It can be difficult to draft players who, for lack of a better term, screwed you last season, but just like you and me, we all have off days, or in this context, off years. In baseball, there are usually indicators that will tell us if we can expect more of the same in the future or if it’s simply an outlier.
Sure, you may have been burned, or you simply just can’t stand the look of that 4.56 ERA or .220 AVG, but fantasy sports is about doing everything possible to win a championship and that includes drafting certain players who disappointed fantasy owners in the previous season.
Now obviously not all players will magically turn it around the following season, but we asked our featured pundits below who they believe has a bounce-back season in store.
Dallas Keuchel (SP – HOU)
“I’m throwing all of Dallas Keuchel’s 2016 stats in the shredder – he clearly wasn’t healthy. And while no one expects him to go back to 2015 levels, the 2014 ratios – 2.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP – seem attainable to me, so long as Keuchel’s body holds up. Watch him very closely this spring.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)
“Though we can set aside major injuries for pitchers, it is nearly impossible to avoid finding health issues with any “disappointing” hurler. Dallas Kuechel was able to battle through shoulder issues to pitch 168 innings (26 starts), though his 4.55 ERA left many wondering what happened to the defending Cy Young winner coming off of back-to-back sub-3.00 ERA seasons. Even with the nagging injury, Kuechel was not quite as bad as the numbers showed, posting a 3.53 xFIP for the year. He continues to keep the ball on the ground (56.7 GB% in 2016) coupled with a strikeout rate hovering near 8 K/9. Early reports that the “major inflammation” he experienced in his rotator cuff last season has subsided has us buying.”
– Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)
Zack Greinke (SP – ARI)
“Greinke is a huge candidate to bounce back after his worst season since 2005. The perennial ace posted a 4.37 ERA (and a 4.12 FIP, so there wasn’t much flukiness to it) across 158.2 innings, and while he dealt with injuries during the season, he was still a far cry from the pitcher that finished second in Cy Young voting in 2015.
Assuming that Greinke is totally healthy, he should return to form in his age-33 season with an ERA much closer to what we’ve seen over the last three seasons (2.91).”
– Bill Dubiel (RotoBaller)