swing path led to more line drives (25.7) in 2023 while posting a career-low in his HR/FB rate (10.6). Rizzo had minimal change in his exit velocity (90.0) but a decline in his hard-hit rate (37.5 – 41.0 in 2022 and 38.7 in his career). His RBI rate (12.6) has been dismal for a middle-of-the-order bat over the past four seasons. 

Fantasy Outlook: Anyone interested in Rizzo will coin toss his best two months last season vs. his bad two months. Ultimately, he isn’t the player he once was, and the Yankees need a better player batting cleanup for them. The weakness in his batting average and emptiness with runners on base points to a liability season in the fantasy market. His ADP (285) is relatively free, meaning Rizzo could overcome some shortfalls by receiving more than 500 at-bats.

OF Giancarlo Stanton

Over the past five seasons, Stanton missed 319 games, hitting .233 with 180 runs, 97 home runs, and 259 RBIs. His stats last year, projected over 500 at-bats, came to 58 runs, 32 home runs, and 81 RBIs. His contact batting average was .396 over his first 12 seasons but only .322 in 2022 and .287 in 2023. 

Over his first 139 at-bats in 2022, Stanton hit .309 with 15 runs, 11 home runs, and 40 RBIs. New York placed him on the injured list in late May while also missing time in August with an Achilles issue. As a result, his batting average (.158) had risk over his final 259 at-bats with 38 runs, 20 home runs, and 43 RBs while whiffing 32.6% of the time.

Last season, Stanton suffered a hamstring injury in mid-April (.269/7/4/11 over 52 at-bats), leading to almost seven weeks on the injury list. After the All-Star break, he hit .184 with 25 runs, 15 home runs, and 37 RBIs over 223 at-bats. Stanton struck out 29.9% of the time, with a further slide in his still favorable walk rate (9.9).

He finished ninth in exit velocity (93.3), 22nd in barrel rate (15.7), and 47th in hard-hit rate (48.4). Stanton had a shallow launch angle (12.5 – 229th), partly due to a fading line drive rate (12.5). His HR/FB rate (21.4) was the lowest of his career, but he did post his second-highest flyball rate (44.4).

Fantasy Outlook: The fantasy market has seen enough of Stanton based on his ADP (317) in the high-stakes market 10 days into January. He carries name value with plenty of power if Stanton could stay on the field for 135 games. His slide in batting average looks to be a significant obstacle, but I don’t see him repeating his weakness in contact in batting average. He now has a DH profile while continuing to have a booming bat when the ball is in play. Stanton will be challenging to manage between his injury history and prolonged slumps. In the end, it’s all about team builds and risk/reward tolerance for each drafter.

OF Alex Verdugo

In 2022, the Red Sox gave Verdugo 375 at-bats, hitting between fourth and fifth in the batting order. Over those chances, he batted .283 with 48 runs, nine home runs, and 54 RBI. His RBI chances (437) graded well, but Verdugo continues to offer minimal power, highlighted by his fading average hit rate (1.446). 

His strikeout rate (14.9) and walk rate (7.5) over the past three seasons almost match his career averages (15.1 and 7.5). Verdugo struggled vs. lefties last season (.220/17/1/13 over 141 at-bats). He only hit .219 over his final 247 at-bats in 2023 with 29 runs, eight home runs, 22 RBIs, and two stolen bases.

Verdugo saw a regression in his contact batting average over the past three seasons (.397, .350, .327, and .318), removing the thought of him being a .300+ hitter. Despite a bump in his average hit rate (1.597), a run at more than 20 home runs seems like a tall task. A change to Yankee Stadium should naturally invite more power. Verdugo may sneak a couple more balls over the fence in left field based on his spray chart from 2023. His swing path did improve over the past two seasons, leading to a rising flyball rate (28.6 in 2021, 32.9 in 2022, and 33.8 in 2023). 

His launch angle (8.8) ranked 334th out of 403 batters with at least 100 batted ball events. Verdugo had no change in his exit velocity (89.2) while seeing a pullback in his hard hit rate (37.6).

