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The Power (that used) to Be


From T-ball to Little League, up through college ball and the professional levels, you could almost bet the biggest, strongest player on the diamond was playing first base. History has proven first base to be the power corner.  We are talking about Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, and Harmon Killebrew. Fast forward to my childhood years where you were mesmerized by the moon shots hit by Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Mark McGwire, Andres Galarraga, and the crime dog, Fred McGriff. To most recently with Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and even Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard. If you were big, and you were powerful, you played first base.

So what has happened to the hard hitting power bats we have grown accustomed to manning the first base bag? The names are still there, but the numbers are not. Lets analyze the players who are greatly underachieving and if your fear and concern should be real.

Paul Goldschmidt - There is no way to sugar coat Paul Goldschmidt's season and if you are a fantasy owner, or simply just a fan of the long ball, you have every right to be exasperated with Paul Goldschmidt. Here is a guy that has been an MVP candidate for the last 5-6 years that now cannot hit his way out of a wet paper bag. We are two months into the season and Goldy is hitting a putrid .198 with only 5 home runs. If you dive in further on him though, it appears he has become hesitant, possibly to try and get himself into hitters counts by taking pitches. But instead, he is watching strikes and falling behind. Goldy is still only 30 and it is hard to believe he is declining already. With a little confidence and a bit more aggressiveness, his numbers will start to rebound. Be aggravated, not worried though.


Edwin Encarnarcion - 35 years old. 35. Did you know that? Edwin is not getting any younger and we have known for a while that average is not his strong suit, as he bats only .211 this season. However, he has been known for his power, hitting no less than 34 homers since 2012. This year as we approach Memorial Day weekend, Edwin only has 10. That may not seem like a ton, but it still puts him on pace for over 30. If you are going to accept Edwin at this point in his career, you need to accept the .270/40 home run seasons are a thing of a past. If you expect .220 and 30, then you will find yourself happy.

Anthony Rizzo - Rizzo is in the prime of his career and down numbers shouldn't, and will not be attributed to any sort of decline. If you recall, he crawled out of the gate last season too. This year he hit the DL early with back issues which did not help his start. All of Rizzo's "off the bat" tendencies are just fine as his line-drive, strikeout, and fly-ball rate are all normal. What is not normal is his .198 average on balls batted in play. With everything else just fine, luck has to turn in his favor and even his season out. Also, if Maddon stopped shuffling him up and down the lineup and just give him a permanent home in the lineup, that may help him settle in too, but that's just me.

Cody Bellinger - I think there is less concern with Cody, and more with the entire Dodgers team. That is what should ease your concern about Cody. The entire team has been under achieving to put it nicely. Matt Kemp is the best hitter in blue right now. YES. That Matt Kemp. Cody Bellinger has your prototypical, easy on the eyes, lefty, power stroke. Power is his game and will be for a long time. Don't sweat the 7 home runs and remember he is still only a kid coming into form. He will have 30+ long balls by season's end, and grow into a perennial 40 home run guy as he matures.


Miguel Cabrera - Father time catches up to everyone eventually. It is inevitable and it started hitting Miggy a couple years ago when injuries started to plague him. He did rebound in 2016 to another Miggy year with 38 bombs and 108 batted in, but fell back off last year with injuries. This year he is hitting for a high average, but the power is gone and the injuries continue to nag at him. The power days for Cabrera are a thing of the past, but he has proved to still be just a flat out pure hitter, to the tune of a .323 average before hurting his hamstring. He has the track record that shows he can still hit the ball, just not the distance he used to.

Rhys Hoskins - If you did not expect regression with Hoskins then you have no one to blame but yourself. The rate at which he hit home runs last season after he was called up to the big leagues was unsustainable. He mashed 18 long balls in only 50 games. This year he has a minuscule 6 home runs. No one expected THIS much regression and I think concern is fair. Not panic, but concern. And that is because he is still hitting the ball in the air, the issue has been his strikeouts. He is on pace for nearly 200 strikeouts and when your swinging and missing that often, it means the ball is not going anywhere. When he does hit it it will go far, he just needs to make that contact. Easier said than done from where I am sitting though.

Follow Ryan on Twitter and ask your Fantasy Questions @RyTheFantasyGuy. 

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