“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s the cliché, right? Whoever came up with that was, like John Denver, full of shit. Or at least they never played fantasy baseball.

Our objective here is to learn from the past and hope it repeats itself. The task is to identify potential breakout players in 2018, and to do that we’re going to look at last year’s breakout players. Hopefully we can identify why everyone missed on last year’s surprise players and find the guys poised to follow a similar path.

This Year’s Ryan Zimmerman

Zimmerman had an excellent stretch from 2009 to 2014 where he posted at least a 119 wRC+ in each season. His wRC+ fell to 106 in 2015 and then fell off a cliff in 2016 all the way down to 67. Zimmerman played only a combined 210 games in those two seasons and was entering his age-32 season last year. It’s not hard to see why Zimmerman’s ADP was outside the top 400 in Howard Bender’s Mock Draft Army heading into last season.

As...