How they rank: 9/22

How they rank, with an emphasis on the home run in a record-setting season of them. Last rankings in parentheses; stats through Thursday’s games:

  • 1. Cleveland (1): Francisco Lindor, who hit 27 homers in his first two seasons and 21 in four-plus minor-league ones, has 32, first shortstop to reach 30 since J.J. Hardy and Troy Tulowitzki hit 30 each in 2011. His next homer will make him the homer-hittingest shortstop since Hanley Ramirez hit 33 for the Marlins in 2008. Lindor is just the 15th shortstop to reach 30 homers, and only three of the first 14 were Red Sox (thank you Wall): Alex Rodriguez, Ernie Banks, Rico Petrocelli, Vern Stephens, Rich Aurillia, Nomar Garciaparra, Bill Hall, Miguel Tejada, Ramirez, Barry Larkin, Tulowitzki, Hardy, Jimmy Rollins and Jose Valentin preceded him.
  • 2. L.A. Dodgers (2): Cody Bellinger ties NL rookie home run record of 38 set by Frank Robinson (1956) and Wally Berger (1930). Robinson went on to hit 548 more and topped 38 twice; Berger never did, though he led the NL with 34 in 1935 and finished with 242, hitting only 74 after he turned 30.
  • 3. Houston (4): Astros tie MLB record for most players, 11, with at least 10 homers (George Springer, 32; Jose Altuve, 24; Marwin Gonzalez, 22; Carlos Correa, 21; Yuli Gurriel, 17; Alex Bregman and Jake Marisnick, 16; Brian McCann 15; Carlos Beltran, 14; Josh Reddick, 13; and Evan Gattis, 11). They’ll need a big surge from Derek Fisher, who’s next with five, to make it a dozen.
  • 4. Washington (3): Adam Lind tied with Rockies’ Pat Valaika in pinch-homers at 4. As a pinch-hitter in 48 plate appearances, Lind is hitting .356 and slugging .644.
  • 5. Arizona (5): D’backs’ Archie Bradley leads NL in fewest homers allowed for pitchers with more than 60 innings, having thrown just three in 69 innings. Phillies Luis Garcia next with three in 67.2 innings. Mariners Nick Vincent leads MLB with 2 in 62.2 innings.
  • 6. Boston (6): No team has done more to try to restrain home run inflation than the Red Sox: they’ve hit 50 fewer home runs in 2017 than in 2016, falling from first in MLB (208) to 27th (158) and have a centerfielder in Jackie Bradley who’s taken home runs away from at least three batters: Oakland’s Ryon Healey on May 19; the Yankees’s Aaron Judge on July 15 and Baltimore’s Chris Davis on Tuesday.
  • 7. N.Y. Yankees (7): Didi Gregorius’ 25th home run Wednesday sets Yankees record for shortstops. Derek Jeter had previous high of 24. Also known now as Derek Who?
  • 8. Chicago Cubs (8): Cubs are first team to have five players 25 or younger with 20-homer seasons: outfielder Kyle Schwarber (29 at age 24), third baseman Kris Bryant (28 at age 25), infielder Javier Baez (22 at 24), infielder-outfielder Ian Happ (22 at 22) and catcher Wilson Contreras (21 at 25). Oldtimer Anthony Rizzo, who hit 32, has aged out at 27.
  • 9. St. Louis (9): Team leader in homers is rookie shortstop Paul DeJong with 24. It would also make it the third straight year the Cardinal shortstop hit 17 homers or more by three shortstops: Jhonny Peralta in 2015, Aledmys Diaz in 2016 and DeJong in 2017. Peralta led the team in homers with 21 in 2014.
  • 10. Colorado (10): Even with all the advantages of Coors Field, Rockies are 23rd in homers with 178. Ian Desmond, after five seasons of 19 or more, has five. Have to think the $70 million the Rockies committed to Desmond could be put to better use.
  • 11. Milwaukee (11): Brewers pitcher Michael Blazek deserves some credit for the record. He gave up six home runs in one game and five in one inning to the Nationals in July, including four in a row to Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. After Daniel Murphy flied out, Anthony Rendon homered. No telling how many the Nats might have hit had Blazek been allowed to finish the inning.
  • 12. Texas (15): Rangers’ Joey Gallo has 38 home runs in 424 at-bats, but is hitting just .208. Forty-three percent of Gallo’s 88 hits have been homers.
  • 13. Minnesota (12): Twins hit seven home runs in first seven innings of 16-0 rout of Padres this month. Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco, Jason Castro (twice), Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar and Kennys Vargas all homered; Joe Mauer (replaced by Vargas), Byron Buxton, Robbie Grossman and Ehire Adrianza all left out.
  • 14. L.A. Angels (12): Justin Upton’s 32nd home run this week bounced into a promotional Sherwin-Williams can in the outfield, for which the company had advertised it would pay $1 million to charity if someone put a ball there. Sherwin-Williams said it’s not paying because the homer didn’t land in the can on the fly. Sherwin-Williams legal team might be earning its fees, but here’s hoping the company gets a million dollars worth of bad publicity.
