It’s generally accepted that something fishy was going on with the baseball in 2019 that led to a spike of home runs. Matt Snyder of CBS Sports laid out some of the records that had been broken at season’s end. There were 6,776 homers hit across the league, shattering the previous high of 6,105 from 2017. That figure was 5,944 in 2021 and 5,215 last year, indicating it wasn’t just modern hitters getting really good at launch angle or anything like that. Fifteen of the 30 clubs in the league set franchise records, led by the 307 hit by the Twins and their “Bomba Squad.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred admitted in September of that year that something needed to be done about the baseball. An MLB study found the spike was caused by smaller seams leading to less drag, though that only accounted for about 35% of the decreased drag with the remaining 65% unaccounted for. The league has been pretty guarded about its manufacturing process, forcing others to try to piece together the cause from the outside, such as astrophysicist Dr. Meredith Wills (links from The Athletic).
Regardless of the cause, the spike happened and impacted the statistics of that season, which could have impacted trades, extensions and free agent contracts. It was well known the spike was happening, but how easy was it to determine which players were having real breakouts and which were mirages? Now that we are a few years removed from the anomalous season, let’s take a look back at the shocking 58 players who hit 30 or more homers and see how those seasons stand out with a bit of hindsight.
Pete Alonso – 53 home runs in 2019
Alonso’s 53 home runs broke the rookie record, which Aaron Judge had just recently set with 52 in 2017. He hasn’t been able to get back to that level since but hasn’t been far off. He hit 16 in 2020 then 37 and 40 in the next two years. He’s already at 16 this year through just 45 games. He’s slated for free agency after 2024.
Eugenio Suárez – 49
Suárez shattered his previous single-season high of 34, set the previous year. He would go on to struggle in the next two years but still show tremendous power, hitting 15 home runs in 2020 and then 31 in 2021 while his batting average hovered around .200. The Reds decided to move on from his contract, which was signed prior to 2018 and still ran through 2024 with an option for 2025. He and Jesse Winker were traded to the Mariners in what was seen by some as a salary dump move. However, Suárez bounced back last year with 31 more home runs and a much more palatable .236 batting average. He has just four through 43 games so far this year.
Jorge Soler – 48
Soler had only been a part-time player prior to 2019 but burst onto the scene in a huge way with these 48 long balls. He’s since demonstrated that was a high point in a very hot-and-cold career to this point. He disappointed with just eight homers in 2020 and had just 13 at the end of July 2021 when he was flipped to Atlanta. He then caught fire by hitting 14 more down the stretch and three more in the World Series, winning series MVP as Atlanta took the trophy. He parlayed that into a three-year, $36MM deal with the Marlins but hit just 13 last year while battling injuries. He’s now on fire again in 2023 with 11 dingers through just 42 games.
Cody Bellinger – 47
Bellinger hit 39 home runs in 2017 and then 25 more in 2018, so getting to 47 in 2019 was a new high but didn’t come out of nowhere. He combined those homers with 15 stolen bases and excellent defense to win Most Valuable Player of the National League. His production dipped a bit in 2020 and he hasn’t seemed the same since injuring his shoulder during the 2020 postseason. He struggled badly in 2021 and 2022, getting non-tendered by the Dodgers and signing with the Cubs this year for $17.5MM. He’s off to a good start this year, striking out way less than the past few years, but isn’t quite at his MVP pace. He has seven long balls in 37 games so far.
Mike Trout – 45
Trout had already been considered the best player in baseball for roughly half a decade before 2019, having hit between 27 and 41 home runs in each of the previous seven seasons. His 45 homers in 2019 are a career high, but just barely, as he reached 40 two other times. His second extension with the Angels, which runs through 2030, was signed in March of 2019.
Christian Yelich – 44
Yelich had long been an excellent bat-to-ball hitter but started to add power to his game prior to 2019. He hit just nine homers in 2014, seven in 2015, but then spiked to 21, 18 and 36 in the next three years, winning NL MVP in the last of those. In 2019, he jumped up to 44, then signed a nine-year, $188.5MM extension with the Brewers going into 2020. He added another 12 long balls in the shortened 2020 season but then hit just nine and 14 in the next two full seasons. He has seven so far in 2023.
