Fantasy Baseball Injured List Sleepers: May 2024

Make your league-mates regret dropping these players who are destined to help your fantasy team down the stretch.

Wyatt Langford #36 of the Texas Rangers waits for a pitch during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Field.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Wyatt Langford #36 of the Texas Rangers waits for a pitch during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Field on April 09, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Let me offer one piece of advice when it comes to fantasy baseball injuries: No matter how many IL spots you are given, every one of them should be filled.

Not only will this give players time to heal, but it also gives you the opportunity to take a chance on a player you probably never would’ve rostered if not for the injury. Sometimes, these additions are the difference between making or missing your fantasy postseason. 

There’s a reason I kept Jacob deGrom rostered in my dynasty league even after he went down in May 2023. You can’t just drop arguably the best pitcher in the game for other owners to pick up. This would be different in a redraft league, but when it comes to keeper leagues, I knew even 12 months ago that deGrom could possibly help at the end of the 2024 season. I think my patience will be rewarded come August. And better yet, September is fantasy baseball playoff time!

Others in your league may not be as patient with injuries, dropping valuable players and giving you the chance to cash in on what they throw out.

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The following players are now rostered in under 50% of fantasy leagues, leaving the door wide open for you to strike while it’s still possible. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, correct?

Rostered rates updated as of May 16.

Wyatt Langford – OF – 39% Rostered

What was a slow and frustrating start for the game’s top prospect will soon turn in a positive direction.

After setting the world on fire in spring training with six long balls, Langford has still not managed to hit one over the fence. His only homer before his IL stint was an inside-the-parker. That is astonishing, especially with the power he displayed in his torrid minor league run last season.

A .360/.480/.677 line with a 1.157 OPS through 44 minor league games is reason enough to add, no matter how poorly he performed in his first taste of the majors. Once he gets used to the different approaches of big league pitchers, things will start to click for Langford. And when he does get into a rhythm, it will be incredible to witness.

It’s comforting to know Langford’s bat speed was in the 81st percentile, while his chase and whiff rates were in the 77th and 73rd percentiles, respectively.

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Langford is due back from a strained hamstring in late May, which is quickly approaching. He is only 39% owned across all league formats, and if he is available in your league, pick him up however possible – you’ll thank me later.

Lane Thomas – OF – 41% Rostered

I know I know, the underlying numbers didn’t support Thomas last year, and they haven’t looked great in 2024, either. If you are looking for average help, he’s more than likely not your guy.

However, if you are like me and like to scavenge steals on the waiver wire, Lane is your man. Davey Martinez has publicly stated that he is managing this Nationals team with small-ball tactics, including taking the extra base as many times as possible. Washington is currently second in MLB in stolen bases.

When a player has the green light to run, there aren’t many better things in the fantasy universe. In just 22 games this season, Thomas has taken 11 bags. If he continues to take at least one bag every other game, nobody would turn down that sort of production. And who knows, were his 28 home runs last season a complete fluke? We will find out for good when he comes off the IL at the end of May.

Pick Thomas up for the steals, and hold out hope for the power. 

Francisco Alvarez – C – 34% Rostered 

Anyone who can hit 25 home runs in 123 games catches my attention. Alvarez is one of my favorite additions out there, especially within dynasty leagues because I feel his future is as bright as any backstop in the league right now. Yes, Adley Rutschman fans, you heard me correctly.

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I’m always a fan of building my team around the home run. Even with the low average, Alvarez’s power makes up for a lot of his strikeout deficiencies. So far this season, he already has eight homers in 39 games played, a pace that would put him at 33 home runs over 162 games. If that kind of production is available on the waiver wire, especially at the catcher position, take advantage as quickly as possible.

You may have to wait a bit since Alvarez will not be back from the IL until late June, but I can assure you that he’s worth the price of admission. Find a startable catcher in the meantime while the future Queens star heals up.

Jeffrey Springs – SP – 2% Rostered

It’s staggering to think about how few people own Jeffrey Springs right now. Yes, he is unlikely to return until after the All-Star break. And okay, many people have their IL spots filled which makes it hard to find an open roster spot. Yet, this guy has the potential to be the front-end hurler your staff needs.

In three games started at the beginning of 2023, Springs danced to the tune of a 0.56 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, and 24 Ks. In 2022, Springs held a 2.46 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 144 Ks through 135.1 innings pitched. Not to overreact, but he could be a top-five starting pitcher, yet he is owned in only 2% of leagues at this point – insanity at its finest!

Additionally, Springs will have time to build up and get comfortable for at least a month before the fantasy playoff season begins in September. It may take a bit of a sacrifice to add him right now because of his timeline. Still, I promise you, it’s more than worth it.

Rhys Hoskins – 1B – 38% Rostered

Taking a glance at Hoskins’s batted-ball data has me very confident that many people will regret dropping him. His xwOBA, xSLG, Barrel%, Chase%, and BB% are all above the 78th percentile within MLB. The rest of his numbers are just about where they always are: solid.

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After a full 2023 season lost to the injured list, Hoskins was drafted with a ton of disrespect. People often overlook his 162-game average of 36 HRs and 99 RBIs. That’s right, you probably had to read that last sentence twice. Hoskins is a true power threat from a corner infield position; you are expecting trustworthy and consistent production.

Before landing on the IL with a strained hamstring a few days ago, Rhys had already slammed nine home runs and was well on his way to a fantastic season at American Family Field.

I still believe he will bring special value to your squad once he makes his way back onto the field come late May or early June.

This Brewers offense has been a pleasant surprise so far, and their +41 run differential would not have been possible if not for Hoskins and his enormous bat.