The 2019 MLB Home Run Explosion, by Records

Everyone who follows baseball has heard, by now, about the all-time high level of home runs in 2019. With that has come, and will continue to come in September, a lot of home run records. Some of these records have interesting stories to them, so we decided to take a look at the most interesting home-run-record-setting storylines this season has had to offer.

Pete Alonso: NL Rookie Record, Mets Franchise Record

MetsAlonso also has a chance to lead the NL in home runs and a slim shot at breaking Aaron Judge’s record for most homers by a rookie (52). It’s an incredible year, and Fernando Tatis Jr of the Padres going down all but assures him the NL Rookie of the Year award. All that is impressive in itself, but Alonso has managed to accomplish something not done since before World War II. The last time a rookie set their franchise’s home run record was in 1938 when Johnny Rizzo set the Pirates franchise record with 23. That record would stand for 9 years until Ralph Kiner hit 51 in 1947. We don’t yet know how long Alonso’s record will stand, but we do know he’s pushing the Mets away from the bottom of the franchise home run record list, as the Mets and Royals (more on them later) were the only teams to never have a player hit at least 45 homers in a single season entering 2019.

Baltimore Orioles: Team Home Runs Allowed

OriolesThis team has already secured the record for most home runs allowed before the calendar has even turned to August, smashing by their own 2017 record for the AL and then the 2016 Reds for the overall record. They’re on pace to allow well over 300 homers this year when no team has even topped 260 before this year (the ’16 Reds were the only team to allow 250, giving up 258 long balls). This year’s Mariners should become the second team to ever allow 260, currently at 230, and Colorado and Philadelphia are in danger of getting the NL record (right now at 230 and 219, respectively). But no one is watching the ball fly out of the yard quite like the Orioles. We knew this team wasn’t going to be good, and the Tigers have been bad enough to likely lift Baltimore from the worst record in the league, but it hasn’t been fun to watch the O’s this year.

Minnesota Twins: Team Home Runs

TwinsAnother team likely to be both the first to ever get to 270 and boost the record to over 300, the Twins were expected to see an increase in home runs when they added guys like Nelson Cruz and CJ Cron this offseason, but last year’s team totaled 166 homers, putting them 12th in the AL in the category. Then Max Kepler exploded from about 20 homers in each of the last three years to 36 this year, Jorge Polanco has set a new career-high in bombs, Mitch Garver went from seven last year to 26 so far, and eight Twins players have hit at least 20 homers already. This year’s Yankee team is also likely to pass last year’s for what will be second on the all-time list, and the Dodgers (245 so far) should pass the 2000 Astros (249) for most by an NL team. This Twins team also currently has a slugging percentage of .502, while the 2003 Red Sox currently hold the record for team slugging in a season at .491. This year’s Yankees are at .488 as well, giving them a chance to beat the ’03 Sox as well, but the first team to ever slug .500 or better is huge, while just slightly beating the slugging record would be big, but a lose-able story in such a crazy power-hitting year.

Jorge Soler: Royals Franchise Record

RoyalsSoler is, barring injury or a horrific slump to end the year, going to not only set the Royals record for home runs in a season but also be the first Royal to ever hit at least 40 homers in one year. He’s tied Mike Moustakas’ 2017 record of 38 at the time of this writing. With Pete Alonso pushing the Mets’ record higher, it’s possible that KC will still have the fewest homers for their single-season leader, as Soler would need to get either higher than Alonso or to 46 to match the Nationals’ and Rays’ records (set by Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Peña, respectively). When Peña hit 46 for the Rays back in ’07, it marked the first time a Rays player had done it, making them the 29th (and the Royals the only one without) team with a 40-homer player. The big difference being that the Rays were 10 years old at the time, and the Royals franchise has been around for 60 years. Not too many sluggers have made their way through Kansas City.

Mike Trout: Angels Franchise Record

AngelsThere’s actually a rule that at least half of all articles written about the MLB have to mention Mike Trout now. Unfortunately, that’s a very difficult rule to enforce, but I’ll try to follow it anyway. In the first half of the season, Trout was having just another boring fantastic Mike Trout year. But in July and August, he hit 21 homers after hitting 22 in the first three months. That has him in position to pass Troy Glaus’ Angels record 47 home runs and possibly hit 50. In fact, both Los Angeles-based teams have a chance at having their first 50-home-run-player in team history, as Cody Bellinger could also do so for the Dodgers, who’s franchise record is 49 by Shawn Green in 2001. Trout and Bellinger could also sweep the MVP awards for the LA teams, which also happened back in 2014 when Trout and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers won the MVP awards.

League-Wide Monthly Home Run Records

MLBThis year, the league has set an all-time high for home runs hit in every calendar month. That includes March, though in all fairness it’s only the 13th time the MLB has ever played regular-season games in March and they played more games in March than ever before. It includes July, where 2019 was the first time a month of July (which has generally seen fewer games because of the All-Star break) has topped 1,000 home runs league-wide, and 3 times in the last 4 months has broken the record for most home runs in any calendar month in MLB history, with the record currently being 1228 in August of 2019. 2019 has also seen 5 consecutive 1,000-homer months after not recording a single such month in all of 2018, having four such months in 2017 and only having four (two of which came in 2016) in all of major league history before then. There’s a reason for that, as it’s harder for the league as a whole to hit that many home runs before there were 30 teams (which happened in 1998), but home runs per game are also at an all-time high for the league

League-Wide Overall Home Run Record

MLBThis record was set just two years ago when there were 6105 home runs hit in the MLB. That record will be shattered this year, as the league in total has hit 5786 with every team still having between 22 and 26 games left to play. Another 1,000 homer month would see the league break the record by over 600 home runs, or producing about 110% of the old record. For a league record, that’s a massive jump. It’s been said that this home run surge has been the democratization or communization of home runs, as it’s not like the late ’90s, early 2000s surge that saw individuals going for 60+ homers in a year, but it seems every player is capable of going yard in any given at-bat. For example, 2019 is already in the top ten for most players with at least 30 home runs hit. It’s already seen the sixth-most players hit at least 20 home runs all-time, and it’s likely to end up setting both of those records (the top two seasons for 20-home-run-hitters are 2017 and 2016 right now).

Stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Major League Baseball.

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