Year of the Home Run: Orioles, Rangers, Cubs helping to put 2017 in record books
The Royals have hit the most homers in franchise history and rank 17th in baseball in a wild 2017 season
As we've been covering for weeks, 2017 has the highest rate of home runs (going by home runs per game) in baseball history. Entering Thursday's action it's 1.27 home runs per game this season, while the previous record was 1.17 (2000), with last season (1.16) nipping at its heels. The raw home run total is up to 5,307, which already ranks seventh all-time with a touch under a month to play.
Along they way, we're continuing to come across fun little nuggets. We can go through an extensively document the Year of the Home Run once it's complete, but for the time being, we'll keep making note of said fun nuggets as we come across them. For example, last week.
Let's stick with the 20-plus homer barrier. The Cubs have six players overall with at least 20 (Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez). The Orioles also have six players with 20 or more (Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo). The Reds are two Zack Cozart homers away from joining the Cubs and Orioles.
Only five teams in MLB history have had more players hit at least 20 home runs. The 2010 Blue Jays, 2009 Yankees, 2005 Rangers, 2000 Blue Jays and 1996 Orioles each saw seven players reach the 20-homer mark.
The Orioles are but one home run away from joining that group, as catcher Welington Castillo has 19.
Sticking with this subject but moving onto the Rangers, right now they have Joey Gallo, Mike Napoli and Rougned Odor with at least 20 homers. Oh, hey, and Elvis Andrus hit his 20th homer on Wednesday. That's only four so far, but Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara each have 18 homers. Carlos Gomez has 17. Robinson Chirinos has 16. Adrian Beltre has 16, too, but he's out for the season.
Still, the Rangers are awfully close to becoming the first team in MLB history to have more than seven players reach the 20-homer mark. They are at least a quality bet to the tie the record of seven.
Moving onto the Royals, they seem right now to be a good illustration of how homer-happy this season has gone. With two Salvador Perez home runs on Wednesday, they now have 170 on the season. That breaks the Royals franchise record of 168, previously held by the 1987 team.
We've already covered Mike Moustakas tying Steve Balboni's long-standing single-season club record of 36, and that's going to fall any day now.
The Royals have also never had more than four players reach 20 home runs in a season. Moustakas, Perez (24) and Eric Hosmer (23) are already there this season, but Brandon Moss (18), Whit Merrifield (17) and Jorge Bonifacio (16) have a good shot to get the Royals all the way to six.
Circling back to the Royals being a good illustration for how this season has gone, here's a good one: They have set a franchise record for home runs, yet are tied for 17th in the majors in home runs this season.
Let that soak in. It's the most home runs in a season in the history of a franchise and they are still below average in hitting home runs this season. They trail the MLB-best Rangers by 48 home runs.
The major-league record for players with at least 20 home runs overall was last season with a whopping 111 players getting there. So far this year there are 93, and that's already fourth all-time. We can't be sure yet if that record will fall two years in a row, but we do know that right now there are 144(!) players already with at least 15. That's one off the MLB record, set in 2000.
If we drop down to 10 home run players, by the way, we find 219. That is, you guessed it, the most in MLB history. Already. The next highest is 217 (2000) and then last year's 214.
We'll be back sometime soon with more facts and figures on the year of the home run, because as the season moves toward its conclusion, we'll only see more balls leave the yard at a historic pace and we'll continue to unearth some noteworthy gems.
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