Fantasy Baseball News and Updates: 2014 Bounce Back Players: AL West
Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: 2014 Bounce Back Players: AL West
February 12, 2014
Bounce Back Players - AL West
1. Albert Pujols - Pujols had easily the worst year of his MLB career in 2013, but there are actually two ways to interpret his numbers from last season. One way is to view Pujols career lows in batting average (.258) and OPS (.767) as confirmation that his skills are declining and he is no longer one of the best hitters in baseball. The other way to interpret those numbers is to see that Pujols is still a better than average hitter when playing on one foot. Many fantasy owners will be scared away from Pujols this year because his numbers have declined over the past two seasons. However, Pujols is a prime candidate to regain his old form in 2014 if he can stay healthy all season. Pujols was very good in the second half of 2012, and he was injured the entire time he played in 2013. Pujols slow start to the 2012 season can be accounted for by the fact he changed leagues and had to adjust to new pitchers and he was dealing with the added pressure of his massive contract. In 2013 Pujols basically played on one foot. Pujols is now two years into his American League career and reports say he is completely healed from his plantar fasciitis. Pujols is going to come with a cheap price tag of a 3rd or 4th round pick in 2014 fantasy drafts, and his bounce back potential makes him well worth the investment.
2. Josh Hamilton - Hamilton is another superstar that failed to live up to expectations in Los Angeles last year, but just like his previously mentioned teammate, there are reasons to invest in Josh Hamilton for the 2014 season. Hamilton hit .250 last year, but he has a career batting average of .295. Many reports say to be wary of Hamilton because of his strikeout rates over the last two seasons, but strikeouts were not that big of a problem for him before he entered into a contract year, and then fell under the pressure of getting that massive contract. Hamilton should be more relaxed this season, and should be able to stop pressing so much at the plate. Hamilton has also put back on the weight that he lost before last season which should help his endurance. Hamilton is a player that makes fantasy owners very nervous, but he is a prime bounce back candidate that can be had for a bargain price in 2014 fantasy drafts.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
3. Geovany Soto - Soto has completely vanished from the fantasy radar since he won the Rookie of the Year award back in 2008 when he played for the Cubs. However, Soto is going to be given another chance to once again be an everyday player for the Rangers in 2014. Soto's numbers are not all that encouraging, but he did have a .324 batting average and a 1.012 OPS in 71 at bats last year after the all-star break. The biggest reason Soto is a bounce back candidate is because he will once again be given regular playing time in a hitter friendly ballpark. Soto is a player that can definitely be had with the last pick in fantasy drafts this season, and he could be well worth that final pick.
4. Alexi Ogando - Ogando has had a very unstable career as he keeps being moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen only to once again return to the starting rotation. Perhaps this instability could be the main reason Ogando has had a hard time staying healthy for a full season. Regardless of the reasons, Ogando is definitely a player that comes with significant injury concerns, but he is also a pitcher with a career ERA of 3.12 with a 1.14 WHIP. Ogando has stated that he has worked on strengthening his shoulder this offseason in an effort to improve his endurance. Considering his career numbers and his offseason training, Ogando is a prime bounce back candidate and he could be a very cheap accent to any fantasy pitching staff.
5. Josh Reddick - Reddick disappeared from the fantasy radar last season as quickly as he appeared on it in 2012. Reddick had a breakout year in 2012 when he hit 32 homers, but he did not build on that momentum last year. Reddick was hampered by a wrist injury that forced him to make to trips to the DL, and that injury could very easily explain his terrible numbers from last year. Reddick is expected to be healthy in 2014, and that means his power number should return. Reiddick should not be expected to contribute a high batting average or on base percentage, but he could deliver 20+ homers 80+ RBIs and double digit steals. Riddick should not be expected to carry a team to a fantasy championship, but he should definitely outperform his current fantasy draft value.
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