Predicting the Home Run Champion
Muntradamus explains his process for predicting home run champions.
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In season-long fantasy baseball and in DFS, when your player hits a home run there is no better feeling. A touchdown in fantasy football brings out a fist pump, a basket in fantasy basketball is expected, but a home run hits you like a wrecking ball.
For the past three seasons, I have ranked the home run champion higher than the expert field on FantasyPros. Chris Davis 2013, Nelson Cruz 2014, and most recently calling my shot in 2015 with Chris Davis. You can read the full preseason 2015 explanation in why I picked Chris Davis to lead the MLB in home runs when all the experts thought he was a one-hit wonder.
To pick the home run champions of this season I have to look at intangibles that other experts do not. I live in Vegas and watch all the MLB games at the West Gate Sportsbook. I know all of these players like the back of my hand, and when they are struggling, I see they are struggling in their actions. When they are hot, I enter their heat zone. Here are six players I predict will be the home run champion and have ranked higher than any other expert. Three of the players are superstars, the other three are my dark-horse selections. All of them will BEAST as I go for my fourth straight home run crown on FantasyPros.
MUNTRADAMUS’ 6 BEASTS
GIANCARLO STANTON (OF – MIA)
MUNTRADAMUS RANK: OF #1 – ECR RANK: OF #3
There is nothing more underrated this offseason than the addition of Barry Bonds to be the Marlins hitting coach. The knock on Giancarlo Stanton is that he has no lineup protection and his home park is not designed for home run hitters.
The Marlins not only brought the walls in this season, but they lowered the fence as well. When it comes to dealing with lineup protection problems, Bonds is the best of all-time as he was intentionally walked more than anyone in the history of the game yet he still hit more home runs than anyone in MLB history.
Bonds is infamous for never teaching other players his secrets as a pro, with the fear that he may face that player later on in his career. Now that the Marlins are dishing out big bucks to have Bonds on the team, you can expect Stanton to potentially hit 60 home runs and still steal over 10 bases with ease as long as he stays healthy.
CHRIS DAVIS (1B/OF – BAL)
MUNTRADAMUS RANK: 1B #2 – ECR RANK: 1B #7
Chris Davis was BEAST in his 2015 campaign where he led the majors in home runs with 47. It is amazing how many Davis really could have had if he started 2015 hot. Davis hit 20 home runs in the last two months of the season. If he performs at that pace for an entire season that is over 60 home runs for the year.
Give me a younger fresher Chris Davis in the home run playland in Baltimore over the aging Miguel Cabrera hitting in the tough AL Central. The only player I would take ahead of Davis is Paul Goldschmidt. The 20+ SB to go with the .300+ batting average is something special. While Crush Davis could easily hit 10+ home runs than Goldy, those other two variables cannot be passed up at the first base position.
JOSE BAUTISTA (OF – TOR)
MUNTRADAMUS RANK: OF #2 – ECR RANK: OF #4
Was there a more epic home run in recent baseball history than Bautista’s grand slam in the playoffs? Jose Bautista in the dictionary means; a player that can hit a home run in any at-bat. Fantasy baseball and the home run ball is something special, and if you have a chance to get a 40-home run player over a guy who will steal 30 bases, you go with the guy that will hit 40 home runs and rack up 100+ RBI, especially when that guy is playing in the AL East and is surrounded by the best 1-4 hitters in the game.
Bautista hit 19 home runs in the last two months of the season while knocking out another four in the playoffs. If Bautista did not start out 2015 so slow with two home runs in the entire month of May, he could have easily made a push as the home run champion (he fell seven short of the mark). The Blue Jays are stronger this season, and you know that 50 HR/130 RBI season is on his radar.
The reason Bautista is stronger than Trout this season is the fact that Bautista is in the heart of a batting order that will give him so many RBI opportunities, and the ball parks he plays in are much easier than what Trout has to deal with. IF Pujols has a decline 2016, which is more than possible, than Trout will finish with not only less RBI, but less runs. When it comes to SB, Trout only had three more than Bautista last season. Give me the upside of Bautista in that Blue Jays’ offense.
HANLEY RAMIREZ (OF – BOS)
MUNTRADAMUS RANK: OF #14 – ECR RANK: OF #35
Before Hanley Ramirez ran into a wall trying to catch a ball in foul territory, he was leading the league in HRs. Last season I was all over Ramirez and made a case for him to be the No. 2 pick in all fantasy baseball leagues. Hanley has always had problems staying healthy. Despite only hitting nine more home runs the entire season and missing the last month and a half while dealing with a bone chip in his arm, he still was in the top 5 of home runs for a shortstop, and he even finished with more bombs than Troy Tulowitzki.
This season Hanley no longer qualifies at SS, only in the OF. He will play 1B for the Red Sox, and everyone is avoiding him like the plague. Hanley comes into 2016 100% healthy and ready to rock for a Red Sox team that is always playing for a Championship. Hanley has been very aggressive on the basepaths this spring, stealing three bases during the exhibition season.
While Hanley is no longer the first-round pick he once was, he is still a superstar. Experts are telling you to avoid a player that can easily go for 30+HR and 10+SB. While I would be amazed if Hanley does lead the majors in home runs, he is a superstar that you can get for a steal price.
MARK TEIXEIRA (1B – NYY)
MUNTRADAMUS RANK: 1B #7 – ECR RANK: 1B #17
For the past two seasons, no expert has ranked Mark Teixeira higher than myself. In 2014, I predicted that Teix would hit more HR than Paul Goldschmidt when FantasyPros asked for a bold prediction. In the end, Teix finished with four more home runs than Goldschmidt.
Teix is one of the most underrated 1B options in the game today. The guy bats cleanup for the New York Yankees and plays in a ball park that was built for him. The right field fence with that wind tunnel is a larger advantage than Coors Field. If Teix wants another big pay day, as he is set to make over $20 million this year and then hit free agency, he will need to crush and lead the Yankees to the playoffs.
While you can always point to the injury factor with Teix, there is no question when he is healthy you will wish he was on your team. Last season he was in the race with the league leaders before going down. This season you can draft him as a #17 1B according to ECR.
MARK TRUMBO (1B/OF – BAL)
MUNTRADAMUS RANK: 1B #8/ OF #22 – ECR RANK: 1B #23/ OF #55
Trumbo hit 95 home runs in the first three years of his career. That is an average of over 30 HR/season. Trumbo going to the Diamondbacks was the worst thing for his career as he had to adjust to a whole new set of pitchers. Eventually, Trumbo ended up back in the AL West with the Mariners where he was only a shade of his former self.
Now, Trumbo goes to the best spot of his career and at the prime age of 30, Baltimore. The last three seasons the HR Champion has come from Camden Yards. Mark Trumbo seems to be a mortal lock for 35+ home runs this season as the ball flys out of that stadium. The fences are very short and those high fly balls that would normally fall short in Seattle or Arizona will go 338 feet down the left field line and be gone. When Trumbo goes to Boston and hits his monster fly balls to the Green Monster, they will have no problem clearing the wall. Trumbo in the AL East is a match made in heaven. Don’t even get me started on Yankee Stadium.