Major League Baseball’s remarkable home run surge has led to countless records being broken this season.
Now the biggest one has fallen.
When Jonathan Villar of the Baltimore Orioles launched a three-run home run during Wednesday’s 7-3 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was No. 6,106 hit across MLB this season.
That breaks the previous record of 6,105 hit in 2017.
The league-wide home run record falling became an inevitability as the record-setting pace was actually increasing as the season moved along.
That the record was broken on Sept. 11, with 18 days still remaining in the season, speaks to how outrageous the pace has been.
Every month has featured at least 1,000 home runs, with July’s 1,057 being the lowest total due to the All-Star break. The Home Run Derby made up for it though, featuring a record 312 home runs in a span of three hours.
Forty players have already topped the 30-homer mark this season. That number figures to grow significantly with another 30 hitters sitting between 25 and 29.
Other notable home run records
• On Sept. 1, the Minnesota Twins broke MLB’s team home run record when they hit their 267th home run of the season. Since then, the New York Yankees have caught them and even temporarily passed them. Both entered play on Wednesday with 276 team homers, meaning they’ll be battling for the record until the final day.
• The Los Angeles Dodgers now own the National League’s single-season home run record. Both the Dodgers and Houston Astros are on pace to break the previous MLB record of 266 set by the Yankees last season.
• Reds rookie Aristides Aquino took over for Yasiel Puig after the trade deadline and went on to set several individual home run records in his first month. The most notable being that he’s the only player in MLB history to hit 13 home runs within his first 100 plate appearances.
Why are so many home run records falling?
The focus throughout the season has been on the baseballs. The term "juiced" is the most popular used to describe these baseballs, which have left the park faster and farther than ever before.
It's clear something is different. Even commissioner Rob Manfred has had to admit that much. And whatever difference or differences there are seem to be a major contributing factor to every home run record that has or will fall this season.
With that in mind, hitters have also been more focused on hitting home runs than ever before. The increased reliance on launch angle as a means to increase power and home run probability has become more prevalent. Combine that with rebuilding teams like the Orioles, who have allowed the most home runs in a single season thanks largely to an ill-equipped pitching staff, there might be a perfect storm that’s led to such a pronounced home run increase.
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