MLB Single Season Home Run Record Broken on Tuesday
On Tuesday night the MLB’s single season home run record was broken. After nearly two decades of home run totals that couldn’t match 2000’s steroid era number of 5,693, the league went into Tuesday just 17 homers shy of tying the record and 18 shy of history.
One home run was hit. Then two. Then three. And so on. Then, a couple hours into the evening, Alex Presley tied the single season record. The writing was on the wall at the point. The record would be broken any minute.
And then, just like that, an Alex Gordon solo shot in the 8th inning for the Royals turned speculation into reality. Ever since the season began back in April, it was clear that this was going to be a baseball season unlike many that came before it. Players were slugging at an all-time high rate and sending balls into the stands like never before. Skeptics have continuously clamored that the balls are juiced, that pitching has gotten worse, and that the league is just lucky because of rookie sluggers like Cody Bellinger and a phenomenal season from Giancarlo Stanton.
Forget the haters and skeptics, though. Nothing can take away from one of the most exciting seasons in MLB history from a hitting standpoint. To put things into perspective, 2016 saw a total of 5,610 homers. That’s about 2.31 per game. As of this writing, with more than a week left in the regular season, there have been 5,694 homers. That’s over 2.5 per game. In fact, if you go back even further to 2014, one of the low points in home runs in recent years, there were just 4,186 total. 2017 has seen more than a 48% increase in those three years.
Why is that? Sure, you could speculate that the balls are juiced or that pitching quality has diminished. However, there’s really no concrete evidence to back either of those arguments up. The only sure-fire explanation, currently, is that there are more ball players swinging away as well as less batters bunting. There are more hard-hitting position players like rookie Cody Bellinger and right-fielder J.D. Martinez, more phenomenal designated hitters like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, and, well, 103 other players that have gone yard 20-plus times this season.
In case you were wondering how this season has stacked up to be so much better in terms of homers than years past, let’s go down the list of your top 10 leaders in the statistic:
Giancarlo Stanton – 55
Aaron Judge – 44
J.D. Martinez – 40
Khris Davis – 39
Justin Smoak – 38
Joey Gallo – 38
Cody Bellinger – 38
Logan Morrison – 36
Edwin Encarnacion – 36
Mike Moustakas – 36
You have to go down to number 109 on the MLB home run leaders list before you get to a player (Andrew Benintendi) who has less than 20 homers thus far. Whichever way you want to spin it, the MLB is enjoying its best-ever season from a home run perspective and that’s something that we, as baseball fans, should celebrate, not condemn.