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Here's another HR record the Yankees could break

With Judge, Stanton, Sanchez and more, the back-to-back jack mark is in sight
MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Imaginations across New York -- and the entire baseball landscape -- immediately jumped to the record books when the Yankees introduced Giancarlo Stanton two months ago. The man who had just chased 60 home runs was moving to a smaller ballpark, a bigger market and a lineup that included Aaron Judge.

It remains to be seen whether Stanton's move to Yankee Stadium will boost his homer total; Statcast™ batted ball metrics show there could be no change. But his addition improves a lineup that already paced the Majors in home runs last season, to the level where it could legitimately challenge the single-season record of 264 homers set by the 1997 Mariners.

Imaginations across New York -- and the entire baseball landscape -- immediately jumped to the record books when the Yankees introduced Giancarlo Stanton two months ago. The man who had just chased 60 home runs was moving to a smaller ballpark, a bigger market and a lineup that included Aaron Judge.

It remains to be seen whether Stanton's move to Yankee Stadium will boost his homer total; Statcast™ batted ball metrics show there could be no change. But his addition improves a lineup that already paced the Majors in home runs last season, to the level where it could legitimately challenge the single-season record of 264 homers set by the 1997 Mariners.

But behind the backdrop of that chase is another fun possibility: The 2018 Yankees could rewrite the record books for hitting back-to-back home runs.

The heart of the Bronx Bombers' lineup figures to include, in some order, Judge, Stanton, a potentially resurgent Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius. Those are five players who could all top 20 home runs (if not many more) in 2018, and leadoff man Brett Gardner is also coming off a career-best 21-homer campaign.

Video: Stanton on arriving at camp, working with Judge

New York will boast power up and down first-year manager Aaron Boone's lineup card, and with 81 of the team's games staged in front of Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch, the homer permutations seem endless.

"When an opposing pitcher looks at our lineup and thinks about having to work through it, it's a team that you better make pitches against," Boone said in December. "Otherwise, this is a team that not only can make you pay with a base hit, but it'll make you pay with some damage."

What are the bars the Yankees could be chasing? The Elias Sports Bureau has provided the following list of the highest single-season totals of back-to-back homers hit by one team, dating back to the start of divisional play in 1969 (this is the farthest back one could go with reliable play-by-play data):

Teams that hit the most back-to-back home runs in a single season (since 1969)
1. 19 -- 1996 Mariners
T-2. 18 -- 1977 Red Sox, 2016 Orioles
4. 17 -- 2000 White Sox
T-5. 16 -- 1996 Orioles, 2000 Cardinals, 2001 Rangers, 2001 Rockies

It's not a surprise to see four clubs from the high-octane early 2000s on this list, as well as the Mariners club that directly preceded those 1997 record holders. Last year, the Yankees went back-to-back 12 times (including three consecutive homers against the Blue Jays on June 3) to tie for the Majors' second-highest total, per Elias, and that was without Stanton, the National League Most Valuable Player Award winner.

Video: Chris and Kevin on Stanton, Judge HR predictions

Going back-to-back can be an arbitrary occurrence, of course, but the heart of the Yankees' order figures to be relentless -- starting with Judge potentially in the No. 2 spot. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year Award winner finished third among qualified hitters last year with an average of 4.41 pitches per plate appearance, while also working more full counts than anyone in the game. It's tough enough to get past Judge, but there's added pressure for pitchers now with Stanton (and Bird and Sanchez) waiting on deck.

Video: Yankees look to top home run record in 2018

Nine of the Yankees' 12 back-to-back homers last year came in the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium, and seven of them came against AL East opponents. Judge was involved in half of them, including three times with Sanchez. Now, he'll get a 6-foot-6 bash brother in Stanton, and the sluggers could make some history of their own. Per Elias, here are the pairs that the New York duo will be chasing:

Teammates with most back-to-back home runs, single season (since 1969)
1. 8 -- Andres Galarraga and Larry Walker (1997 Rockies)
2. 7 -- Rich Aurilia and Barry Bonds (2001 Giants)
T-3. 6 -- Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira (2009 Yankees), Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt (1980 Phillies), Bobby Bonilla and Rafael Palmeiro (1996 Orioles), Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas (2000 White Sox), David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (2004 Red Sox), Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo (2016 Orioles)

Unlike the Yankees' quest to break the single-season homer record, our back-to-back dream can take a few hits from reality. Judge might regress from his 52-homer rookie season, but even if he hit 40 -- which is his aggregate projection from Steamer and ZiPS -- he could link up enough times with the hitters behind him.

The same goes for Stanton, as any big leaguer would be hard-pressed to knock 59 homers two seasons in a row. The point is, New York's lineup, as currently constructed, looks in many ways deeper and even more dangerous than the one that ranked as baseball's most powerful a season ago. And that's enough to keep opposing pitchers restless as Opening Day approaches.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

New York Yankees