Fantasy Baseball News and Updates: 2014 Bounce Back Players: NL East
Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: 2014 Bounce Back Players: NL East
February 7, 2014
Bounce Back Players - NL East
1. Brandon Beachy - Beachy has become the forgotten man in the Atlanta rotation because of injury, but he will be 100% ready to go for the 2014 season. Beachy missed most of the 2013 season because of Tommy John surgery, and he was roughed up in his first game back as he allowed 7 earned runs. However, Beachy put together 4 quality starts in August posting a 2.73 ERA and an 0.84 WHIP during that month. Beachy should return to putting up numbers that are similar to his very good career marks of 3.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 2014. Beachy does have injury risk, but that should not keep owners from spending a late round pick on him. Beachy could be one of the biggest bargains on draft day, and fantasy owners should not be afraid to pick him, especially since his fantasy value is very low this year.
2. Giancarlo Stanton - Stanton is arguably the best power hitter in the National League, and by that standard, he had a very bad year in 2013. A hamstring injury was the major culprit that sabotaged Stanton last season, but he was still able to hit 24 home runs in just 116 games. Stanton is going to need some protection in the Miami lineup, or he may continue to struggle with his run production, but Stanton will once again be a prime candidate to lead the National League in homers in 2014. Stanton's .290 batting average in 2012 may have been an outlier, but 40+ homers and an .850+ OPS are still very realistic. Stanton's tremendous potential will not let him fall too far on draft day, and he should be considered a bargain if he falls to the 3rd round or later.
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3. Jason Heyward - Heyward has been a hit or miss fantasy player since he became an MLB starter in 2010. Heyward played very well in 2010 and 2012, but he was not very good in 2011 and 2013. However, these down years can be reasonably explained. A sophomore slump can be used to explain the 2011 season, and last year Heyward fell victim to some freak injuries (appendectomy and broken jaw). Heyward got off to an incredibly slow start in 2013 before his injuries, but he had a tremendous second half last year. Heyward's batting average before the all-star break was .227 but he hit .305 after the all-star break. Heyward's OPS also went up by over 200 points as it was .695 before the break and .931 after the break. Heyward has the potential to be one of the best players in baseball, and he can be gotten for a discount price this year. Fantasy owners should take advantage of Heyward's slow 2013 start and his draft day bargain status because he is primed to have a bounce back season in 2014.
4. BJ Upton - No one will be "reaching" for Upton this season, and he could go undrafted in many leagues because of his terrible performance last year. However, fantasy owners who find themselves needing to add a late round speed/power guy should consider drafting Upton. BJ Upton has never been a guy who hits for a high batting average, but he is better than a sub .200 hitter. It is possible Upton has fallen down the same mendoza-vortex that got Dan Uggla, but it is more likely he succumbed to the pressure of his brother's brilliant start last season. BJ Upton still has the potential to be a 20 - 20 guy, and his batting average and OPS should get back to his career averages in 2014.
5. Ryan Howard - Howard has truly become a forgotten man in the Fantasy Baseball World, and at 34 years old, there is reason to believe he will never return to fantasy relevance. Howard has many obstacles to overcome this season and the main one is left handed pitching. Howard has not hit over .200 against left handers for the past two seasons, and the Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg, has already threaten to bench Howard against lefties if he cannot improve against them. That said, if Howard can stay healthy and play in 150+ games, he has the potential to be a very cheap 30+ homer guy on draft day.