First-Year Player Draft Sleepers for 2024

Sleeper Picks for First-Year Player Drafts (FYPD)

Dynasty baseball never sleeps. With the new year right around the corner, dynasty managers are in full-blown prep mode getting ready for 2024. Part of that is picking up the most recently drafted players through your first-year player draft. The dynasty team at Pitcher List has dedicated the month of November to bringing you FYPD content and that continues today. In the article below, I break down several sleeper picks that could take your dynasty team to the next level.


Mac Horvath, Baltimore Orioles; 2B/3B


22 games (99 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball, Low-A, and High-A

Horvath has always been a toolsy player, and in his final season at UNC, he tallied 24 home runs and 25 stolen bases. The monster final season led him to be drafted 53rd overall by Baltimore in the 2023 MLB Draft. The Orioles are on a great run of drafting and developing talent, and they hope Horvath is the next prospect to make that jump.

Horvath had a scorching start to his professional career, showcasing both his power and speed, with 5 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Through three games at Rookie Ball, 14 games at Low-A, and five games at High-A for Horvath in 2023, he showed positives at every level. Rookie Ball and Low-A seemed to be no issue for Horvath as he hit .556 and .308 at those two levels with a 13:20 BB/K ratio. Horvath hit .235 in his five games at High-A but held a 6:6 BB/K ratio, and added on two home runs and five steals in that short stint.


Horvath tends to pull the ball most of the time, which allows him to tap into his good raw power but may limit his approach as a hitter. Horvath pulled the ball over 50% percent of the time at his three levels in 2023, with a breakdown of 83.3% at rookie ball, 52.8% at Low-A, and 63.3% at High-A. He also experienced a high BABIP at his first two stops, (.800/ROK,.412 Low-A) and saw it drop to .222 at High-A. Given the small sample size, neither of these BABIP numbers should hold up for a full season for Horvath, most likely evening out his numbers a bit more.

The two biggest concerns for Horvath are going to be his ability to hit for average and maintain a manageable strikeout-to-walk ratio. This will most likely require more of an all-fields approach from Horvath to become a more complete and consistent hitter. Horvath struck out 26 times in 99 plate appearances, which is the biggest concern as he spent his time at lower levels. Horvath intrigues me as a prospect because of his success in college and the potential plus power and speed give him value if the bat doesn’t continue to improve.


Homer Bush Jr., San Diego Padres; OF


44 games (187 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball, Low-A, and Double-A

A teammate of Jacob Wilson at Grand Canyon University, Bush was selected 122 picks after Wilson at 128th overall in the 4th round. The Padres were aggressive with Bush Jr., as he catapulted all the way to Double-A in his first professional season. Bush has plus raw speed that gives him the chance to be a difference maker on the basepaths and in the outfield.

Homer Bush Jr. made this great catch back at the start of the college baseball season and it was one of his many highlight reel plays.

He followed this play up with a triple that he placed perfectly in the gap, showing the impact his speed can have on both sides of the ball. Bush Jr. stole 25 bases in his final collegiate season and continued that success with 22 stolen bases in his first 44 professional games.

But Bush Jr. is not just a speedster playing the game of baseball, he showed an excellent approach with 38 walks to just 27 strikeouts across 291 plate appearances at Grand Canyon. Having reached Double-A in his first season, Bush Jr. is looking like a real top-of-the-order threat for the Padres. The breakdown of games played for Bush Jr. in 2023 was 12 games at rookie ball, 24 games at Low-A, skipping High-A, and playing his final 8 games at Double-A. A 12.8% strikeout rate shows the ability to make contact, which gives him a better shot to use his speed once on base.

Bush Jr. may have had some luck involved as his BABIP in Rookie Ball and Double-A were both north of .400. This isn’t too much of a concern as Bush Jr. showed his ability to hit for contact in college to the tune of a .370 average. He has a good ability to hit to all fields and doesn’t hold a high ground ball rate, which should give him the opportunity to hit for more extra-base hits. Bush Jr. has good size at 6’3, 200 pounds, with some good raw power that could lead to 10-20 home runs per season.

If the Padres like what they saw out of Bush Jr. in 2023, they could start him at the Double-A level in 2024 with an accelerated path to the majors.


Tre’ Morgan, Tampa Bay Rays; 1B


14 games (56 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball & Low-A

A 3rd round pick at 88th overall, Morgan showcased his advanced approach in his brief debut for Tampa Bay. Morgan continued his impressive contact as he only tallied three strikeouts in his 14 games for the Rays. Much like he did at LSU, Morgan hit well over .300 between Rookie Ball and Low-A, going 19-48 for a .396 average. All eight of the walks Morgan drew in his professional debut came at the Low-A level, giving him a great 18.2% walk rate. The debut numbers for Morgan show he’s ready for more advanced pitching.