Alex Bregman – 41
Bregman’s power seemed to be naturally ticking up as he matured, as he hit 19 home runs in 2017 as a 23-year-old, followed by 31 and 41 in the next two years. He would be hampered by injuries in the next two years, hitting six homers in 42 games in 2020 and then 12 in 91 games the year after. He was healthy enough to play 155 games last year and hit just 23 over the fence, though with excellent offense otherwise, walking more than he struck out. His extension that runs through 2024 was signed prior to the 2019 campaign.
Nolan Arenado – 41
Arenado’s 41 homers in 2019 aren’t even a career high, as he hit 42 in 2015 and also hit 41 in 2016. His extension with the Rockies was signed prior to the 2019 campaign. He was traded from the Rockies and Coors Field to the Cardinals and Busch Stadium prior to 2021 but still hit 30 or more homers in each of the past two years. He’s tallied another nine so far in 2023.
Ronald Acuña Jr. – 41
Acuña hasn’t been able to get back to this level of power, but due to circumstances beyond his control. He hit 14 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, then was already up to 24 homers in July of 2021 when he tore his ACL. He came back last year and played 119 games but didn’t seem to be fully healthy and hit just 15 homers. Now seemingly back to 100%, he already has 11 homers this year through 43 games. His extension that runs through 2028 via club options was signed in April of 2019.
Nelson Cruz – 41
Cruz had long been a feature of home run leaderboards prior to 2019, getting to 22 or more in each season since 2009 and finishing at 37 or higher in the five previous seasons. His career high is the 44 he hit in 2015. The Twins picked up their $12MM option for 2020 and saw Cruz hit hit 16 more in the shortened 2020 season. He was re-signed for 2021 at a rate of $13MM, hitting 32 home runs on the year, which included a midseason trade to the Rays. He only hit 10 last year, though that was his age-41 season.
George Springer – 39
Springer’s 39 home runs are a career high, but just barely. He hit 29 in 2016, 34 in 2017 and 22 in 2018. He followed up his 39-home spike in 2019 with 14 more in the shortened 2020 season. The Blue Jays signed him to a six-year, $150MM deal going into 2021. He hit 22 and 25 home runs in the first two years of that contract despite being limited by injuries to just 78 and 133 games, respectively.
Freddie Freeman – 38
Freeman has long been a very balanced hitter, combining some power with strong batting averages, on-base percentages and low strikeout rates. He’s reached double digits in home runs in each season going back to 2011, but 2019 was a slight peak for him. His 38 homers this year are his career high, one of three times he’s gone over 30. He signed an early-career extension with Atlanta that ran through 2021 and then signed a six-year, $162MM deal with the Dodgers as a free agent prior to 2022.
Gleyber Torres – 38
Torres burst onto the scene with 24 home runs in just 123 games in 2018 and then got that number up to 38 in 2019. Injuries seemed to hold him back in the next two seasons, as he went on the injured list in each while being limited to just three and nine home runs in those campaigns. He got back on track last year with 24 and has six so far in 2023. He’s in his third of four arbitration seasons as a Super Two player and is slated for free agency after 2024.
Kyle Schwarber – 38
Schwarber hit 30 homers in 2017 and 26 in 2018 before spiking to 38 in 2019. He then struggled in 2020, hitting .188 despite adding another 11 home runs. He was non-tendered by the Cubs and signed with the Nationals for one year and $10MM, hitting 32 home runs between them and the Red Sox after a midseason trade. He signed a four-year, $79MM deal with the Phillies going into 2022 and launched 46 over the fence last year. He has a tiny .175 batting average this year but has already added another 10 homers.
Josh Donaldson – 37
Donaldson already had a long run as a potent hitter, with 24 or more homers in each year from 2013 to 2017. That included the 41 he hit in his 2015 MVP season, which he followed up with 37 and 33 in the next two years. He was injured for much of 2018, hitting eight home runs in 52 games before reaching free agency. He settled for a one-year, $23MM “prove it” deal with Atlanta and bounced back with a 37-homer campaign. That led to a four-year, $92MM contract with the Twins going into 2020. He only played 28 games in the shortened season but still launched six over the fence. He then hit 26 more in 2021 before getting flipped to the Yankees prior to 2022. He hit just 15 for the Bombers last year and has only played five games so far this year due to injury.
