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Fantasy Baseball News and Updates: 2014 Bounce Back Players: NL Central

Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: 2014 Bounce Back Players: NL Central

February 8, 2014

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Bounce Back Players - NL Central

1. Starlin Castro - Castro is coming off his worst season as a professional baseball player, and that means his fantasy stock is at an all-time low. There are many factors that impacted Castro last season, and two major factors should not be a problem for him in 2014. Castro did not get along with his manager, Dale Sveum, last year, and now the Cubs have a new manager Rick Renteria. This change should be a major boost for Castro since he stated he was overcoached last year. Castro also had a baby right before the 2013 season started, and while this may not seem to be an obstacle to a major league baseball player, anyone who has a child knows how your daily life changes instantly. Baseball players are notorious for needing a routine, and Castro's regular baseball routine was completely upended last year. Castro should be able to find stability in the 2014 season, and he should return to his former 2x all-star ways.

2. Ryan Braun - Braun has one thing on his mind entering the 2014 season and that is restoring his reputation. Braun used PEDs to help his performance on the baseball field, and that means there will be a drop in his production since he is no longer using PEDs. However, that does not mean there will be a huge drop in his fantasy value. Braun is a 5-tool player, and while his power numbers should see a reduction, he should still be able to produce at a high level. As Barry Bonds pointed out to everyone many moons ago, PEDs do not help your hand-eye coordination. Braun has natural baseball ability, and that combined with his motivation to redeem himself, make him an excellent bounce back candidate for the 2014 season. That being said, it is still a risky move to use a first round pick on the former MVP.

Fantasy Baseball News and Updates: 2014 Bounce Back Players: NL Central

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

3. Anthony Rizzo - Rizzo is another Chicago Cub that took a decline under their former manager Dale Sveum, and like his teammate Starlin Castro, Rizzo should perform much better under the Cubs' new skipper, Rick Renteria. Rizzo and Renteria have a history together from their time in San Diego, and Rizzo has stated he is excited to be working with Renteria again. Rizzo was solid in his first year with the Cubs, but he suffered a serious decline in his batting average last season. Rizzo finished 2013 with a .233 batting average, but fantasy onwers should remember that Rizzo hit .303 for his minor league career. Rizzo is a young player who is learning to play at the major league level, and he should be able to improve in 2014 under the Cubs new management.

4. Yovani Gallardo - Gallardo was another Brewer that had a terrible season in 2013, but to be fair, there was a bit of turmoil around his team thanks to the Brewers start player, Ryan Braun. This is no excuse for Gallardo's slow start, but fantasy owners should note that Gallardo had a very strong second half of the season. Gallardo's ERA improved drastically from 4.83 pre all-star break to 3.09 post all-star break. Gallardo should get closer to his 200+ K's per season which he had done in the 4 seasons prior to last year year's total of 144. Gallardo is a player with a solid track record who is coming off a bad season, and fantasy owners should take advantage of his low value as there are no physical or mechanical issues that suggest the 27 year old could not get back to his previous form.

5. Johnny Cueto - Cueto has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last three years, but he missed most of the 2013 season because of nagging injuries. Now Cueto is marked as a player with a huge injury risk, and that means his fantasy stock has dropped immensely. Cueto has had three years of a sub 3.00 ERA, and that is why fantasy owners should not overlook him on draft day. While Cueto's injuries could reemerge, his fantasy value as a healthy pitcher with a strong supporting offense make him well worth the gamble. Health is the only obstacle Cueto must overcome in the 2014 season, and if he can pitch 200+ innings in 2014 he could arguably be the best draft day bargain.


For Fantasy Baseball Updates and Insights follow Jason on Twitter @TheSuperCommish


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