Last season, Brian Dozier had a monstrous hot streak where he hit 23 home runs in the final 2 months of the season. Somehow, a player who has never had a 30 home run season and struggled the entire first half of 2016 finished with 42 home runs! Every fantasy owner dreams of having a player who miraculously starts hitting daily home runs. Players like Dozier are extremely rare, but I’ve outlined a few candidates who could go on surprising power streaks in these final 2 months of the season.
To be clear, these players did not necessarily struggle like first half 2016 Dozier. I’m only identifying players who could potentially have power breakouts. I did not include players who have had a 30 home run season. I also did not include any rookies just because they have no major league track record. For all the players I highlight, I’ve included their career and 2017 HR/FB, FB%, and PA/HR along with the ballpark homerun factor for their home field (based on a sample from 2011-2015). I’ve also included Dozier’s stats from the last 2 months of 2016 for reference.
Dozier hit 23 homers from August to end of season in 2016
Home field (RHB HR factor from 2011-2015): 1.043 (13th)
HR/FB: 29% FB%: PA/HR: 11.39
So here is the list! Enjoy!
Home field (RHB HR factor from 2011-2015): 1.119 (9th)
(Career) HR/FB: 10.5 FB%: 38.6 PA/HR: 39.71
(Season) HR/FB: 25.5 FB%: 49.5 PA/HR: 14.85
Marisnick has been the fourth outfielder for the first place Astros most of the season. With the unfortunate injury to George Springer, however, he has an starting spot in the lineup. He’s already enjoying a power breakout to an some extent, as he has 13 home runs in just 198 PAs! One glaring number from his batted ball data is the 25.5% HR/FB this year, which is 15% higher than his career avg. Even if that number regresses, however, he has improved his FB% by over 10%, so gives himself a much better chance to hit balls out than in years past. Minute Maid Park is also great ballpark for righties with the Crawford Boxes shortening the distance to left field. He has a great opportunity to maintain a PA/HR in the mid teens stretched out over regular plate appearances going forward.
Home field (LHB HR factor from 2011-2015): 1.354 (2nd)
(Career) HR/FB: 8.6 FB%: 39.3 PA/HR: 38.40
(Season) HR/FB: 14.7 FB%: 41.1 PA/HR: 20.5
Lefty hitter + Yankee Stadium = Dingers! This is a simple formula that I devised to predict increased home runs. It works pretty well; just ask Brett Gardner. Gardner would also be good candidate for this list as well, but I chose to write about Didi instead because Didi has a better FB% and Gardner walks significantly more than Didi. The batted ball data supports this prediction pretty well, as he’s sported a FB% above 40% and almost doubled his HR/FB thanks to the short right field porch. Yankee Stadium cheapies count the same as a 450 ft bomb after all.
Home field (RHB HR factor from 2011-2015): 1.143 (7th)
(Career) HR/FB: 24.6 FB%: 29.7 PA/HR: 21.2
(Season) HR/FB: 25.4 FB%: 31.3 PA/HR: 19.61
Contreras is already boosting the power number in his second season with his 18 homers to this point. He hasn’t shown any huge change in his batted ball percentages, but Wrigley field is a great place for righty power when the wind is blowing out. His contact skills are superior to his power, but he doesn’t need Stanton power to hit balls out at Wrigley.
Home field (LHB HR factor from 2011-2015): 1.151 (7th)
(Career) HR/FB: 14.7 FB%: 32.5 PA/HR: 29.58
(Season) HR/FB: 12.6 FB%: 36.5 PA/HR: 31.38
Another sophomore player on this list. Mazara has so much potential to be a great power hitter, but so far has not really been swinging for the fences. The encouraging signs for a breakout are, again, the FB% increase this season. His HR/FB has been surprisingly low so far considering he plays in a great ballpark for lefty power. His HR/FB should correct itself by increasing, so expect some more balls catching that Globe Life Park jetstream out to right field.
Now, I’m not expecting any of these players to hit 20+ in 2 months (but if they do I totally called it!). These players adding power to their game could help you win your fantasy baseball league though, so take a chance on one or more of them. Let me know what you think of the list; would you add anybody else? Take anyone off? Where will this year’s surprise power hitter come from?