Josh Bell – 37
Bell has long been a tantalizing hitter but has often been undone by too many ground balls. His grounder rate has been at 50% or higher in each season of his career except for his 48.5% clip in 2018 and a well-timed drop to 44% in 2019. He’s since gone back above 50% in each season since and is actually above 60% so far in 2023. His 37 long balls in 2019 were easily a career high, eclipsing his previous best of 26 in 2017. He then had a dismal 2020 and was flipped from the Pirates to the Nationals, bouncing back with 27 that year. He had 14 at the deadline in 2022 when he was flipped to the Padres but added just three more after the deal. He signed a two-year, $33MM deal with the Guardians coming into 2023, with an opt-out after the first year, but is pounding the ball into the ground again and has just three homers on the season.
Franmil Reyes – 37
Reyes first showed off his power by hitting 16 homers in just 87 games in 2018, then took it to new heights with 37 in 2019, getting traded from San Diego to Cleveland in the latter season. He continued serving as a middle-of-the-order threat for the next couple of years, hitting nine more homers in 2020 and then 30 in 2021. However, he crash landed last year, striking out in almost a third of his plate appearances, getting put on waivers and claimed by the Cubs. He finished the year with 14 homers between the two clubs and was non-tendered in the offseason. He signed a minor league deal with the Royals for this year and made their Opening Day roster but was eventually designated for assignment and landed with the Nats on his second minor league deal of the year.
Matt Chapman – 36
Chapman broke into the majors in 2017 with 14 homers in just 84 games then followed that up with 24 in 2018 and 36 in 2019. He had 10 more in 2020 after just 37 games before requiring hip surgery. He returned in 2021 with an elevated strikeout rate but still launched 27 homers. He was traded to the Blue Jays prior to 2022, added 27 more last year and has five in 2023. He’s slated for free agency this offseason.
Matt Olson – 36
Olson incredibly launched 24 home runs in just 59 games in 2017. He wasn’t able to maintain that ridiculous pace but has settled in a fairly consistent level. He hit 29 in 2018, 36 in 2019, 14 in the shortened 2020 season and then 39 in 2021. He was traded to Atlanta prior to 2022 and quickly signed an eight-year, $168MM extension. He went on to hit 34 homers in his first season with his new club and has 11 more already in 2023.
Max Kepler – 36
Kepler had a few years of solid defense and roughly league average offense earlier in his career, which included hitting between 17 and 20 home runs in three straight seasons from 2016 to 2018. The Twins showed their faith in him by giving him a five-year, $35MM extension going into 2019 and he rewarded that with a 36-homer surge. He hasn’t been able to maintain that in the seasons since, hitting nine in 2020, 19 in 2021 and just nine last year, though he has six so far this season.
J.D. Martinez – 36
These 36 homers from Martinez were actually a dip for him, as he hit 45 in 2017 and 43 in 2018. He could have opted out of the three years remaining on his contract but decided to stay in Boston, eventually struggling in 2020 and forgoing a second opt-out opportunity. He bounced back with a strong 2021 that included 28 home runs before declining to opt out for a third straight year. He then hit 16 homers in 2022 before becoming a free agent and signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers, for whom he has five long balls so far this year.
Joc Pederson – 36
Pederson has been fairly steady in the power department, with the 2019 season seeing him push a bit above his norms. He hit 26 homers in 2015 and 25 in 2016 before dipping to 11 in 102 games of an injury-marred 2017 season. He then bounced back to 25 in 2018 before the jump to 36 in 2019. He had an ill-timed slump in 2020 just as he was about to become a free agent. He signed a one-year deal with the Cubs and was traded to Atlanta, hitting 18 homers between those two clubs. He signed with the Giants last year and parlayed a 23-homer season into receiving and accepting the qualifying offer to stick in San Francisco for another year, adding five more homers so far.
Trevor Story – 35
Story’s power output for the Rockies was fairly steady. He debuted with 27 in just 97 games in 2016, had a slight dip to 24 in 2017 and then bumped that up to 37 in 2018. That means it was actually a small drop when he hit 35 in 2019. He then added 11 more in 2020 and 24 in 2021 before becoming a free agent and signing a six-year, $140MM deal with the Red Sox. He made multiple trips to the IL in his first season away from Coors, hitting 16 homers in 94 games. He required elbow surgery this past offseason and has yet to play in 2023.