Fantasy Outlook: Verdugo is a player who is easy to misprice in the fantasy market. He has a serviceable bat if given 500+ at-bats, but his overall skill set has a tweener feel. He doesn’t have enough speed or on-base percentage to consistently hit at the top of a major league lineup (.280/57/10/31/3 over 336 at-bats hitting leadoff for Boston in 2023). His ADP (304) is favorable based on his results over the past two seasons. I’ll set his bar at .275 with 80 runs, 18 home runs, 60 RBIs, and five steals in 2024. He will be a free agent next season.

3B DJ LeMahieu

Over the last three seasons, LeMahieu finished with a much lower contact batting average (.318, .308. and .327) than in 2019 (.385) and 2020 (.408). His average hit rate (1.350 and 1.443) ranked poorly for two seasons before seeing a rebound last year (1.603). 

In 2022, LeMahieu had short production over his first 26 games (.272 with 13 runs, two home runs, and eight RBIs over 92 at-bats). His bat regained momentum over his next 281 at-bats (.295/58/10/35/3) with an excellent approach (51 walks and 40 strikeouts). A toe issue in mid-August led to a stint on the injured list and empty stats to finish the year (.149 with three runs, no home runs, and seven RBI over 94 at-bats). 

Last season, his bat didn’t offer an impact, leading to fewer than 95 at-bats each month except May (101), despite not landing on the injured list. He no longer has an edge vs. lefties (.255/14/4/11 over 94 at-bats – .311 in his career).

LeMahieu continues to have a groundball swing path (55.0%) with a low flyball rate (26.0). His launch angle (3.8) ranked 390th out of 403 batters with 100 batted ball events.

Fantasy Outlook: LeMahieu has three more seasons ($45 million) left on his contract. His ADP (374) in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship in early January ranks 34th at third base. Last year, New York gave him 226 of his 497 at-bats at the leadoff position. LeMahieu is a veteran bat with no speed and a weak power swing, and the needle is moving in the wrong direction in all indicators. 

C Austin Wells

The Yankees drafted Wells 28th overall in the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft. Over three seasons in the minors, he hit .260 with 188 runs, 53 home runs, 213 RBIs, and 39 stolen bases over 1,089 at-bats, giving him a 20/20 profile for a catcher. His walk rate (13.5) graded well, but he still needs to work on his strikeout rate (23.4).

Last season, Wells saw time at A, AA, AAA, and the majors. His best production came at AA (.237/28/11/50/5 over 228 at-bats). With New York, his power (four home runs and 13 RBIs over 70 at-bats) translated well while holding his ground in strikeouts (14 – 18.7%). 

His swing path was flyball-favoring at AA (51.8%) but lower at AAA (44.1) and in the majors (42.1). 

Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft season in the high-stakes market, Wells is the 24th catcher selected with an ADP of 303. His defense won’t be an asset, but he has a reasonable chance to start this year in New York. Based on his average hit rate at each stop in his development, Wells has the swing and pop to smash 30+ home runs if ever given 550 at-bats. His base-stealing prowess (39-for-40) is an excellent bonus for a player at the catcher position. I don’t expect his batting average to be an asset out of the gate. If New York confirms that he’ll start the year with the Yankees, he should beat many C2 options even with 350 at-bats.

SS Anthony Volpe

After dominating over two levels of A-ball in 2021 (.293 with 113 runs, 27 home runs, 86 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases), Volpe struggled to get hits over his first 109 at-bats at AA in 2022 (.165/20/4/17/14). He struck out 26.3% of the time while maintaining his high walk rate (12.8). However, his bat rounded into form over his next 81 games (.281 with 51 runs, 14 home runs, 43 RBIs, and 30 steals over 313 at-bats). Over this span, he had a much better approach (strikeout rate – 14.6 and walk rate – 11.0).  

The Yankees gave Volpe the month of September to see AAA pitching. After a quick six-game hitting streak (11-for-25 with six runs, two home runs, four RBIs, and two stolen bases), he lost his rhythm at the plate (.156/9/1/5/4 with 25 strikeouts over 64 at-bats).

Volpe made the Yankees out of spring training last year, leading to him playing in 159 games. He continues to have a high average hit rate (1.832) while not relying on a flyball swing path (37.1 – 56.9 at AA and 52.5 at AAA in 2022). As a result, he cut down on his infield flies (9.4%) with a better line drive rate (21.8%). Volpe finished with weakness in his strikeout rate (27.8%) while beating the league average in his walk rate (8.7). 

