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

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

February 4, 2014

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NL West: Bounce Back Candidates 

1. Matt Cain - To the eyes of fantasy owners, Matt Cain had a very bad year in 2013. But when you take a closer look at the numbers, he really only had a bad start to the season. The biggest number to support that fact is the difference between Cain's pre and post all-star break ERA. Cain had a 5.06 ERA before the break, and a 2.36 ERA after the break. Cain gave up 30% of his earned runs in April (25 of 82), and it takes a full season to rebound from a terrible start like that. Cain ended the year with a 4.00 ERA and a respectable 1.16 WHIP. And if he could have gotten a few more K's and a little more run support, he could have had a decent fantasy season. Cain only received an average 3.4 runs per game from the Giants offense, and 20 more strikeouts would have kept him right in line with his career averages. Cain's bad start to the 2013 season will drive his price down on draft day this year, and his bargain price and strong 2013 second half make him a great value draft pick and a prime bounce back candidate.

2. Chase Headley - Headley was a huge disappointment in 2013, but there were signs pointing to him having a down year before last season started. Headley began last year on the DL with a thumb injury, and that is the type of injury that can have a very big impact on a hitter. Headley's numbers dropped each of the first three months of last season, and he did not show improvement until after the all-star break. The biggest indicator that Headley is still a viable fantasy option is his OPS. Headley increased his OPS by 140 points after the break going from a .689 pre all-star OPS, to an .829 post all-star OPS. Headley played hurt for the majority of last year, but he should be fully healthy to start the 2014 season and he is also going to be in a contract year. Headley may not hit 30 home runs in 2014, but a solid .280+ batting average along with 20+ homers and an .800+ OPS are a very likely statline for the Padres slugger.

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

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3. Matt Kemp - Kemp is going to be one of the biggest draft day dilemmas. If he is healthy, then he should arguably be the 3rd pick in every draft, but he has not been healthy for two seasons now, and there are no stats set up that can truely measure a player's health. Kemp is taking it easy this offseason, and the Dodgers have no need to rush him back. If Kemp can get back to full, 100%, health, than he will be an absolute steal on draft day. But his health risks have driven him down this list and fantasy drafts boards across America. Kemp may slide even further down draft boards if he starts the year on the DL. Depsite all the health risk around Kemp, he still has the talent to be a major force on the baseball diamond and he should not be overlooked when the price is right.

4. Justin Morneau - Morneau makes for an interesting pick on draft day this season. He is a lower end first baseman, and there is a good chance he does not get drafted in many leagues. The best thing for Morneau's value this season is his new ball park. Morneau's numbers have been declining for many seasons now, but he finally looks like he has put his concussion issues behind him. If Morneau gets to hit behind Tulowitzki and in front of Cuddyer, then he will have a great opportunity to see good pitches and drive in lots of runs. It is not unrealistic to believe Morneau could hit 20+ homers and drive in 90+ runs batting in the middle of the Rockies lineup, and if he could raise his batting average 15-20 points, then he would be a coveted fantasy asset. Morneau makes for a great late round flier who could be a strong fantasy utility hitter, or a great midseason trading chip.

5. Josh Johnson - Johnson's situation is very similar to Morneau's in the sense that his value could increase because of a new ballpark despite his declining numbers over the past few seasons. Johnson will be pitching in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in 2014, and that means there is a good chance his numbers improve this year. Johnson is 30 years old and will be looking to get a multi year deal after this season since he signed a one-year contract with the Padres. Johnson is slated to be an end of the rotation starter, and he should not be under any pressure to perform. Johnson is hoping to turn his career around in San Diego and his new home ballpark makes him a worthy bounce back candidate.


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