When drafting a hitter who steals alot of bases, you like to see the hitter hit plenty of groundballs, as many of these speedsters can beat out those grounders for infield hits. Then, you pray for them to steal second base. You start yelling at the television, asking him when is he going to run, right? I know I do it at times.
But when drafting power hitters, you like to see the power hitter hit plenty of fly balls, because he can't go into his home run trot by hitting grounders. Speaking of power hitters who hit too many grounders, here is a list of well-known power hitters who could outperform expectations in the power department by hitting more fly balls and less groundballs in 2011:
1. Jason Heyward, ATL- Heyward hit twice as many groundballs as flyballs in 2010. His groundball rate was 55% and his flyball rate was just 27%, resulting in a HR/FB rate of almost 17%. If he just hits 50 more flyballs than he did in 2010, while maintaining his HR/FB%, he can hit 25+ HRs in 2011.
2. Hanley Ramirez, FLA-HanRam's flyball rate has fluctuated wildly the last five year-35% in 2006, 42% in 2007, 37% in 2008, 42% in 2009, and 33% in 2010. But his HR/FB rate has been in the 13-14% range in 3 of the last 4 years (19% in 2008 may be an outlier). Should HanRam increase his FB% to the 40% range, he could easily get back to the 30 HR level in 2011.
More after the jump:
3. Ryan Braun, MIL-Braun's power has dropped in each of the last 3 years, with a career low of 25 HRs in 2010. His FB rate in his first 4 years have trended down: 44%, 44%, 34%, and 35% in 2010. His career HR/FB rate is around 18%, so should he hit another 40-50 flyballs in 2011, he could get back to the mid-30 range in HRs this year.
4. Billy Butler, KC-I predicted Butler would approach 30 HRs in 2010, if I remember correctly. He barely hit half that many. Fantasy owners would expect a 6-1, 240 lb hitter to hit more than 15 homeruns, right? Well, his groundball rate of around 47-48% doesn't help, and neither does his FB rate of 34-35%. Should Butler be able to get a bit more loft in his swing, and hit more flyballs in 2011, he could breach the 20 HR barrier, a step in the right direction.