Max Muncy – 35
Muncy’s 35 long balls were an exact match for what he hit in his 2018 breakout. The Dodgers then gave him a three-year, $26MM extension going into 2020. He added 12 more in that shortened season and then got to 36 in 2021. He battled injuries in 2022 while hitting just 21 homers but the Dodgers had enough faith in him to pick up his 2023 option and tack on another club option for 2024. He seems to be healthy and back on track this year, already tallying 15 dingers to this point.
Bryce Harper – 35
Harper debuted in 2012 as a 19-year-old and hit at roughly a 20-homer pace for his first few seasons before breaking out with 42 in 2015. He dipped to 24 in 2016 but has been a pretty steady mid-30s guy since then. He hit 29 in just 111 games in 2017, then hit 34 and 35 the next two years. His 13-year, $330MM deal with the Phillies was signed prior to that 2019 campaign. He launched 13 in the shortened 2020 season then 35 the year after and another 18 last year despite playing in just 99 games.
Trey Mancini – 35
Mancini hit 24 home runs in each of the two previous seasons before jumping to 35 in 2019. He then missed the entire 2020 season while undergoing treatment for colon cancer, returning to hit 21 and 18 home runs in the next two seasons, getting flipped to the Astros in the latter campaign. He signed a two-year, $14MM deal with the Cubs going into 2023. The contract allows him to opt out after the first year, but he’s out to a tepid start to the season with three homers thus far.
Eduardo Escobar – 35
Escobar wasn’t a huge power hitter earlier in his career but started showing promising signs by hitting 21 in 2017 and 23 the year after. He jumped to 35 in 2019 but had a nightmare season in 2020 that included just four long balls. He bounced back with 28 in 2021 between the Diamondbacks and Brewers, then hit the open market and signed with the Mets for $20MM over two years plus a club option. He hit 20 more dingers with the Mets last year but is scuffling a bit this year, including just four homers so far.
Mike Moustakas – 35
Moustakas hit 38 home runs in 2017 just as he was about to hit free agency. He turned down a $17.4MM qualifying offer but never found the significant free agent deal that many expected he would find, and he ultimately returned to the Royals for just one year and $6.5MM. He then hit another 28 homers in 2018, a season that included a midseason trade to the Brewers. He re-signed with Milwaukee for one year and $10MM, then hit another 35 long balls. He finally landed the long-term deal he was looking for, signing with the Reds for four years and $64MM. He was fine in 2020, hitting eight home runs as part of a solid showing in the shortened season, but he has been injured and ineffective since. He only played 140 total games over 2021 and 2022 with only 13 homers in that time and was released this winter. He’s now with the Rockies but is hitting at a subpar level so far, including just a pair of home runs.
Anthony Rendon – 34
Rendon hit between 20 and 25 homers in the three previous seasons, but his 34 in 2019 was a significant jump. He added another three in the postseason as the Nats won the World Series, and he then hit free agency, signing with the Angels for $245MM over seven years. Rendon hit nine homers in the shortened 2020 season but has largely been injured since then. He got into just 58 and 47 games in the next two seasons and is now currently on the injured list after 30 contests so far this year. Those three seasons have resulted in 12 home runs in a combined 135 games.
Juan Soto – 34
Soto debuted in 2018 at the age of 19 and hit 22 home runs in just 116 games. He followed that up with 34 in 2019, then hit 13 in just 47 games in 2020. He followed that up with 29 in 2021 and 27 the year after, the latter season including his trade to the Padres, and is at seven homers so far this year. His 2019 is still his high water mark, though his 2020 pace was actually stronger and he’s been just a shade lower in the subsequent seasons.
Carlos Santana – 34
Santana has been pretty consistent as a hitter in his career. He has 11 seasons with 18 or more homers, with his age-33 season of 2019 being one of the two times he got to 34. He struggled in 2020 and had his club option declined by Cleveland. The Royals then signed him to a two-year, $17.5MM deal beginning in 2021, wherein he hit 19 homers but struggled overall. He was a bit better in 2022 as he hit another 19 home runs, most of which came after a trade to Seattle. He signed a one-year, $6.725MM deal with the Pirates for 2023 and has added a couple more long balls so far.
Paul Goldschmidt – 34
Going into 2019, the Cardinals acquired Goldschmidt and then gave him a contract extension that runs through 2024. He already had four 30-plus homer seasons under his belt with a career high of 36. The 2019 campaign was his fifth such season, and he’s since added two more.
