It’s Going, it’s Going, and it’s Gone…. 5707 times

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
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If there were, in baseball betting, an over/under for the number of home runs hit in a single season, the total would have gone, like, so over on Tuesday. Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon belted out the all-time, record-breaking, 5,694th home run, one better than the 2000 season. At the end of the day, when it was all said and done, when the smoke had settled and the dust had cleared, the season total had reached 5,707 homers – that is, 97 more than the entirety of last season. And by the end of this season, the number is projected to be 6139.

There has been, according to ESPN Stats & Info, a home run once every 27 plate appearances this year, which is the lowest in a season in the history of the league. Seven clubs have, meanwhile, established a new franchise record or are on their way to do so; namely, Royals, Nationals, Mets, Padres, Rays, Dodgers and Reds. But even a couple of years ago, it wasn’t like that at all; there were just 4186 home runs in 2014, which is the fewest in a non-strike season since 1993 when there were 28 instead of the current 30 teams. It was more A League of Their Own than the Major Leagues if you catch our drift.

But then, out of the deep blue sea, home run production started to pick up in the second half of the 2015 season, for which, according to ESPN Senior Writer David Schoenfield, “The most plausible explanation is a change in the ball.” Really? Not steroids? Schoenfield says that The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh and sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman discovered that balls had become smaller. See? So it was steroids, after all. Oh, they meant baseballs. So, additionally, seams got lower, and there was also a “significant decrease in the air resistance, or drag, of the ball, which has led to an increase in flyball distance and, therefore, more home runs.” However, the league has denied any ball alterations.

While 16 players had 40 or more homers in 2000, compared to only three this year, the 2017 season has established records for a number of players with a minimum of 10 and 15 homers, and the way looks, a brand new record for players with 20 home runs is looming on the horizon. There were 57 players with 20 or more home runs in 2014; following Tuesday’s games, 110 players have 20 or more. Another record which could be broken, by Aaron Judge, is Mark ‘Eve of Destruction’ McGwire’s rookie record of 1987. Judge Dredd is five homers shy of Big Mac’s 49. All told, rookies, including Cody Bellinger, who has 38, have accounted for 711 home runs, the most rookies have ever hit and almost double the rookie output of 2000. Finally, Giancarlo Stanton has a chance of becoming the first player to reach 60 homers since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa did so in 2001 – he has already joined Bonds as the only two to register 30 bombs in less than 50 contests.

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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