2024 Fantasy Baseball: 10 key Dodgers, 10 season outlooks

The 2024 Los Angeles Dodgers are loaded with star power in every facet of the team. That means they also have several fantasy baseball assets, including nine players coming off the board in the top 110 picks on Yahoo, and one very intriguing wild-card player being drafted just after that.

We asked our MLB and fantasy baseball analysts to each provide a season outlook for one of the 10 players to further understand the potential of this talented ensemble.

Elite Bats

Mookie Betts ready to flex even more power?

Mookie Betts is coming off his most prolific offensive season since his 2018 MVP campaign and is expected to once again occupy the leadoff spot for the Dodgers, just as he did 151 times a year ago. This season, though, Shohei Ohtani will be hitting behind Betts instead of Freeman, who will follow Ohtani in the No. 3 spot. Will this make any tangible difference in how Betts is pitched? I’m guessing not, but another layer of superstar lineup protection surely couldn’t hurt, and I do wonder if Betts does even see a handful more hittable pitches than he did last year — the kind he so regularly capitalized on hitting in front of Freeman.

Betts has evolved into a bona fide slugger, adding a couple ticks of average exit velocity and nearly perfecting the art of pulling fly balls en route to a career-high 39 homers. The fact that he was able to record the highest walk rate of his career hitting in front of literally Freddie Freeman is further evidence of just how locked in Betts was at the plate for the entirety of last season. He knows exactly what pitches he’s looking for, and when he gets them he does damage. It’s obviously a pick-your-poison situation for opposing pitchers facing the top of the Dodgers' lineup, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Betts continues to escalate his power production further with Shohei Ohtani now chillin’ on deck behind him. If he gets even a smidge more pitches in the zone to attack, we could be looking at 40+ homers. — Jordan Shusterman

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

Continue to bank on Freddie Freeman's dependability

“Dependability” in the sports context has developed somewhat of a negative connotation. To be reliable is to underwhelm, to fail to exhilarate. But while flashy catches the eye and the fancy new thing inspires wonder, Freddie Freeman keeps on hitting. The Dodgers first baseman has hit above .300 every year but one since Shohei Ohtani turned 21 years old. Father Time hasn’t sapped his power quite yet and when you mix in Freeman’s newfound penchant for stolen bases — he had 23 last year — this is as consistent of a performer as there is. And now that he’s hitting behind Mookie Betts AND Ohtani, there’s a good chance his RBI total ticks up a smidge or two. There’s too much in this complicated world to worry about, so take Freeman's .300/100/25 to your nearest bank and cash it. — Jake Mintz

A Shohei Ohtani we've never seen before?

It's Shohei Ohtani's world and we're just living in it. The two-time AL MVP is $700 million richer, newly married and now hitting in the heart of one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Almost six months after his mysterious elbow surgery, Ohtani looks like the same unicorn who has taken the baseball world by storm this spring.

So what does the Sho-man's first year with the Dodgers look like? The Dodgers offer Ohtani lineup protection that he's never had and hitting between Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman could unlock a version of him we've never seen. Ohtani will be focusing solely as a hitter in 2024 and with his ability, a 50- or even 60-homer season could be on the horizon. Nothing Ohtani does is a surprise anymore. — Russell Dorsey

Potential Aces

How will three-time Japanese League MVP Yoshinobu Yamamoto acclimate to MLB?

In 1993, the Dodgers traded away a sub-6-foot pitcher with a live fastball and great breaking stuff. Name of Pedro Martinez. You might have heard of him. Yamamoto is similar in stature, and started opening eyes in his first MLB spring training after winning three straight Sawamura and MVP Awards in his final three seasons for the Orix Buffaloes.

The biggest adaptation that Japanese pitchers have to make when coming stateside is pitching more frequently than once a week. The Dodgers, though, have been a model franchise at giving pitchers more than four days of rest almost three-quarters of their starts since 2015. The coaching staff is already formulating a plan to have Yamamoto pitching close to his once-a-week regimen, which will likely have him starting to 25-27 times instead of 30+. Even at that reduced workload, Yamamoto is poised for a big season.

With the Dodgers’ potent offense scoring tons of runs for him, a collection of glovemen behind him who posted the second-best defensive efficiency in baseball at .709, and a bullpen that was tops in WHIP and second in ERA, Yamamoto will register plenty of wins. Strikeouts should pile up even though he won’t get near 200 innings, but throwing 140-150 high-quality innings with good ratios will be well worth the ADP of 35.5. — Jorge Martin

Will 2024 be the best year of Tyler Glasnow's career?

Cillian Murphy was incredible in Oppenheimer, so the best is yet to come ...

... oh wait — I'm supposed to talk about Tyler Glasnow (until I see the two of them in the same place, I remain unconvinced they're not the same person).

We know the measurables and the numbers. We know the stuff is disgusting (his Whiff percentage last year was in the 96th percentile, and he’s averaged 96 mph on his fastball the last four seasons — big fan of the number 96, apparently).

But the reason why his name is usually left out of the upper-echelon fantasy starting pitchers is due to him dealing with forearm, elbow, oblique and back injuries dating back to 2019. Last season was his first surpassing the 115-inning mark.

