Some men are leaders and others are laggards. These guys should be among the league leaders in power production because, well, they’ve managed to put a lot of balls over the fences this year and they’re leading you to fantasy glory…for now.
|1. Adam Dunn||29.8%|
|2. Josh Hamilton||26.2%|
|3. Robinson Cano||26.0%|
|4. Mark Trumbo||25.4%|
|5. Pedro Alvarez||25.3%|
|6. Curtis Granderson||25.0%|
|7. Ryan Braun||24.6%|
|8. Josh Willingham||24.4%|
|9. Billy Butler||23.5%|
|10. Mike Napoli||22.7%|
Adam Dunn should be leading this list. Heâ€™s been over 20% every year except his rookie year and last yearâ€™s bizarre 9.6% HR:FB ratio year. Is there any chance that he wasnâ€™t either horribly out of shape or hiding an injury last year? It has to be a 0% chance, right?
Josh Hamilton has tailed off since May. Posting a .400+ BABIP will do that, but his power production is still elite. Heâ€™s outperforming his 19.2% career average and heâ€™s hitting more fly balls this year(40.1% FB rate) than either of the previous two seasons. Hmmm. Sounds like a guy fantasy GMs should want no part of next year, especially after he signs whatever ridiculous contract some foolish real-life GM is bound to offer.
Robinson Cano is posting a career high HR:FB ratio partly because heâ€™s posting a career low 24.9% FB %. Heâ€™s also posting a career high 26.2% LD%. It wouldnâ€™t be a surprise to learn that some of those â€œline drivesâ€ have found their way to the seats this year. Cano is an elite hitter who appears to be having a career year. He might even finally crack 30 homers this year. You want Cano in your lineup and you donâ€™t want to worry about his peripherals.
Itâ€™s safe to say that Mark Trumbo is playing over his head this year. His FB % for this year is identical to last yearâ€™s 38.4%, but his HR:FB ratio is almost eight percent higher than last year. Itâ€™s nice to see a guy like Trumbo have success at the major league level, but heâ€™s an over-draft candidate for next year and a guy who could be headed for regression.
Pedro Alvarez hasnâ€™t eaten his way out of the league and has remembered how to put the ball in the air. Heâ€™s still striking out at a 30%+ clip, but, hey, cheap power. Pedroâ€™s bizarre, injury-riddled 2011 season with a 2.15 GB:FB ratio is a memory. Pedro with a much more palatable 1.25 GB:FB ratio and a 36.2% FB % is here and hopefully here to stay. Heâ€™ll never hit for batting average as long as his K % stays over 30%, but heâ€™s a solid bet for 25+ homers in a league where that actually means something again. His career average HR:FB ratio is at 19.2%, so heâ€™s playing over his head with a 25.3%. A regression, even to his career norms, will still produce power numbers acceptable for roster inclusion in most leagues.
This could be the high point of Curtis Granderson as a power hitter. Every power hitter suffers through regression at some point. Grandersonâ€™s current 25.0% HR:FB ratio is a career high by about five percent. Grandy has exactly one season over 20% other than this season. His FB % sits at 40.5%. That number is under his 43.9% career average. So, heâ€™s hitting fewer fly balls, but more of them are finding the cheap seats. Hmmm. Sounds like a guy who is primed to regress from(yet another) career year in New Yankee Stadium. Heâ€™s still an elite level power producer and deserves to be considered as such even if he does regress.
There could be a case made that Ryan Braun is actually having a better year this year than last year. Braun is hitting roughly the same number of fly balls this year as he did last year, but heâ€™s hitting more homers. Hmmm. Again, this sounds like an elite hitter who could be do for a regression next year. The rub is that Braun could very well regress from his current HR:FB ratio, but heâ€™s still capable of posting elite fantasy numbers. Heâ€™s Ryan Braun. He was the best hitter in baseball last year for a reason and a chance for regression from a career high is no reason to shy away from him.
Whatâ€™s amazing about Josh Willinghamâ€™s 2012 season isnâ€™t that heâ€™s posting a 24.4% HR:FB ratio. The amazing part is that heâ€™s posting a 30.4% at home. Maybe Morneau and Mauer are the ones who have it all wrong. Maybe itâ€™s not the ballparkâ€™s fault they canâ€™t hit for power any more. Who new it would take Josh Willingham to show everyone how itâ€™s done. Dude has hit for power everywhere heâ€™s been. Itâ€™s not his fault heâ€™s eternally underrated. Is he due for a regression? Letâ€™s see here. Currently posting a 24.4% HR:FB ratio and he owns a career average of 15.6%. Yeah, heâ€™s definitely an over-draft candidate for 2013. Be careful trying to get lucky twice with Willingham.
Speaking of over-draft candidates for 2013…Billy Butler ladies and gentlemen! Butlerâ€™s current 23.5% HR:FB ratio is almost double his career average. Most will say, â€œWait! Isnâ€™t Butler in his prime? Shouldnâ€™t he be breaking out?â€ Well, most, letâ€™s take a deeper look. Butler is posting a 1.61 GB:FB ratio(career high!). So, heâ€™s hitting mostly balls on the ground, but managing to post a career high in homers. Youâ€™ve been warned.
Oh, Mike Napoli! We knew that .344 BABIP meant you had a career year, but there was at least one fantasy GM in every league that thought you werenâ€™t just lucky. That BABIP came with a career high 25.4% HR:FB ratio. They said you would regress from that number as well…and you did. Napoli is only posting a 22.7 HR:FB ratio. Regression comes in all sizes. The power numbers with Napoli, as always, are totally legit. The problem that the batting average wonâ€™t always be there and now the health wonâ€™t always be there. Heâ€™s destined to be the MLB version of NBA center Ben Wallace. Never before has a hitter gone from totally underrated to totally overrated, then BACK to totally underrated as quickly as Napoli has. Â
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