Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
OK, I'm surprised by Adrian Gonzalez's 20 home runs, but not enough to put him on the list. He's supposed to hit the long ball and he has - particularly away from Petco Park where he has hit 15 of his 20 dingers.
Lets take a look at some guys who weren't expected to hit a lot of home runs, who have, and at an alarming pace.
Nelson Cruz - Until this year, Cruz's career high in home runs was the nine he hit in 307 at-bats during the 2007 season. That's one HR in every 34.11 at bats. So far in 2009, he has hit one every 12.78 at-bats. Given a 500+ at-bat season, he projects to hit around 40 home runs. And he's likely to steal 20-or-more bases too. Cruz's 30+ home runs above expectations has him as one of the early leading candidates for the 2009 TSN Best Bargain Award considering he had an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 192.
Curtis Granderson - He's hit 23 and 22 home runs the past two seasons in 612 and 553 at-bats, respectively. So far in 2009, he's already hit 13 long balls in just 198 at-bats. Like Cruz, he's on pace to hit 40 home runs. He's not hitting as many doubles and triples as he did in his spectacular 2007 season, but he's a still a solid fantasy contributor.
Aaron Hill - Last year Hill had a grand total of two HRs in 205 at-bats. He's already blasted 12 in 231 at-bats this season to go along with 33 runs scored and 37 RBIs. He's on pace to more than double his best single season HR total - 17 in 2007. Not bad for a second baseman who wasn't in the top-25 selected at his position.
Joe Mauer - We've always known Mauer could hit, but power was another story. His career best is a 13 HR total he hit in 2006 in 521 at-bats. So raise your hand out there if you expected him to come off the disabled list and crack 11 home runs in his first 99 at-bats. Put your hand down...no one had a clue.
Luke Scott - Scott did hit 23 home runs last year (in 475 at-bats), but he's already hit 11 in 117 at-bats in 2009. And Scott is normally a second half hitter which sees his OPS jump from .795 before the All-Star break to .924 after. Sounds like he'd be a good pickup or a player to go after in a trade.
Jason Varitek - Varitek had been "dead" to fantasy owners for about a year, hitting 13 in all of 2008 while batting a lowly .220 and knocking in just 43 runs. He's already hit 10 long balls in 2009 and has half his RBI total and it's just June 1st.
Of course the story won't stop there. Tomorrow we will check those supposed home run hitters who have failed to live up to their billing - namely David Ortiz, David Wright, Jeff Francoeur, Vladimir Guerrero, Rick Ankiel, Jhonny Peralta, Pat Burrell and Geovany Soto.