Skinny MLB Players Who Still Hit for Tons of Power

Ben StepanskyCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2013

Skinny MLB Players Who Still Hit for Tons of Power

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    Who says you have to pump iron (or, in these days, pop PEDs) to be a slugger? For goodness sake, Babe Ruth did it on hot dogs and beer!

    Power hitters come in all shapes and sizes, from a rounded Prince Fielder to a towering Adam Dunn to a perfectly proportioned Albert Pujols. 

    But wait, what about the skinny guys? You know, the ones who frequently take off days from the gym just because they weren't in the mood (we've all been there). 

    Surprisingly, some of these players are renowned as some of the best home run hitters in the game. 

    Let's see who made the list.

9. Jacoby Ellsbury

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    So he's not exactly a consistent slugger, but Jacoby Ellsbury has shown signs of power in the past. Does 2011 ring a bell?

    Just two seasons ago, Ellsbury walloped 32 home runs along with 39 stolen bases to complete his first 30/30 season at the ripe age of 27. He also finished second in AL MVP voting that season.

    Weighing in at a delightfully light 195 pounds, Ellsbury's power abilities have been hampered by injury-plagued seasons that held him to just 18 games in 2010 and 74 in 2012. 

    As he enters the final year of his contract with the Red Sox, the speedy slugger hopes to rediscover his home-run swing and repeat his magical numbers from his only All-Star season.

8. Adam LaRoche

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    The biggest player on this list, Adam LaRoche is no slouch when it comes to hitting a baseball.

    The Washington Nationals first baseman became a real threat at the plate last season, hitting 33 home runs, the highest single-season total of his career. Of his nine MLB seasons, LaRoche has compiled seven seasons of 20 or more home runs.

    Standing at 6'3'' and 210 pounds, the Orange County native recently signed a new two-year contract with the Nationals worth $24 million with a mutual option for the 2015 season. If he keeps sending the ball over the fence like he did last year, LaRoche could see his career conclude in the nation's capital.

7. B.J. Upton

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    Now teamed up in one of the most lethal offensive outfields in the league, B.J. Upton's power numbers should surge in 2013.

    Young stars Jason Heyward and B.J.'s brother Justin, who arrived via a trade with the Diamondbacks, join Upton in Atlanta. All three hit for power (and whiff regularly), but it was B.J. who clobbered the most home runs last season with 28.

    Since 2008, the 28-year-old has watched his home-run numbers steadily climb each season, from just nine in '08 to 11, 18, 23 and 28 over the next four seasons.

    Upton stands at a generous 6'3'' but carries only 185 pounds. 

    His new stadium, Turner Field (0.873), and his old one, Tropicana Field (0.774), weren't friendly to home run hitters in 2012, ranking in at No. 22 and No. 24 on average home runs per game.

    He'll have to rely on his heavy bat to get the job done in 2013. 

6. Jimmy Rollins

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    Not normally a player recognized for his power statistics, Jimmy Rollins snuck onto this list due to his four seasons of 20-plus home runs.

    Rollins is, by far, the smallest player in the group at a minuscule 5'8'', 180 pounds. However, with the addition of power hitting to his baseball repertoire, Rollins has become a true five-tool player. 

    He was rewarded for his talents in 2007 when he won the NL MVP award during a season when he batted .344, hit 30 home runs with 94 RBI and stole 41 bases. Oh, and did I mention his Golden Glove award?

    In 2012, at the age of 33, Rollins surged back onto the scene for the Phillies, hitting 23 home runs as well as eclipsing 400 steals in his career.

5. Josh Reddick

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    Traded to the Oakland Athletics in the deal that sent reliever Andrew Bailey to the Red Sox, Josh Reddick emerged as a rising star in 2012. 

    Reddick walloped 32 home runs in his first full major league season after showing much potential in 87 games for the Red Sox in 2011. The 17th-round pick weighs just 180 pounds but proved that the outfield fence at O.co Coliseum was no match for his behemoth swing.

    Reddick was not a huge power hitter in the minors, never hitting more than 18 home runs in a season at any level, but Bill James predicts him to have another 30 home run year in 2013. 

4. Alfonso Soriano

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    While Alfonso Soriano has seen his offensive statistics decline in recent years, he is still a productive force at the plate for the Chicago Cubs.

    During his prime with the New York Yankees, Soriano would hit 30-40 home runs and drive in close to 100 runs per season. However, as is the case with all ballplayers, age takes a toll on the body, yet Soriano has found a way to remain potent.

    At 36, the Dominican native can still hit 20-30 home runs. In fact, Soriano hasn't had a season when he hit less than 20 home runs since his first full year in 2001 when he smacked only 18 over the fence.

    In 2012, the 195-pound outfielder hit 32 home runs, his most since 2007, and collected his highest single-season RBI total, 108.

    It's hard to believe, but Soriano has been a model of consistency when it comes to power hitting in baseball.

3. Andrew McCutchen

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    Andrew McCutchen emerged as one of the elite players in the game last season as he led the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 45-36 record by the All-Star break.

    McCutchen earned All-Star honors in 2011 but was recognized as a true MVP candidate in 2012 when he hit .327 with 31 home runs and 96 RBI. 

    The former first-round pick doesn't even break 6-feet in stature (he's 5'10'') and weighs 185 pounds. Who would know with his swift, powerful swing?

    McCutchen's .553 slugging percentage was good for seventh-best in the majors last season (and second to only one other player on this list who will be named later). His stock should continue to rise in the coming years.

2. Curtis Granderson

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    As a left-handed batter, Curtis Granderson certainly benefits from the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium (26 of his 43 home runs in 2012 came at home). However, that doesn't deter from his ranking as the second-best skinny power hitter in baseball.

    Granderson has smashed 40-plus home runs in each of the past two seasons and has driven in 225 runs over that same span.

    While the strikeout numbers could use some work (195 K's in 2012), the 31-year-old is a force to be reckoned with in an always terrifying Yankee lineup. 

    Granderson benefits from his speed as well, as 47 percent of his hits in 2012 were for extra bases.

1. Ryan Braun

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    Cleared of his PED use due to a misunderstanding between a lab technician and FedEx, Ryan Braun continues to exemplify the standard of an all-around hitter. 

    In all but one of his six major-league seasons, Braun has hit for 30-plus home runs. In all but one season, he has eclipsed 100 RBI. In all but one season, he has batted over .300. 

    The five-time All-Star, former Rookie of the Year and 2011 NL MVP weighs an even 200 pounds but connects with the baseball like he's Goliath.

    The 2012 season was especially kind to Braun, who led the National League with 41 home runs and sported the second-highest slugging percentage in the majors (.595).

    Skinny? Yes. But a monster at the plate.