Yoshinobu Yamamoto may be the single most interesting and confusing player when it comes to the 2024 fantasy baseball season. The young starting pitcher signed a massive 12-year, $325 million deal to make the jump to the MLB as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yamamoto accomplished nearly everything during his time in Japan, winning the Pacific League MVP twice, the Eiji Sawamura Award (similar to the Cy Young Award) three times, and the Japanese Triple Crown three times as the leader in wins, ERAs and strikeouts.
If Yamamoto can carry that level of success to the MLB, he could not only be the best pitcher on the Dodgers but one of the best pitchers in the MLB.
There are undoubtedly many questions surrounding Yamamoto in his first season in the MLB but given the financial commitment made by the Dodgers, there's reason to believe that he will live up to his hype.
That brings us to the fantasy baseball prospects for Yamamoto. The 25-year-old will also be one of the most intriguing figures when it comes to 2024 fantasy baseball drafts.
He should be a top target for managers this season, but the major question regarding Yamamoto this fantasy season is how early would be too early to draft him.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto might not reach the fourth round of fantasy baseball drafts
Although the upside for Yoshinobu Yamamoto could be a first-round value, everything will need to go right for him to return on that investment.
A second-round draft pick might also be too much for the rookie pitcher this season as well, as there are many questions about innings limitations, adjusting to the MLB game and if the Dodgers will implement a six-man rotation.
Nevertheless, Yamamoto should be an ideal pick at the end of the third round, or being of the fourth round in 2024 fantasy baseball drafts.
He should find himself in the same range as proven veterans like Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Logan Webb and Framber Valdez. Compared to these stars, Yoshinobu Yamamoto might have a higher ceiling but also a lower floor. Draft high, but use caution.