2011 MLB Predictions - Home Run Leaders

2011 Home Run Predictions

With the steroid era coming to an end, the days of baseball players hitting 60-70 home runs in a season are likely over. Now, a player able to reach 40 or more home runs in a season is considered an elite power hitter and a rare commodity in the MLB.

In fact, in the 2010 MLB Season, only two players hit more than 40 home runs; Albert Pujols (42) and Jose Bautista (54). Less than 20 players hit 30+ home runs in 2010.

Power Struggle

2010 was widely considered "The Year of the Pitcher" with many MLB pitchers ending the season with an ERA under 3.00 and four no-hitters and two perfect games thrown during the regular season.

Not to mention a one-hit performance from Armando Gallaraga that should have been the third perfect game were it not for a blown call by first base umpire, Jim Joyce.

2010 Home Run Leaders

Player
HR
Jose Bautista
54
Albert Pujols
42
Paul Konerko
39
Miguel Cabrera
38
Adam Dunn
38
Joey Votto
37
Carlos Gonzalez
34
Mark Teixera
33
Dan Uggla
33
Prince Fielder
32

The 2010 postseason was certainly a testament to that with only the second no-hitter in postseason history being thrown by Roy Halladay against the Cincinnati Reds, as well as the San Francisco Giants, a team with one of the worst ranked offenses in the MLB but one of the best pitching staffs, winning the World Series over the best offense in the AL, the Texas Rangers.

In terms of pitching performances, 2010 was a season for the record books and unlikely to be repeated in back-to-back years. I expect the 2011 MLB Season to balance out, without hitting or pitching being predominant.

All the Right Moves

Key free agent moves and trades during the off-season should produce an increase in home run totals, particularly in the American League (AL) where Mark Reynolds, Adam Dunn and Adrian Gonzalez now call home.

Youth Revolt

There are a lot of talented players entering their prime in the 2011 MLB Season, including Evan Longoria, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto, not to mention full seasons from young sluggers like Mike Stanton and Pedro Alvarez.

Power Predictions

Predicting individual performances can be extremely difficult, as most don't account for injury or mid-season trades, but, I figured I'd give it a go. If you're in a fantasy baseball league, maybe these predictions will help you with your draft, since, as mentioned above, power is a rare commodity in baseball these days.

Here are my 2011 MLB Predictions - Home Run Leaders:

Source

1) Albert Pujols - 47

The 2010 season was considered a "down" year for Albert Pujols, despite him finishing second in MVP voting and leading the NL in home runs. But, when you are the best hitter in baseball, expectations are always high. 2011 will be the first contract season for Albert Pujols, and we have seen how well he plays without that motivation.

Lineup:

The 2011 MLB Season will be the second full year Pujols will have Matt Holliday in the lineup with him. Off-season additions such as Lance Berkman and Ryan Theriot should lead to consistent ABs for Pujols as well as added protection in the lineup.

Age:

Albert Pujols will be 31 years old throughout the 2011 MLB Season and is in the middle of his prime in the middle of an aforementioned contract season.

Home Stadium:

Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, is the 25th ranked hitters park in baseball, although it hasn't seemed to hurt Pujols thus far who enjoys road games at Miller Park (4) and Great American Ball Park (9).

Albert Pujols Home Run Totals (2006-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
HR
42
47
37
32
49
Source

2) Adrian Gonzalez - 46

No player needed a change of scenery more than Adrian Gonzalez, which is exactly what he got when the San Diego Padres traded him to the Boston Red Sox during the off-season. Entering the 2011 MLB Season in the AL, Gonzalez should get more ABs and should exceed his prior single-season HR record.

Lineup:

Adrian Gonzalez leaves San Diego, one of the weakest lineups in the NL, and joins a Boston Red Sox lineup featuring Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and fellow new-comer, Carl Crawford.

On paper, the 2011 Red Sox lineup is the best in the MLB and perhaps one of the best of all time and should provide Gonzalez protection he never experienced as a Padre while limiting his intentional walks.

Age:

Gonzalez turns 29 in May, and is currently in the middle of his prime, and, like Albert Pujols, he is also playing for a new multi-year contract. Considering his new lineup and location, it is likely he will have a career year in the 2011 MLB Season.

