The final full month of the 2015 baseball season is here.
In most Fantasy leagues, the trade deadline has passed and potentially the start of the playoffs is on the horizon. While some owners may begin to get distracted by the start of the football season, let’s focus on claiming a Fantasy Baseball championship first.
In this week’s Fantasy Lookout, we will dig into the art of home runs. First, we will look at the tendencies and attributes of the top home run hitters.
Then we will identify three players who have had a strong second half based on those mentioned tendencies. These players have excelled with the inputs to hitting home runs, yet the output has just not been there.
Now, let’s pull back the curtain.
The Fantasy Lookout
What does a home run hitter look like?
Home run hitters tend to hit their fair share of fly balls, they like to pull the ball, and they have a strong hard hit rate. Lucky for you, we have statistics that can easily measure those attributes. The chart below shows the average statistics of the Top 10 home run hitters so far this year along with the league average as a point of context.
|Top 10 HR hitters||40.6%||24.1%||45.5%||37.9%|
As you can see, the top power hitters in the game like to pull the ball hard in the air. On top of that, their home run to fly ball ratio is obviously stellar when compared to the average player.
Now let’s see which players are due to hit their fair share of bombs over the final month of the year.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
It is probably a little bit of a surprise to see Todd Frazier on this list considering he currently is tied for 11th in the all of baseball with his 30 bombs. However, only five of those have come since the start of July. In the second half and especially in August, Frazier has fairly similar home run peripherals when compared to both his first half of 2015 and his breakout 2014 campaign. The one thing that sticks out is his home run to fly ball ratio. He is doing almost the same thing as he has all year, yet fewer balls are leaving the yard. As long he keeps doing what his is doing, his luck will change and power should return for Todd Frazier.
Addison Russell, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs
The 21-year-old Addison Russell has been solid since his call-up in late April and he is only going to get better. His minor league numbers prove that he has plenty of power in his bat as his home run to fly ball ratio last year was over 15% and it stands at nearly 13.5% over his entire minor league career. As this season has progressed, Russell has improved on all of his home run indicators, especially in the second half. The increase in his second half home run to fly ball ratio seems too small given the gains in his other home run metrics. Combining this with the experienced he has gained, it would not be surprising to see a home run surge over the final month. The great thing about Russell is that he is probably on your waiver wire given that he is owned in less than a quarter of all Yahoo leagues. Cheap power from a middle infielder, where do I sign up?
Chris Owings, 2B/SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Owings has been talked about as a decent, low-end power/speed guy, which plays great since he is a middle infielder. However, this year, with four homers and 15 stolen bases, the power part has to be questioned. When you dig into the numbers, you see that the power is there; it just has not been translating in to home runs, yet. Owings has had a moderately surprising low home run to fly ball ratio this year when compared to his 2014 mark of nearly 8% and his minor league career mark of 8.3%. All of his home run metrics in the second half are stronger than both his MLB career numbers and his minor league career numbers. In fact, his hard hit rate in the second half ranks within the Top 30 of all qualified hitters. He also has increased his average fly ball distance by over three feet when compared to last year. With Owings’ Yahoo ownership rate at a measly 4%, you can pick him up for free. I expect a strong finish to the season out of Chris Owings.
These players have exhibited qualities that the top home run hitters display, but their home run totals have not confirmed this as of yet. Be patient and watch the balls start to fly out of the park on a more consistent basis. Until next week’s Fantasy Lookout, enjoy the games!
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