Miguel Sanó – 34
Sanó has plenty of power but has always struggled to stay healthy. His 34 homers in 2019 are a career high but he’s hit 28 or more on three other occasions, even though he’s never been able to stay healthy enough to play more than 135 games. He only got into 20 contests last year due to knee injuries, after which the Twins declined their club option over him. He has yet to sign elsewhere.
Edwin Encarnación – 34
2019 was the eighth season in a row that Encarnación hit 32 or more home runs, getting to 42 in two of them. Nonetheless, the Yankees declined a $20MM option for his age-37 season, going for the $5MM buyout instead. He signed a one-year, $12MM deal with the White Sox for 2020, hitting another 10 home runs in that shortened season but with a .157 batting average. He expressed interest in continuing his career but didn’t sign anywhere for 2021.
Gary Sánchez – 34
Sánchez exploded onto the scene with 20 home runs in just 53 games in 2016. He then hit 33 the next year and 18 more in just 89 games in 2018. Getting to 34 in 2019 clearly didn’t come out of nowhere, but his bat has fallen off since. He hit 10 more in the shortened 2020 season but with a .147 batting average, then hit 23 and 16 home runs the next two seasons as his average hovered around .200. He was traded to the Twins prior to that 2022 campaign and became a free agent, ultimately settling for minor league deals with the Giants and Mets. The latter club will be calling him up to the majors today.
Marcus Semien – 33
Semien’s previous single-season record for home runs was 27, which was in 2016, before he spiked to 33 in 2019. He then slumped in 2020 and had to settle for a one-year, $18MM deal with the Blue Jays in 2021. They moved him from shortstop to second base and saw him launch an incredible 45 homers that year, which he parlayed into a seven-year, $175MM deal with the Rangers. He hit 26 with Texas last year and has seven so far in 2023.
Xander Bogaerts – 33
Bogaerts is more of a “pure hitter” given his .291 career batting average, low strikeouts and modest power. He’s reached double-digit home runs in eight seasons, but his 33 in 2019 are easily a career high, as he’s never topped 23 otherwise. He hit 11 in the shortened 2020 season and then 23 and 15 in the two seasons after. He had signed a six-year extension with the Red Sox going into 2019, but one that afforded him the ability to opt out after 2022. He triggered that opt-out and ultimately signed an 11-year, $280MM deal with the Padres. He’s hit six homers so far in his first season in San Diego.
Austin Meadows – 33
Meadows debuted with the Pirates in 2018 and then came to the Rays that year as part of the now-infamous Chris Archer deal that also brought Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz to Tampa Bay. Meadows established himself with those 33 homers in 2019 but struggled in 2020, being limited by injuries to just 36 games and four homers. He bounced back with 27 long balls in 2021 and was traded to the Tigers not long before the 2022 season began. Unfortunately, injuries and anxiety have limited him to just 42 games since then, without him hitting a home run for his new team to this point.
Michael Conforto – 33
Conforto had a fairly consistent run for a few years, hitting 27 home runs in 2017, 28 in 2018, a small spike to 33 in 2019 and then nine in the shortened 2020 season. He then had an ill-timed power outage in 2021, hitting just 14 on the year. He nonetheless turned down a qualifying offer from the Mets and went into free agency looking for a multi-year deal but hurt his shoulder in the offseason and required surgery. He didn’t sign anywhere and missed the whole season. Conforto signed a two-year, $36MM deal with the Giants coming into this year, one that allows him to opt out after the first season as long as he reaches 350 plate appearances. He’s up to eight home runs so far through 39 games.
Kole Calhoun – 33
Calhoun hit 17 homers in 2014 then jumped to 26 the next year, before settling in at 18 to 19 home runs each year from 2016-18. His total of 33 in 2019 nearly doubled his typical output. He reached free agency after that season and signed with the Diamondbacks for two years and $16MM. Calhoun launched an incredible 16 home runs in the shortened 2020 season but then spent much of 2021 on the injured list, getting into just 51 games with five homers. He signed a one-year, $5.2MM deal with the Rangers for 2022, hitting 12 home runs but striking out in 32.1% of his plate appearances. He’s currently with the Yankees’ Triple-A team on a minor league deal.
