Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Top 10 Projected Home Run and Power Options for 2015 Fantasy Baseball


Now that we have entered the first full week of spring training games, I thought it would be fun to rank the top ten projected home run hitters for the 2015 fantasy baseball season. Power is a rarer commodity in baseball these days, so home run hitters are more important than ever in building a successful fantasy baseball team.

 

Top 10 Projected Home Run Hitters for 2015

Sure, Oscar night was a few weeks ago, but now is as good of a time as any for an Oscar-themed ranking of the top 10 projected HR hitters for 2015. However unlike the Oscars, hopefully you’ve heard of everyone on our list. So without any further ado, let the countdown begin:

 

The Julianne Moore Division

10. David Ortiz (32 projected home runs)
9. Mark Trumbo (32 projected home runs)

Ortiz and Trumbo aren’t the sexiest of picks, but god dammit do they produce. Ortiz ended up with an impressive 35 home runs in 2014 in only 142 games, supported by a strong 17.9% HR/FB rate and 45.7% FB rate. We’ll likely see his FB rate comes back down this year to the low 40s, which will take away a few home runs. He’s also hasn’t exceeded 150 games since 2009, partly due to interleague play, but mostly because when you’re turning 39, it’s normal to get days off. Still, Ortiz is a safe bet to approach 30 home runs, and with a much stronger lineup around him in 2015, expect some great results.

Trumbo played 88 games last year, which seems like 87 games more than I would have guessed. Chalk 2014 up as a complete lost season for Trumbo. He had high expectations in the arid Arizona climate, but difficulty getting on the field ruined expectations. Trumbo turns 29 this year: he’s right in the prime of his career, and has surprisingly been mashing home runs for the better part of 5 years starting when he 36 HR in AAA. Assuming health, I say Trumbo returns to his low 30 HR potential. In what little we saw of him last year, he made small improvements to his approach at the plate (improved contact and less free swinging) that could translate to a strong 2015.

 

American Sniper

8. Chris Carter (33 projected home runs)

Much like American Sniper, Carter gets the snub on this list as I predict “only” 33 home runs vs. his 37 last year. Entering his age 28 season, some would anticipate Carter to take another step forward and approach 40 round-trippers. I’m a bit more bearish and anticipate a regression. Looking closer at Carter’s numbers, one thing stood out – his aggression at the plate. Carter’s swing percentage in 2014 was 49.5%, up from 46.0% in 2013 and 43.2% in 2012. You might remember that in 2012 he was with the Athletics, the preachers of plate discipline. Carter finally took off the restrictor plate and let loose in 2014, but the contrarian in me says that it leaves him liable to becoming too free-swinging. His K rate is still appalling at 31.8%; pitchers will be content to either walk him or strike him out in 2015, resulting in fewer home runs. As the Heatmaps from FanGraphs.com below shows, his contact rate is just too poor to continue giving up long balls too. I expect pitchers to pound him down and away, and if they offer a free pass, so be it.

Chris Carter HeatMaps - FanGraphs.com

 

Boyhood

7. Mike Trout (33 projected home runs)

Similar to Boyhood, we’re seeing Trout grow up before our very eyes, transitioning to more of a power hitter instead of the base stealing threat that stole 49 bags in 2012. Trout hit 36 HR in 2014, raising his ISO from .234 to .274 year over year. But, I think we’ll see more of the 2013 Trout next year. While his home run totals were impressive, his average took a dip to .287, which sounds disappointing for the best player on the planet. His 47.2% FB rate was notably higher than his career average of 38.7%. I think he’ll end up with more line drives, closer to a .300 average, and around 33 round trippers for the year, which will put him in contention for MVP yet again.

 

J.K. Simmons Division

6. Edwin Encarnacion (34 projected home runs)
5. Jose Bautista (34 projected home runs)

Much like J.K. Simmons winning Best Supporting Actor, Encarnacion and Bautista find themselves on this list because of support for each other in the Blue Jays lineup. Encarnacion ended 2014 with 34 HR in just 128 games, and I expect he’ll be right in this area in 2015. Encarnacion’s issue is usually health related – he’s eclipsed 151 games just once in his career and played as few as 96 in each of 2009 and 2010. He may be the highest risk on this list because of injuries, but he’s proven that he can hit 30+ even with limited health. He’ll be 32 this year, so expect a DL stint at some point. My other concern is that his plate discipline worsened last year; he swung at more pitches outside the zone, made worse contact, and struck out more – all of which could point to a sign that he’s losing bat speed.

