Predicting 2018's Home Run Leaders

April 1, 2018

A brief intro, since it has been a while since we've written anything and our regular content stopped years ago. It has been about six years since I stopped writing about prospects and following them, which coincides with when my wife became pregnant with our first child. Three children later, my time to follow the minors and write about them has been limited. But I'm still following the minors, just not as closely.

One annual baseball activity that has stuck in my life is a home run challenge that one of my friends runs. Participants select a team of eight players for a home run total only challenge. For a lot of people in the 50+ person challenge, it's about looking at who had good years last season or visiting a betting site. I took a different approach this year, thanks to statcast and batted ball data. And I think the methodology shines an interesting light on who may be 2018's home run leaders.

The first thing I looked at was exit velocity. After that, I mixed in fly ball percentage and home runs per fly ball. I've included a chart below that ranks my top 10 home run hitters for 2018 along with how each performed in 2017 in each of the three metrics I listed and some notes.