Home Stadium:

Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the 10th best hitters park in baseball and ranks 20 spots ahead of PETCO, where Adrian Gonzalez called home from 2006 through 2010.

On the road, Gonzalez will get to hit at Yankee Stadium (1), Rogers Centre (6) and Camden Yards (11). Of the five stadiums in the NL West, three rank in the bottom 10 for hitters parks, whereas none in the AL East are ranked higher than 14th (Tropicana Field).

Adrian Gonzalez Home Run Totals (2006-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
HR
31
40
36
30
24
Source

3) Miguel Cabrera - 44

In 2010, Miguel Cabrera averaged one home run every 14 ABs and had less than 600 ABs for the first time in three seasons. Add another 50 to 60 plate appearances this year, and Cabrera should eclipse the 40 home run mark.

Lineup:

The addition of Victor Martinez to the Tigers lineup should provide some protection for Cabrera and cut down a few of his intentional walks.

Age:

Miguel Cabrera enters the 2011 MLB Season at 27 years old and turns 28 in mid April. Cabrera is in his prime and could still have his best season ahead of him.

Home Stadium:

Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, is the 12th Ranked Hitters Park in the MLB entering the 2011 season.

Miguel Cabrera Home Run Totals (2006-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
HR
38
34
37
34
26

4) Mark Reynolds - 43

Source

Mark Reynolds Home Run Totals (2007-2010)

Season
Home Runs
2010
32
2009
44
2008
28
2007
17

During the off-season, Mark Reynolds was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Baltimore Orioles after batting below .200 for the first time in his career and surpassing 200 strikeouts for the third time. Even with that average, Reynolds was able to hit 32 HR. He projects as a .240 hitter, so with a likely bump in average, you should see an increase in HR.

Lineup:

It's hard to imagine Baltimore's lineup would be an upgrade for any player, but after the addition of Vladamir Guerrero and Derek Lee in the off-season, the Orioles have one of the more threatening lineups in the American League. Mark Reynolds should bat fifth in the lineup after Lee and Guerrero and before Adam Jones, giving him protection and likely his first season with 600 or more ABs.

Age:

Reynolds is in the very beginning of his prime and will be 27 years old for the majority of the 2011 MLB Season. He will turn 28 on August 3, 2011 and should be over an ankle injury that hampered him for most of 2010.

Home Stadium:

Although Mark Reynolds is leaving Chase Field (3) for Camden Yards (11) he, like Gonzalez, will benefit from the rankings of Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Rogers Centre in 2011.

Source

5) Adam Dunn - 41

When it comes to predicting power hitters and home runs in the 2011 MLB Season, it doesn't get much easier than Adam Dunn. From 2005 through 2008, Dunn hit exactly 40 HR and hit exactly 38 HR the two seasons since. After joining the White Sox during free agency, it is likely Adam Dunn can return to the 40 HR club.

Lineup:

Outside of Adrian Gonzalez, no one's surrounding lineup improved more during the off-season than Adam Dunn. Dunn leaves the weak Washington Nationals lineup to join Carlos Quentin, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre. He should be slotted into the cleanup spot and should be fresh most days as he is slated to be the White Sox primary DH entering the 2011 MLB Season.

Age:

At 31 years old, Adam Dunn is in the middle of his prime for the entire 2011 MLB Season and shouldn't see any regression due to age or injury.

Home Stadium:

Adam Dunn should be happy to leave Nationals Ballpark (17) and call U.S. Cellular Field (8) home. Not to mention that Dunn will no longer have to hit at Citi Field (26) or Turner Field (21) in the NL East.

Adam Dunn Home Run Totals (2006-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
HR
38
38
40
40
40
Source

6) Prince Fielder - 40

The 2011 MLB Season will be the first contract year in his career for Prince Fielder. You can be sure that Scott Boras, Baseball Fan Enemy #1, has told him the value in hitting 40+ HR this season and joining elite company.

Fielder hit 50 HR in 2007 and 46 in 2009, but dropped off in 2010 in large part due to a .261 AVG and .233 AVG with runners in scoring position. Compare that to his 2009 .296 AVG in that category and you can see the main reason for his regression. Not to mention a 5% drop in his HR/FB rate.

