Fantasy Baseball 2015 Bounce Back Candidates

by Michael Seng

With each new season there is promise and hope for our fantasy success. We hope that we can put the injuries, draft busts, and underachieving behind us. That was last season, this is this season. And we are not the only ones because there are a plethora of players who hope to do the same. Some will have better season, some will have worse, and some will not change at all. I am here to help you determine which players have a chance at bouncing back this year.

Bounce Back Candidates: Hitters

Credit: Keith Allison

Credit: Keith Allison

Chris Davis (1B-BAL)- Davis was arguably the biggest bust of the fantasy season last year. Some might say that Prince Fielder was because he was being taken in the second round and missed most of the season due to injury. However Davis was being taken in the first round and those who took him wished he had an injury to explain his horrendous season.

Coming off a breakout year in 2013 where he mashed 53 home runs we he seemed to be a lock to produce a solid 25-30 home run and 90-100 RBI season. He struggled to a .196 average and only hit 72 RBI. Granted he did miss the last three weeks of the regular season due to a suspension for an unapproved Adderall subscription. In all honestly, it was for the best. He was wildly inconsistent and it was painful to watch. I believe he will have a better year his year. Definitely not the career-year he had in 2013, but he really only as room to improve.

Davis was incredibly unlucky last year in terms of hitting against the defensive shift. He has had an entire offseason to work on it. I firmly believe he will put up a low .200 average with a solid 25 home runs and 90 RBIs. He has done it before and last season was his first with actual expectations to meet. He didn’t handle the pressure well but there is always hope that he learns from his mistakes, he is a hard worker and he will get plenty of plate appearances to make a late-teen round pick up. If he goes undrafted in your league by some miracle, make sure he is on your watch list and look for him to heat up.

Jedd Gyorko (2B-SD)- Like Davis above, Gyorko was a popular sleeper pick in 2013 and provided a significant amount of production. Enough so that it warranted him with higher expectations for the 2014 season. Those expectations along with a bout with plantar fasciitis could be reasons why he struggled last year, hitting very low power numbers and well under his batting average. About halfway through the season he also solely bore the Padres’ run-producing responsibility after Chase Headley was dealt to the New York Yankees. The team has made significant upgrades this season, going out and getting Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Matt Kemp. Those three guys will boost confidence in an otherwise depressing lineup of hitters, as well as take the pressure off of Gyorko to produce as much. Those guys will also get on base a lot more than the previous Padres outfield, supplying him with more opportunity. I see Gyorko as a must-draft in leagues where you play with an addition MI position, and a late-round/watch list add in standard 10-team Head-to-Head and Rotisserie leagues. He has the chance to put up some serious numbers in what is shaping up to be quite a potent offense in the NL West.

Alex Rodriguez (3B/DH-NYY)- I know, I know! Is he going to be the best player in the game again? Absolutely not. Does he even have a starting position? Not yet. “He’s been gone for a whole season, his timing and control will be off.” I hear you, I do. But he is still Alex Rodriguez. Which means he is still very capable of doing things like this. I hate him just as much as everybody else, but if Headley goes down with an injury or A-Rod takes over as the full-time DH, he’ll be worth watching. He is playing with a chip on his shoulder (albeit his own fault) and with those home run bonuses in mind. And hey, some at-bats in a season is better than a season with no at-bats right? He’s bound to knock a few out of the park, and the Yankees have an abundance of left-handed hitters, they’ll need some power from the right.

Bounce Back Candidates: Pitchers

Credit: Erik Drost

Credit: Erik Drost

Danny Salazar (SP-CLE)- His few starts in 2013 were impressive enough to earn him a spot in the rotation to start the 2014 season. However, at the end of April, Salazar had an ERA North of 6.00 and had struggled mightily with his command on his high-90s pitches. Displaying some common erratic behavior that young pitchers do when they are first brought up to the big leagues. After spending some time down in the minors he was brought back up to the rotation full-time in August and showed flashes of brilliance, including a 9 innings-pitched with 9 strikeouts against Detroit. However stars like that didn’t come often enough last year, but I really like his chances to come back from those awful outings. He has some serious innings under his belt and seemed to be righting the ship towards the end of last season.

C.C. Sabathia (SP-NYY)-  I know it’s easy to pick somebody as a “bounce-back candidate” who missed most of the season with an injury, but he was awful for a whole season before that. So he actually counts as a double bounce-back candidate (no that was not a fat joke). He showed up to spring training having gained ten pounds and if there is one thing we know about CC, it is that a fat CC is a good CC. That and he has repeatedly hinted at “tweaking” his arsenal to adjust for his age and drop in velocity. He has consulted with Andy Pettitte several times this offseason, a pitcher who made the transition from velocity to finesse pitching rather gracefully. He’s confident, he’s fat, he’s back is my opinion. He could be a decent middle of the rotation guy this season.

Justin Verlander (SP-DET)- I mean, come on. Anything would be better than last season for him, right?

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