The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins are currently in a historic race for most home runs as a team, in a single season. Near the end of August, the Twins broke the Yankees’ record for most home runs by a team in a single season. The Yankees’ bats have not slowed down, with all of these injuries, and have roared back to take the lead near the end of the season.
The current stats of team home runs has the New York Yankees at 305, and the Twins at 303 (MLB.com). The Yankees easily won the race and broke the record last season with 267 home runs as a team (MLB.com). A large part of that total is the top three leaders for the team, Torres (38), Sanchez (34), and Gardner (28) (MLB.com). Out of everyone in the lineup that can mash baseballs, who would have thought Brett Gardner would be a top-three home run hitter on the team this year?
What could be the explanation for this power surge?
Aaron Judge was asked in an interview whether the Yankees could break their own record at the beginning of the season and responded, “We are going to crush that number.”
Clearly, Judge was right, but no one expected this power surge from the Twins. The Twins have made this race unprecedented, with now being the first time a team has reached 300 home runs in a single season.
The possibility of “juiced baseballs” could explain why so many home runs have been hit this year. That can be a misconception of the fact that pitcher’s overall fastball velocity has increased over the last decade. Also, that idea would not explain why strikeouts have increased over the last decade as well. Spin rates are now a big part of grading and analyzing pitchers’ stuff at the big league level. There are many other variables that lead to these statements, but the game has just changed in a positive way for both the offensive and defensive facets of baseball.