In the first article of this series, I looked at some of the most disappointing fantasy performers from this past season and attempted to project what should be expected from those players in 2015. If you missed it, you can check out that post here. This time around, I’m going to break down a few players who unexpectedly produced some of the best overall numbers in fantasy baseball during the 2014 season. None of these guys were thought of as core players for fantasy owners to build around prior to the season, but all of them found their way onto many championship teams due to their elite production.

Are these breakout performances sustainable going forward? Should significant regression be expected? Let’s investigate further…

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It’s beginning to feel like it’s not an offseason without a trade of Wil Myers. In three short years, he’s gone from the Royals to the Rays and now on to the Padres. Only place he can go from the Padres is the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. They would hope Myers could carry them against their most hated rivals, the Yakuza Spits. The Miller Lite-inspired commercials between the Spits and Swallows in Japan are a real crack up. Tastes great!…Spit it out!…Tastes great!…Spit it out! Before Myers is pushing daisies in the NPB, he’ll bide his time in San Diego and try to right this rapidly sinking prospect boat. “Ice-cold sophomore year right ahead!” In all for realliness, I was planning on jumping back in the Myers sinking ship prior to this trade, and I don’t think it kills his value. Would I prefer he went to Coors? Yeah, well, dur. I also don’t think a 24-year-old former top prospect is washed up just because he had one bad year after fracturing his wrist. Takes time to bounce back from that type of injury and one thing we have is time. Well, you with the oxygen mask and cigarette might have less time. In a few years, we’re going to look back at Myers’s 2014 as it should be viewed now, a blip. I’m about as sure of that as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti. Or as sure of it that I’m listening to too much Toto’s Africa. Sure, Petco won’t do him any favors, but if his wrist is at hundred percent there shouldn’t be any problems getting at least 20 homers. Shoot, he could hit 10 homers in just his road games in Coors and Arizona. For 2015, I’ll give him 61/20/72/.277/8. Definitely sleeper material here. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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There’s SAGNOF – now there’s BGLIF or BABIPGLIF.

B(ABIP)GLIF = BABIP’s Got Little Face. As you delve into players for your drafts and you see a surprising glorious batting average from last year, ensure you validate it. Use Razzball Fantasy Baseball BABIP vs. Average Comparison. I’ll point out some sleepers below using this method.

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Reds Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Wick Terrell from Red Reporter.

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Hey, don’t forget to check out the 2014 Razzball Reader Survey! Help us help you!

We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Rays Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jason Collette from The Process Report.

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Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

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You take a guy fresh off a boat — let’s call him Sailor — and Sailor’s boat left a country that didn’t have baseball. After explaining what baseball is, you tell Sailor that one baseball team, the Yankees, throws dollars at free agents. After a lengthy explanation that dollars are our currency and why presidents are on low denominations and a non-president is on the hundred and what the hell a free agent is, you then list the top free agent bats for this year: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran. You then ask Sailor which of those guys the Yankees will get. He’ll probably say one of the first couple of players. Or maybe he’ll say Robinson or Cano Jacoby because he won’t know their names and confuse where commas are when spoken. It’s such an obvious Yankee move to get Ellsbury that even Sailor figured it out. It reeks of throwing money at the team. Or maybe the Yankees just figured if they can’t work with Jay-Z, they’ll work with J-E. The short porch in right won’t hurt Ellsbury. What could hurt him is just about everything else that seems to hurt him every other year. Since 2009, his games played has been 153, 18, 158, 74 and 134. Saberhagenmetricans shudder at the thought of drafting Ellsbury following a big year. I’m with them. I won’t be drafting him anywhere, especially not after he gets bumped up in drafts from his newly adjusted Yankee tax. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 98/13/57/.279/32. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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When Jose Fernandez walks into the 18-and-over strip club, where only the drinks are virgins, that’s called “Rookie Nookie,” he flips his rookie cards like they’re dollar bills, yelling, “Jose make it rain! Jose make it rain! Get it? Hoe say, ‘Make it rain.'” He explains his puns, but he doesn’t need to explain his stuff. It’s filthy with a side of Dirt Nasty. Last night, his line was 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits) and 10 Ks. Sure, it was against the Padres, but Nolasco just got his asco handed to him by the same team. Fernandez is in the upper echelon of K-rates (9+) for all pitchers with a more than manageable walk rate (hair above 3). Oh, and he’s 20 years old. He can’t buy alcohol! He can’t legally marry an illegal alien in the state of Mississippi without parental consent! He’s so young Jose Tabata’s wife could’ve gave birth to him! He skipped right from High-A to the majors, so this is basically his Double-A season. I just got goose pimples on my butt thinking about how good he can be next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I went ahead and picked up Jarrod Dyson this past week only to watch him sprain his ankle before even entering my lineup. ESPN has him listed as 0.0% ownership, so apparently my team doesn’t even count in their world. I was about to get all depressed about it and throw on my Skinny Puppy t-shirt and black eyeliner when I realized that this is a SAGNOF world, and that means when one speedster goes down, we just go to the heap for another. We’re about 1/4 of the way through the season already, and that means it’s time to take a look at some stats for pitchers, catchers, and teams to try to exploit when chasing steals. I’ll also take a look at what Will Venable is up to and how Pedro Florimon may be a possible source of cheap speed in very deep leagues. At the beginning of the season, I posted the 2012 numbers for pitchers and catchers who should be exploited or avoided when it comes to steals, as well as team SB allowed for matchup purposes. Here are those same stats through the first 40 games of the 2013 season.

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