Full-On Power: The Top 8 Power Sluggers in the Game This Season

Karl Buscheck@@KarlBuscheckContributor IIIJuly 26, 2016

Full-On Power: The Top 8 Power Sluggers in the Game This Season

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    The 40-year-old David Ortiz has torched the American League in 2016.
    The 40-year-old David Ortiz has torched the American League in 2016.Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    When it comes to sluggers, there's been no match for Boston Red Sox designated hitter and first baseman David Ortiz in 2016.

    Big Papi leads all big leaguers in slugging percentage, doubles, extra-base hits and Isolated Power (ISO). It's that final category that carries the most significance in this debate.

    When it comes to judging power, there's no better stat for doing so than ISO. Just consider how FanGraphs defines it: "Isolated Power (ISO) is a measure of a hitter’s raw power and tells you how often a player hits for extra bases."

    According to FanGraphs, the average MLB player clocks in with an ISO of .140, and a mark of .250 is considered "excellent." On this list, everyone has an ISO of .278 or higher.

    Using ISO as our measuring stick, let's take a look at the mashers who join Ortiz in the rankings of the top power hitters of 2016.

Honorable Mentions

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    Nolan Arenado is one of the 2016 All-Stars who narrowly missed the cut.
    Nolan Arenado is one of the 2016 All-Stars who narrowly missed the cut.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    We'd be remiss if we didn't run down the honorable mentions before getting started with the top eight. Based on FanGraphs' ISO leaderboard, these are the big leaguers who came closest to making the grade:

    • 1B Chris Carter, Milwaukee Brewers
    • 3B Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
    • OF Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets
    • 2B/3B Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
    • RF Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
    • 3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
    • 3B Todd Frazier, Chicago White Sox

8. DH Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2016 Stats: .278 ISO, .550 SLG, 26 HR, 48 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    Edwin Encarnacion's ISO of .278 earns him the final spot in these rankings.

    For the Dominican, it's a well-deserved honor. Just ask teammate Marcus Stroman.

    "That was the loudest ball I've ever witnessed live in a stadium, by far," Stroman told the Associated Press (via Sportsnet.com) of Encarnacion's 26th blast, which traveled an estimated 471 feet.

    It was so loud that Stroman could hear the shot even though he wasn't even in the dugout at the time.

    "I was under [in the clubhouse], and I ran out and saw where it landed," he said. "It was pretty special. He's the man."

    According to Darren Willman of MLB.com, Stroman was exaggerating, but only by a little. Encarnacion's homer was the longest of Toronto's season, and the exit velocity (112.2 mph) was the second-hardest of the year.

7. DH/OF Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles

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    2016 Stats: .279 ISO, .564 SLG, 28 HR, 46 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    Even for an MLB MVP, Mark Trumbo's batting practice displays are must-see theater.

    “He’s fun to watch,” former Los Angels Angels teammate Mike Trout told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “He’s one of those guys, when he’s taking B.P., you’ve got to stop what you’re doing and watch him.”

    For the Baltimore Orioles, Trumbo has also been putting on a show when it actually matters. So far, the designated hitter and outfielder is tied with Todd Frazier for the most homers in baseball.

    So just how does the co-home run leader end up stuck in the No. 7 spot in the rankings?

    The problem for Trumbo is that his lack of doubles and triples has kept his ISO (.279) relatively low. Even with his 28 homers, Trumbo is tied for 15th in the majors in extra-base hits.

6. 3B Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2016 Stats: .283 ISO, .599 SLG, 24 HR, 51 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    The 2015 American League MVP, Josh Donaldson flat-out slugs.

    According to Willman, the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman made contact with just four pitches on Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. All four left his bat at an exit velocity of 104.1 mph or greater. For a bit of context, the average exit velocity in 2016 is just a tick over 89 mph.

    The first ball Donaldson connected with was a double that exited at 109.9 mph and traveled a staggering 429 feet, according to the calculations of Mike Petriello of MLB.com.

5. LF Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds

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    2016 Stats: .289 ISO, .535 SLG, 23 HR, 45 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    The owner of eight major league big flies entering 2016, there's no question that All-Star Adam Duvall is one of the breakout performers of the year.

    While most middle-of-the-order types such as this left fielder are dubbed "three true outcome" hitters (walk, strikeout or home run), Duvall doesn't quite fit that mold.

    Simply put, the 27-year-old is a two-true-outcome kind of guy. He strikes out (99 times in 2016), and he leaves the yard regularly, but he almost never walks. This season, Duvall has actually tallied more long balls (23) than free passes (18).

4. 1B Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

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    2016 Stats: .290 ISO, .596 SLG, 24 HR, 51 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    The big-time pop is nothing new for Anthony Rizzo.

    Since 2013, the Chicago Cubs first baseman has hit more home runs than any player in the NL, according to Christopher Kamka of CSN Chicago.

    This year, Rizzo is taking his power game to a whole new level, as he's on pace to set new career highs in home runs, slugging percentage and ISO. In terms of ISO, the left-hitter ranks fourth-best in baseball.

    Fourth is where Rizzo placed on the NL MVP ballot a season ago. Thanks to his season-long power surge, Rizzo has an excellent shot of besting that showing when this year's votes are tallied.

3. SS Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies

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    2016 Stats: .293 ISO, .555 SLG, 23 HR, 47 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    At the outset of the season, it would have been nearly impossible to predict that Trevor Story would land in the No. 3 spot in these rankings.

    But after a historically powerful first half, here he is.

    Thanks to his 23 homers and 20 doubles, the 23-year-old is sporting the third-highest ISO in baseball. His home run output has been especially noteworthy. As SB Nation's Purple Row pointed out on Twitter, Story is rapidly closing in on the NL record for home runs for a rookie shortstop (24).

    Like the player who snags the No. 2 spot in these rankings, Story also landed on the list of most glaring All-Star omissions.

2. 3B Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2016 Stats: .328 ISO, .618 SLG, 21 HR, 50 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    The NL leader in OPS, Jake Lamb is one of two big leaguers in the 2016 .300-ISO Club.

    He was also the most egregious snub in this year's edition of the Midsummer Classic.

    As the third baseman explained on The Bickley & Marotta Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (via Matt Layman of ArizonaSports.com), he spent his All-Star break playing miniature golf in his hometown of Seattle.

    For the Arizona Diamondbacks, Lamb has already golfed 21 homers out of the park in 2016. The 25-year-old has been an unstoppable extra-base hitting machine for the D-backs. He ranks second in that department (and in ISO) only to Ortiz.

    For the super snub, who cracked just six homers a year ago, 2016 has been some sophomore season.

1. DH David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

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    2016 Stats: .343 ISO, .665 SLG, 23 HR, 58 XHB

    His Slugging Credentials

    Count Jake Peavy as among the many around the game who is utterly baffled by the fact that Ortiz will be retiring at season's end.

    “I don’t know how he’s walking away,” the righty wondered, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle after serving up a 442-foot blast to Ortiz.

    The shot was the longest of Ortiz's 23 homers in 2016.

    "The way he’s swinging the bat, he’s certainly not swinging like a guy who’s retiring," Peavy told Schulman. "He’s swinging like the All-Star he’s always been."

    The reason that Ortiz is on the way out is that his ailing feet are becoming increasingly problematic. Even with his bum wheels, Ortiz's numbers—and not just in the power department—have been stellar in 2016. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the designated hitter is the only big leaguer who ranks in the top five of all three Triple Crown categories.


    Note: All stats courtesy of MLB.com and FanGraphs. All videos courtesy of MLB.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.


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