Article Written By: Manny Alcala
Criteria taken into consideration: raw power, slugging percentage, home runs hit last season, potential for this season.
Honorable mentions: Mike Trout, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, and Edwin Encarnacion
These players mentioned can certainly be defined as “sluggers”, but they fall just short of my top 5 list. Trout is a great overall player, but I don’t see him as much of a slugger like others. Ortiz had a big year last season leading Boston to the World Series championship, but I think we might see a decline in his stats this year. With Cano’s recent large contract signing I think he will have added pressure and might struggle early in the season, plus he won’t be playing his home games in Yankee Stadium with their softball distance right field porch anymore. Encarnacion has shown consistency, but I still think he hasn’t reached the level of “top 5”.
#5: Prince Fielder Texas Rangers
Although Fielder hit only 25 home runs last season, a career low for him, I chose him because he has a new home in Texas with the Rangers in which he should enjoy the air that flows straight out to right field helping him improve his power numbers. Another reason is that Prince has never been on the disabled list. He has played the entirety of 4 out of the last 5 seasons. In that five year span he has only missed one game. A combination of him being healthy and a favorable stadium will help Prince.
#4: Pedro Alvarez Pittsburgh Pirates
Pedro “el toro” Alvarez strikes out a lot, but with a lot of strike outs comes a lot of power. Alvarez hit 36 home runs last season and with another year of experience under his belt I expect him to only get better. If Pedro can cut down on his strikeouts just a little bit he would be an even scarier hitter.
#3: Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldy had a breakout year last season in a year that really nobody thought he would produce such numbers. Now he has proven that he can be great throughout a whole season. A key for Goldschmidt is that he will bat ahead or behind Mark Trumbo, so he will have more protection in the lineup this season.
#2: Chris Davis Baltimore Orioles
League leader of home runs last season, Chris Davis, also known as “Crush Davis,” shows tremendous power and a sweet compact swing. It is tough to believe that he can replicate his 53 home runs he hit in 2013, but for a player with his ability to hit and talent, the sky is the limit.
#1: Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
I have to give respect where respect is due, Cabrera is still the best hitter in this league earning him my top spot for best slugger. He has won consecutive MVP awards the last two seasons and isn’t looking to back down. His slugging percentage was .636 and an OPS of 1.078. Miggy should be able to be somewhere around the neighborhood of those stats for this upcoming season.