Fantasy Baseball 2016- Bounce back seasons By: Sean Nicotera / Sports Life magazine
With the MLB season set to start in less than 2 weeks, fantasy baseball drafts are in full swing. Players like Trout, Harper and Kershaw are sure fire bets but what about the guys who may have had a below standard 2015 season? Here is a look at 7 players who are poised for a bounce back season in 2016 .
C- Matt Wieters- Baltimore- This one is largely dependent on health. Wieters missed the better part of the season in 2015 due to injury and right now is fighting through an elbow issue that may sideline him for the start of 2016. When healthy Wieters is a true starting caliber catcher with some pop. As long as the injury bug doesn’t bite him again look for Wieters to be a top 5 catcher in 2016.
1st – Freddie Freeman- Atlanta- Freeman is a stud. We all know that. However he may have hurt your fantasy team with a wrist injury towards the end of the 2015 season. Now fully healthy Freeman is ready to be the big bat in the Braves lineup once again in 2015. Look for Freeman to approach 20 Hrs and 90 RBIs this season.
2nd – Robinson Cano- Seattle- The perennial star 2nd baseman for the Mariners had an awful 2015 first half. He faced some stomach issues that caused him to become very fatigued during games. Cano bounced back with a typical Cano 2nd half and looks to remain entrenched as the number 3 hitter for Seattle. Fully healthy after an off season surgery Cano may be the top 2nd baseman for 2016.
3rd – David Wright- Probably the most obvious name on this list thus far, Wright faced a serious back injury in 2015 that threatened his career. Playing in less than 40 games in 2015 Wright is looking to play 130 in 2016. If he can stay healthy Wright should bounce back with a 15-20 homerun 70 RBI season with the Mets in 2016. Note : If you are in a keeper/dynasty league I would lean towards moving Wright if you can get any value. He is clearly entering the downswing of his career.
SS- Troy Tulowitzki -Toronto- Tulo is poised for a monster 2016. The high powered Blue Jays attack is going to score runs. And Tulowitzki is going to have plenty of chances for RBIs batting 5th in the Blue Jays lineup. Tulowitzki is coming off a season that saw him hit .280 17 home runs, 70 RBI, and 85 runs scored, and his offensive track record makes him one of the best offensive shortstops in the league heading into 2016. A full season with the Blue Jays lineup is going to do wonders. I would rank him as a top 3 shortstop for 2016 without hesitation.
OF- Yasiel Puig- Los Angeles (NL)- Puig is in a battle for playing time in LA heading into the 2016 season. A crowded outfield along with some off field issues and injury concerns are all swirling around the young Cuban star. However I look for Puig to breakout from his down 2015 and get back on track. Missing a large part of the season due to injury in 2015 Puig still managed 11 Hr and 38 RBIs in less than half a season. Puig should get back to his season averages in both categories easily, and my guy tells me he is going to end up with a career year in both statistics. This is probably the riskiest player of the list.
P- Justin Verlander- Detroit- Verlander started the season on the DL and managed to start 20 games in 2015 going 5-6 with a 3.37 ERA and 113 Ks. He showed his stuff was still there with 1 complete game shutout and pitched into the 9h inning in another outing. Verlander has had a strong spring and has been pegged as the Tigers opening day starter. Look for another vintage Verlander season in 2016.