- Tristan H. Cockcroft, Fantasy
Fantasy owners have long been fascinated by the home run. It's arguably the most popular statistical category in baseball, and in fantasy, everyone seems to draft with power as a primary focus. And while there is usually a fair share of depth in the category, it remains important, just as it would in stolen bases, saves or strikeouts, to get a handful of players on the cheap. You'd be surprised; big-time power hitters usually dry up pretty quickly.
When searching for sleepers, age, experience and a player's proficiency at producing extra-base hits can all serve as indicators that a hitter might be nearing a power breakout. You'll hear a lot of people tell you that a player reaches his power peak at age 27, but it's a little silly to assume everyone is going to develop at exactly the same age or experience level. It varies based upon the individual, and statistical research indicates that a player reaches his power peak somewhere between ages 25 and 28, depending on experience. Some players need four or five years to fully develop their all-around hitting skills in the majors, while others are near their peak by their sophomore seasons.
Taking a look at this season's "approaching their prime" players, the following eight could experience unexpected power boosts in 2006. All are between the ages of 25 and 28, and we listed each player's age and the number of years he has spent in the majors.
Tristan Cockcroft breaks down some hitters who could develop good power this season.