I expect both averages to increase in 2011 as both Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers have a lot to play for.

Lineup:

Fielder will once again be the Brewers cleanup hitter and proceeds Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun in the lineup. A trio that consists of two 2010 NL All-Stars and Weeks, who is also in a contract season. He has Casey McGehee batting 5th behind him who should offer a good source of protection.

Age:

Although he has been playing in the major leagues for over six seasons now, Prince Fielder will enter the 2011 MLB Season at 26 years old and will be 27 for the majority of the season. This means that not only is he entering a contract season, but the prime of his career as well.

Home Stadium:

Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, is the 4th ranked hitters park and should help Fielder this season as it has before.

Prince Fielder Home Run Totals (2006-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
HR
32
46
34
50
28
Source

7) Mark Teixeira - 39

In 2010, Mark Teixeira hit 30 points below his career AVG of .286. If the 2011 MLB Season is anything like the majority of his career, Teixeira should approach a .300 AVG which will directly contribute to an increase in HR. Don't be surprised if the battle between AL MVP comes down to Teixeira and Gonzalez with the main difference being the difference in HR.

Lineup:

The New York Yankees lineup is still extremely impressive and one of the best in baseball with Mark Teixeira batting 3rd. There are few players in baseball with better protection than Mark Teixeira who will enter his third season with Alex Rodriguez hitting cleanup behind him.

Age:

Teixeira will be 31 for the majority of the 2011 MLB Season and is nicely settled into the prime of his career.

Home Stadium:

Mark Teixeira has the luxury of playing in Yankee Stadium, the best ranked hitters park in all of baseball. He also hits in Fenway Park, Rogers Centre and Camden Yards on a regular basis.

Mark Teixeira Home Run Totals (2006-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
HR
33
39
33
30
33
Source

8) Joey Votto - 39

Joey Votto translated a 2009 late season surge into a NL MVP Season in 2010. For two straight years he has hit over .320 while he has increased his power numbers in each of his MLB season. That trend should continue in the 2011 MLB Season, assuming Votto enjoys a healthy season.

Lineup:

The Cincinnati Reds were one of the best lineups in the National League in 2010 and Joey Votto is the cornerstone, batting 3rd. While the lead-off hitter is in question, Votto should have fellow All-Star Brandon Phillips batting in front of him with Scott Rolen and emerging star Jay Bruce providing protection in the lineup.

Age:

Joey Votto will be in 27 years old for the majority of the 2011 MLB Season, and with a MVP Award already in his trophy case, he is just now entering his prime. Votto will turn 28 in September.

Home Stadium:

Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, is the 9th best hitters park in baseball and should continue to aid the power production for Votto and the Reds lineup.

Joey Votto Home Run Totals (2007-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
HR
37
25
24
4
Source

9) Ryan Braun - 36

Ryan Braun marks the second Milwaukee Brewer in the 2011 MLB Season Home Run Leaders.

He, along with Fielder, has a lot to play for this season with the addition of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to the team. 2010 was the first season that Braun hit under 30 home runs and one of his worst in terms of batting average.

I expect him to right the ship in both categories in 2011 and make a serious push for the NL MVP.

Lineup:

Braun will bat third in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup, following Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart while he will enjoy the protection Prince Fielder provides for the fourth consecutive season.

Age:

Braun, like most players on this list, not coincidentally, will be 27 years old for the entire 2011 MLB Season and should have a career year as he enters his prime.

Home Stadium:

Ryan Braun plays his home games at Miller Park (4) and should continue to have success there for many seasons to come.

Ryan Braun Home Run Totals (2007-2010)

 
2010
2009
2008
2007
HR
25
32
37
34
Source

10) Mike Stanton - 34

In only 359 MLB ABs in 2010, Mike Stanton hit 22 HR. Translate that into a full season, or 200 more ABs, and you would have roughly 34 HR. In his short time in the big leagues, Stanton has shown Adam Dunn power and is 10 years younger than the White Sox slugger. Mike Stanton could be hitting 40+ HR as soon as the 2011 MLB Season or 2012 and within the next three to four seasons he could very well surpass the 50 HR landmark.

