Fantasy Baseball: 4 Power Hitters Who Could Have Breakout Seasons in 2017
The winter months are always met with a little bit of dread in the Midwest -- it's cold, and then it warms up a bit (it was nearly 70 degrees in St. Louis yesterday), and then it returns back to freezing temperatures to remind you that spring is still a ways off.
But winter is also a great time to start prepping for upcoming fantasy baseball drafts. Whether you're in a rotisserie league, points league or category-based league, uncovering overlooked players can be a key to fantasy glory.
Over the past three seasons, we've seen a spike in home runs -- from 4,186 in 2014 to 4,909 in 2015 to a whopping 5,610 last year. So there are plenty of home-run hitters out there, but what's the secret to finding the sluggers everyone else may be sleeping on?
There's two things we'll look at to try to find some diamonds in the rough.
First, fly-ball rate is a great indicator of a hitter's power potential. More fly balls leads to more extra-base hits, which could turn into more home runs. In analyzing 2016, among hitters with 250 plate appearances or more, the four hitters we'll look at ranked in the top 25 in fly-ball rate.
Secondly, we'll use Baseball Prospectus's home-run factor by handedness. Some players go overlooked due to the overall Park Factor of their home field. Perhaps their park plays neutral overall, but it can be particularly favorable to left-handed hitters. As a reference, a park factor of 100 is considered to be a neutral park.
Let's take a crack at four hitters with major power potential for 2017, none of whom have hit more than 25 homers in a season previously in their career.