His bat flashed in August (.256/9/7/21/2 over 90 at-bats), followed by an empty September (.163/9/1/3/3 over 98 at-bats). Volpe handled himself better vs. left-handed pitching (.248 with 12 runs, five home runs, and 15 RBIs over 117 at-bats). New York gave him 110 at-bats hitting leadoff (.191/11/4/13/5).

Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (137) in early January in the NFBC ranks him as the 15th shortstop. He has two things working in his favor in 2024. First, he has a full year of experience in the majors at age 22. Secondly, New York must develop their young players if they want to regain the first-place podium in the AL East over the next couple of years.  His next step should be a 30/30 season while continuing to be a liability in batting average. His value in runs and RBIs hinges on his slot in the batting order. In 2023, Volpe ranked 129th in FPGscore (-2.57) for hitters (134th hitter selected this year). I like him better in a stand-alone league where I can punt batting average and still compete for a top-three ranking in prize money. 

Bench Options

3B Oswald Peraza

Peraza developed into a much better player in the minors over the last three seasons, leading to a .275 batting average over 1,117 at-bats with 182 runs, 51 home runs, 145 RBIs, and 87 stolen bases. Over his stretch, he had a league-average walk rate (8.1) and strikeout rate (21.3). His average hit rate (1.736) has been much more potent at AAA, thanks to working on losing his groundball swing path. 

With the Yankees, Peraza reverted to his early days in the minors (51.5% groundball rate) while struggling with his approach in 2023 (strikeout rate – 26.2 and walk rate – 6.8). He’s hitting .216 over 222 career at-bats in New York with 23 runs, three home runs, 16 RBIs, and six steals.

Fantasy Outlook: Peraza isn’t quite ready to be a major league player and doesn’t have a clear path to a starting job. In 2025, the Yankees should move him to second base if they don’t retain Gleyber Torres. His bat is improving while already owning a winning glove. For now, Peraza is a waiver wire watch if he earns starting at-bats in the majors. He offers an edge in speed while on a path to hit 20+ home runs.

OF Oswaldo Cabrera

After a quiet start over his first 69 at-bats in the majors in 2022 (.188/3/0/4), Cabrera brought swag to the Yankees’ lineup over the final 25 games (.294 with 18 runs, six home runs, 15 RBIs, and three stolen bases over 85 at-bats). Unfortunately, his luster wore off in the postseason (2-for-28 with two runs, one home run, and two RBIs).

Over seven seasons in the minors, Cabrera hit .262 with 295 runs, 62 home runs, 309 RBIs, and 65 steals over 2,244 at-bats. His breakthrough year came in 2021 at AA (.256/61/24/78/20 over 437 at-bats). He appeared to be a much better player in his limited playing time at AAA (253 at-bats) .285 with 47 runs, 15 home runs, 46 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases.

His strikeout rate (17.9) in the minors graded well while posting a below-par walk rate (7.0). Over his last three seasons in the minors, his contact batting average (.371) and average hit rate (1.921) showed a much better hitter than his previous years in the minors.

With New York last season, Cabrera lowered his strikeout rate (21.8). His exit velocity (87.8) and hard-hit rate (32.5) suggested that he needed more development time. 

Fantasy Outlook: Cabrera brings a balanced skill set with the power to hit more than 25 home runs this year with plenty of help in speed if he earns a starting job. His batting average gets a slight ding, as many of his balls in play will be lazy fly balls for outs. He underperformed expectations last season, and Cabrera isn’t a lock to make the Yankees in 2024.

OF Trent Grisham

Grisham underperformed his first-round pedigree (2015) from 2016 to 2018 in the minors, when he hit .228 with 140 runs, 17 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 54 stolen bases over 1,013 at-bats. 

His bat came alive in 2019 between AA and AAA (.300 with 71 runs, 26 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 12 steals over 370 at-bats), earning him a chance to start in the majors (.231/24/6/24/1 over 156 at-bats) with the Brewers.

