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As we said, predicting this award is tough and there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Nolan Arenado spil the title in both 2015 and 2016. Still, even though we know that and know Gurerro Jr. has the least payout of any player, were still going to double down on the slugger.
Guerrero Jr. tied Salvador Perez for the league lead in 2021 and did so without a fluke. His expected slugging percentage (.594) was just a shade lower than his result (.601) meaning his power was very legit. A major reason for that is the son of one of the best power hitters of the previous generation was in the top five in hard-hit rate.
The only worry is that Gurerro Jr. has a tremendous eye, and is likely to walk more than the 86 base on balls he drew last season, but assuming that doesn’t take away too many at bats, he should pace for a minimum of 40 long balls this season once again.
We bet him as one of the people to watch in the MVP race (and hits leaders), so since we like both of those, it means we’re thinking he hits a lot of home runs, too.
Over the past five seasons, nobody has hit home runs as frequently as the three-time MVP. Trout is averaging a home run every 11.7 at bats, but the problem is since 2016, the mos home runs he’s played in a single season is 136. In order to compete in this category, he needs at least 150 games played.
But at that rate, if he could have a normal 600 at-bat season, that’s more than 50 home runs. It’s not at all out of the question and it’s hard to find a reason to bet against he best baseball player of the generation.
Remember how we said Trout leads the MLB with one home run per 11.7 at bats over the last five years? Guess who is second. That’s right – Joey Votto (12.1).
And that was when he was playing in Arlington, Texas, which is a relatively good hitters park, but does not even compare to Yankee Stadium – especially the short porch in right field for the left-handed hitters.
Gallo has hit 38 home runs or more in three of the last four full seasons. The advanced metrics going into 2022 have him pegged for 43 home runs, which likely wouldn’t lead the league, but if he can go on one or two hot streaks in the season, 50 is a very realistic possibility.
Yordan Alvarez is a certified power hitter. All the advanced metrics show that he does nothing but hit the ball hrad – his barrel rate was 91st percentile, his expected slugging percentage was 95th percentile and his hard-hit rate was 97th percentile.
He can hit home runs to all fields, with 22 of his 35 last season either going to straight away centerfield or the opposite direction.
He’s played just 233 games (that’s almost exactly a season-and-a-half) and he’s already belted 61 home runs. It’s a pace just beyond 41 home runs per season and he’s only been getting better as the seasons go on.
We thought about a number of players here with our longshot. Eloy Jimenez paced at a 40-home run clip last season and could have potential to break out after his injury.
Kris Bryant is 25:1 odds, has hit 38 home runs in a season before and now will be going to Coors Field for 81 games a year where the ball flies at a ridiculous rate.
But in the end, we decided to go with a man who has maybe the rawest power in the game – Guardians outfielder Franmili Reyes.
Reyes played just 115 games last year and still hit 30 long balls (that paces out to 40 home runs should he stay healthy for 150).
He’s in just his fourth full season in the bigs, but his exit velocity and hard-hit rate are always in the top five percent of all of baseball. If Reyes is healthy for 90 percent of the season, he will finish in the top five in home runs – and has every possibility to pace the league.
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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