5 Hitters PLV Loves For 2024 Fantasy Baseball

Five Bats that PLV says will help your fantasy team.

Are you wondering who posted the best HP (hitter performance) metric according to PLV? That would be Corey Seager; his 147 edged Shohei Ohtani at 142. OK, that’s not surprising. We’ll look at five hitters who might be a touch undervalued based on their PLV metrics. I hope for better returns than last year’s edition. Although, well, I suppose it couldn’t have ended much worse. Poor Taylor Ward, you deserved so much better.


1. Edouard Julien


Julien, an 18th-round pick out of Auburn, slashed .300/ .441/ .490 across 113 games with Double-A Wichita in 2022 and began last season in St. Paul. The Twins optioned Julien twice during the season before re-calling him for good on June 10th thanks to Jorge Polanco’s strained hamstring. Julien did well, bopping 16 home runs across 109 games while hitting .263 with a .381 OBP.

His ability to take a walk stands out right away; last year’s 15.7% BB rate would’ve placed him third among qualifiers, just ahead of Shohei Ohtani. Sure enough, PLV adores his swing decisions. His oDV or, out-of-zone decision value metric of 138, was the best in baseball among all hitters who saw at least 500 pitches. Yes, Juan Soto was a tick behind in second at 136. Of course, Soto has the best eye in baseball but Julien’s ability to avoid chasing pitches out of the zone is exceptional.

His downside, though, is contact. Last year’s 31.4% K rate would’ve placed him fifth-worst among qualifiers, just ahead of Teoscar Hernández. Part of the problem is his swing decisions inside the zone (75 zDV), which indicates he was probably a little too passive for his own good at times; there were only three hitters last year with lower swing aggression than Julien. I’m curious to see if he might be more aggressive in year two. If he isn’t, there’s a fairly decent chance that his batting average will dip. In that sense, he reminds me a little of Max Muncy, who also posted a 75 zDV. Regardless, Julien’s place atop the Twins’ order and power indicates an intriguing ceiling, especially in formats that value walks.


2. Yandy Díaz


Remember when Yandy started the season hitting all those fly balls making us think the world had suddenly turned upside down? We were living in Yandy land. But then the transformation turned right side up again, that is to say, more groundballs.

Despite the mid-season crater, he ended with a career-high 22 dingers. However, he also ended with a lower average launch angle (5.8) than last year (8) when he totaled nine home runs. Yes, I know ALA doesn’t tell you much, but it’s funny how the numbers work out sometimes. According to his PL player page, Yandy’s flyball rate dropped four points.

Díaz’s PLV report sheet is exceedingly good across the board, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising considering he’s a career .290 hitter with a .410 OBP. However, along with his usually stellar plate discipline, we saw a bump in power (89 to 98) with a dip in contact (125 to 117). Despite the drop in flyballs, Yandy might’ve been on to something after all. As Nate Schwartz recently detailed, Yandy’s 90th percentile EVs were telling.

If you’re like me, you might have reluctance in chasing a 32-year-old off a career-high in runs scored and HR/FB%. It’s just hard to be head over heels for a first baseman with a 95th-percentile ground ball rate. I get it. But PLV endorses last year’s power bump. All the major projections are in agreeance, too, and have him hitting between 17-19 home runs. Díaz might not have the home run upside of young risers like Triston Casas or Spencer Torkelson but his batting average ability provides a much safer floor and if last year was any indication, his ceiling is nothing to sneeze at either. It might seem like we’re buying high on Dìaz but in actuality, his market price might not have gone up enough.


3. Marcell Ozuna


Having fallen off the face of the earth, hitting .222 with a .294 wOBA over his previous two seasons (172 games), it’s safe to say few people expected much from Marcell Ozuna. Well, so much for that. He finished sixth with 40 home runs and tenth with a .381 wOBA.

Now, granted, Ozuna had some huge seasons earlier in his career but either way, last year’s results felt out of nowhere given how far he had fallen. Context is critical. You know the deal with the Atlanta lineup; it’s a fantasy fun land of opportunities. But if you’re otherwise on the fence about Ozuna, his PLV metrics were terrific and back the performance. I could ramble, but sometimes a picture is better.

The two awful seasons before last year make Ozuna difficult to comfortably forecast, and if you want to just cross him off, I get it. He’s UTIL only this year, too. But the major projections systems on FanGraphs are giving him 30 home runs while more or less splitting the difference between last year’s .274 average and the .226 he posted in 2022. Ozuna showed plus power in 2022 (119) but last year’s power, of course, was on another level (132). His swing decisions, particularly inside the zone (126 zDV) were quite good too. It all adds to Ozuna remaining an excellent source of HR/RBI.


4. Jarren Duran


OK, PLV absolutely loving Jarren Duran might be an overstatement considering his plate approach is rough around the edges but let’s highlight someone with speed who is a little under the radar.

Duran struggled in 2022; he struck out a lot (28.1%) while hitting just .221 across 58 games. But as you can spot above, Duran’s grades jumped across the board last year. Well, everything except power. But, hey, we can’t have everything. The gains in contact, thanks in part to a more aggressive plate approach, were appreciable and netted about a three-point dip in his K rate.

Last year’s results were impressive. His .354 wOBA was third-best on the Red Sox (min 100 PA). He also, of course, easily led the team with 24 steals despite playing in just 102 games.

A sprained toe prematurely ended his season in early September but as you can tell, his HP finished near the 90th percentile. He also excelled leading off, hitting .319 across 36 games. Not surprisingly, Alex Cora recently named Duran his leadoff hitter this upcoming season.

If you eyeball the projections for Josh Lowe and Duranthey are fairly close. Lowe showed more power (109) last year but his quality of swings and takes were well below average (76) and could forecast a big drop in batting average. If I’m taking a chance on either, it’s Duran given that you can get him significantly later in drafts. He demonstrated good growth last year and could be poised for a big season atop Boston’s lineup.


5. Sean Murphy


The Good Doctor belted a career-high 21 home runs while hitting .251 with a .366 wOBA. The last two were career-bests too excluding the handful of games he played in 2019. But his first year in Atlanta was clouded by a disastrous final 40 games during which he hit .159 with four home runs. Look out below. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

However, as Ben Pernick recently detailed in his Statcast Sleeper article, don’t cross Murphy off your list. He demonstrated a ton of power last year. His 122 power rating matched Ronald Acuña Jr. and Jorge Soler just to give an idea. He also demonstrated top-tier DV (125), a big improvement from 2022 (109). Even during his late-season swoon, his swings and takes were exceptional making me cautiously optimistic that it was just a case of the results not being there.

If he can put it all together, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him lead the position in HR and RBI making him a worthwhile grab as the ninth catcher off the board per NFBC.


Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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