Over the last four seasons with the Padres, Grisham hit .214 with 228 runs, 55 home runs, 191 RBIs, and 45 stolen bases over 1,597 at-bats. He had a top-of-the-order walk rate (11.7), but strikeouts (28.2%) became more of a problem over the past two years, especially when adding in his weakness in contact batting average (2022 – .276 and 2-2023 – .295). His bat was a liability in the fantasy market every month last year in batting average (only hit higher than .200 in June – .247). Surprisingly, Grisham was a better hitter vs. lefties (.256 with four home runs and 16 RBIs over 121 at-bats). 

Fantasy Outlook: Grisham will provide veteran experience off the bench this season while working as an insurance card if Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton has an injury. He’ll be found in the free pool in all formats to start the season. 

Starting Pitching

SP Gerrit Cole

Over four seasons in New York, Cole went 51-23 with 816 strikeouts over 664.0 innings while recording four of his five career shutouts. He led the American League in ERA (2.63), WHIP (0.981), and innings pitched (209.0) in 2023. Only four other pitchers reached the 200-inning mark in the majors. 

In 2022, he struggled over his first three starts (eight runs, 16 base runners, and three home runs over 11.1 innings) while adding five other disaster starts (28 runs, 45 base runners, and 12 home runs over 28.1 innings). Cole also finished up the season with a disappointing run over nine starts (3.99 ERA) despite a favorable WHIP (0.994) and batting average against (.202). His failure over this span was directly tied to his struggles with home runs (12 over 56.1 innings).

He allowed two runs or fewer in 26 of his 33 starts last season. Cole had his best success over his first seven (5-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 46.2 innings) and final seven starts (5-0 with 52 strikeouts over 48.2 innings). He had four disaster showings (16 runs, 33 baserunners, and eight home runs over 20 innings with 21 strikeouts). His pitches played well vs. righties (.210 BAA) and lefties (.202 BAA).

His average fastball (96.9) was a five-year low. Over the last six seasons, Cole allowed 82 home runs off his four-seam fastball (.208 BAA over 1,802 at-bats). His slider (.196 BAA) and four-seamer (.202 BAA) continue to be elite pitches while offering a winning curveball (.214 BAA) and cutter (.238 BAA). He did lose the feel for his changeup (.263 BAA). 

Cole solved his home run problem (0.9 per nine – 1.5 in 2022) thanks to a much lower HR/FB rate (9.4 – 16.8 in 2022 and 12.2 in his career). His walk rate (2.1) remains elite, but he had a sharp decline in his strikeout rate (9.6 – 11.5 in 2022). 

Fantasy Outlook: His FPGscore (9.69) ranked first for pitchers, compared to 12th and 8th over the previous two years. Cole has an ADP of 13 as the second pitcher selected in the early draft season. Last year, he pitched at least six innings in 26 of his 33 starts. To reach difference-maker wins, Cole needs New York to be much better at scoring runs. More of the same and a rebound in strikeouts should be expected.

SP Carlos Rodon

Over his first six seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Rodon went 29-33 with a 4.14 ERA and 525 strikeouts over 536.2 innings. Injuries led to a minimum of 69 missed starts from 2017 to 2020. With only 7.2 pitched in 2020 due to TJ surgery, his arm was well off the radar the following season. 

Surprisingly, Rodon came off his injury with a significant step forward in his walk rate (2.5) in 2021 and 2022, leading to an elite strikeout rate (12.2) and a lower batting average against (.197). 

In 2022, he pitched much better at home (8-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 121 strikeouts over 84 innings) than on the road (6-6 with a 3.73 ERA and 116 strikeouts over 94 innings) despite a similar WHIP (1.036/1.021). Rodon had his worst showing in mid-May (eight runs and 11 baserunners over 3.2 innings), plus three disaster outings (15 runs, 21 baserunners, and four home runs over 15 innings) over eight starts after the All-Star break. Over his other 27 starts, he allowed two runs or fewer in 23 games.

Last season, he started the year on the injured list with a back injury. After returning in early July, Rodon failed to find consistency over his 14 starts (6.85 ERA, 1.447 WHIP, and 15 home runs over 64.1 innings). His walk rate (3.9) was a significant issue, and he struggled with right-handed batters (.274 with 12 home runs over 208 at-bats). 

His average fastball (95.5) fell in line with his previous two seasons. Rodon still has an elite slider (.200 BAA). He lost the feel of his four-seamer (.287 BAA with 11 home runs over 164 at-bats – .211 in 2022). His curveball (.375 BAA) sharply declined (.039 BAA in 2022). 

