Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 3/28/13

Sometimes, all it takes is a change in the calendar year for a player to bounce back. Adam Dunn did it last year as did Alfonso Soriano. This year, several players have to be chomping at the bit to get the 2013 season going. Here are some players that under performed or those that were injured last year who I believe will return to form in 2013.Honorable Mention: Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY; Michael Pineda, SP, NYY; Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI; Shaun Marcum, SP, NYM10. Rickie Weeks, 2B, MILWeeks hit .199 in the first half last year, but managed a final batting average of .230 thanks to a .261 mark in the second half. He can bash 20 homers, steal 10-15 bags and drive in 60+ runs when he is on. The position, however, has seen an upgrade in the last two seasons with guys like Jason Kipnis, Jose Altuve and Kyle Seager coming to the party. Two things happen this year for Weeks—he either maintains the pace set above or he falls by the wayside.9. Nick Markakis, OF, BAL“The Golden Greek” missed all of June and parts of July and September during the 2012 season. It didn’t matter much as the Orioles made the playoffs for the first time since the late ’90s. He’s finally playing on a winning team, so hopefully he can stay healthy and lead Baltimore to back-to-back postseason appearances. He’s good for 15-20 homers and 75-85 RBI with solid rates when healthy.8. Heath Bell, RP, ARIBell can’t possibly be worse in 2013 than he was in 2012. He was a victim of some bad luck, but it’s also possible that he cracked under the pressure of the attention hurled onto Miami for one season. He posted a 5.09 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. Now in Arizona, he will set up the oft-injured J.J. Putz and should at least be a good source of holds with an outside chance at some saves.7. Brett Gardner, OF, NYY Gardner is someone the Yankees really need to lean on this season. With Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and Alex Rodriguez all dealing with injuries, Gardner and Robinson Cano will have to carry the offense. When Gardner is healthy, and now he is, he’s a great speed option. He will nab 30 or more bags and hit about .270 as a late-round grab for your team.6. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B/OF, TORUnless Bonifacio’s hurt, I can’t see him losing playing time at second base to Macier Izturis. He has been a base stealing machine the last two years with 70 steals in 216 games with an 83% success rate. He will most likely hit ninth, which hurts his plate appearances, but he is a great supplement to Jose Reyes to set the table for the power guys. If he doesn’t miss time this season, he could steal 40 bags.5. Dan Haren, SP, WASAfter nine years out West, Haren rounded up the wagons and headed East to join the Nationals. He’s hoping to put his 2012 season (12-13, 4.33 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .275 BAA) behind him. His career ERA is 3.66 and he has a career 4:1 K:BB ratio, so going to the team with the best ERA in the MLB in 2012 sets the bar high. You shouldn’t think of Haren as an ace, but I think Haren will do all he can to live up the standard of pitching that Washington set last year.4. Roy Halladay, SP, PHISome say Halladay might be on the decline and he might not be the ace he has always been, but I still think he’s a guy worth drafting as your second or third pitcher. Before 2012, he was working on four-straight seasons of ERAs under 2.80. He should adjust to his decreasing velocity and still be a force to deal with for hitters, so a line like 3.30 ERA, 1.15 WHIP with 180 Ks is possible for Doc.3. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COLTulo only played 47 games last year and has been out since the beginning of last June. He has to be pacing like a tiger to get back and play relevant ball. If he plays 140 or more games, he’s a lock for 25 homers, 90 RBI and at least a .285 average. He’s still one of the elite SS so don’t be afraid to draft him.2. Tim Lincecum, SP, SFThe Freak will be back in 2013. He might be without his signature hair, but his splitter, changeup and curveball will still be around. He’s not counted on as the ace anymore, so that pressure is off. He might not be the two-time Cy Young Award pitcher, but you can expect numbers around his career-averages—3.31 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .228 BAA.1. Cliff Lee, SP, PHILee didn’t have a bad year per se, but he did post a 6-9 record mainly due to poor run support. He still struck out 207 batters and sported a tight 3.16 ERA 1.11 WHIP. He also only walked 28 batters. With a better offense (presumably) in 2013, he should return to elite status and hopefully reward anyone who drafts him.

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