Hunter Renfroe – 33
Renfroe hit 26 homers in each of the two previous seasons before jumping to 33 in 2019. He was then traded to the Rays and had a dismal showing in the shortened 2020 season, with eight homers but a batting average of just .156. He was non-tendered and signed with the Red Sox, bouncing back in 2021 with 31 long balls. He was traded to the Brewers and hit 29 more last year, before getting traded yet again. With the Angels this year, he already has 10 on the season.
José Abreu – 33
Hitting 30 home runs in a season was nothing new for Abreu, as 2019 was the fourth time he had done it. He then signed a three-year, $50MM deal to stick with the White Sox. He managed to hit 19 in the shortened 2020 season and then added another 30 in 2021. His power seemed to finally taper off a bit last year as he hit just 15 but still slashed a healthy .304/.378/.446. He signed a three-year, $58.5MM deal with the Astros coming into this year but is off to a rough start, hitting .220/.269/.262 through 42 games with no homers.
Rafael Devers – 32
Devers was still young and on the rise in 2019. He had debuted in 2017 at the age of 20, hitting 10 homers in just 58 games. He then got to 21 in 2018 and 32 in 2019 before adding 11 in the shortened 2020 season, followed by 38 and 27 in the next two years. This past winter, he signed an extension that will keep in Boston through 2033 and net him $313.5MM.
Ketel Marte – 32
Marte had been established as a solid bat-to-ball hitter but with modest power. He signed a five-year, $24MM extension with the Diamondbacks going into 2018 and then hit 14 home runs that year, the first time he reached double digits. Getting to 32 in 2019 meant he more than doubled his previous high. He was then hobbled by injuries in the next couple of seasons, hitting just a pair of home runs in 2020 and then 14 long balls in 90 games in 2021. He signed a second extension with the D-backs, this one for $76MM over five years. Marte hit 12 more long balls in 2022 and has five so far this year.
Francisco Lindor – 32
This was actually a bit of a dip for Lindor, as he had hit 33 homers in 2017 and 38 more in 2018. He added eight in the shortened 2020 season before getting traded to the Mets and signing a ten-year, $341MM extension. Lindor hit 20 and 26 home runs in the first two years of that new deal and has six so far this year.
Manny Machado – 32
2019 was the fifth season in a row that Machado reached the 30-homer plateau, having twice climbed as high as 37. It was his first season in San Diego after signing a ten-year, $300MM deal with the Padres. He’d go on to hit 16 in the shortened 2020 season, then 28 and 32 in the next two full seasons. Back in February, he and the Padres agreed on a new contract that will run through 2033, paying him $350MM over that stretch.
Charlie Blackmon – 32
Blackmon hit 29 homers in 2016 and added 37 more the year after, then signed a five-year, $94MM extension going into 2018. He added 29 more homers that year before getting to 32 in 2019. Getting to the 30-homer range was nothing new at that time, but he’s tapered off as he’s aged. He hit six in the shortened 2020 season, followed by 13 and 16 in the next two seasons. Now 36 years old (37 in July), he’s added three more so far this year.
Eddie Rosario – 32
Rosario’s 2019 came as part of a run of consistency, but he’s been less steady since. He hit 27 and 24 home runs in the two preceding seasons before peaking at 32 in 2019. He added 13 more in the shortened 2020 season but struggled out of the gate the year after. He had just seven at the trade deadline in 2021 when he was flipped to Atlanta, then caught fire and hit seven more down the stretch. He’d tally three more in the playoffs as Atlanta took the trophy that year. He re-signed on a two-year, $18MM deal but has struggled, only playing 116 games since that deal was signed with nine homers in that time.
Kris Bryant – 31
Bryant hit 39 homers in 2016 and had been above 25 in two other campaigns, so there was nothing unexpected about his 31 homers in 2019. He had an injury-marred 2020 season before bouncing back with 25 homers in 2021, a year that saw him traded to the Giants. He then reached the open market and signed a seven-year, $182MM deal with the Rockies. Injuries have prevented him from doing much in Colorado so far, as he’s played just 82 games since signing that contract, hitting 10 home runs in that time.
Jose Altuve – 31
2019 was Altuve’s fifth straight season with his home run tally in double digits, but his previous high was 24. He slumped badly in 2020 but then bounced back with 31 more in 2021 and then added 28 last year. He has twice signed extensions with the Astros, the second of which came prior to 2018. He’s missed all of 2023 so far after breaking his thumb during the World Baseball Classic but will return from the injured list tonight.