Fantasy Outlook: Rodon went from a rising arm in the fantasy market to one that might be a trap again in 2024. His ADP (167) looks like a buying opportunity for the drafters expecting him to regain his form. The excess weight (255 lbs.) could be part of his back issue, and he also battled a left elbow issue last spring. I can’t invest until he has a clean bill of health in spring training.

SP Nestor Cortes

Cortes parleyed his 2021 opportunity in the Yankees’ starting rotation to an impressive breakthrough season in 2022. He finished with the 24th-best FPGscore (4.04) for pitchers. The first indicator of growth was the step up in his first-pitch strike rate (67), leading to the lowest walk rate (2.2) in his career while being more challenging to hit (.189 BAA). 

Over his 28 starts, Cortes didn’t allow more than four runs in any matchup. He pitched six innings in only 13 games. His season started 1.35 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 40 innings and ended with another impressive 69.2 innings (2.07 ERA and 68 strikeouts). Left-handed batters only hit .110 with two extra-base hits over 82 at-bats. 

In 2023, Cortes pitched well over his first five starts (3-1 with a 3.49 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 28.1 innings). He struggled in three of his next six starts (6.68 ERA and 1.516 WHIP over 31 innings). A left shoulder strained rotator cuff led to only one game over the final four months. 

Cortes is a flyball pitcher (57.1% – 49.9 in his career). His improved fastball (91.7 mph) matched 2022 while being challenging to hit (.206 BAA). His secondary pitches lost value last season (cutter – .245 BAA, slider – .278 BAA, and changeup – .385 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook: This draft season in the NFBC, Cortes has an ADP of 281 (169 spots higher than 2022). The offseason reports seem positive. He will move up draft boards if he shows anything in spring training. His resume of success is short while pitching more than 120 innings once in his career. I can’t trust his overall innings, so I’ll look for upside elsewhere.

SP Clarke Schmidt

In the minors, Schmidt pitched 185 career innings (8-11 with a 3.16 ERA and 224 strikeouts) over four seasons. His strikeout rate (10.9) and walk rate (2.7) graded well. At age 28, Schmidt already had TJ surgery (2017) while battling a second elbow issue in 2021. He has never pitched more than 91 innings in any season in his pro career before 2023 (159 innings).

Over 29 appearances with the Yankees in 2022, Schmidt had a regression in command (3.6 walks per nine). Batters only hit .222, leading to a 3.12 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 57.2 innings. He struggled vs. lefties (.268 BAA with 11 walks and 20 strikeouts over 82 innings). Schmidt finished the year with success in September (3.54 ERA over 20.1 innings with 20 strikeouts).

Coming into last year, his arm had an upside feel while gaining some draft momentum in the high-stakes fantasy market in late March. When the lights clicked on for the regular season, Schmidt was a liability over his first nine starts (6.30 ERA, 1.650 WHIP, and eight home runs over 40.0 innings). From May 19th to September 6th, he allowed three runs or fewer in 18 of his 19 starts, leading to a 3.84 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, and 91 strikeouts over 100.2 innings. In his one lousy day over this span, the Braves drilled him for eight runs and 11 baserunners over 2.1 innings. Schmidt posted a 5.40 ERA over his final 18.1 innings with four runs, eight walks, and 10 strikeouts. He pitched at least six innings in only five games while never throwing 100 pitches.

His average fastball (93.7) was about league average. His only pitch of value was his curveball (.196 BAA). Batters had 10 home runs off his slider (.259 BAA), and seven balls left the ballpark via his cutter (.264 BAA). Lefties hit .303 against him with 28 doubles and 10 home runs over 304 at-bats. When at his best, Schmidt relied on his four-seamer (61.3%) and slider (31.3%) for over 92% of his pitches.

Fantasy Outlook: Between his jump of 68.1 innings from 2022 and his lack of a winning third pitch, Schmidt won’t project as an arm of interest for me in 2023. His ADP (339) seems fair when looking at his walk (2.6) and strikeout (8.4) rates. A year’s worth of experience should lead to more success if he solves lefties, but I sense an injury will derail his progress. Just by being a Yankee, there will be more fight for him on draft day in 2024 if Schmidt shines in spring training.