Morgan most likely faced more polished pitchers in the SEC compared to Rookie Ball and maybe Low-A, so the continued success for his profile is (unfairly?) expected. He hit the ball to all fields at both of his professional stops in 2023, but his BABIP and ground ball rate may be something to keep an eye on. Morgan had a personal season best of nine home runs in his final season at LSU, and with a tendency to hit more line drives as opposed to fly balls, he may be limited to 10-20 per year. In a game at LSU where he hit for the cycle, Morgan crushed a home run that looked as if he could hit 20+ a year. If his approach changes at the professional level to tap into that power, Morgan gains significant value with his plus ability to make contact.

Morgan is also a great defensive first baseman, as he made an impressive play in the College World Series to cut down a run at the plate.

The good hands on the defensive play translate at the plate as he controls the bat through the zone and makes plus contact. As I mentioned, Morgan sprays the ball to all fields, 35.3% pull, 38.2% to center, and 26.5% to the opposite field in his Low-A debut. Personally, I can see a Luis Arraez type of profile here, as he displays a good approach and often attacks the pitch he wants to hit.

There is a lot to like about Morgan’s game even though he won’t put up gaudy power or stolen base numbers. Morgan has the chance to be a 15-15 player with a high average if he continues his current profile.


5 Deep Sleepers


Ethan O’Donnell, Cincinnati Reds; OF


27 games (111 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball and Low-A

O’Donnell transferred to Virginia for his Junior season, where he hit .354 with 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases. O’Donnell holds a solid profile across the board with some power, speed, and the ability to hit for average.

Ethan O’Donnell showcased his pull-side power here with a good-looking swing that is compact, yet powerful. O’Donnell could be a good deep target that can fill up the categories. O’Donnell sprays the ball well across the entire field but strikeouts are something to monitor as he gets promoted.


Andrew Pinckney, Washington Nationals; OF


41 games (188 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball, Low-A, High-A, & Double-A

Pinckney quickly rose through the Nationals system to the Double-A level, like fellow Nationals 2023 MLB draftee Yohandy Morales. An athletic 6’3, 215-pound player, Pinckney has a powerful swing that allows him to drive the ball to all fields.

Here is Pinckney going yard off #1 overall pick Paul Skenes last year while at Alabama. A quick and whippy swing allows Pinckney to drive the ball well. With 18 home runs at Alabama last season, Pinckney has the profile of a 20-20 player. Pinckney is worth a late pick in an FYPD with the upside from his power and speed.


Luke Keaschall, Minnesota Twins; 2B/CF


31 games (140 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball, Low-A, & High-A

At first glance, Keaschall has a swing that reminds me of Matt McLain when he hits to the opposite field. Despite being 3-4 inches taller than McLain, Keaschall has a very similar profile to the Reds breakout rookie. Keaschall possesses above-average speed and potentially 15-20 home runs a year in his bat.

A torrid professional debut, Keaschall displayed his ability to hit for extra bases with 3 home runs & 10 doubles. The best tool for Keaschall, his speed, was there with 11 steals in his 31 games. He had a 19:25 BB/K ratio and played 2B, CF, and 3B for the Twins system in 2023. With a mix of tools, Keaschall has the potential to reach a .275 hitter with 15 home runs and 25 steals.


Colton Ledbetter, Tampa Bay Rays; OF


21 games (86 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball and Low-A

There’s a lot to like from the 55th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, as Colton Ledbetter is a smooth-swinging left-handed bat. He checks most of the boxes as he can hit for average, power, work a count, and steal bases.

With a powerful, but controlled swing, Ledbetter hits the ball hard and limits his strikeouts while making good contact. His average speed could bring him to a .280/15/15 type of player. Ledbetter is a good option late in an FYPD if you’re looking for consistency


Nolan McLean, New York Mets; SP/DH



8 games (24 plate appearances) between Rookie Ball and Low-A

McLean is an intriguing prospect because he can make an impact on both sides of the diamond. McLean is a more promising prospect on the mound currently but the Mets will give him a shot at both.

McLean has plus power as he utilizes a toe tap to load up before the pitch is thrown. His swing is aggressive, and very much a home run swing, which is why most believe he’ll focus full-time on pitching eventually. The strikeouts at the plate were very high for McLean in college and he never maintained an average over .300. The power is there but the approach needs improvement if the Mets continue to use him as a two-way player.

McLean has a good curve that gets great break and is a different look from his fastball and slider. Currently, McLean has more value as a pitcher with his upper 90s fastball and two above-average off-speed pitches. McLean may be a starter or high-leverage reliever but he has plenty of possible paths to Citi Field.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login