By: Noah Wright
Now when you think of the most powerful guys in the MLB, you might think of Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, ect. While they are some of the most prolific power hitting players in the game currently, they can overshadow many other players. Players you wouldn’t usually think of when you hear about power hitters. Maybe because they’re on a bad team, or maybe because they broke out this year with the long ball. But here are some of 2019’s most underrated sluggers.
- Ramon Laureano:
The rocket-armed center fielder was more known for his glove throughout the minors. Sure he never lacked power, but he was never one to be the 30 home run a year kind of guy. His highest home run total in the minors was 15 back in 2016, when he was still an Astros’ farm hand. Even last year his slugging % was just .474. But in 2019, he has really broken out with the bat. Currently, Laureano has a .518 slugging %, and ..234 ISO. His ISO is higher than that of Luke Voit, J.D. Martinez, and Jose Abreu.
- Yuli Gurriel:
Granted, while Gurriel was never has been weak, his power output this year is a huge breakout for the Astros’ first baseman. In his first full year in 2017, he hit for a solid .486 slugging %, 18 home runs, and .187 ISO. Last year, he saw his power decline to just 13 home runs, a .428 slugging, and .138 ISO. This season however, he has been mashing the ball to a .520 slugging, .228 ISO, and already has crushed 19 long balls. His slugging ranks 40th among the 152 qualified batters, and his 19 home runs is already a career high in the MLB. He could easily pass his Cuban league home run total of 30 back in 2009-2010.
- Max Kepler:
Kepler may never have been a big power threat in the minors, but he always showed the potential when he went to the MLB. In 2016, his rookie season, Kepler launched 17 home runs. His home run total just went up from there to 19 in 2017, and 20 in 2018. But he just never seemed to be able to get over that hump. In 2019, Kepler has gotten over that hump. He has blasted a career high 25 home runs, while hitting for a .527 slugging %. His .263 ISO ranks ties Braves 1B Freddie Freeman for 24th place.