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Ready to launch: Best power hitter picks for 2018

Of all major league players, Giancarlo Stanton is projected to have the best chance to hit 60 home runs this season. Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Whether you dig the long ball or have decided to merely remain friends with the round-tripper, it's undeniable that home runs are a large part of deciding who wins baseball games. The numbers 714, 755, 60, 61 and 762 are digits that any serious baseball fan recognizes. Some might profess to like a game with lots of singles and doubles, but how many instantly know what 3,215 or 792 mean (Pete Rose's and Tris Speaker's career singles and doubles records, respectively)?

Even when the home run has been relatively uncommon, as it was between 2010 and 2014, offense was still driven by the dinger. The 2014 home run rate was off more than 25 percent from the record rate of the early-2000s, but hits of all kinds also fell in 2014, resulting in a .251 league batting average that year, the lowest since 1972. But the lean 2010-2014 years didn't fundamentally alter the game; offense was still driven by the home run -- it's just that there were fewer of them. Whether or not 2018 will continue to be a homer-friendly environment remains to be seen. While home runs and offense are down in the very early going, teams still haven't done a full rotation through the, uh, rotation.

Power in itself won't get you a job or riches these days -- Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter and Mike Moustakas can attest to that -- but if you only have one trick up your sleeve, it's the best trick to have. And because home runs, like every stat, are easier to collect in environments that favor that stat, once again, home run records start to look vulnerable.