Who doesn’t love a good comeback? Just when you think someone’s down, they manage to make themselves relevant again. Continuing our countdown, Matt Schindler takes a look at 3 Fantasy Baseball Comeback Players for 2014
Buying low, selling high., it’s the way of Wall Street and fantasy sports. Whether it’s in the draft or negotiating mid-season trades, if you are able to successfully predict players at high point or at a low point, the return on your investment will be greater at season’s end. As part of our countdown, I am heading west to tell you about players that are due for a comeback year and will out perform their current draft position.
Aaron Hill, 2B: Arizona Diamondbacks
Hill had a monster year his first full season with the Diamondbacks in 2012. He hit 26 HR’s, had 14 SB’s, a .302 AVG, and added a couple of cycles to boot. With expectations high in 2013, Hill only played two weeks before suffering a broken hand when hit by a pitch. He missed two months, and when he first came back in late June, his hand still was not 100%.
So, Hill enters 2014 healthy, but without much expectations from many fantasy prognosticators. Look around the web and you will find Hill outside the Top-10 at 2B on a lot of rankings. Really?! Both Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo in the lineup should get Hill plenty of pitches to hit, in a hitter’s park, with a healthy hand I think Hill could easily be a Top-5 2B in 2014.
Josh Hamilton, OF: Los Angeles Angels
Hamilton is a lock for this list because he has been coming back his whole life, whether it is in baseball or in his personal life with his well-documented struggles with substance abuse. His first season coming off his mega-deal was a bust. There is actually well documented evidence that most players have a drop off after the year they sign a big deal which could have actually predicted such a year for Hamilton.
Hamilton hit .250 in 2013 with only 21 HR’s, less than half of the 43 he hit in 2012. His career AVG is .295, a number Hamilton approached in the 2nd half last season as he hit .287 after the break. As for the drop in power, Angel Stadium is as pitcher friendly as they come, but even ballpark factors cannot be solely responsible for that large of a drop off. Meaning Hamilton should see an uptick in HR’s this season.
Hamilton will come into this season with something to prove to his critics. Every time he has faced adversity in life, he has answered the bell, 2014 will be no different.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B: San Francisco Giants
Pablo is coming off back-to-back years of hitting below his career AVG of .298. The Panda is coming off of back-to-back seasons of hitting less than 15 HR’s as well. In a deep 3B class, that does not get it done.
But Sandoval has a lot going for him right now. He is going to be at the magical fantasy production age of 27. Sandoval also finds himself in a contract year. Finally, Sandoval appears to be a little more dedicated to his craft entering the 2014 season as evidenced by his dramatic weight loss of what some are guessing is over 30 pounds.
The last time he came into a season after losing weight was 2011 where he hit .315 with 23 HR’s, pretty similar to the year that Josh Donaldson just posted across the Bay. If size does matter, and Panda can repeat that success, he could crack the Top-10 in 3B. Not bad considering you will likely watch 12 other 3B get drafted before him.