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Playing with Numbers: Power profiles revisited

Updated: July 29, 2008, 2:19 PM ET
By AJ Mass | ESPN.com
A few months back, we introduced the concept of power profiles, through which we tried to see if there was any significant similarity in statistical output shared by the majority of your league leaders in home runs, beyond the number of balls hit over the wall. The idea being that if there was some sort of "power signature" that was common in most of the hitters who consistently posted high power numbers, then any player who was at the top of the leaderboard in homers who didn't fit the profile was more likely to see his output diminish over the course of the season. Likewise, any hitter who did fit the profile yet wasn't getting his share of round-trippers was likely simply suffering from a run of bad luck, and his future numbers should reflect more accurately his propensity for prowess in power.

After taking a look at the past performances of top power hitters, we identified three key statistical areas that seemed to correlate to a high home run output. What we are looking for is a hitter with a high walk percentage per plate appearance, who is patient enough to wait for "his pitch" by having the discipline to see in the neighborhood of four pitches (or more) every time he steps into the batter's box, and a low ground ball-to-fly ball ratio -- meaning they get the ball into the air on a more consistent basis, a prerequisite for getting that ball over the wall. The higher a player's G/F, the more ground balls a player hits, so we're looking for a number as far below the current league average of 1.25 as possible.

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