Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Top 10 Bounce Back Players
Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Top 10 Bounce Back Players
February 20, 2014
Top 10 Bounce Back Candidates
1. Albert Pujols - Pujols hit .258 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs in 99 games on one foot last year. Pujols will be able to perform much better in 2014 since he will be playing on two feet. Pujols is getting older, but he is not only one of the best hitters in baseball today, Pujols is one of the best hitters in baseball history. Pujols is an exception to most MLB rules, and he should be able to have a strong rebound season despite the fact he is now in his mid 30's.
2. Billy Butler - Butler had a down fantasy season last year because his power numbers took a dive. That should all change in 2014 as the Royals should let Butler once again swing for the fences. The Royals also added a strong leadoff hitter in Norichika Aoki, and with the turnaround of Eric Hosmer last year, Butler should have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. The Royals finished 2013 on a strong run, and they should be able to continue that momentum into the 2014 season with Butler hitting in the middle of their lineup.
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3. Matt Cain - Cain was the victim of a bad start to the season last year, but he was able to have a very strong second half in 2013. Cain's 2.36 ERA after the all-star break should give fantasy owners all the evidence they need to believe in his ability to rebound in 2014. And if the Giants can give him some more runs support, Cain should be able to post a higher wins total in 2014 as well.
4. Justin Verlander - Verlander had the worst regular season of his career in 2013, but he followed that up with one of the most dominating post season performances in baseball history. Verlander struggled with injuries in 2013, and he should be fully healthy entering the 2014 season. As long as Verlander stays healthy, there is no reason he won't be able to get back to the dominating form he showed in the postseason.
5. Jason Heyward - Heyward has been a bit of a fantasy disappointment since his strong rookie season, but he is still a very young player that is still adjusting to the major league game. Heyward has now been in the majors for 4 full seasons and he is just 24 years old. Heyward was very good in the second half of the season last year, and he should be able to carry that momentum over to start the 2014 season.
6. Brandon Beachy - Beachy has produced very good numbers over his short MLB career as he boast a career 3.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Beachy will start the season at the backend of the Braves rotation and that means he will face lesser pitching opposition and have less pressure to perform. Beachy should now be fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery in 2012 and he is primed to get back to his old pitching ways.
7. Yovani Gallardo - Gallardo is another staff ace that suffered a poor start to the 2013 season, but Gallardo was also able to post solid numbers in the second half of last year as he drastically improved his ERA from 4.83 pre all-star break to 3.09 post all-star break. Gallardo is still in the prime of his career and there is no reason to doubt that he can't return to form in 2014.
8. Starlin Castro - Castro is another young player who had a down season last year. Castro will only be 24 years old when the 2014 season starts, and he already has two all-star appearances on his resume. The Cubs made managerial changes that should benefit Castro and help him regain his previous all-star form. Castro is just entering his best baseball years and fantasy owners should not give up on the young all-star in 2014.
9. Matt Kemp - Kemp has the talent to be the top pick in all of fantasy. Kemp's problem has been a lack of durability. If Kemp can stay healthy, then he should have a monster season hitting in the middle of a stacked Dodgers lineup. Kemp's injury risks are a real concern, but his upside is too big to ignore and he appears to have learned how to take better care of himself. Kemp is very capable of a huge rebound season as long as he can stay on the field.
10. Josh Hamilton - Like Kemp, Hamilton is another MVP caliber player that has started struggling to produce. Hamilton has been under a lot of pressure the past few seasons and that should all change in 2014. The hype around the Angels lineup has simmered down, and now they can get back to just playing baseball. Hamilton regained the weight he lost prior to last season and he will be starting out the 2014 season at full strength. Hamilton still has the ability to be one of the besthitters in baseball and he should find greater success in 2014.
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