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Is the power outage over in MLB?

For the past few seasons, power across major league baseball has been on the decline. That trend has changed in 2015.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know about you, but when I am doing my research and preparation for my fantasy baseball drafts, I like to focus on the power hitters at each position first. The reason is simple. When a hitter hits a home run, it impacts four of the five fantasy categories, no matter if you play in a BA or OBP league. A home run brings a positive impact to the batting average or on base percentage, runs scored, home runs and RBI categories. Some power hitters hit for a high average or get on base at a solid clip like Anthony Rizzo, Bryce Harper, and Josh Donaldson among others. Others don't hit for a particularly high batting average, I am looking at you Joc Pederson, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols. Wait a minute! Albert Pujols? Yes, Albert Pujols is hitting just .246-.308-.481 despite hitting 35 homers this season.

That is why I like to take a look at the trend in power in major league baseball each offseason. We are about three weeks away from the offseason, but have wanted to take a look at this for several weeks now. Prior to this season, we have seen home runs across baseball decline in each of the past two seasons:

2012: 4,934 HRs

2013: 4,661 HRs (5.5% decrease)

2014: 4,186 HRs (10% decrease)

2015: 4,308 HRs (through 9/13 - 3% increase)

So, there you have it. The downtrend in home runs has changed in 2015. And with it, the number of 30 home run hitters is back on the upswing as well:

Year

50+ HR

40+ HR

30+ HR

20+ HR

2005

1

9

27

78

2006

2

11

34

90

2007

2

5

26

86

2008

0

2

28

91

2009

0

5

30

87

2010

1

1

18

77

2011

0

2

24

68

2012

0

6

27

78

2013

1

1

14

70

2014

0

1

11

57

2014

0

2

16

44

Here is a look at the members of the 30 home run club for 2015, through games on Sunday September 13th, via FanGraphs:

Name

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

Chris Davis

584

42

87

106

2

Nelson Cruz

582

41

80

87

3

Josh Donaldson

632

38

109

119

6

Nolan Arenado

585

38

85

110

1

Carlos Gonzalez

536

37

78

87

2

Bryce Harper

574

36

104

85

6

J.D. Martinez

577

36

82

94

3

Mike Trout

594

35

89

77

10

Jose Bautista

590

35

98

101

8

Albert Pujols

575

35

73

83

4

Yoenis Cespedes

611

34

97

102

7

David Ortiz

549

34

67

95

0

Todd Frazier

605

33

78

84

12

Edwin Encarnacion

553

32

79

99

2

Mark Teixeira

462

31

57

79

2

Alex Rodriguez

551

31

77

81

3

Through Sunday's games, we have 16 hitters who have hit 30 or more home runs this season, but there are a few hitters in this list that could struggle to reach 30 bombs next season, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, David Ortiz, and Albert Pujols, as all four of these hitters are nearing the decline phase of their careers and they are all on the wrong side of 30 years of age, with ARod and Ortiz approaching 40.

There are a few other hitters who could join the 30 home run club this season:

Anthony Rizzo, Cubs - 29 home runs

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks - 28 home runs

Manny Machado, Orioles - 28 home runs

They would bring the total of 30+ home run hitters to 19 should they each hit at least two home runs the rest of the way, which appears likely. And, there are four hitters who are currently sitting on 27 home runs: Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Abreu and Brian Dozier. If all of these hitters can hit at least three home runs over the last three weeks, certainly doable, we could see a total of 23 hitters with 30 or more home runs this season, more than double the 11 we had in 2014.

There are also a number of young hitters who could join the 30 home run club in 2016, including:

Kris Bryant, Cubs

Joc Pederson, Dodgers

Miguel Sano, Twins

Carlos Correa, Astros

Why the big increase in the number of 30 home run hitters this season? I wonder if the strike zone is smaller compared to last season. I am not even sure how to measure that, but I know some feel that the size of the strike zone had a bigger impact on power than steroids did during the steroid era. Time will tell if that is indeed the case.

So, as we are preparing for our 2016 drafts later this offseason, just know that there are more power hitters to choose from than in any year since the 2013 fantasy drafts.

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