MLB's 15 Most Underrated Power Hitters
Everyone that is a fan of the game of baseball knows about the players that are consistently able to go deep at any given time in a game.
These type of home run-hitting power hitters are a rare breed in this era of baseball after the steroid-soaked years that came in the 90s and early 2000s. But, there are still many guys that can add their share of "round-trippers" when needed.
But, like any type of player in the game, there are those that do not get the attention or credit that is due to them. Some of these players have just started to show they can "go deep," while others are wily veterans. In either instance, they are all capable of going yard at anytime.
15. Juan Uribe
One of the key reasons that the Giants won the World Series last season was the late season and postseason play of Juan Uribe. The two-time champion shortstop has shown throughout his career he can hit for power with over 150 career home runs.
Four times in his career, including last season, saw Uribe hit more than 20 home runs in a season. He should be counted upon to hit between 15-25 homers each season and has been prone to deliver when it matters most. He signed as a free agent with the Dodgers and should continue his power hitting ways.
14. Aaron Hill
Coming off what could have been a career year in 2009, in which he hit 36 home runs, Hill had an awful follow-up season last year. Despite seeing his batting average drop nearly .80 points to around the "Mendoza Line," Hill was still able to knock out 26 bombs.
Hill has established that he is among the game's best home run hitting second basemen, but he will need to return to his 2009 form to go along with Jose Bautista's awesome 2010 home run total. Expect a rebound season for Hill, as he has shown he is an All-Star and can play like it.
13. Mike Napoli
Not many players in the history of baseball have been solid power hitters and ran things behind the plate. It appears that Mike Napoli, now with the Rangers, has gotten it down pretty well, as he has hit at least 20 home runs in the last three seasons.
Despite being one of the worst when it comes to striking out over the past few seasons, Napoli ranks in the top 10 in at-bat per home run. If Napoli can hit better for average and cut down on the strikeouts, he could be an All-Star catcher for his new team in Texas.
12. Mike Stanton
Coming off a rookie season that few saw coming, Mike Stanton is a young player to watch out for this season and years to come. With 22 home runs and an impressive .833 on base percentage, Stanton showed he could be a piece for the future in Miami.
The second-round pick by the Marlins stood out as a defensive right fielder last season as well and could be one of the players to watch in the NL East in 2011, as well as All-Star bound if he avoids the sophomore slump.
11. Colby Rasmus
One of the young hitters to make the list of underrated is Colby Rasmus, who mans the outfield for the Cardinals. The 24-year-old has already established himself as an up-and-coming threat in a power-filled lineup.
Coming off a rookie season with 16 homers, Rasmus launched 24 long balls last year and had a solid on-base percentage of .859. His strikeouts alarm some, but it should be expected that he hits more home runs this season, which could be some relief for anxious Cardinal fans with Albert Pujols' free-agency situation looming.
10. Jay Bruce
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce could be a pair of power hitters that could give NL pitchers headaches for the decade to come. It is hard to believe that Bruce is only 24, as it seems he has been playing for the Reds for ages now.
In his three-year career, he has hit 20 homers in each season that he has played. Twenty-five last season is the highest thus far. Along with a solid batting average, good speed and being among the best defensive outfielders, Bruce is doing good things for the Reds.
9. Luke Scott
In the city that produced the greatest power hitter of all-time in Babe Ruth, Luke Scott has been overlooked as a slugger for several seasons now in Baltimore. Since getting his first real action in 2006 in Houston, Scott has increased his home run total every season, including 27 last year.
Scott ranked in the top 10 in slugging and on-base percentage last season but was not talked about as being one of the better first basemen in the AL. That is on account of the bad team he has been on, but he also does not have the run producing numbers that are looked at. This season could open some more eyes if he continues to get better.
8. Jason Kubel
With physically imposing threats in the Twins lineup like Jim Thome, Delmon Young, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, it is often that a guy who looks like Jason Kubel will not grab a lot of attention. But Kubel has been as solid as the Twins could ask for over the last four seasons.
He has hit at least 20 home runs in the last three seasons, and in 2009, finished in the top 10 in RBI and slugging percentage. 2009 also saw Kubel receive a vote for MVP. Twins fans hope that Kubel can get his average up to .300 again like in '09, and if he does, it could go a long way in their hopes to repeat as division champs.
7. Garrett Jones
Pirates fans do not have a lot to rejoice about, but Garrett Jones has shown that he can hit some dingers in the middle of the Bucs lineup. Yes, it did take the 29-year-old a while to get to where he is today, but since coming to Pittsburgh, he has hit 21 home runs in each of his two seasons.
His numbers fell quite a bit last season after a rookie season that got him some Rookie of the Year consideration. But he did show that he is reliable, only missing three games all year. This coming season will be "make or break" for Jones' future.
6. Rickie Weeks
Injuries through the years have somewhat held Rickie Weeks from reaching his full potential that many have seen in him. But last season he played in more than 130 games for the first time in his career, and he showed what kind of power hitter he could be.
Last season, Weeks had his best season, as he had the most plate appearances in the National League, and it led him to 29 home runs, which was a career high. Despite finishing third in the league in strikeouts, Weeks has had a solid on-base percentage over the past three seasons that could only go up.
5. Hunter Pence
Playing with notorious power hitters in his career, such as Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, has led some to overlook Hunter Pence's power. But, since his rookie season, Pence has not fallen off in any season when it comes to home runs.
The 2009 All-Star has hit 25 home runs in each of the last three seasons, which is no easy task in the post-steroid days. Along with his prowess in the power department, Pence is a top 10 hitter in triples and hits as well.
4. Chris Young
One of the best young outfielders that the game has to offer, Chris Young has put himself into position to be a top-line power hitter for years to come.
Young came onto the scene in his rookie season in 2007, hit 32 home runs and finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting. Last season, he had his most complete season, as he made his first All-Star Game along with hitting 27 homers. He also finished second in the power-speed category in the National League last season, showing how dynamic he in fact is.
3. B.J. Upton
The former second overall pick in the amateur draft for the Rays is one of the few on his team that remains, along with Evan Longoria. This is why Tampa Bay will need the five-tool player to step up his game in all phases, including in his power numbers.
He has shown he can steal bases as well as anyone and ranks atop the league in slugging and on-base percentage. His downfall throughout his career has been his strikeouts. The Rays need Upton to produce a lot more in the run producing category to compete with Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena gone.
2. Robinson Cano
One of the less-publicized players on a Yankees ballclub that is full of stars, Robinson Cano is slowly putting together a Hall of Fame worthy resume. This resume includes power numbers that have grown over the last two seasons, including 29 home runs last season.
The two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner has been known throughout his career, as he can hit for average with the best of them. But his production in power and bringing runs in has exploded in the past two seasons as well. He very well could reach 30 home runs for the first time this season.
1. Paul Konerko
No player has been as consistent at hitting the long ball through the years and not gotten the due credit that should come to him, like Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox.
The four-time All-Star finished second in home runs last season as he hit 39 homers, which was the most he had hit since his career-high year in 2004 (41). Konerko has been in the top five in home runs four times in his career and is currently 12th in the game in home runs in his career.