A lot has happened since we last spoke. We did our position preview podcasts on Fantasy Baseball Today, which allowed me to do in-depth research on an abundance of players. Oh, and spring training started! Every day we have loads of games where we get to see pitchers working on new pitches, prospects competing for a job, veterans getting into the swing of things and everything in between.

Every year on Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts 2.0, I like to add five new players to each article. It could be players I've researched more, new information has changed a player's outlook or perhaps an overreaction or underreaction in the Fantasy Baseball market. Nonetheless, here are five players I'm excited will take the next step or provide excess value based on their average draft position.


Seiya Suzuki
CHC • RF • #27
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It's been an interesting start to Suzuki's career. We've seen improvement and flashes of brilliance but have yet to see it over a full season. 2023 proved to be quite the experience. First off, his season was delayed due to an oblique injury he suffered in spring training. Suzuki returned in mid-April and hit quite well through May. Everything came crashing down after that. Suzuki was essentially lost for two months, batting .212 with a .578 OPS throughout June and July. Then Cubs manager David Ross described Suzuki as being "in between" with his swing. He was given a few days off early in August but once he returned, it was all systems go.

Over the final 47 games, Suzuki hit .356/.414/.672 with 11 home runs, supported by a 91 MPH average exit velocity and a 12.9% barrel rate. Everything is there for Suzuki to excel regardless of format. The statcast data supports a legit power bat plus he ranks 79th percentile in sprint speed, which at least gives us hope he can steal 10-15 bases. Suzuki also has a great feel for the plate for those who play in H2H points formats or leagues with OBP. He rarely chases pitches out of the strike zone and does a great job avoiding whiffs. Everything is there for Suzuki to have a monster year. I'm confident he'll finally put it all together in 2024, which could result in batting .280-plus with 30 home runs and 10-15 steals.


Nolan Gorman
STL • 2B • #16
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Technically, Gorman already broke out last year. He's just not being treated that way in Fantasy Baseball drafts. According to the Razzball Player Rater, Gorman finished 166th overall in just 119 games last season, yet he's consistently being drafted outside the top 180 picks in drafts. Gorman took a step forward, batting .236 with 27 home runs, 76 RBI and seven steals. He profiles as a legit slugger in the mold of a Max Muncy. Gorman's .498 expected slugging ranked in the 87th percentile while his 16.5% barrel rate ranked in the 97th percentile. If he stays healthy, Gorman should hit 30 homers easily.

On top of improving the plate discipline and hitting the ball harder in 2023, Gorman took a big step forward against left-handed pitching. While it was only 86 plate appearances, Gorman hit .260 with an .840 OPS and a 28% strikeout rate against lefties. The biggest downside for Gorman (outside of the batting average) has been health. As mentioned, he was limited to 119 games due to tightness in his lower back and a strained right hamstring. Gorman's back has bothered him since he suffered a weightlifting accident back in 2020. The good news is that he's aggressively sought to change his nutrition this offseason in hopes of lessening that back pain. Gorman is a former top prospect who has huge power potential. If he manages to stay on the field in 2024, we could be looking at close to 40 home runs with sneaky speed, too. 


Kerry Carpenter
DET • RF • #30
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Carpenter had himself a mini-breakout last year as well. In his first extended look with the Tigers, he hit .278 with 20 home runs, six steals and a .811 OPS in just 118 games. He ranked in the 65th percentile or better in average exit velocity, barrel rate and expected slugging. This comes directly after a monster season in the minors in 2022 where Carpenter hit .313 with 30 home runs and a 1.025 OPS. For whatever reason, there just doesn't seem to be much hype around Carpenter. Maybe it's because he's on the Tigers. Maybe it's because he wasn't a highly-ranked prospect. Whatever it is, I'm looking to take advantage.

I'm expecting him to take that next step. Carpenter's a slight launch angle tweak away from pushing 30 home runs in 2024. It's not like his launch angle was bad last year but the ground ball rate was slightly elevated compared to the minors. I think Carpenter could improve against left-handed pitching, too. So far, he's batting .231/.314/.330 in 102 career plate appearances against lefties. However, he fared much better against them in his minor-league career. Of course, it could take some time to earn the Tigers' trust but if he does, Carpenter could become an everyday player, which would help boost the counting stats as well. Entering his age-26 season, I'm expecting 25-plus homers with 8-10 steals and a solid batting average. Target Carpenter as your third or fourth outfielder regardless of format.


Gavin Williams
CLE • SP • #32
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Gavin Williams has kind of become the forgotten former top pitching prospect. While everybody is drooling over Grayson Rodriguez, Bobby Miller, Eury Perez and Tanner Bibee (and rightfully so), Williams has flown under the radar. At this time last year, Williams was a higher-ranked prospect than some of the names I just mentioned. He's a former first-round pick who certainly has the look of an ace. He stands at 6'6 and averages nearly 96 MPH on his four-seam fastball. He pairs the heater with two breaking pitches, a slider and a curveball, both of which get whiffs and limit hard contact. On top of the breaking pitches, it's nice that Williams has been working on his changeup, too. He could use another weapon against left-handed bats. 

Williams posted a 12.1% swinging strike rate as a rookie, which would have ranked top-20 among qualified starters. He flashed his upside over a two-start stretch against the Blue Jays and Rays last season where he racked up 22 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched. Those were his first two starts with double-digit strikeouts in his career. Strikeouts are not the problem. Walks are. Williams allowed 4.1 BB/9 and a 10.7% walk rate, which ranked in the 20th percentile. It has been an issue at times in the minors as well. The breakout depends on the control improving, and if it does, I think Williams has SP2 upside. If there's any organization that could help him figure it out, it's the Guardians.


Brayan Bello
BOS • SP • #66
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From one former top pitching prospect to another, Bello is looking to take that next step in 2024. There's a lot to like here. Bello's repertoire starts with a nasty sinker-changeup combo. The sinker averages 95 MPH and helped produce a 56% ground ball rate, the third-highest among pitchers with 150 innings last season. The changeup is his out pitch. It had just a .196 batting average against with a 20.9% swinging strike rate. The slider is still a work in progress but it was rated very highly by multiple prospect outlets. It certainly doesn't hurt when Pedro Martinez helps you find the right grip, either. 

Something else I like about Bello's game is that he improved his control last season. He lowered his walk rate from 10% as a rookie in 2022 down to 6.7% in 2023. Control was a big issue in the minors, so it's nice to see he's already started lowering the walks. Lastly, maybe I'm making excuses for the kid but he seemed to wear down in the second half. Over his first 14 starts, Bello pitched to a 3.04 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP. After the break, that shot up to 5.49 ERA to go along with a 1.49 WHIP. It was his first full season in the Majors and it's completely plausible that the workload eventually took a toll. I'm excited about Bello's trajectory and think he takes a big step forward in 2024.