We know Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton are going to fill up the HR column, but which players are going to take the biggest strides as power hitters in the 2016 season? Look no further …
10. Mookie Betts
2015: 18 HR in 145 games
Don’t let his size fool you, Mookie has elite bat speed as the leadoff man for the Sox. Home runs aren’t the focal point of the speedster’s game, but they’re definitely part of the equation. Betts should continue to improve his power and hit 20-25 homers this season.
9. George Springer
2015: 16 HR in 102 games
Springer actually jacked 20 homers in just 78 games in his 2014 debut before regressing last season as a power hitter. Part of that was due to a wrist injury, but as one of the bigger names on this list, Springer hasn’t reached the potential he showed in the minors. A healthy 2016 could mean going yard 30 times.
8. Rougned Odor
2015: 16 HR in 120 games
Odor really grew as a home run hitter in 2015. He should be able to play more games this season and maybe approach 25 homers considering the ballpark he plays in with that muggy Texas air. Those would be amazing power numbers for a middle infielder.
7. Travis Shaw
2015: 13 HR in 65 games
You don’t earn the nickname “The Mayor of Ding Dong City” and then not make the list for breakout home run hitters. Shaw won the starting 3B job outright over Panda in spring training, and he’s deserving. If he keeps the job all season, 25 homers is definitely in the cards for Shaw.
6. Gregory Polanco
2015: 9 HR in 153 games
Polanco now has a full season under his belt with that ultra-talented Pirates’ outfield. As the five-tool prospect continues to grow, his power will arrive. When it does, Polanco should fly under the radar with guys like McCutchen ahead of him in the order and make pitchers pay. Somewhere in the high teens would be nice growth for Polanco this season.
5. Michael Conforto
2015: 9 HR in 56 games
Conforto will battle for his playing time. He opened the season as a DH against the Royals, but playing in the National League he’ll likely be platooning in the outfield. If he can win the majority of the starts he’ll surpass 20 dingers.
4. Miguel Sano
2015: 18 HR in 80 games
Sano burst onto the scene last year and it’s going to be more of the same in 2016. It’d be hard to improve upon those 2015 numbers if you project out over 162 games, but if Sano simply keeps pace he’ll be among the league leaders. Sano is expected to surpass 30 long balls.
3. Steven Souza Jr.
2015: 16 HR in 110 games
Souza is off to a hot start in 2016 with three homers — including a pair of them in Wednesday’s win over the Blue Jays. Souza is going to provide great value in 2016 in the heart of an underrated Rays’ offense with Longoria and Dickerson. 25-30 home runs is very realistic.
2. Trevor Story
2015: 20 HR in 130 Minor League games
Name the only player since 1900 to have his first FOUR career hits leave the ballpark? Yep, Trevor Story. This storybook beginning to his career isn’t just a flash in the pan, though. Story is a great home run hitter that should land in the 25-30 range this season, especially when you factor in the the Coors Field effect.
1. Carlos Correa
2015: 22 HR in 99 games
With three homers already under his belt, Correa is on track for a big season. The A-Rod comparisons are real — he went deep twice at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, including a 462-foot blast. This young shortstop is already an elite power hitter. I’m saying 35 homers should be his floor this season. This kid is special.
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