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Baseball Draft Kit: Scouting Last Season's Surprises

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

The league-wide decline in offense is real.

I warned about it as many as five years ago. Pitchers are bigger and stronger, and a greater number of them now throw in the high-90s with movement on the ball. Many also throw a cutter -- a tough pitch to pick up.

Additionally, the growing use of defensive shifts has made it more difficult for hitters to produce. The data is so convincing on hitter tendencies that the genius of Joe Maddon and the Rays' front office regarding defensive positioning has spread. Consider those shifts when buying players.

Regardless of the changes in pitching and defense, there are fewer power hitting corner infielders and outfielders in the game. Therefore, power bats in fantasy will be at a premium. The use of unauthorized substances to assist in performance has been reduced, and that has clearly had an impact.

In this changing environment, there were many players that showed significant improvement in 2013. At a t

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