Brad Johnson

Homer Report

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Bangin' the Trumbo

Saturday, July 7, 2018


With slightly more than half the season in the books, 16 players have hammered 20 or more home runs. They’re within striking distance of a 40 home run season. As a reminder, only five players crossed that threshold last year. A whopping 124 players have reached double-digit home runs. These are the likeliest candidates to eclipse 20 home runs. A record 117 players achieved the feat in 2017. Perhaps this is another season for the record books?

 

Let’s dive into the details.

 

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Week 14 Leaders

 

Aaron Hicks: 5 HR

Avisail Garcia: 5 HR

Francisco Lindor: 4 HR

Daniel Palka: 4 HR

 

This last week has handed us some interesting performances to discuss. Hicks and Garcia paced the league with five home runs apiece. Hicks did most of his damage last Sunday when he popped three homers in one game. He’s on a bit of a binge. Since mid-June, he has 10 home runs in 83 plate appearances. He was bouncing around the waiver wire prior to the hot streak, and he’s still out there in one-third of leagues. Hicks makes more than enough hard fly ball contact to be a steady source of power at Yankee Stadium.

 

Garcia is on a streak of his own. Since late-June, he’s hit seven home runs in 52 plate appearances. He missed about two months due to injury and now appears to be in top form. For Garcia, this means a hyperaggressive blend of hard pulled ground ball contact. It’s not a reliable profile for power purposes. For all his many flaws he does seem to have developed into a playable fantasy asset. He’s on waivers in 43 percent of leagues.

 

Entering the season, there was plenty of doubt about Lindor’s power. He hit 33 home runs last season, but naysayers believed he would regress. Instead, he’s added more hard contact, leading to a 20.5 percent HR/FB ratio. If he were to maintain that rate, he would be likely to cross the 40 home run plateau. The 24-year-old currently has 23 home runs in 400 plate appearances while batting .300/.378/.574. Those marks, combined with 12 stolen bases and plentiful run production, mark him as the top fantasy shortstop. Nobody else is even close. Shame on you for drafting Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Manny Machado before him! (I did too)

 

When he makes contact, Palka usually puts a charge in the ball. Unfortunately, he features a 33.7 percent strikeout rate along with a high infield fly rate. Those free outs account for about 40 percent of his plate appearances. As a result, his .231 batting average and .279 OBP aren’t unlucky. Palka is a fine streaming target in the right matchup, but his rate stats and lack of speed hurt too much to use on a daily basis.

 

My Top 10 Projected Home Run Leaders

 

J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox: 27 HR, 46 HR projected

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees: 24 HR, 45 HR projected

Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians: 24 HR, 44 HR projected

Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox: 22 HR, 43 HR projected

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: 24 HR, 42 HR projected

Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees, 21 HR, 42 HR projected

Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners: 22 HR, 41 HR projected

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers: 21 HR, 41 HR projected

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies: 22 HR, 40 HR projected

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: 21 HR, 39 HR projected

 

A minor finger injury has sapped Trout of his power over the last couple weeks. He’s turned into an ordinary hitter. Pray to the baseball gods for his recovery. Manny Machado, Khris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lindor are all just outside the top 10 with 38 or 39 projected home runs. Gallo’s extreme fly ball rates still support the potential for a big second half surge. However, he’s starting to lose a trickle of playing time due to his contact issues. He’ll need to adjust. Sometimes a little time off is just the ticket. The biggest positive change during my two week absence was the steady rise of Arenado. Davis fell off the list after failing to homer since June 14.

 

Disabled

 

***Zack Cozart, Los Angeles Angels (torn labrum – out for season)

***Carlos Correa, Houston Astros (back tightness)

***Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals (hamstring strain)

***Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians (calf strain)

***Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners (ankle bone bruise)

***Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees (right hip strain)

Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (left shoulder inflammation)

Jay Bruce, New York Mets (right hip strain)

Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees (groin strain)

Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants (fractured hand)

Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals (fractured foot)

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (ruptured biceps tendon – out for season)

Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays (calf strain)

Franchy Cordero, San Diego Padres (forearm strain)

Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets (mild hip flexor strain)

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals (back soreness)

Nick Delmonico, Chicago White Sox (fractured metacarpal)

Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (TJS – out for season)

***denotes new injury

 

Five sluggers returned from disabled list over the last week. The Diamondbacks welcomed back both A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza – a big upgrade to their outfield ranks. Arizona currently holds a meager one game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West. Pollock was in the midst of a power breakout before fracturing his thumb. Unfortunately, thumb injuries usually sap a hitter’s power for a few months. Shohei Ohtani will step in as the Angels’ full time designated hitter. No more pitching – at least not for a while yet. Matt Chapman is back at third base for the Athletics while the Cardinals welcomed back power hitting shortstop Paul DeJong.

 

Six boppers landed on the disabled list in the last week. Zack Cozart failed to repeat his breakout 2017 season – not a huge surprise since he moved from Great American Ballpark to Angels Stadium. He’ll miss the remainder of the season. The other new injuries are all thought to be minor. Zunino will miss the most time – about two to three weeks. Torres and Correa could return soon. Donaldson suffered a setback with his injured calf.

 


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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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