Aaron Hill had never hit more than 17 HRs in a season, but this year had that total by June 25th.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If you drafted Ryan Howard, you were expecting the Philadelphia Phillies first baseman to provide you with power. And he's done exactly that, having hit 37 home runs through the end of August. The same could be said of Albert Pujols, who has hit more than 32 HRs and knocked in at least 103 runs in each of the nine seasons he's played in the league.
But what of some of the surprises home run hitters this season?
Who would have thought that Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill would be leading all second basemen with 31 long balls? Or that Kendry Morales would have 30 home runs by September 1st?
Below is a list of fantasy surprises in the power category, which obviously also helps you in runs scored, RBIs and OPS.
Aaron Hill - Hill had never hit more than 17 HRs in a season (2007), but this year had that total by June 25th. In that 2007 season, Hill hit a home run every 35.7 at-bats, this year it's a 1:18 pace. Apparently the 2008 concussion which knocked him out for most of the season, fixed his swing. Hill is right alongside Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler for "Best 2B of the Year," particularly when you consider his ADP of 288.
Kendry Morales - Morales has had a few "cups of coffee" with the Angels from 2006-2008, but never produced like this. Even in his last minor league stint, he had just 16 HRs while batting .325. The team knew he could hit, they just didn't know he could hit for power and neither apparently did fantasy owners who left him for the late rounds or as a free agent based on his ADP of 297.
Adam Lind - Like Hill, Lind is having a career year. His 28 HRs is 17 more than his previous high in 2007. His average is climbing too, from .238 in 2007, to .282 in 2008 to it's current .304. He had a preseason ADP of 190 and is eligible for the outfield even though he mostly bats in the DH role.
Ben Zobrist - Zobrist was likely an afterthought in fantasy drafts, but in 395 at-bats has cracked 23 home runs. That's a 1:17 pace in case you are interested, better than Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera. But for those guys, you had to pay a steep price, for Zobrist (ADP 306) you likely picked him up off the waiver wire.
Hank Blalock - Blalock hasn't hit this many homers (23) since 2005, primarily due to health issues. That made him a late round pick (ADP 203) and a solid performer for a 17-round selection.
Clint Barmes - Barmes has clearly had the best season of his career, almost doubling his best home run output of 11 last season. His 21 long balls puts him sixth among second basemen, all of whom were drafted well before Barmes and his ADP of 327.
The moral of this story is good values can always be found very late in the draft, or in the first few weeks of the season, on waivers. When you find one of these jewels, don't hesitate, go ahead and make the pickup, because he could be the next Hill or Morales.