Joey Bats blocked out the haters in 2014 and played a full 155 games with 35 home runs. 2014 was a big year for Bats; since 2011 he had a disturbing trend of deteriorating output, but he flipped the switch last year. I’d be surprised if he remained healthy all through 2015, but mid-30 home run totals are well within reason. Barring health, he’s as consistent as they come and is a top OF in any format.

 

The Big Hero 3

4. Anthony Rizzo (35 projected home runs)
3. Miguel Cabrera (35 projected home runs)
2. Jose Abreu (40 projected home runs)

Rizzo hit an impressive 32 HR in just 140 games in 2014. At age 24, it’s rare to have such power while hitting for a respectable average. Know that Rizzo is only getting better – his HR/FB rate of 18.8% was consistent with 2012, and I think it can go even higher. Rizzo may approach 40 HR in the next few years, and with a stacked Cubs lineup, pitchers won’t be able to avoid him.

Many fantasy owners were alarmed with the lack of power from Cabrera last year, and perhaps rightfully so. His ISO dropped from .288 to .211 from 2013 to 2014. But I’m incredibly bullish on Cabrera this year. Why? Because he’s still an absolute monster! True, his 44 HR fell to 25, but he hit 52 doubles in 2014, up from 26 in 2013. His 52 doubles were second most in the majors, one behind Jonathan Lucroy. So maybe he’s washed up, or maybe he struggled with an injury (he did) that was more serious than people thought (it was). While everyone else is running for the hills, bet big on Cabrera.

Abreu put together an impressive 2014, but some people were disappointed by his second half. He hit an ungodly 29 HR in his first 82 games, followed by 7 over his final 63. What happened? My first guess was that pitchers approached him differently in the second half:

Jose Abreu
PA Pitches Balls % Balls Strikes % Strikes Pitches/PA
First half 351 1296 459 35.4% 837 64.6% 3.69
Second half 271 1050 384 36.6% 666 63.4% 3.87

 
But it wasn’t all that different; he saw slightly more balls than strikes, and ultimately more pitches per plate appearance, but there’s no stark contrast that I sort of expected. The HR drop-off occurred because he dominated pitchers in other facets: he batted .350 in the second half! His first half 34.9% HR/FB rate was unsustainable, but his 13.7% HR/FB in the second half is pedestrian by his standards. I expect another huge season from Abreu and think he’s the best challenger to the consensus #1 home run hitter.


Birdman

1. Giancarlo Stanton (42 projected home runs)

2015 may be the year that Stanton crosses the 40 HR mark, where he certainly would have gotten last year if not for being struck in the face by a fastball. In terms of contact and approach at the plate, 2014 was still shy of his 2012 production, but there’s no reason to believe that Stanton can’t return to that level as he’s only 25 years old. His 2013 was marred by his uncertain future with the Marlins, which is crystal clear following his record-setting contract extension. You don’t need me to tell you that the informal “Home Run Crown” is Stanton’s to lose this year.

 




More Recent Articles

 

Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More


Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More


Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More


Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More


Biggest Breakouts Of 2019: Wide Receivers

As we enter the initial phase of offseason activities you have recently completed a painstaking process of creating and managing rosters, with the goal of winning fantasy championships in 2019. Now, many of you have already shifted your focus toward planning your drafts in Best Ball and redraft leagues, while others are contemplating how you... Read More


Tight End ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Running Back ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, a sure-fire player is expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they end up as a season-long dud, though,... Read More


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Tight End

The 2019 NFL season was anything but predictable. I mean, the Tennessee Titans made the AFC title game! Andrew Luck retired right before the season! [Insert one of many, many other things here, because all lists need three items but I couldn't decide between all the possible third options.] One position where things at the... Read More


Wide Receiver Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

We continue our series covering the biggest risers and fallers of 2019 with the wide receiver position. I'll look at both 2018 and 2019 statistical outcomes from every player, contrast their performances, calculate differences in each category and come up with the most prominent names going forward. This past season, receivers didn't dominate in fantasy,... Read More


Wide Receiver ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


XFL Fantasy Football Rankings (Preseason)

As of this writing, there is exactly one month until XFL regular-season action begins. On February 8, the latest upstart professional league will kickoff (again) with spring football. It goes without saying that we hope it goes better than the first time, back in 2001, and lasts longer than the AAF. Before you settle in... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Quarterback

The 2019 NFL season is over, and it's time to look back on what happened. 2019 was a year where some quarterbacks -- Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen -- leaped up to the top of the fantasy charts, while other guys faded from where they were expected to perform. Today, I want to talk about three... Read More


Quarterback ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 fantasy football was filled with plenty of surprises across the board. Between guys like Devante Parker breaking out and David Johnson being a total dud, there was plenty of action that kept the fantasy season interesting. At the running back position, there were some very interesting young names that took off and broke... Read More