2014 Fantasy Baseball Bounce Back Candidate: SP Matt Cain
Cain was drafted as a top-10 arm in every format, but his 2013 totals finished well outside of the top-40 hurlers. After six straight seasons of pitching 200-plus innings, Cain only managed to throw 184.1 innings last season. His 4.00 ERA was well above his career 3.35 mark and it was an all-around miserable fantasy campaign.
Most critics attribute poor fantasy performances to a drop in velocity. Ironically, though, Cain has not lost any velocity on his fastball. His fastball has averaged 91.2 MPH in three straight seasons, and while the usage of it has dropped, he has learned how to use the rest pitches in his repertoire.
Cain shockingly pitched lights out in the second half. Before the All-Star break, Cain had a gaudy 5.06 ERA and the hurler gave up 16 homers. He finally settled down as the year moved on, as he posted a sizzling 2.36 ERA after the turn. He ended up putting up great numbers in the final months of the season and certainly made up for his rough start.
Cain may be coming off a severely up-and-down fantasy season, but that is no reason to completely give up on the hurler. He has an amazing track record (three-time All-Star) and will always benefit from pitching half his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league. A bounce back season seems almost guaranteed for the big right-hander.
Cain will be one of the best bounce back candidates to target this fantasy season. He will fall well past the first couple rounds, but he should still finish as a top-20 fantasy arm. So while compiling your 2014 cheat sheets, make sure to keep Cain near the top of your SP rankings.
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