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2014 Home Run Leaders

Chicks Dig The Long Ball!

People have been enamored with home runs way before Nike made this commercial, but Mark McGwire brought them into the mainstream. His record-setting home run season was followed by everyone; not just baseball fans. Nobody could have imagined a 70 home run season, and things got even hotter when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001. Guys like McGwire, Sosa and Bonds set the bar that many minor league players dreamed to live up to. This time in baseball has become known as the steroid era.

McGwire finally admitted in 2010 that he used steroids in 1998 when he set the record, but the admittance of guilt and apology was too little too late. The use of steroids, HGH and other performance enhancing drugs had given baseball a black eye. In December of 2005, the players union approved a new drug policy with MLB by a unanimous vote.  The new testing procedures was stricter and accompanied by harsher penalties for positive tests.

We didn’t see that many suspensions in the beginning stages of the testing, but we did see player’s home run totals take a dramatic turn from what we saw in previous seasons.  We took a look at player’s home run totals from 1998 to 2013, and the chart below focuses on individuals that hit 40 or more home runs in a season.  We used 1998 as the starting point since that was the year the league expanded from 28 to 30 teams.

2014 HR Leaders chart 1

You’ll see a noticeable difference between the numbers from before and after the new drug testing policy was put in place.  Prior to 2007, the number of players to hit 40 or more home runs is double to the numbers we have today.  Hitting 40+ homers was child’s play then.  Today you’re lucky to see more than a handful of players accomplish that feat.

The numbers fall off even more when you count how many players hit 50 or more home runs in a season.  From 2007 to 2013 there has been only 4 players to hit 50 or more home runs in a season.  From 1998 to 2006 there were a total of 16 players that hit more than 50 home runs in a season.  Additionally 6 of those 16 had 60 or more home runs, something we have not seen since 2001.

Will we ever see another 60 or 70 home run season in our lifetime? It’s possible, but the odds are not in our favor considering the limited number of players that have reached 50 in recent years.  We don’t know what will happen in the next 50 years, but we will attempt to predict things for the 2014 season.  We asked each member of the Assembly to list who they believe will be the top 9 home run hitters and to give their home run totals, and here are the results.

Jim Jeff Tommy
Player  HR Player  HR Player  HR
Chris Davis  45 Chris Davis  43 Chris Davis  49
Miguel Cabrera  41 Edwin Encarnacion  40 Giancarlo Stanton  46
Edwin Encarnacion  39 Miguel Cabrera  38 Miguel Cabrera  42
Giancarlo Stanton  38 Jose Bautista  36 Pedro Alvarez  40
Ryan Braun  36 Paul Goldschmidt  36 Jose Bautista  38
Paul Goldschmidt  35 Mike Trout  35 Mark Trumbo  37
Pedro Alvarez  34 Mark Trumbo  35 Jay Bruce  36
Adam Jones  33 Giancarlo Stanton  34 Paul Goldschmidt  33
Prince Fielder  33 Evan Longoria  32 Nelson Cruz  33

Jim gives an honorable mention to Jose Bautista who could have been in the top 9 if not for a month-long stay on the DL for injuries TBD.

Paul Kevin Peter
Player HR Player HR Player HR
Miguel Cabrera 44 Chris Davis  43 Miguel Cabrera  43
Giancarlo Stanton 41 Giancarlo Stanton  41 Chris Davis  43
Chris Davis 39 Edwin Encarnacion  39 Jose Bautista  42
Jose Bautista 39 Miguel Cabrera  38 Pedro Alvarez  37
Jay Bruce 38 Jose Bautista  37 Giancarlo Stanton  35
Prince Fielder 37 Bryce Harper  36 Carlos Gonzalez  35
Bryce Harper 36 Paul Goldschmidt  35 Edwin Encarnacion  35
Paul Goldschmidt 34 David Ortiz  33 Prince Fielder  34
Edwin Encarnacion 33 Robinson Cano  32 Chris Carter  33

Well there are no 50 HR hitters this year, but most agree Chris Davis will come the closest.  Davis is a popular choice with predictions from 39 to 49, and while we can’t agree on a total we can agree that he has power.  Giancarlo Stanton falls into the same category as he’s slated to hit between 34 to 46 long balls.  Miguel Cabrera is the final player that is on everyone’s list (no surprise) and should hit between 38 and 44 homers.

Now there were a few players that appeared on almost everybody list.  Paul Goldschmidt made 5 of the 6 lists and should be good for 33-36 homers.  Same thing goes for Edwin Encarnacion and his 33-40 home run potential.  And while Jose Bautista only made 5 lists (36-42 HR), it could have been 6 had Jim not predicted a DL stint.  If you’re looking for power on draft day, these players have requested your attention.

After those six players it’s a mixed bag of opinions.  Pedro Alvarez and Prince Fielder each appear on 3 lists.  Alvarez has home run predictions between 34 and 40 while Fielder ranges between 33 and 37.  Mark Trumbo, Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce received 2 votes of confidence and all with similar totals between 35-38.

Mike Trout, Evan  Longoria, Adam Jones, Carlos Gonzalez, Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Chris Carter all appear on at least one list, but overall most of the Assembly members don’t see them hitting more than 32 home runs.  That’s not to say that they can’t, but judging by the rankings that seems to be the majority opinion.  Did we dismiss a player you believe is destined for great power in 2014?  List them in the comment section below and make a case for them.  Better yet, give us your top 9 home run hitters and their totals and we’ll compare numbers come September.

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4 comments on “2014 Home Run Leaders

  1. Here are my top 10 (I have two tied at 32):
    1. Chris Davis- 48
    2. Giancarlo Stanton- 44
    3. Miguel Cabrera- 40
    4. Edwin Encarnacion- 38
    5. Pedro Alvarez- 36
    6. Paul Goldschmidt- 35
    7. Adrian Beltre- 34 (he has at least 30 HR’s every year in Texas)
    8. David Ortiz- 33
    9. Mark Trumbo- 32
    10. Brandon Moss- 32 (he hit 30 last year and I think he can improve on that, also I think he is going to continue to gain more at bats against RHP.)

  2. I would also watch two other guys, they probably won’t crack the top 9 or even the top 15, but I would watch Ryan Ludwick and Alfonso Soriano. Ludwick in 2012 hit 26 HR’s, which would have been good for 16th place in 2013. Soriano hit 34 HR’s last year, which placed him 6th last year. I am not expecting that many for either next year, but I think they could both help someone quite a bit next year.

    • Certainly. I tend to underestimate Soriano every year. I don’t think he can hit 34 HRs again either, but I am not going to ignore him this year. I have made that mistake already.

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