Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Bounce-Back Candidates: On the Rebound


Everyone and their mother is looking for value in their Fantasy Baseball drafts. Most owners look for value in sleepers and rookies who could be in for a breakout season. However, a lot of value lies in players who many owners have turned away from.

For the most part, bounce-back candidates don’t carry the hype that break-outs do, but that’s where the value comes in. Players with down years will always have lower ADP that owners can take advantage of.

Using their FantasyPros ADP, here are a few players who could bounce-back and have a much better 2018 season.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Bounce-Back Candidates

Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers (FantasyPros ADP: 100)

Odor fell hard after a solid 2016 season. Two years ago, he ranked 53rd overall in standard leagues, hitting .270 with 33 home runs. Last season, Odor’s power stuck around, as he still hit 30 HR. However, he managed to hit just .204 and got on base at an awful .252 clip.

Odor’s horrible plate discipline (0.2 BB/K) means that he depends on his BABIP to maintain a high average. Last season his BABIP fell from .297 to .224, clearly having an effect on his average. Therefore, the big question for this season becomes, can Odor’s BABIP rebound enough to bring his Fantasy value back from the dead?

RotoGraphs Jeff Zimmerman examined the likelihood of Odor’s BABIP bouncing back for 2018. He concluded that Odor should see his BABIP bounce back based on his speed and it should be close to his Streamer projection of .278. If his BABIP bounces back, Odor’s average should sit around .250 instead of .200.

Greg Bird, 1B, New York Yankees (FantasyPros ADP: 163)

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Bird burned a lot of owners with a disappointing, injury-filled 2017 season. After a super-hot spring training, Bird played in just 48 regular season games, spending the majority of the season on the disabled list with a foot injury. He returned from the DL at the end of August and looked like the player people were expecting him to be.

In 98 second half plate appearances, Bird slashed .251/.316/.575, a major improvement from his pre-DL line of .100/.250/.200. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs went over how impressive Bird was in the second half and post-season. As Cameron went over in his analysis, Bird was able to increase his exit velocity to elite levels, creating his power surge. +

Bird’s power has always been his best asset, and I believe he can finally put it together this season. His fly ball and strikeout tendencies will keep his average low, but he has enough power to hit 30-35 home runs over the short porch at Yankee Stadium. The added bonus of hitting around Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton only sweetens the deal.

Adam Eaton, OF, Washington Nationals (FantasyPros ADP: 145)

Eaton was well on his way to a great year in his first year with the Nationals. In 23 games, Eaton scored 24 runs and slashed .297/.393/.464. In a small sample size, Eaton had the highest wOBA (.369) and wRC+ (126) of his career. Unfortunately, Eaton tore his ACL at the end of April and missed the rest of the season.

Eaton is fully healthy going into spring training and should be ready to be the starter on Opening Day. If Eaton is setting the table for the Nats again, expect numbers similar to, or higher than his best year in 2015. If Eaton maintains his BB% from 2017 (13.1%) he should score well north of 100 runs.

At his ADP of 145, owners who take the chance on Eaton will have a solid 15/15 contributor with good ratios in the later round of the draft.

Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (FantasyPros ADP: 152)

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Polanco was a trendy pick last season after he broke out for 22 HR in 2016. That offseason, he had changed his training regimen to include more pure weight lifting and strength training. Polanco didn’t get the results he wanted, as he spent most of the season battling shoulder, groin, ankle and hamstring injuries. This offseason, Polanco went back to his roots and called up his old trainer Kelvin Terrero.

With Terrero, Polanco has been working on more agility than pure weightlifting. He says he feels much leaning and much looser going into Spring Training. In theory, Polanco should be able to stay healthy and play upwards of 140 games. Without the lingering hamstring strains, Polanco should be able to regain his 20 steal speed as well.

With a return to his normal training program, Polanco should be able to return to his production levels from 2015/2016. Owners shouldn’t expect the 22 HR he hit in 2016, but 15 HR and 20-25 steals is well within reach for the former top prospect.

Aaron Sanchez, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (FantasyPros ADP: 224)

Sanchez was well on his way to being a solid Fantasy starter after his 2016 season. In 30 starts, Sanchez posted a 15-2 record with 161 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA. Much like Polanco, Sanchez had his season ruined by injury. Dealing with multiple blister issues on his throwing hand, Sanchez was only able to make eight starts between four stints on the disabled list.

In the starts he did make, Sanchez did not look like the same pitcher, posting a 4.25 ERA. His BB% climbed to 12% while his HR/9 also spiked to 1.50. The blisters were obviously a factor, but nothing in Sanchez’s 2017 performance gave owners much hope.

The lack of trust in a Sanchez bounce-back has his ADP sitting at 224. Jays manager John Gibbons has been encouraged by what he saw out of Sanchez so far in Spring Training. If the reports of his health remain positive, Sanchez is well worth a gamble at his draft spot as someone who could be a SP3 for Fantasy owners.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Position Previews
CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird BaseShortstopOutfieldStarting PitcherRelief PItcher

Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content as the 2018 season approaches.

About Jonathan Chan

Winning fantasy leagues since 2004. Losing them for much longer. Follow Jonathan on twitter @jchan_811 and he'll be ready for all your questions!

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