But there’s no real sense in being a pessimist about 2015, is there ? Especially when proven sluggers like Fielder, Votto, Wieters, Harper, Tulo and Cargo will be back this Spring, once again hale and hearty. Budding young bashers like Rendon , Springer, Pederson, Myers and Singleton will also be on hand, striving to make their cases as well. No wonder this ol’ crystal ball is glowing a very rosey red mulling the possibility of a significantly expanded 2015, 25+ HR power grid that could go something like this…
1. Giancarlo Stanton 46 Giancarlo will be charging about $500,000 per long distance call.
2. Jose Abreu 42 Turns out those Cuban pinball arcade performance numbers
weren’t that wacky after all.
3. Mike Trout 40 Nothing fishy about this five-tool superstar.
4. Edwin Encarnacion 36 Steady as she goes… and God bless the Rogers Centre.
5. Anthony Rizzo 36 Added maturity and better line-up have arrows pointed upwards.
6. Chris Carter 34 Godzilla lives ! It’s just the average that’s dead.
7. Miguel Cabrera 34 If he’s truly healthy again, watch out !
8. Paul Goldschmidt 33 D-Backs thrilled to have to have their big guy back !
9. Jose Bautista 33 If he can stay healthy, that is.
10. George Springer 33 Shudder to think how good he can be with a full season in
11. Chris Davis 32 Honestly, have no idea where to slot this guy.
12. Nelson Cruz 32 Cruz control figures to be turned down at least a bit in 2015…
maybe more if he lands in Seattle.
13. Justin Upton 31 Still surprisingly young with maturing power.
14. Evan Gattis 31 Regular OF gig gives him lots more ABs. Surprise !
15. Adam Jones 30 The absolute gold standard for consistency.
16. Jay Bruce 30 Plagued by nagging injuries in ‘14. Bounceback candidate.
17. Devin Meseraco 30 Regular playing time was all he needed to establish creds as
slugging young backstop.
18. Steve Pearce 29 21 HRs in just 338 ABs. You do the math.
19. Adrian Gonzalez 29 Seems to have rediscovered his longball mojo last season.
20. Lucas Duda 28 Tough part to play in but power seems legitimate for sure.
21. Prince Fielder 28 Used to be very durable. Used to hit plenty of taters.
Decent bet to rebound in chummy Texas’
22. Josh Donaldson 28 Two big power years in a row. I’m a believer.
23. Matt Kemp 28 Could well be higher if he can just stay in one piece’
24. Mark Trumbo 28 Awesome power hitting behind Goldschmidt, but sometimes
swings and misses. OK, swings and misses a whole lot.
25. Albert Pujols 27 Fading ever so slightly with age and injuries, but still a HOF force
to reckon with.
26. Ryan Braun 27 He should be fully healthy going into 2015…so maybe 27 a
bit low here
27. Joey Votto 27 OBP monster, Hates to swing at anything outside of his cherished
strike zone. But here’s hoping he throws caution to the winds
every now and then in ‘15.
28. J D Martinez 27 May go higher. Don’t think ‘14 was a fluke.
29. Corey Dickerson 27 24 dingers in just 436 ABs.…plus he’s a Rockie. Could also go
higher, especially since Cuddyer now gone.
30 Evan Longoria 27 Closed strong in ‘14. Will the momentum carry over ?
31 Marcel Ozuna 27 Young slugger on the rise !
32 Victor Martinez 27 Round trippers could dip, but still could see fewer Ks than HRs.
33 Kyle Seager 27 Hits keep a comin’, even in Seattle.
34 Carlos Santana 27 Really came to life in second half !
35 Todd Frazier 26 Likely to continue realizing power potential in Cincy.
36 David Ortiz 26 How long can Old Man River keep rolling along without finally
going under ?
37 Anthony Rendon 26 Oh , so young and talented. 26 dingers may well be understating
his ‘15 output.
38 Matt Wieters 26 Great start last year cut short by injury. With health could come
39 Troy Tulowitzki 26 Will he be traded ? Will he stay healthy? Who knows ?
40 Carlos Gonzalez 26 Ditto.
41 Carlos Gomez 26 A true HR/ SB monster !
42 Brandon Moss 26 He often sits vs LH which depresses HRs but helps save BA.
43 Andrew McCutchen 26 This guy truly does it all !
44 Freddie Freeman 25 Great eye, but efficient line drive stroke has depressed HR
output to date.
45 Adrian Beltre 25 Still elite hitter. Fielder’s return should help rachet up
HR total in ‘15.
Doubtless the ‘ol crystal ball missed a few here, maybe more: Pederson and Gomes come to mind as do Meyers and Rosario as good buy low candidates. And then there’s Sandoval. Hitting in all those hitter-friendly AL East parks should help. Maybe a lot. But at least we did expand the coveted 25+ HR ranks on paper from 27 last year to 45 heading into 2015.
Hey, I can enjoy a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel as well as the next fan. But given a true choice, I’ll take that majestic moonshot, that dramatic walk-off two run tater, that three run laser scattering panicked bleacher fans or, best of all, the grand salami, every time. Chicks ain’t the only ones who dig the long ball !