With MLB Opening Day this Sunday, we take another look at the latest spring training stats leaders and move our focus to the sluggers already in midseason form.
While the current list of spring training home run leaders features mainstays like Jose Bautista and Michael Cuddyer, the list is filled with youngsters eager to break out this season and make good on their top prospect status.
Let’s take a look at which players are already on a 30 home run pace before the season has even kicked off.
Kris Bryant (9): No one has been more impressive this spring than top Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, and no one has been more infuriating this month than the Chicago front office, who decided to keep Bryant in the minors to save a year of arbitration eligibility.
In 40 at-bats this March, Bryant got 17 hits, nine homers, three doubles, and 15 RBI. We’ll definitely see the No. 1 overall prospect by June this season and he’s already proving that Major League pitching presents him with little challenge.
Mike Zunino (7): Zunino isn’t a great hitter but he’s one of the top power hitters at the catcher position after crushing 22 homers in 438 at-bats for the Mariners last season. The former top-20 prospect was rushed to the Majors after playing just 96 games in the minors and that may be the cause of his mediocre hitting ability but there’s no question the 24-year-old is developing into a lethal 30+ home run threat. We’d also like to see him hit more doubles and he’s already added six this spring, in addition to his seven dingers.
Jose Bautista (6): After hitting 35 home runs last season, Joey Bats is eager to get back to his 40+ home run self. The Blue Jays’ slugger already has six home runs in just 42 at-bats while walking seven times and striking out just six.
Michael Cuddyer (6): The newest Met is already showing off the power that New York acquired him for this offseason. Cuddyer already has six homers and five doubles this spring but will need to stay healthy after playing just 49 games last year to help a Mets lineup desperate for his bat.
Mark Canha (6): Canha is the least recognizable name on this list but one fantasy baseball owners and Athletics fans should remember, especially with Coco Crisp out with an elbow injury. The former Marlins prospect is expected to start in the outfield with Crisp out and has earned the right with six homers and seven doubles this spring. Watch out, though, as he’s already struck out 22 times (to just four walks) in 71 at-bats.
Joc Pederson (6): A top-10 prospect entering the season, Pederson is one of the rookies expected to make an immediate impact in 2015. The 22-year-old Dodger already has six homers, four doubles, 12 RBI, and two steals this spring after belting 33 home runs in 445 minor league at-bats last year.