Brad Johnson

Homer Report

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Harper and Dozier Show

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Welcome to the Homer Report. We’re in the midst of a baseball revolution – the Air Ball Revolution. Juiced baseballs, Statcast, and mechanical innovations have led to ever-burgeoning home run totals. This column will seek to celebrate home runs. We’ll take a peek at the past week, power threats lost to the disabled list, new boppers to target, and sluggers with juicy upcoming matchups. Ready for some big flies?

 

As this is a new column, the content is still flexible. We’re experimenting with what makes for the best Homer Report. If there’s anything you liked, didn’t like, or want to see in future Homer Reports, please reach out to me on Twitter @BaseballAteam.

 

Editor’s Note: Compete in a live snake draft right now! Drafts take as little as 2 minutes to complete and last just one night. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link.

 

Week Two Leaders

 

Brian Dozier: 4 HR

Bryce Harper: 4 HR

10 Others: 3 HR

 

Two players ascended to the top of the weekly home run leaderboard. If either of them is a surprise, it’s only because Dozier has kinda-sorta established himself as a second half player. He’s raced off to a hot start, raising the prospect of an over-40 homer season. Dozier’s game is simple – he’s consistently among the league leaders in pulled fly ball contact. Here’s a typical example against Kevin Gausman. The combination makes him prone to long and painful slumps. Now is a bad time to buy.

 

When Harper is right, he looks nigh invincible. Right now, Harper is right. While a couple of Dozer’s shots barely carried out of the park, Harper was mashing no doubt moon balls. The four big flies actually represented his only hits of the week.

 

Let’s talk about a few of the three home run guys. Christian Villanueva did his damage in one remarkable game. The righty has some flaws in his batting profile, but a lack of power is not one of them. Although the 27-year-old has never been a premium prospect or a serious power threat in the minors, he appears to have found his stride. All three home runs were hammered. Villanueva has serious contact issues which may manifest in a Gallo-ian strikeout rate. Once pitchers learn to combat his aggression by working off the plate, he could find it difficult to remain productive. He’s also sharing third base duties with Chase Headley.

 

Shohei Ohtani homered in three consecutive games. Check out this swing. Does it remind you of anybody? (Hint: watch the “no doubt moon balls” linked above). It doesn’t hurt to be visually similar to a superstar. While I think everybody had doubts about Ohtani’s offensive contributions heading into the season, he’s quickly proving himself to be a viable major league and fantasy contributor. Now he just needs to escape the bottom of the Angels lineup.

 

Didi Gregorius had himself a week. He’s currently the top hitter in the majors by most advanced metrics. His best day included a pair of home runs and eight RBI. Gregorius is a different sort power threat. He receives plenty of help from Yankee Stadium (see the first homer). He’s capable of no doubters too - his second homer brushed the stratosphere. Given his infrequent hard contact, I’ve never really understood how he’s turned into a 30 home run threat. Even so, he’s on pace for a third consecutive career-best season at the plate.

 

My Top 10 Projected Home Run Leaders

 

Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

 

If you’re wondering who’s missing from last week’s list, it’s Nelson Cruz (minor injury) and Rhys Hoskins. They’re both still lurking just outside the top 10. Dozier and Blackmon – both tied for the league lead with four homers – have joined my personal top 10. While it’s important to not overreact to the first week, their hot start is enough to push their projected power totals from the high-30s to 40 or more.

 

Last week, I had Harper penciled in for 40 big flies. I’ve amended my expectations to 45 homers. Thus he gets an UP arrow. Other players who have drawn my attention include Ohtani, Yoenis Cespedes, Miguel Sano, and Matt Chapman. I’m still quite impressed with Hoskins too despite only one home run to date.

 

Disabled

 

***Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals

***Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

***Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

***Wil Myers, San Diego Padres

Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees

Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners

Greg Bird, New York Yankees

Steven Souza, Arizona Diamondbacks

Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles

***denotes new injury

 

I’m going to restrict myself to players who are actually placed on the disabled list. Minor injuries have claimed another half dozen players. They’re all day-to-day. But first, some good news. Michael Conforto has returned to action ahead of schedule. He homered on Thursday as part of a 1-for-4 effort. He also struck out twice. Expect some rust. Hicks and Zunino are expected to be activated by the end of next week.

 

Four new power threats have joined the disabled list. Cruz might have avoided the shelf under normal circumstances. Seattle had some games in a National League park so they gave Cruz a break in exchange for an extra bench player. Lamb’s injury comes with a variable recovery schedule. He could miss anywhere from 10 to 30 days. Gyorko is waylaid by a hamstring strain. I’ve not seen anything to suggest it’s more serious than a Grade 1 strain. That should take 10 to 15 days to heal. Most worrisome is Myers’ injury. He’s dealing with right arm nerve irritation, although back discomfort from playing the outfield is likely involved too. I was always critical of the Padres plan to sign Eric Hosmer for this exact reason. Myers has been healthy as a first baseman. Whenever he plays outfield, his shoulder and back are constantly injured.

 


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You can read more from Brad Johnson on Rotoworld, FanGraphs, and RotoBaller. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.
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