Originally written on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 9/9/12

With both real and fantasy teams making a push for the playoffs, the long ball can easily make the difference in crucial games.  Below are your hottest home run hitters over the last 28 days.

9 Home Runs: Edwin Encarnacion, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and Chase Headley

Edwin Encarnacion continues to amaze.  Prior to this season, the most home runs he had hit in a season was the 26 he posted in 2008.  He currently has 38 home runs and is having a career year to say the least.  Over the past 28 days, Edwin is batting 0.270 with a 0.9904 OPS. Fantasy wise, it’s too bad that he will lose his 3B eligibility next season, having only played third base once this season.  Those of you in keeper leagues need to take note of this.  His average is probably a little high, based on his hitting style, but the 38+ home runs is hard to argue with.

Hanley Ramirez is enjoying the West coast.  In the past 28 days, Hanley is hitting 0.269 with a 0.9051 OPS.  Since joining the Dodgers, he is hitting 0.272 with 10 home runs in just 162 at-bats.  He had 14 home runs in 353 at-bats, with Miami, while batting just 0.246.  He’s still not the player he was prior to the 2011 season, but at least we are seeing improvement.  Maybe the change in team is just what he needed.  For you fantasy buffs, Hanley will still have shortstop eligibility (in most leagues) next season, which amplifies his fantasy value.

Ryan Braun has done everything in his power to prove that he deserved last season’s MVP title, and that PEDs had nothing to do with his performance.  In the last 28 days, Braun is batting 0.333 with a beautiful 1.0676 OPS.  Braun has blasted 38 home runs so far this season, with 91 runs, 100 RBI, and 23 stolen bases.  The 38 home runs is a career high and he’s still going strong.  Braun has put together another MVP caliber season, although I would be shocked to see the MLB give him the award after what happen this past offseason.  Braun will be a Top 5 pick in next season’s fantasy baseball drafts.  He should be the first outfielder taken off the board, but Trout could challenge that.

I’m almost as impressed in Chase Headley as I am in Edwin Encarnacion.   Like Edwin, Headley is having a breakout season, mainly in the power department.  Prior to this season, Headley’s top home run season was in 2009, where he hit 12 home runs.  He has currently hit 26 this season.  In the past 28 days, Headley is also batting 0.320 with a 0.9721 OPS.  Unfortunately, it seems that PetCo Park is slowing him down a bit.  He has hit only 9 of his 26 home runs at home.  It would amazing to see what he would be able to do if he didn’t play at that field.  Either way, in fantasy drafts, Headley could find himself taken as a Top 5 third basemen next season.


10 Home Runs: Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton is having a great 3rd season of his career.  Even though he missed close to 5 weeks of the season due to injury, he is still on pace to put up his greatest home run total of his career.  In the past 28 days, Giancarlo is batting 0.282 with a 0.9905 OPS.  This season he’s batting 0.285, a nice jump from the 0.262 average from last season.  He will be turning just 23 this offseason; it is scary to think how good this guy could get over the next few years.  There’s no reason not to believe that he will break 40 homeruns in 2013.


11 Home Runs: Adrian Beltre, Mark Reynolds, and Jay Bruce

Adrian Beltre has continued to be a beast for the Rangers.  He’s on pace to have his best home run total since the 2004 season where he hit 48 homeruns for the Dodgers.  He’s on pace to hit 34 home runs this season, but at the rate he has been hitting over the last month, he could easily break that.  Over the last 28 days, Beltre is hitting 0.387 with a ridiculous 1.2272 OPS.  Fantasy wise, Beltre will be the 2nd third basemen taken off the board, in next season’s draft.

Mark Reynolds is trying to salvage a terrible season.  He’s on pace to have his lowest home run total since his rookie season.  However, in the last 28 days, he has managed to blast 11 home runs while batting 0.317 with an incredible 1.1911 OPS.  In fact, he has more home runs in the past month than he had in the 4.5 months of the season.  In his past 8 games, Reynolds has hit at least 1 home run in 5 of the games, and has hit 2 home runs in 3 of those 5 games.  In fantasy baseball, Reynolds is a great pickup to grab while he has a hot bat.  However, Reynolds is very streaky and this hot streak can end as fast as it got started.

Jay Bruce was one of my favorite sleeper picks in the postseason.  Bruce struggled with his batting average through most of the season, and I had said that a low BABIP was to blame.  Bruce is making up for the low BABIP now, and what a perfect time to step up for fantasy owners.  Over the last 28 days, Bruce is batting 0.358 with a monstrous 1.247 OPS.  In the offseason, I predicted that he will have 90 runs, 105 RBI, 36 HRs, and bat 0.271 – he is currently on pace for 92 runs, 108 RBI, 36 HRs, and a 0.264 average.  At only 25 years old, I believe he could be even better next season.  Don’t be surprised when he breaks the 40 home run total in 2013.

Check out my other writing at JoeBlowBaseball.com, too.

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