Power is a scarce commodity in the post-PED era of baseball. Long gone are the days of 60 home runs and the age when 30 home runs were ho-hum afterthoughts amid peers. Thirty home run seasons now place high on the leaderboard and are practically elite company. But throughout this overall shift in the batting landscape, elite power hitters have remained. The following are the 10 most likely players to lead the majors in home runs throughout the 2016 season.
10. Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
The most well-rounded players in the league tend to have a modest home run (HR) ceiling. Andrew McCutchen has a career-high of 31 HRs and Paul Goldschmidt has a career-high of 36. While you would expect the best players in the league to also have the best power numbers, that is not always the case. In the case of Nelson Cruz, he is certainly not one of the top-10 overall batters in the league, but there are few players more likely to lead the league in HRs than Cruz. His power is now unquestioned, as he’s averaged 42 HRs the past two seasons, tops in the league. Moving from hitter-friendly Baltimore to Seattle’s spacious ballpark had many doubting Cruz, but he managed to set a new career-high with 44 dingers. Cruz will be 35 this season but it doesn’t appear the fade is coming just yet. The expectation is that Cruz can sustain this for at least one more season and compete to lead the league in HRs during 2016.