— and by many others at various points throughout these last few seasons — home runs are exploding right now. It’s to the point that it’s getting more than simply side-eyed looks from those who watch the game. There’s consternation. There’s worry that this “is no longer baseball.”
Part of this is probably fair. I’m not there yet, and I know it violates internet protocol to say something like this, but just because I don’t share the opinion doesn’t mean I think it’s silly or even unfounded. I get it. At some point, things become cheap. Batting .400 was cheapened in the pre-WWII days. How about complete games in the Dead Ball Era? Strikeouts are sure as hell cheap now. Home runs were cheap during the steroid era and they are pretty cheap now.
At some point, I’m sure I’ll get there, but right now I still think home runs are the most exciting thing in the game. From the team level, there’s certainly no reason to look for anything other than home runs. They automatically put runs on the board. That’s great!
The teams who hit lots of home runs are generally good.
Heading to Sunday, here are the teams in playoff position and where they rank in long balls.
Of the top eight teams in baseball in home runs, only the Mariners (who can’t pitch) and the Diamondbacks are not in playoff position. Many of the teams you’ll see toward the top of the rankings hit loads of homers, while several of those toward the bottom are low-homer teams.
Obviously a team has to be more well-rounded than the Mariners. You need pitching and defense. You need to be able to run the bases and, before that, having a good on-base percentage is good. Hitting lots of home runs is pretty damn good, too.
Sure, we’re going to hear cries until the end of civilization about how you can’t try to hit home runs, and good lord do fans on Twitter love to complain about being “too reliant on the home run.” I’ve had All-Star players tell me before they try to homer every at-bat, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The best way to have a productive offense is to hit as many home runs as possible. Basketball figured it out with the 3-pointers and MLB teams have figured it out with the long ball. We can’t really do much to change that right now. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Wanna be a good team? Don’t bunt. Drop bombs. The long ball beats small ball. We’ve been seeing it these past few years and it’s not changing any time soon, whether fans or certain folks like it or not.
|It bears repeating: They are doing this without George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Ridiculous.||1||48-24|
|To my point about the home runs: Watch the Twins. They are off-the-charts fun this season.||1||47-23|
|The Corey Seager loss hurts for sure, as he’d been on fire, but they are plenty deep enough to absorb it.||2||48-24|
|The Yankees currently sit in pretty good shape in the standings, and come next week will have added Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Edwin Encarnacion to a lineup that already features Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit. Hoo boy.||1||43-27|
|The road warriors are 23-10 on the road, but … not very good in The Trop. Are you *sure* there’s nothing to see here when it comes to attendance, Rays Twitter?||1||43-28|
|On May 9, the Braves lost and fell to 18-20. Since then, they have been a wrecking crew. Stellar work.||3||42-30|
|You can’t say enough about the value Scott Kingery is bringing this season, especially with the center field issue that popped up.||—||39-32|
|Rough week on a tough road trip, but now the schedule really opens up. The only team the Cubs play through July 24(!) who currently has a winning record is the Braves, and that’s a four-game series in Wrigley, where the Cubs are 24-11.||2||39-32|
|I’ll confess Lorenzo Cain has long been one of my favorite players and our long-time loyal readers know this. With that in mind, maybe I’m being a bit emotional, but I’m definitely concerned we’re looking at an age-related decline.||1||40-31|
|In looking at the makeup of their roster, especially with Joey Gallo hurt, it seems like this team has no business contending. And yet, they are fun and legitimately good.||1||38-33|
|It feels like every time we think, “OK, NOW they are back,” the Red Sox go into the tank again. It feels like they are capable of something like winning 20 of 30, but what if they just keep teasing all year?||1||39-34|
|The D-Backs traded Paul Goldschmidt and let A.J. Pollock walk and are going to set a franchise record for home runs. Baseball, man.||—||38-35|
|Bad news, Rox: Nine-game road trip coming.||—||37-34|
|The Tribe has been much better over the last two weeks and Mike Clevinger is returning from the IL on Monday. Things could be looking up! Though that’s a hefty deficit in the Central.||—||37-33|
|Blake Treinin hasn’t blown a save for a while, but his high walk total and the number of outings where he gives up runs are definitely a concern moving forward.||—||36-36|
|This isn’t specific to this week, but it’s something that remains perplexing to me: How doesn’t Jordan Hicks strikeout a higher percentage of hitters? He doesn’t even rank in the top 40 among relievers in K%.||1||36-34|
|That’s a hell of a nice week against two of the better teams in baseball.||2||35-37|
|Last week I mentioned Eloy Jimenez hadn’t yet homered at home but that would change soon. He hit three there this week. I’m a Golden God.||3||34-36|
|Jason Vargas having a significantly better ERA than both Noah Syndergaard and Zach Wheeler gets filed under the “that’s not how we drew it up” label.||1||34-37|
|#Franpaign2019. Learn it. Love it. Use it.||4||35-37|
|The upward momentum has stalled and now seven games against the Phillies and Braves is starting to look like a make-or-break week for the Nats’ season. Remember, Anthony Rendon is a free agent after the season and the trade deadline is not far off.||1||33-38|
|What’s Yasiel Puig’s free agency gonna look like? At this rate, it’s certainly not looking like it’ll be fun for him, but he’s heating up and he is still young enough and talented.||—||31-38|
|Due to the home runs, stolen bases and how much they allow opposing home runs, the Mariners are an incredibly entertaining, terrible team. Then again, once they trade everyone who makes any money, this might change.||1||31-44|
|While most everyone else is dropping bombs, the Giants still have zero players in double digits.||3||30-39|
|There’s really no way to sugar coat it much longer. This is a bad baseball team. They’d be lower, but there’s a lot of crap this year.||2||32-39|
|The Great Miguel Cabrera is slugging under .400 during this league-wide power surge. At 469 career homers, might he end up falling short of 500?||1||25-43|
|As with the Giants’ lack of homers, it’s the same case with the Marlins. Zero players in double digits in homers.||1||25-44|
|That Randal Grichuk extension was pretty unnecessary, no? It likely doesn’t handcuff them or anything, but I’m not sure how much the team gained.||—||26-45|
|Yes, they did just win a series over the Tigers, but they are 3-6 this year against Detroit.||1||23-48|
|Hey, how’s that “Chris Davis should be the Orioles All-Star” thing going?||1||21-50|