SP Luis Gil

Over his first five seasons in the minors, Gil had a 3.08 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, and 381 strikeouts over 286.1 innings. Despite success in ERA, he walked too many batters (5.3 per nine) while offering an elite strikeout rate (12.0).

New York gave him six starts in 2021, and he almost repeated his minor league resume (3.07 ERA, 1.330 WHIP, BB/9 – 5.8, and K/9 – 11.7). His major league career started with 15.2 shutout innings with 18 strikeouts, but his lack of command caught up to him in September (11 runs, 23 baserunners, 12 walks, and four home runs over 13.2 innings).

His 2022 season ended in early May with TJ surgery and no success (8.06 ERA, 1.675 WHIP, and six home runs over 25.2 innings). Gil returned to the mound in the minors last September (four runs and nine base runners over four innings), where his fastball reached 98 mph.

His average fastball (96.1) graded well in 2021 with New York, along with his plus slider (.135 BAA) and low-volume changeup (.143 BAA). 

Fantasy Outlook: Gil will get plenty of swings and misses, and his secondary pitches are getting defined and improving. If his velocity does gain value in 2024, he’ll be that much harder to hit. Gil is an arm to follow this spring as he may emerge as the Yankee’s fifth starter, depending on their free-agent signings. His first obstacle is throwing more strikes.

SP Yoendrys Gomez

Gomez has six seasons of experience in the minors, where he went 9-12 with a 3.41 ERA and 292 strikeouts over 275.0 innings. After sitting out in 2020 (no minor league baseball), he blew out his right elbow (TJ surgery) the following year. In 2023, the Yankees gave him 19 short-inning starts at AA (he pitched five innings in one game). 

His seasoned started with a 1.26 ERA, .156 BAA, and 34 strikeouts over 28.2 innings while battling his command (17 walks).  As New York increased his workload, his arm had less value (5.40 ERA, 1.418 WHIP, and 44 strikeouts over 36.2 innings). Surprisingly, Gomez dominated in his only major league appearance (no runs, one hit, and four strikeouts over four innings).

When at his best, his fastball sat in the mid-90s while working with a curveball, slider, and changeup combination of pitches. 

Fantasy Outlook: Gomez must improve his command vs. right-handed batters and add more length to his appearances to be a viable arm in the majors. The Yankees should start him at AAA in 2024, with a chance to see bullpen work in New York over the summer.

SP Chase Hampton

After two dull seasons at Texas Tech (9-5 with a 4.10 ERA and 106 strikeouts over 101 innings), New York drafted Hampton in the sixth round of the 2022 MLB June Amateur Draft. His arm played well in 2023 at High A, leading to a 2.68 ERA and 77 strikeouts over 47 innings. After a promotion to AA in mid-June, Hampton looked overmatched over 59.2 innings (4.37 ERA and 68 strikeouts). 

On the year, his strikeout rate (12.2) came in better than expected while starting his pro career with reasonable command (3.1 walks per nine). He did have issues with home runs (1.2 per nine) at AA. Hampton relies on a league-average fastball that shows life in the strike zone. His slider projects as an above-average pitch. 

Fantasy Outlook: Hampton may need a few more starts at AA before becoming a viable option to reach AAA and possibly the majors in 2024. He has low mileage on his arm while needing to prove that he can handle more innings. 


CL Clay Holmes

Holmes came through the Pirates’ system as a starter, but his walk rate (4.4) hurt his chance to reach the majors. A triceps issue in 2019 led to Holmes struggling in the minors (6.41 ERA) and the majors (5.58 ERA) while pitching out of the bullpen. He only pitched 1.1 innings in 2020 due to a foot issue and a second forearm injury. 

The Pirates traded him midseason in 2021 after a poor 44 innings (4.93 ERA and 5.34 walks per nine). The pitching coach for New York immediately corrected his command issues, leading to a 1.61 ERA over 28.0 innings while walking only 1.3 batters per nine with a career-best strikeout rate (10.9). 

In 2022, Holmes allowed only two runs over his first 39.1 innings with six walks and 40 strikeouts, leading to him seizing the closing job (16 saves in 19 chances) in New York. However, after a disastrous outing on July 12th (four runs and five baserunners while failing to record an out), his arm lost value over his final 23 innings (4.44 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, and .222 BAA). He battled a back injury in August while finishing the year with a shoulder issue.

