There are few things that excite baseball fans quite like the crack of the bat that immediately let's you know that the player in the box just destroyed a pitch that most likely is destined to break through someone's windshield in the Fenway parking lot.
Over the past few seasons, we've seen players come out of no where to lead the league in home runs. A few seasons ago, a little known Jose Bautista made one of the most unpredictable jumps into the elite power hitter plateau in major league baseball history.
Unfortunately for me, I ended up wasting a few hundred dollars trying to become the man above before I realized that I was significantly less coordinated, not a baseball player and about as likely to become one as Kobe Bryant transforming into an unselfish pass first point guard or a Google search of Farrah Abraham turning up something besides video stills and parenting advice.
Similarly, last season saw Chris Davis, a player who had eclipsed 30 home runs in 2012 but one that had a notorious reputation of struggling with off-speed pitching at the major league level explode for 53 long balls.
Of all the awards that usually lead to big money for someone, none are more profitable than the MLB long ball leader should you pick the right horse to ride. At the end of the day, a short stint on the DL or a cold week or two at the plate usually separate the winners from the rest of the field.
Simply, you need a lot of luck in combination with the immense talent the sluggers of the league possess in order to lead the league at the sport's premier statistic.
At the end of the day, the usual suspects, such as Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Giancarlos Stanton are obvious choices at reduced values but for the sake of actually providing something not known to the reader, I'm going to give you my three sleeper picks that I believe will all end up in the top five to ten in the category if not win it all.
Bryce Harper (40/1, Williamhill)
If you've been keeping tabs on the third year phenom, you have probably heard him described as a tad bigger than he's been in his career. More likely, however, is that you've heard the name Harper and the saying "big as a house" thrown into the same sentence. After an off-season dedicated to gaining strength to his already impressive physique, something that has him tipping the scales at around 230 pounds, it's safe to say that the quick bat will get a big boost of sheer power, something that Harper didn't lack in the least bit to begin with.
Personally, if he stays healthy, I see Harper not only hitting the most home runs in the league but also taking home the NL MVP award in the process as the Washington Nationals ride him, Ryan Zimmerman and their impressive starting rotation to an NL East crown.
Prince Fielder (33/1, Williamhill)
Let's take Prince Fielder, a year removed from an off-season marred by a nasty divorce and all sorts of distractions, and move him from one of the worst hitter parks in the entire league and into the Ballpark in Arlington, arguably the friendliest hitter's park in the entire league, especially for left handed power bats. Now, let's slot that low strikeout-rate power hitter into the number three slot in the lineup and surround him with Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios as protection.
More pitches to hit, a notorious jet stream in right field in his home tadium and a sorter way to hit them in order for them to get out.
That sounds like a formula for forty to fifty home rums if ever I've heard one.
Jose Bautista (16/1, Bodog)
He's done it before and is still one of the premier power hitters in the game. With Edwin Encarnacion, one of the best power hitting first baseman, slotted behind him as protection along with a lineup containing the likes of Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Brett Lawrie (about to explode in 2014), Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind, pitchers will have no choice but to pitch to Bautista.
Add that to the fact that a large portion of games will be played at Fenway, Rogers Centre and Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards, all great hitter parks, and you can rest assured that if he remains healthy, he will be right there at season's end.