2024 Fantasy Baseball: The most underrated players in Rounds 1-10 of drafts

The second in a series, we’re stepping into the box to talk underrated players in this article after we waded through the safest players last time up to the plate.

These are hardly players who are considered under the radar, as the first player a few paragraphs down has almost as much paparazzi following him as Taylor Swift.

These are the players whose ADP might be a bit low, considering either who else is going in the same range or compared to others at their position who, for some unknown reason, are being drafted higher. Sometimes significantly higher.

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It could be because of an off year that may have slightly soured the fantasy community, or possibly some missed time. It can even be a player who’s excelling in a small market, out of the daily limelight of the baseball world. Yet these players are all coming off the board at an ADP that can be anywhere from slightly to significantly lower than they could be going.

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

So let’s go ahead and present a round-by-round breakdown of 10 players who are underrated in 2024 fantasy drafts.

Round 1: Shohei Ohtani, UTIL, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP: 12.1)

His only being available at the utility spot has to be the lone reason Ohtani is not firmly in the top half of the first round. Any player who has the capability of hitting 40+ home runs and stealing 20+ bags, while still notching 100 runs and RBI has to be a top-10 pick. Maybe even in the first five selections.

Don’t forget that Ohtani is only hitting this year, so he’ll be fresher than any of the past three seasons when he was pulling double duty. And he’ll be doing it with Freddie Freeman and Will Smith behind him. Can Ohtani be looking at 50+ home runs?

Round 2: Trea Turner, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 13.4)

On Aug. 8, Turner had a .238 batting average before getting three hits in a doubleheader. He never stopped hitting from that point, blazing through the final 45 games of the season with a .343 batting average, 15 home runs, 41 runs, 37 RBI and nine steals. It’s rarely easy to be the new kid in school, especially one with so many zeroes in his paycheck. Now in his second year in Philly, Turner should hit second in the high-octane Philadelphia lineup and produce solid-to-great numbers in all five hitting categories.

Round 3: Zack Wheeler, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 28.7)

Somehow, Wheeler has gotten better, pitching half his games in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Ballpark while striking out more than a batter per inning with WHIP ratios of 1.08 and lower each of the past three seasons. Wheeler signed a monster three-year extension just before spring training, so the Phillies’ brass is banking on him continuing his great run of pitching. He could be a good anchor for a fantasy staff, which would allow drafters to go back to taking hitters for several rounds.

Round 4: CJ Abrams, SS, Washington Nationals (ADP: 45.4)

In 78 games from July 1 through the end of the season, Abrams hit 11 home runs, stole 36 bases and scored 52 runs. Prorated over 162 games that would be 23 home runs, 79 stolen bases and 110 runs. Does that sound like Round 1 value?

Just 23, Abrams is ascending in the game and learning to use his Grade-80 speed to torment the opposition. If those power numbers stick, watch out.

Round 5: Logan Webb, SP, San Francisco Giants (ADP: 55.3)

A pitcher with a 99th percentile groundball rate who will now be backed on the left side of the infield by Matt Chapman and (likely) Nick Ahmed should make fantasy managers pretty happy. Webb is going to see plenty of worm burners turn into outs which could help him go deeper into games and may allow him to surpass the 194 strikeouts from last year.

Round 6: J.T. Realmuto, C, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 68.7)

The value of a catcher who has 20-homer power and can steal bases in the double digits is immense. Realmuto has hit that mark the past two seasons, and went 17-13 the previous season. Even with Kyle Schwarber in the DH role, Realmuto appears to be a lock to get 500+ plate appearances, a mark only 10 catchers reached last year.

Just pick him and forget about the position.

Round 7: Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 80.9)

If Lowe were playing for NL East rivals like the Yankees or Red Sox, he might go a round higher. Maybe two. Take the discount on an outfielder in his prime — age 26 — hitting in a lineup that was fourth in MLB in runs scored. He finished his first full big-league season hitting .292 with 20 home runs and 32 steals — is that his floor?

Round 8: Gleyber Torres, 2B, New York Yankees (ADP: 94.4)

Hard to imagine a Yankee being considered underrated, but Torres being the ninth second baseman off the board is tremendous value. He has power to hit mid-20s home runs and swiped double-digit bags the past two seasons. This position has some depth, so make sure to maximize premium picks on outfielders and not sweat the marquee second basemen. Save your slot for a value like Torres.

Round 9: Evan Phillips, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP: 103.1)

From July 29 through the end of the season, Phillips was utilized as the Dodgers’ primary closer. He registered 12 saves, blew one with an ERA of 1.64 and a WHIP of 0.86. To get the top reliever on a team that is a great bet to win 100+ games as the 12th closer off the board? Sign me up. The only reason he’s on this much of a discount is likely because he split closer duties during the earlier portion of 2023, limiting him to only 24 saves. That won’t be the case this season. He also gets style points for being an avid fantasy football player.

Round 10: Cole Ragans, SP/RP, Kansas City Royals (ADP: 111.5)

There has been quite a bit of positive chatter around Ragans; it’s almost hard to believe that he’s being taken as the SP30 after pick No. 110. He became a revelation after joining the Royals’ rotation — following a trade from the Rangers — allowing just 50 hits in 71.2 innings while striking out 89 hitters in that span. He'll be solid in strikeouts and the ratio categories, and if the Royals improve offensively he should notch double-digit wins with 30+ starts.