Veteran MLB players who will still get it done in both fantasy and reality in 2024

The Yahoo Fantasy and MLB crews unite to reveal the veteran players they believe still have the juice for the 2024 season.

A seasoned SP ready to continue steady play on new team

I understand why the signings of Sonny Gray and Lance Lynn got more attention in Cardinals World, considering Gray's frontline upside and Lynn's homecoming to the team that drafted him, but I think Kyle Gibson could be a really important part of St. Louis' season as well. Unlike Lynn and especially Gray, Gibson has been spectacularly durable even as he has entered his 30s, and he hasn't been on the injured list due to an arm issue since 2016.

While the strikeout totals will never wow you, the 36-year-old Gibson is still comfortably above-average at getting ground balls — something that should play well with St. Louis' stellar defensive infield — and he developed a sweeper last year in Baltimore that gave him a legitimate swing-and-miss offering he had long sorely lacked.

Some of the surface stats from 2023 aren't be pretty, but Gibson's ability to pitch deep into games manifested in an impressive 17 quality starts (6+ IP with <3 ER) — the same number as Gray! I'm not saying this dude's gonna be an All-Star or anything, but if Gibson can log another boatload of respectable innings in 2024, he'll prove to be a valuable addition for the Cardinals. — Jordan Shusterman

A former MVP set to bounce back

José Abreu has always been consistent. For years, you could pencil him in for 30 homers and 100 RBI as one of the true professional hitters in the sport. But after nine seasons in Chicago, the former AL MVP's first season in Houston did not go as expected. Not only did the power disappear, but his ability to be a great hitter also vanished.

While Abreu's numbers overall didn't impress (.680 OPS), he did have a .760 OPS in the second half and showed signs of getting back to his old self. Change can be difficult for players, especially those who are as close to a franchise as Abreu was. Now two seasons removed from that change, Abreu should get back to being the hitter we've seen, even at the age of 37. — Russell Dorsey

This 37-year-old still gets on base

Had he been born a decade earlier, Carlos Santana might have been the main character in "Moneyball" because this guy *points to Jonah Hill* gets on base and always has. At 37, Santana has seen some of his physical skills decline over the years, and he's not hitting the baseball particularly hard anymore, but *points to Jonah Hill again* he gets on base. You get the point.

Santana’s plate discipline and elite swing decisions give him such a high offensive floor that even with the power dwindling, he can contribute legit value to a contender, like he did last year after the deadline with Milwaukee and like he hopes to do this year with the Twins. There are very few dependable things on this planet, and even fewer in this silly sport, but Santana will (1) play baseball games and (2) *points to Jonah Hill for the last time.* — Jake Mintz

The demise of this former mega-star has been greatly exaggerated

Listen, most of us were this close to writing off Christian Yelich after three consecutive poor-to-fair seasons in which he seemed both in decline and perpetually injured. Last year's reemergence was a welcome development.

Yelich's days as a triple-crown threat are likely behind him, but if he settles in as a 20/20 player with batting average and on-base skills, he's a gift for fantasy purposes. Not so long ago, many of us suspected his recurring back issues were an indication of some chronic problem that could derail his career. But after last season's 54 extra-base hits and 28 steals, there's no discernible reason to panic. He has had a productive spring with a dash of power, and his swing is as clean as ever. If you have a draft upcoming, take him with confidence at or ahead of his Round 6-7 ADP. Outfield gets messy in a hurry this year, and Yelich remains a bankable multi-category asset. — Andy Behrens

Don't forget about the boring vet on a loaded offense

Most Toronto discussions are dominated by the legacy kids, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero. We're still waiting for them to flip the switch from very good to yearly MVP candidates, but there's still time. Meanwhile, don't miss the consistent drumbeat of George Springer, the leadoff man. Even if he's more volume accumulator than bona fide star these days, we can make a profit here.

Springer finished as the OF23 and OF10 the past two years, yet he's available as the OF26 in Yahoo ADP this spring. While we acknowledge that fantasy baseball is a young person's game, this is why we keep the door open for a few boring-value vets (teammate Chris Bassitt also checks that box nicely).

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Springer's fantasy haul last year was more about durability than efficiency — his OPS+ dropped to a career low — but there's nothing wrong with the .263/.338/.460 slash (121 on the OPS+ scale) posted during his three YYZ seasons. And I suspect Springer will keep most of last year's 20 steals; that stat reflects his willingness to run and green-light manager. Springer will never be the lead singer on this offense, but we love the rhythm section, too.

And just for fun, here's a bonus Toronto target: Justin Turner, your Opening Day cleanup man. His 2024 ADP is a stone giveaway. — Scott Pianowski

An underrated star at a thin position

Alex Bregman is unlikely to return to hitting 40 homers, like he did in 2019, but the veteran remains a rock-solid fantasy option. Third base is one of the thinnest positions this year, and Bregman has averaged 24 homers, 98 runs scored and 96 RBI the past two seasons. He has walked more than he has struck out in that span, so a plus batting average is within reach as well.

Bregman has been able to hit for the first time in the offseason since 2019, and he trained hard in preparation for his contract year. He’ll benefit greatly from hitting in the middle of Houston’s lineup, likely between lefties Yordan Álvarez and Kyle Tucker. Bregman might seem like a boring fantasy pick, but he’s also a strong one. — Dalton Del Don