MLB home run record set to fall
New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a three-run home run during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles.
extra 149 miles of long balls at this year’s average home run length of 400 feet, or 15 miles more than the driving distance between Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park and Washington’s Nationals Park.
“The game has changed,” New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “From when I started, there’s a lot less stolen bases, there’s a lot less bunting, there’s a lot less hitting-and-running. You don’t give outs away, and you let guys swing the bat.”
Already 107 players have hit 20 homers this year, just three shy of the record set last season — and up from 64 in 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Along with soaring shots come strikeouts, which will set a record
for the 10th consecutive year. There were 36,964 whiffs through Sunday, an average of 8.25 per team per game that translates to 40,099.
“The focus is hitting homers and tolerating strikeouts,” Reggie Jackson said. “I don’t really like all the strikeouts, and I was the king.”
Baseball officials are worried about decreasing action and have been alarmed by the strikeout rise. This year’s total is up from 38,982 last year and an increase of nearly 8,000 from the 32,189 in 2007.
The strikeout spike coincides with a rise in fastball velocity; fourseamers have averaged 93.2 m.p.h. this year, up from 91.9 m.p.h. in 2008, according to MLB data.