Fantasy Baseball

2020 Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Candidates


Welcome back, Fantasy friends and foes as I continue my contributions to the Fantasy Six Pack Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit with the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Candidates.

With pitchers and catchers now reported to Spring Training, baseball fans start feeling the excitement of the upcoming season. The 2020 season will have no shortage of intrigue.

  • How big of a target do the Houston Astros have on their back?
  • Do the Washington Nationals repeat?
  • Will the Minnesota Twins offense break more records?
  • Can the Los Angeles Dodgers actually be better than last season?

I feel the excitement, don’t you? Every season brings an enthusiasm for every team that this could be their year. However, some players didn’t have successful 2019 seasons. Those players can’t wait for the season to start, so they have the opportunity to redeem themselves.

I came up with five players that Fantasy managers should target as players that will bounce back from their less than stellar 2019 seasons in the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Candidates.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Candidates

Free five-minute mock drafts against industry experts and custom analysis for your team with the FantasyPros Draft Wizard.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto has put together back-to-back below-par seasons after contending for the NL MVP in 2017. Votto has been the best Reds hitter for the last decade. However, the burden of carrying the Reds team is not on his shoulders any longer. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez has developed into one of the league’s best players over the last two seasons. The additions of Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and Shogo Akiyama should propel the Reds offense to finish higher than the 12th-ranked offense in the National League last season with 701 runs scored.

In a down 2019 season, the 13-year veteran put up a respectable .357 on-base percentage, just one point below the team leader, Saurez. Votto also finished second on the team with 216 total bases. However, he is not the most feared hitter in the Reds lineup, but this is the best team that Votto has been a part of since 2013. We will not see Votto smash 30-plus home runs, and Fantasy managers should not expect that from the left-handed hitting Votto.

Fantasy managers should expect Votto to be in the No.2 hole for a vastly improved Reds lineup. Fake baseball fans should rely on him to get closer to .400 OBP again and maintain an average around .280. His MVP-type numbers are in the past, but Votto can still be a valuable corner infield Fantasy piece and will out-produce his current 22nd-ranked ADP at first base.

Jean Segura, 2B/SS, Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies obtained shortstop Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners in December 2018. The Phillies thought they were getting a two-time All-Star shortstop who batted .300 or better for three straight seasons. Unfortunately, Segura suffered the worst season of his career last season. Segura hit .280 and also suffered a career-low in OPS, and after stealing at least 20 bases in each season since 2013, Segura only stole 10 in 2019.

The honeymoon started wonderfully for Segura and the Phillies in the first two months of last season. He ended May hitting .301 with a .809 OPS. However, a baserunning blunder by Segura played a role in the rundown Andrew McCutchen got into that resulted in McCutchen going down with a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee.

Before McCutchen’s injury, Segura was slashing .287/.339/.441. After the injury, he slashed only .275/.314/.412, and the rest of the offense struggled. His defense at shortstop also suffered dramatically as well.

The Phillies sought out an upgrade at shortstop in signing former Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius to a one-year deal. Where does that leave Segura? One of the big question marks this Spring Training is how the Phillies will configure their infield?  It appears the Phillies will put Segura at second, with Gregorius at short, and Scott Kingery at third.

Segura had the best offensive season of his career in 2016 when the Diamondbacks moved him to second base. He admitted that he was a bit of shape last season and spent the offseason in a program that resulted in losing weight and tuning up his body. The move to second base and having McCutchen back at the top of the Phillies lineup should pay Fantasy dividends for managers who take a shot at Segura at the 23rd ADP at shortstop.

Khris Davis, OF/DH, Oakland A’s

The Oakland A’s had a fabulous season in 2019. They won 97 games but it was still a disheartening one in losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card game. One of the biggest disappointments of the 2019 season was the hitting of designated hitter Khris Davis. Davis recorded at least 40 home runs and 100 RBI in each of his first three seasons with the A’s, while incredibly batting .247 all three years.  The 31-year-old slashed just .220/.293/.387, all career-worsts, with only 23 homers and 73 RBI.

