Matt’s 2024 Bust Prospects

Prospects likely to bust in 2024

To be honest, there is not a lot of joy in writing these articles. As a baseball fan, talking down on players is not something that brings a lot of joy. That is especially true when discussing players who are fighting to make their lifelong dreams come true. However, a key to dynasty is being able to properly evaluate prospect values. Just because a player is rising up many public lists does not mean that it is necessarily deserved. This article identifies three prospects that are likely to disappoint dynasty managers in 2024 and become labeled as a bust.

Make sure to head over to the Pitcher List Dynasty page for more prospect content from the staff!


2024 Prospects to Bust


Xavier Isaac– 1B, TBR


Some organizations seem to always have prospects shooting up rankings, and the Rays are definitely one of them. Isaac is the most recent name to generate a lot of buzz throughout dynasty circles. The Rays took Isaac 29th overall in the 2022 draft and he has wasted no time introducing himself. Split between Low and High-A, Isaac appeared in 102 games swatting 19 home runs and stealing 12 bases. The 6’3” first baseman is already being discussed as the top first-base prospect in all of baseball. Dynasty managers and analysts need to pump the brakes here. While Isaac is a fine prospect, he is more likely to be considered a fantasy bust than the next superstar.

There is no denying Isaac’s power. One look at his impressive size and it is not difficult to figure out where most of it comes from. Isaac crushes baseballs including this home run from last season:

Swings like this are what make Isaac such an enticing prospect. His power grew even more impressive as the season moved along. After failing to go yard in his first 75 plate appearances, Isaac crushed all 19 of his home runs in his final 358 plate appearances. He hit six homers in his final 57 plate appearances at High-A. So, why is Isaac landing on the bust list?

As previously mentioned, he is being ranked as the top first base prospect in baseball by many throughout the community. However, Isaac’s profile comes with significant risk. For starters, his swing path projects plenty of risk to his hit tool. Low line drive rates were a theme throughout his first professional season as his swing varies from choppy, to fly-ball happy. He struggles with consistency and should not expect his BABIPs to remain as high as they were in 2023. This potential flaw could be overlooked if Isaac was somebody who posted impressive contact rates, but he is not. Isaac ran a swinging strike rate of over 13% last season and could run into trouble with his patient approach.

This is the perfect segway into the next area of concern. Isaac’s contact skills are particularly concerning against left-handed pitching. His strikeout rate against lefties last season was over 25% while his slash line looks dramatically different. Isaac hit .304/.407/.569 against righties while posting a modest .218/.351/.346 slash against lefties. This issue is particularly concerning given the organization he is a part of. The Rays are keen on analytics and Isaac will need to work hard to solve his platoon splits if he ever wants to become an everyday player.

One extra note- for those of you looking at the 12 stolen bases, Isaac has 20-grade speed according to scouting reports. Dynasty managers should not expect Isaac ever to be much of a stolen base threat at the major league level.

Isaac’s raw power is undeniable. However, the dynasty community seems to be getting swept up in the awe of the highs that the risks apparent are being overlooked. Power-hitting first basemen come and go rather frequently. Especially those that have big platoon splits (see Tellez, Rowdy). Maybe that is an unfair comp to throw on a first-round draft pick who is just 20 years old, but the risk needs to be factored into his ranking. Do not be surprised if Isaac is one of dynasty baseball’s bigger busts for the 2024 season.


Tyler Black– INF, MIL


Tyler Black has seen his prospect pedigree and dynasty value rise quickly over the last year. After being selected 33rd overall in the 2021 draft, Black put together a breakout season in 2023. He split time between Double-A and Triple-A setting career highs in home runs, stolen bases, and batting average. Many are expecting to see Black contribute at the major league level in 2023 making him a popular pick in both redraft and dynasty leagues. If you roster Black, now is the time to sell high. Black is a prime bust candidate heading into 2024.

Before hitting on the concerns, it is important to highlight that Black does a lot of things well. The focal point of Black’s skills comes in his speed. He is a plus-plus runner with great instincts on the bases. Black stole an impressive 56 bases last season and profiles to be a threat for 30-40 stolen bases at the major league level. He also has plenty of chances to put his speed on full display thanks to his excellent plate discipline. Black’s patient approach leads to plenty of walks and gives him even more chances to steal bases. These walks boost Black’s value higher in OBP/point-specific formats. He also has plus contact skills that have led to high batting averages throughout his professional career.

There are a few reasons why I am overlooking these surface stats and predicting that Black will bust for fantasy purposes. Part of the issue is defense. Defense is often ignored for fantasy purposes, but it can be an essential part of valuing minor league players. Black currently has eligibility at second base, but profiles to be a below-average defender at that position. In 2023, Black did not receive a single start at second base and instead spent all of his time split between first and third base. Even at third base, Black profiles at best as an average best defender and could find his long-term home at first base or DH.