While I’m not as high on him as my guy Dalton Del Don is, I cannot deny that Glasnow’s ceiling has never been as lofty as it is this season. And what’s to say that the Dodgers — the only other team just as good as the Rays and, say, Atlanta, at working magic with their new pitchers — won’t “fix” Glasnow?

What’s to say he won’t repeat his 2023 numbers — 120 IP, 3.53 ERA, 162 Ks — just with 5+ more wins? I’m pouncing without a second thought if Glasnow falls past his ADP (43.9) in my drafts. — Mo Castillo

Dependable Lineup Options

A free-agent addition few are talking about

Teoscar Hernández landed in a terrific spot for his fantasy value, as he gets to hit in a loaded Dodgers lineup (that’s projected to score the second-most runs) and in a park that’s increased homers for right-handed batters by 26% over the last three seasons. He posted a top-20 wRC+ (133) among all hitters from 2020-2022 before playing in MLB’s worst hitter’s park last year in Seattle, where he says he also had difficulty picking up the ball. Hernández recorded just an 81 wRC+ at home compared to 126 on the road and finished with a Hard-Hit% in the top 10% of the league, so he could post a monster line with the dramatic improvement in parks.

Projections have Hernández approaching 30 homers and 90 RBI in fewer than 140 games in 2024, and that’s with him slated to hit seventh — just imagine if/when he moves to LA’s cleanup spot. Hernández is in a perfect situation for a contract year, and he’s one of the biggest fantasy bargains available 100+ picks into Yahoo drafts. — Dalton Del Don

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

Easy to forget the Dodgers have a star catcher, too

Will Smith is primed to lead all catchers in RBI, thanks to his incredible lineup spot as the cleanup hitter behind Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman. Still in his prime as he heads into his age-29 season, Smith is arguably the safest player at his premium position, having produced similar stat lines in each of the past three years.

And he could match his career-high 80 runs scored from 2023 thanks to the addition of another accomplished power hitter, Teoscar Hernández, to the bottom half of the lineup. Playing time concerns are the only reason to keep Smith’s projection below that of Adley Rutschman. The catcher won’t receive more than a handful of appearances as a designated hitter after totaling 39 starts at the position over the past two seasons, and he is unlikely to have a significant uptick in his already-substantial workload behind the plate.

Even with a deep pool of catcher options, Smith is an appealing option at his Yahoo ADP of pick 78.7. — Fred Zinkie

Arms with upside

Why aren't we talking about Bobby Miller more?

Understandably, much of the buzz surrounding the Dodgers is attached to the new arrivals. When a team spends over $1 billion on two dudes, it tends to get people talking. But let’s remember that LA’s roster also features a few young, developing, massively talented players coming off impressive seasons.

Bobby Miller has a deep and dangerous arsenal with a triple-digit fastball included. His Statcast page is full of red. Miller was a bit unlucky in terms of ERA last season, yet he still finished at a respectable 3.76. He also ranked among the MLB leaders in limiting both walks and homers, an obviously promising sign.

Basically, Miller profiles as a high-K, low-WHIP future star. If he pitched for any of 29 other teams, he’d be widely viewed as an essential, foundational piece. It feels as if the Dodgers actually see him that way, too, even if he’s under-discussed nationally. — Andy Behrens

Evan Phillips is a potential bullpen bargain

I like to assemble my fantasy bullpen on a budget; I will not be the first manager to select a closer. So Evan Phillips is a key consideration for my 2024 strategy. He's been a wipeout reliever since becoming a Dodgers regular two years back (1.59 ERA, 0.796 WHIP), and Dave Roberts says Phillips will handle the majority of the Los Angeles save opportunities in 2024.

A repeat of last year would be fine with me. Phillips collected 24 handshakes for the season, while 10 other Dodgers combined for 20 saves. Roberts is not going to let the save rule hamstring his managing style; he's creative enough to identify high-leverage spots that come before the ninth inning and he'll proceed accordingly. I can't fault a manager who's doing what's best for his club, even if it costs my targeted stopper a few save opportunities.

Track record and resume length are the only reasons why Phillips still has a cheap Yahoo ADP of 103.1, which makes him the 13th closer off the board. He was a journeyman before landing in LA; pitching ineffectively in Baltimore and briefly sipping coffee in Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Relief pitcher production isn't particularly sticky year over year, so it's possible Phillips found some pixie dust in recent seasons but it could vanish without warning this time around. That said, if Phillips maintains anything close to his recent LA form, you're looking at an easy fantasy profit. — Scott Pianowski

The X-Factor: Walker Buehler

Walker Buehler has more upside than most anyone you'll find on the Dodgers. Following surgery to repair his flexor tendon as well as Tommy John surgery (the second of his career), Buehler will be returning to the mound for the first time since June 2022. Well rested and fully healed, the two-time All-Star doesn't need to rush back. The Dodgers are well stocked everywhere, from the rotation to the bullpen to the lineup, and Buehler's success won't singularly make or break them.

That gives Buehler one heck of a safety net, one any pitcher returning from injury would love to have. He's on schedule to join the rotation by the end of April, and while the Dodgers could be careful with him, he'll almost certainly be given a fair amount of leeway to find the vintage Buehler from 2019 and 2021, the guy who finished in the top 10 of NL Cy Young voting in both years and could eat innings at will. The conditions are perfect for him to get back to that. — Liz Roscher