  • 15. Seattle (13): Mariners have four hitters with 20 or more homers, but have been outhomered 223-182. That’s mostly thanks to Ariel Miranda, who’s thrown 35 in 159 innings, and the aptly named rookie Andrew Moore, who would throw more if he pitched more. In his first 55 innings, he’s thrown 13.
  • 16. Kansas City (19): Joaquin Andujar youneverknow Dept.: Alex Gordon, who has eight homers, a .209 average and a $72 million contract that will help prevent the Royals from keeping free agents Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar, hits the record-breaking 5,964th home run of 2017. Gordon: “I didn’t hit many this year. But I guess I made one count. It’s good to be in the Hall of Fame, I guess.” Wonder if Ryan Tepara, who threw the record-setter, feels the same?
  • 17. Tampa Bay (16): Logan Morrison with a longball of a quote when Gary Sanchez was invited to the home run derby instead of Morrison: “I remember when I had 14 home runs. That was a month and a half ago.” Morrison still leading Sanchez, 36-32.
  • 18. Miami (18): Giancarlo Stanton has hit 33 of his 56 homers after taking the first pitch for a ball one. If it sounds like the key is to throw him a first-pitch strike, think again. On the 56 times he’s put the first pitch in play, he’s hitting .464 and slugging .911 with six homers.
  • 19. Baltimore (17): No team’s games have more homers than the Orioles — 456 in all. Orioles have hit 228, most in MLB, and Orioles pitchers have thrown 228, third-most in MLB. Seven Orioles — Manny Machado (33), Jonathan Schoop (32), Adam Jones (26), Chris Davis and Trey Mancini (24), Mark Trumbo (23) and Welington Castillo (20) — have hit 20 or more.
  • 20. Pittsburgh (20): Josh Bell hits 24 home runs after the Reds’ Joey Votto, first baseman to first baseman, suggests last offseason Bell lose some weight. Reds pitchers, who lead MLB in home runs allowed and have enough trouble getting hitters out, must be thrilled to know their first baseman is advising opposing hitters.
  • 21. Toronto (21): Jose Bautista angered Braves with bat flip after a May home run off Eric O’Flaherty, who said, ““I’m surprised he’s ready to fight again after last year,” referencing Bautista’s tussle with Rougned Odor.  Maybe Bautista made a scene  because he didn’t hit many this year — his 22 are the same as last year, when it took all winter to get an invitation to return to the Jays. He may not hear from them this year.
  • 22. Atlanta (22): Ender Inciarte hits the first homer in SunTrust Park, which was a precursor of the home run binge to come. Inciarte’s 11 home runs in 2017 are a career high; he hit 13 in his first three seasons.
  • 23. Oakland (25): No player has a better ratio than the A’s’ Matt Olson, who started the season 10-for-51 in three brief trials, but has hit 19 homers since being called back up in early August. Olson has 23 homers in 179 at-bats, one every 7.78. For his career, Babe Ruth hit one every 11.76 at-bats. Olson’s won’t last, of course, if only because it’s hard to maintain a ratio of 23 homers and two doubles.
  • 24. N.Y. Mets (23): Mets have 141 solo home runs, most in the NL. At least they lead the league in something.
  • 25. Cincinnati (24): Scooter Gennett, who had hit 35 homers in four seasons, hits four in one game vs. Cardinals.  Gennett: “… to do something that’s never been done – I can’t put words on it.” Gennett is probably not a student of baseball history, but it had been done 16 times before Scooter. A few months later, Arizona’s J.D. Martinez did what’s never been done, making it only the second season what’s never been done has been done twice (2002, Shawn Green and Mike Cameron)
  • 26. San Diego (27): Padres hit two home runs at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park that are aided by Pirates fans and video review. One, by Carlos Asuaje, goes through a fan’s hands in right-center field and hits him in the groin, all undetected by all four umpires. Padres announcer: “An unfortunate place for that Pirate fan to be struck,” and I’m guessing he didn’t mean his hands. Hands like that explain why that fan was in right field.
  • 27. Chicago White Sox (28): White Sox hit home runs on the first pitch of consecutive games against the Dodgers, Tim Anderson off Alex Wood and Leury Garcia off Yu Darvish. That strategy didn’t always work so well. Anderson has more homers than walks (16-13), and Garcia nearly does (9-13). Their on-base percentages of .280 and .316 respectively beg the question of why they’re batting leadoff.
  • 28. Philadelphia (29): Closer Hector Neris threw back-to-back-to-back homers in a blown save against the Dodgers in April, then threw just two homers over the next four months. He’s making up for it in September, having thrown three more, giving him nine in 70.2 innings.
  • 29. Detroit (26): Ian Kinsler’s first 16 home runs this season were with the bases empty, not surprising since Tigers No. 9 hitters have combined for a .304 on-base percentage. No. 17 off J.A. Happ came with Dixon Machado on first; not surprisingly, perhaps, he reached by an error. Kinsler has hit three more since, all with the bases, as they so often are for the Tigers, empty.
  • 30. San Francisco (28): Gorkys Hernandez is the major-leaguer with the most at-bats without a home run, having 291 of them. Fitting that the anti-home run champ would be a Giant, whose 122 of them are the fewest of any team in this record-setting year, 22 behind the 29th-place Pirates.
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