March 11, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

2013 Fantasy Baseball Leaders and Laggards: Home Run Tracker Laggards Edition

Print Friendly

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers

Most of the guys on this list are probably going to regress to some extent in 2013. These are the guys whose home runs barely cleared the fences in 2013. Sure, a home run that barely reaches the fences counts just as much as a home run that goes twenty rows deep. This is 100% true. The difference is that home runs that are “just enough” are either statistical variance (i.e. luck) or ballpark driven. A homer that goes 20 rows deep will probably be a homer everywhere, but home runs that just clear the fence at the Great American Ballpark are simply long outs at Petco or Metco.

These are the men that made us wipe our brows in relief as their lazy fly balls somehow wandered into the stands. These are the men who have a good shot at being laggards in 2013.  

1. Miguel Cabrera 16
2. Adrian Beltre 15
3. Ryan Braun 14
4. Josh Hamilton 12
5. David Wright 12
6. Hanley Ramirez 11
7. Josh Willingham 11
8. Ike Davis 11
9. Corey Hart 11
10. Chase Headley 11

It’s a little deceiving to have Miguel Cabrera on this list. He hit 44 homers last year. Not all of them are going to be no-doubters, but it is important to note that last year was the first time Cabrera topped 40 homers and he needed a career high 23.0% HR:FB ratio in order to do so. Cabrera is likely to regress from his career high and his HR:FB ratio should be closer to his 18.9% career average. Don’t let any of this scare you off of Miggy. He’s elite and worthy of being #1 overall on most draft boards even if it’s unlikely for Miggy to repeat his 2012 power numbers.

It’s not as deceiving to have Adrian Beltre come in at second on this list. Beltre’s 36 homers in 2012 were his highest total since his career year in 2004. Beltre also posted a 17.0% HR:FB ratio, his highest since, you guessed it, 2004. Beltre’s power numbers are likely to regress in 2013 and fantasy GMs need to be careful not to overdraft a guy who won’t be able to repeat his 2012 numbers. Another concern for Beltre is his o-swing %. He’s actually more reckless at the plate now than when he was younger. Beltre swung at 39.3% of pitches outside the strike zone last year. That number has been increasing since his career low, 20.4%, in 2004. It’s never a good sign to see a guy who has over 2,000 career games getting less selective as he ages.

Ryan Braun is in a similar situation to Miguel Cabrera. He hit 41 homers last year. Not all of them are going to be moonshots. Braun’s HR:FB ratio topped 20% last year. Last year was the first time his HR:FB ratio topped 20% since his rookie year in 2007. Braun is likely to regress in the power department, but he’s still a legit five category contributor and deserves to be taken near the top of most drafts….assuming he doesn’t get a phone call from the commissioner’s office.

You’re not going to believe this, but Josh Hamilton’s career year also came in his contract year. That never happens! He also posted a career high 25.6% HR:FB ratio. The more impressive number is 148. That’s the number of games Hamilton managed to play last year. That’s also the most games he’s played in since 2008. He’s in a great lineup, but he was in a great lineup last year in and played in a park smaller than Angels Stadium. He also swung the bat more (45.4% o-swing) and made less contact (52.1% o-contact %) on pitches outside the zone than he ever has before. Hamilton has tremendous power potential, but he also has tremendous regression potential.

12 of David Wright’s 21 homers were “just enough.” Hmmm. He doesn’t have any red flags in his advanced metrics. His HR:FB ratio was only 12.5% in 2012 and he owns a 13.8% career average. His swing data in 2012 was in-line with his career averages there as well. Still, 12 out of 21 sounds like a lot. It could very well be a function of playing half his games in Metco, but we simply don’t have enough data to tell. Wright might not produce power numbers fantasy GMs require, but he’s still a solid four category producer in 5×5 leagues.

Hanley Ramirez posted a career high 19.8% K% with his lowest BB% since 2007. Hmmmm. His 14.7% HR:FB ratio was only slightly higher than his 13.4% career mark. He’s not a regression candidate, but the walk and strikeout numbers are concerning for a hitter heading into his age 30 season.

Josh Willingham has done what most Joe Mauer fans claim is impossible. To actually hit for power in Target Field. He actually hit more homers at Target (21) than away from Target (14). Fewer than 1/3 of JWilly’s homers were “just enough.” He needed a 21.2% HR:FB ratio to do it. Willingham’s career average is only 15.5%. He was slightly over his head last year, but he’s produced over 20 homers in every season in which he’s had more than 500 PAs.

Ike Davis managed to play 156 games after being diagnosed with Valley Fever and he only turned in the best year of his career. He owns a 16.5% HR:FB ratio for his career, but posted a 21.2% mark last season. He is a solid bet to rebound from his .246 BABIP. He owned a 0.97 GB:FB ratio with a 21.1% LD %. That line drive rate is simply too high to maintain a BABIP that low.

The concern with Corey Hart isn’t his power numbers or his advanced metrics. It seems like every year pitchers and catchers report and every year Hart suffers some kind of injury that forces him to miss the start of the season. Hart has posted HR:FB ratios of 16.8%, 19.7% and 18.1% over the past three years. It would be a surprise if he didn’t post an HR:FB ratio in the upper teens. His power is legit and he’s absolutely worth a selection in all the appropriate formats…assuming you can plan for his absence.

Chase Headley’s HR:FB ratio jumped to 21.4% in 2012. That’s almost double his 10.2% career average. This looks and smells a lot like Joe Mauer in 2009. Headley’s FB % was only 32.3% in 2012. That’s actually lower than his 35.3% career average. He hit fly balls at the same rate, but some of the managed to find the bleachers. He’s not a solid bet to repeat his breakout season and isn’t a solid bet to earn his draft status.


You must be logged in to post a comment.