Mitch Garver – 31
Garver had hit seven home runs in 103 games in 2018 but then rocketed all the way up to 31 in 2019, amazingly doing so in just 93 games. He’s been injured for much of the time since but has still shown power when healthy enough to play. He hit 13 homers in just 68 games in 2021, then 10 in just 54 games last year, getting traded to the Rangers in between those two seasons. He’s only been able to play six games for Texas so far here in 2023 due to a left knee sprain.
Yuli Gurriel – 31
Gurriel has long been an excellent bat-to-ball hitter, rarely walking or striking out but frequently running up strong batting averages. His previous best in the home run column was 18 in 2017, but he almost doubled that with 31 in 2019. He struggled badly in 2020, but the Astros nonetheless signed him to a one-year extension. He bounced back by hitting .319 in 2021 with 15 home runs, leading the club to pick up a club option for 2022. That turned out to be another down year, and Gurriel settled for a minor league deal with the Marlins this winter. He made the club but is hitting .242 with just three home runs so far.
Eloy Jiménez – 31
The White Sox showed tremendous faith in Jiménez by signing him to a six-year, $43MM extension in March of 2019, before he had even made his major league debut. He rewarded that faith by hitting 31 home runs in 2019 and added another 14 in the shortened 2020 season. Since then, however, injuries have prevented him from running up huge counting stats. He’s played just 164 games since the start of 2021, making frequent trips to the IL, but has hit 30 home runs when healthy enough to play.
Randal Grichuk – 31
Grichuk had already hit over 20 home runs three times coming into 2019 when he and the Blue Jays agreed to a five-year, $52MM extension. He got up to 31 in 2019, added 12 in the shortened 2020 season and 22 more the year after. Despite the power, his low walk and high strikeout rates took some of the value away from those homers. He was flipped to the Rockies going into 2022 and hit 19 homers last year. He began this year on the injured list and has only played 13 games so far.
Renato Núñez – 31
Núñez had played just 90 games over the previous three seasons in a part-time role, hitting nine home runs in that time. He then blasted 31 homers for the Orioles in 2019 and 12 more in 2020. However, he also struck out at a high rate, didn’t walk much and received poor defensive grades, making his production fairly one-dimensional. He was released prior to 2021 and had to settle for a minor league deal with the Tigers. He only got into 14 big league games with them that year then went to Japan last year and is playing in the Mexican League this year.
Paul DeJong – 30
DeJong debuted with 25 home runs in just 108 games in 2017 and then signed a six-year, $26MM extension with the Cardinals. He added 19 more in 2018 then 30 in 2019, but he’s struggled badly after that. DeJong hit just three home in 2020 while striking out at a 28.7% clip, then hit 19 homers in 2021 but with a .197 batting average. Things got even worse last year, as he hit .157/.245/.286 on the season, getting optioned to the minors for most of the summer. He seems to be back on track this year, having already hit six home runs in just 20 games while batting .282/.346/.577.
Daniel Vogelbach – 30
Vogelbach had just 146 career plate appearances before he exploded onto the scene with 30 home runs for the Mariners in 2019. He struggled in 2020, bouncing to the Blue Jays and Brewers and managing six home runs in 39 games. He hit just nine in 93 games for the Brewers in 2021 and was non-tendered after the season. Vogelbach had a bit of a bounceback in 2022, signing with the Pirates and getting traded to the Mets, hitting 18 more homers that year. The Mets exercised a club option for 2023. Vogelbach has just two home runs but is walking at an incredible 17.8% rate.
Rougned Odor – 30
Odor hit 33 home runs in 2016, prompting the Rangers to give him a six-year, $49.5MM extension. He hit 30 more in 2017 and dipped to 18 in 2018 before climbing back up to 30 in 2019. However, all of those home runs generally came with low on-base percentages. He hit 10 more in 2020 but batted .167 and walked at just a 4.7% rate. He was traded to the Yankees going into 2021 and hit 15 more homers but with a .202 batting average and 7.5% walk rate. He was released by the Yanks and signed by the Orioles last year, hitting another 13 homers but again without hitting for average or drawing walks. He signed a minor league deal with the Padres this year and has been selected to the roster to serve in a part-time role.
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