The issue with this is that the benchmarks for fantasy success at a corner infield position is vastly different than second base. Power is a priority at both first and third base which is one of the areas Black’s game is most suspect. He managed to hit 18 home runs last season, but the power has never received high grades. During his time at Triple-A last season, Black’s average exit velocity was 86.3 mph with a max EV of 109.6. His barrel rate also sat down at a lackluster 2.5%. One notable piece of information is how the Brewers Double-A home ballpark plays. The park factor for home runs at Biloxi is 113. This is the same park factor for right-handed batters as Yankee Stadium and would rank third in Major League Baseball. This is where Black hit 14 of his 18 home runs last season.

The one other area of concern is the inconsistencies in Black’s swing. Thanks to his speed, he has been able to run high BABIPs early in his professional career. While his speed is not going anywhere, his inability to hit a lot of line drives could lead to batting average issues. Black’s sweet spot percentage at Triple-A was very low with the main issue being too many ground balls. This adds even more risk to Black’s future power projection.

If you are looking for stolen bases, Black will not be a complete bust. The issue is that many in the dynasty community are expecting Black to be a valuable contributor and many are hoping he will even be able to return to second base. Black will primarily be playing a corner infield spot which is crucial to get power from in fantasy. Black does not profile to generate much of that and could struggle to maintain a lineup spot with poor defense. He is being overvalued in the dynasty community and is a likely candidate to bust in 2024.


Justin Crawford– OF, PHI


As a Phillies fan, this one hurts to write. However, when a player is being overvalued in dynasty circles, there is a certain responsibility to speak up. Crawford was the Phillies first-round pick from 2022 and is most known for who his dad is. The son of Carl Crawford, Justin has just as much raw athletic ability. He stands at 6’4” and was viewed as one of the best high school hitters in that year’s draft. His career has gotten off to a fast start which has allowed the dynasty community to pump up his value. Being the son of a former major leaguer makes this even easier to do. Unfortunately, Crawford profiles as a better real-life player than fantasy asset and is likely to bust in dynasty baseball.

Similarly to Black, Crawford is blazing fast. In fact, Crawford might be even faster than Black. He is a gifted athlete and his speed was on full display last season. he stole 47 bases in 87 games split between Low and High-A. His speed allows him to play a solid defense which should keep him in center field further boosting his real-life value. There is no debating that Crawford is going to run which provides a certain level of safety in his future fantasy value.

The issue is that Crawford is being valued by many to be a top-100 prospect. Part of the reason for that is his impressive batting average from last season. In 69 games at Low-A, Crawford hit an impressive .344. His speed certainly played a role in helping him get there, but beneath the surface, there is plenty to be concerned about.

For starters, Crawford’s .344 batting average came with a .413 BABIP. Even for the fastest and most consistent batters, .413 is an unsustainable rate. The issue becomes even more apparent once you realize that Crawford’s line drive rate at Low-A was just 18%. His sweet spot percentage was 20.5%. For reference, the lowest sweet spot percentage for any qualified batter last season was William Contreras at 27.1%. Only Garrett Stubbs (Vibes Master!) posted a lower sweet spot percentage than Crawford’s amongst batters with 100+ PA. Stubbs can get away with that by doing keg stands after playoff wins. I am not sure Crawford can say the same.

Jokes aside, Crawford’s average launch angle is a major concern moving forward. On the season, Crawford’s ground-ball rate sat above 70%. The highest ground ball rate amongst qualified batters last year was Tim Anderson at 61.1%. Not exactly the company you want to be in, and Crawford makes Anderson seem like an extreme fly-ball hitter. Crawford’s entire approach is designed to make contact and slap the ball around. Not a terrible strategy for a player with his speed, but it prevents him from being able to get to any of his raw power. Despite accumulating 456 plate appearances, Crawford only has three professional home runs. For Crawford to ever get to significant power, it will likely require a complete overhaul of his swing and approach. Who knows how this could impact his hit tool?

On top of the ground ball issue, Crawford’s batted ball data suggests there is not a lot of raw power there His average exit velocity sat down at just 85 mph with a max EV of 107.4. This puts him in the same category as somebody like Steven Kwan. Not the kind of power company you want to be in.

Crawford is still only 20 years old. He has received high praise from many within the organization and his glove and speed are sure to turn him into a major league player. However, those in the dynasty community value him too highly. He is a speed threat with holes in both his hit tool and concerning power metrics. I am out on Crawford from a fantasy baseball perspective and think he will be labeled a bust.


Photos by MiLB.com | Adapted by Carlos Leano

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