Lineup:

Stanton should primarily bat cleanup for the Florida Marlins proceeding Chris Coughlin, Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez, however, he will have very little protection with the likes of John Buck and Logan Morrison hitting behind him.

Age:

Mike Stanton turned 21 in November and will remain at the legal drinking age for the entirety of the 2011 MLB Season.

Home Stadium:

Sun Life Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins, is the 16th ranked hitters park in baseball largely due to the humidity in Miami. Marlins Stadium opens in 2012 with a retractable roof and should only aid in Stanton's career HR totals.

Who do you think will hit the most home runs in 2011? Will Jose Bautista reclaim the thrown or will the young Mike Stanton be the home run leader? Share your comments below.

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

optimus grimlock profile image

optimus grimlock 5 years ago

stanton might get 30 and morrison will hit infront of him in the 1 or 2 spot because hes a much better hitter then coughlin. Reynolds will hit alot of homers with the o's i hope he cuts down the k's. Tex needs to start faster if he does he cpuld reach 40. I think ty wiggington could get 30 plus at coars field this year. great article by the way.


bogerk profile image

bogerk 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Hi Optimus -

Teixeira is a notoriously slow starter. If he could ever figure it out in April and May he would have the potential to be a Top 3 power hitter and run producer in baseball.

I hadn't thought about Wigginton in COL. We will see how much playing time he gets with the Rockies or if Michael Young ends up playing there.


dsmythe profile image

dsmythe 5 years ago

Adrian Gonzales is going to RAKE at Fenway. Watch him hit oppo jacks over the green monster or long singles.


bogerk profile image

bogerk 5 years ago from Midwest Author

@Dsmythe - I agree. I see HUGE numbers from him this season. If anything I am being conservative with some of my predictions for Adrian Gonzalez in 2011.


Tom T profile image

Tom T 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

I think Ryan Howard has a better chance to break 40 than Teixeira. I agree that Gonzalez is going to rake in that Boston Lineup. Good Hub.


bogerk profile image

bogerk 5 years ago from Midwest Author

@Tom T -

It will be interesting to see how Howard is pitched to this season without Werth somewhat protecting him in the lineup. He definitely could find his way onto this list though.


Jay B 5 years ago

Can't forget about Ryan Howard.


I am DB Cooper profile image

I am DB Cooper 5 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

Teixeira is starting to earn a reputation as a guy who can get into a devastating slump and stay there for weeks or even months. For most guys, a slump would be 30 at bats with just a couple hits. For Teixeira, it's 100 at bats with a handful of hits. His April and May were worse than bad last year. Also, he went a couple weeks in September with I think a couple singles and like 1 RBI. If he could put together a healthy and slump-free 162 game season he'd have a shot at 45+ home runs.


4yearstrong profile image

4yearstrong 5 years ago

Great hub! I'm looking forward to seeing what Dunn will do this season.


vettergt 5 years ago from Delaware

I think Puljos leads the NL in homerums, but not the majors. Too much talent in the American League and with a DH, it just adds to the possiblity. While it would be great to see Puljos win the triple crown (if anyone is going to do it, I think he could and this year), I am a Cardinal fan and would be concerned that we would not be able to keep him on the free agent market if his year is too good. The last time we won the World Series, we had pitching performances by Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver in the playoffs that elevated their salaries past the point that the Cardinals would keep them. While it did turn out they were correct to let them go, it makes me worried the same will happen if Puljos has a great year.


clarksonkiller19 5 years ago

Forgting about bautista, man is a king.


jays 5 years ago

wheres bautista genius?


UhOhChongo profile image

UhOhChongo 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Luckily I picked up Granderson in the 8th round of my fantasy league!!


Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 5 years ago from Louisiana, USA

Im surprised Bautista is not number one. The rest is pretty legit.


jrump1 5 years ago

Im a diehard cards fan and I would love to see Pujols stay in St Louis. But, lets keep it real. Since the ARod signing, players of extraordinary talent wants the big money also. But, if 28 million dollars per year is not enough money, then I say let him go.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working