Surprisingly, Holmes made it through last season with no injury news. He converted 24 of his 27 saves, with an exceptional run from May 6th to August 11th (4-0 with a 0.78 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 42 strikeouts, and 12 saves over 34.2 innings). His arm went backward over his subsequent six appearances (nine runs and 16 baserunners over 5.1 innings) before an uptick end to the season (one run over 13 innings with 13 strikeouts and eight saves).

His sinking fastball (96.2 – .244 BAA) was as dominant as 2022 (.189) due to regression vs. right-handed batters (.313 BAA). Holmes continues to have a plus slider (.113 BAA with 45 strikeouts over 71 at-bats).

Fantasy Outlook: I wasn’t in his camp last year due to his underlying injury risk. He picked up another crack (fading sinker against righties) in 2023 that will go unnoticed by most of the fantasy world. His ADP (121) in the early draft season in the high-stakes market ranks him as the 21st closer selected. Holmes has been excellent in his time in New York (16-10 with a 2.50 ERA and 170 strikeouts over 154.2 innings). It’s not a slam dunk that he’ll be better, but the ninth inning looks like his job to lose in 2024.

RP Jonathan Loaisiga

Despite a 15-5 record with a 2.89 ERA and 164 strikeouts over 177.1 innings over five seasons in the minors, Loaisiga could never stay healthy enough to pitch over 60 innings. The Yankees gave him chances to start from 2018 to 2020 (7-2 with a 4.42 ERA and 92 strikeouts out over 79.1 innings), but he rarely pitched more than four innings.

Switching to the Yankees’ bullpen in 2021 treated him well, leading to nine wins with a 2.17 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, five saves, and 69 strikeouts over 70.2 innings. He finished the year with a right shoulder issue that flared up again the following May. 

In 2022, Loaisiga struggled over his first 16.2 innings (7.02 ERA, 1.560 WHIP, and three home runs). After seven weeks on the injured list, his arm regained value over his final 30.2 innings (1.76 ERA, 1.044 WHIP, and .200 BAA).

Three games into last season (one run over 3.1 innings with one strikeout), Loaisiga was on the injured list for four months with a right elbow injury (bone spur) that required surgery. After 12 shutout innings with five strikeouts, he struggled in back-to-back games (five runs and eight hits over 1.2 innings), leading to the Yankees shutting him down for the season with a sore right elbow.

His average fastball (97.9) is among the best in the league. Loaisiga featured a plus slider (no hits over 50 pitches) but lost the feel for his changeup (.357 BAA). His strikeout (5.9) over his last 67 innings highlights his underlying issues.

Fantasy Outlook: Loaisiga may need TJ surgery. He’s pitched more than 48 innings in the majors only once over six seasons while picking up only seven career saves. I can’t chase him down at this point in his career unless Loaisiga posts zeros for many games in the regular season.

RP Ian Hamilton

Over his first three seasons in the White Sox farm system, Hamilton went 8-9 over 156.0 innings with 165 strikeouts and 37 saves. Chicago gave him 10 appearances in the majors in 2018, where he allowed four runs, eight baserunners, and two home runs over eight innings. 

Unfortunately, Hamilton took a line drive to the face while sitting on the bench in 2019, starting the demise of his career over the next three years (4.77 ERA in the minors and 5.40 ERA in the majors). 

He pitched well in 2023 in spring training, earning him a major league job. After 16 games, Hamilton has a 1.23 ERA and 30 strikeouts over 22.0 innings. A groin issue pushed him to the injured list for six weeks. His arm had less value over his final 23 appearances (3.50 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 36 innings). 

His average fastball (96.3) beat the league average, and batters hit .211 against it with one home run over 38 at-bats. Hamilton features a slider (.167 BAA) as his top usage pitch (54.3%). His sinker (.383 BAA) was a significant liability.

Fantasy Outlook: Hamilton has some closing experience in the minors but doesn’t throw enough strikes (walk rate – 4.0 in 2023 and 4.2 in the majors) to pitch in the ninth inning. At best, an early setup man for New York in 2024.


This 2024 New York Yankees Preview is courtesy of Shawn Childs. Read Shawn’s expert fantasy analysis at his Substack.

About Shawn Childs 970 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.