Davis got off to a marvelous start, batting .265 with ten home runs and 19 RBI in his first 17 games. A week later, he signed a two-year, $33.5 million contract extension. In a frightening moment, Davis collided with the left-field wall in Pittsburgh on May 5, suffering a left hip contusion. His season then went into a downward spiral. He had one stretch – from June 19 to August 20, spanning 44 games – Davis hit .185 and posted a .491 OPS with only one home run, 13 RBIs, and 46 strikeouts.

In a season when a record 256 players hit double-digit home runs, and 129 reached the 20-homer mark, Davis inexplicably saw his power numbers cut in half. Despite his decline in power numbers, Davis lifted his hard-hit rate to a career-best 46.0 percent last season.

The A’s paid Davis big money to provide power in the middle of the lineup. Last season was an aberration when you examine his wRC+ over his previous four seasons. His 81 wRC+ is the lowest output by 41 points with the A’s. The injuries are behind him, and so should any doubt that Davis returns to being one of the best power hitters in the game.

Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels

There might not have have been a more disappointing Angels player than Justin Upton last season. Upton missed most of the spring training with tendinitis in his right knee and a sprained toe. He then missed finishing the regular season with patellar tendinitis, limiting his offensive production posting unimpressive .215/.309/.416 slash line across 62 games. It was the fourth-time All-Star’s worst production since his 2017 rookie campaign.

Before last season, his season averages from 2009-18: .270 AVG/.349 OBP/.481 SLG, 89 runs, 27 homers, 84 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. The 32-year-old outfielder was physically compromised last season but has appeared in at least 145 games in each of the previous eight seasons.

The Los Angeles Angels added third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is a career .290/.369/.490 hitter with 136 homers and 546 RBI in 916 games to create one of the best upper-halves of a lineup in the league. With Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Shohei Ohtani hitting in front of Upton, he will be right in the middle of an explosive lineup.

Upton has swatted 65 homers in the previous two seasons and has possessed excellent underlying metrics as recently as 2018. Being drafted outside of the top 50 outfielders, Upton is the ideal sleeper selection and bounceback player that Fantasy managers should target in their drafts.

Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Atlanta Braves

Folty had a roller coaster 2019 season. He didn’t throw a pitch in the MLB season until April 27 due to elbow discomfort. Folty allowed 19 runs in his first four outings leading him to be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to get straightened out. He seemed to find his 2018 form when he posted a 13-10 record with a 2.85 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 183 innings. Folty looked like a new pitcher when he returned to the Braves rotation. He was the team’s best pitcher for the remainder of the season, going 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA from his return on August 6. He allowed just five earned runs in 30 September innings and a strikeout rate of 8.6-per-nine.

The former All-Star continued his late-season surge with a phenomenal performance in Game 2 of the NLDS. He posted seven shut out innings, allowing three hits, striking out seven and issuing zero walks against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, Folty experienced a huge first drop in typical roller-coaster fashion in Game 5. He recorded just one out before being pulled from the game after allowing six earned runs and three walks.

Get in on some Best Ball leagues at Underdog Fantasy. Sign up and get a Money Back Guarantee if you don't love it during the first month.

The right-hander looked honestly bothered to start the 2019 season, but once he was able to trust his elbow and returned from his AAA stint, we saw him become a top of the rotation starter. Per Brooks Baseball, his stuff still had plenty of life, with his fastball and sinker at 95 and that heavily-used slider an excellent off-speed option at 85 miles per hour. Currently being drafted as the 76th pitcher according to FantasyPros ADP, Folty is the ideal pitcher candidate to breakout with Fantasy production reminiscent of his second-half 2019 numbers.

Check out the rest of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL (GO BROWNS!) and college football (GO BUCKEYES!) MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. Please do all of us a favor and follow Dennis @ CALL_ME_SOS.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.