Non-Home-Run Power: Chronicles of ottoneu

Not every big fly is a home run.

Fantasy players in leagues that count slugging percentage know that they can find a competitive advantage in players that don’t hit home runs but do manage plenty of extra base hits. Those in ottoneu linear weights leagues know the same. So let’s look at some different players that have added value in leagues that count extra base hits that are not home runs.

The first idea that comes to mind is doubles power. Perhaps there are some players that hit doubles but don’t really have the power to get those balls over the wall (dirty). This year, the doubles leader is Michael Young, which might come as a surprise considering his two home runs so far. Other players with lower home run totals that appear in the top ten are Alex Gordon and Chipper Jones. Jacoby Ellsbury and Billy Butler are the only other surprises in the top ten.

The most attainable of this crew might be Gordon. He’s showing the best power of his career when measured by ISO (.181), but we know that statistic takes the longest to stabilize. Will his doubles power continue to offer value in non-home-run-centered leagues? It seems yes. Since strikeout rate stabilizes early and Gordon’s 21.4% strikeout percentage is the best of his career, we can assume that he’ll put more balls into play than in his average year. Contact percentage becomes reliable early as well, and his current 81.6% contact rate is well above his career number (76.8%). Put more balls into play with above-average career power (.163 ISO career, .150 is average), and you’ll end up at second base often enough. Consider trying to acquire Gordon if you need extra points in linear weights leagues, or some extra slugging percentage in OPS leagues.

Another way to add value in these non-traditional leagues is to show an above-average ISO when your home-run power is pedestrian. Most of the ISO leaderboard is conventional. Obviously Jose Bautista leads the list and Curtis Granderson and Mike Stanton follow closely. But you might be surprised to find Russell Martin and Shane Victorino rounding out the top 30 in that statistic.

Martin deserves some attention on his own because his work is superlative when seen in the context of his career. But Victorino has long been a secret boon in leagues that measure power in ways other than home runs. His career ISO is .153, but he’s bettered that mark since 2008. This year, by making more contact, he’s hitting the most fly balls of his career. That might seem like a poor idea for a speedy hitter, but obviously the Phillie center fielder has some power. Last year, Victorino did not hit 30 doubles for the third straight year, but he did manage to hit a career-high in home runs. if he doesn’t hit 20 home runs this year, expect him to challenge 30 doubles like he used to. Either way, Victorino, once healthy, will provide great power in leagues that can see past his pedestrian home run total.

With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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12 years ago

Butler a suprise in the top ten??…. LMAO