Just about every baseball fan can tell you that Barry Bonds holds the single-season home run record with 73, though there will be those who will prefer to recognize Roger Maris' record of 61. There might even be a couple of baseball fans who still like to say that the
Just about every baseball fan can tell you that Barry Bonds holds the single-season home run record with 73, though there will be those who will prefer to recognize Roger Maris' record of 61. There might even be a couple of baseball fans who still like to say that the real record is 60 set by Babe Ruth in a 154-game season.
Point is, baseball fans know that single-season homer record inside and out.
Most baseball fans can probably tell you also that Bonds holds the career home run record with 762, though a substantial number of them might only recognize Henry Aaron's 755. Again, baseball fans know their homers.
But do you know, right off the top of your head, what team holds the record for most home runs in one season? I didn't. I had to look it up. The team that holds the record: the 1997 Mariners with 264 homers. I would not have guessed that. In fact, I don't think I would have been able to name any of the teams in the top five:
1. 1997 Mariners, 264
- 2005 Rangers, 260
- (tie) 2010 Blue Jays, 257
- (tie) 1996 Orioles, 257
- 2016 Orioles, 253
After this year, though, I suspect everyone will know the team home run record. That's because assuming everyone stays relatively healthy, the 2018 Yankees should blast all those marks to smithereens.
It can get pretty frightening to think about just how many home runs those Yankees will hit, with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge and the rest playing in the American League's best ballpark for homers.
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Let's look quickly at one possible Yanks starting lineup and make a few predictions. Let's look at a rough range of how many home runs the player might hit in 2018 -- for the range, I use some imagination but make sure the numbers average out to the general projections that you can find out there now.
1. Brett Gardner, LF
Prediction: 8 to 22 home runs (15 average)
Gardner hit a career-high 21 homers in 2017. That might come down a little, though Yankee Stadium is a wonderful home run ballpark for lefties, and Gardner has great bat control and might have developed an ability to back-spin baseballs out.
2. Stanton, DH
Prediction: 35 to 65 (50 average)
It's a big range; well, with Stanton, it is more a question of health than anything else.
3. Judge, RF
Prediction: 21 to 53 (37 average)
The league has and will continue to adjust to Judge. He has and will continue to adjust back. Judge has, in his short career, looked both invincible and lost; he remains one of the more fascinating stories of 2018.
4. Gary Sanchez, C
Prediction: 20 to 42 (31 average)
Sanchez's power is basically unlimited, but there is a question of playing time. He can only play so many games as a catcher. Sanchez hit 33 homers in 122 games last year.
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
Prediction: 12 to 28 (20 average)
Remember when the question was whether Gregorius would hit at all? There were times when he was the Yankees' best hitter last season, even with the year Judge had.
6. Greg Bird, 1B
Prediction: 10 to 36 (23 average)
Bird is the biggest wildcard on the team. If he can stay healthy and make enough contact, the power is overwhelming; he slugged .551 in the last month of the season and hit three homers in the postseason. But Bird has to prove he can do it over a full season.
7.Aaron Hicks, CF
Prediction: 8 to 28 (18 average)
Hicks hit 15 homers in roughly a half season last year. Can he stay healthy for a full season?
8. Todd Frazier, 3B
Prediction: 18 to 38 (28 average)
Frazier is a free agent who has not re-signed with the Yanks. But with Chase Headley now gone to the Padres, maybe Frazier comes back. We'll put him in as a placeholder.
9. Gleyber Torres, 2B
Prediction: 4 to 16 (10 average)
Torres will be given every chance to win a job at Spring Training and be like Derek Jeter for the 1996 Yankees -- a mega-prospect who will be asked to play good defense and whatever he does offensively will be a bonus.
The home runs ranges are, as you can tell, pretty large. At the low end, if basically everything went wrong, this lineup would hit just 136 homers -- which is two fewer than the Red Sox's regular starters hit in 2017. At the high end, this lineup -- just the Yanks' nine regulars -- would hit a ridiculous 328 home runs, smashing the home run record by more than 60 all by themselves.
And then there's the likely middle -- some regression from Judge and Stanton, nobody really breaks out -- and then the projection is this lineup would hit approximately 232 homers. Add in some home runs off the bench, and the Yankees would have a great chance to break the homer record. There simply has never been a home run lineup like this ever put together before.
There are other home runs things to watch. Only one pair of teammates -- Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1961 -- have each hit 50 homers in a season. Judge and Stanton could do that.
Then there's the story of right-handed power. The 2015 Blue Jays hit more home runs from the right side (200) than any team in baseball history. This was built around Josh Donaldson (41), Jose Bautista (40) and Edwin Encarnacion (39) -- that's 120 homers from three guys. Will Stanton, Judge and Sanchez hit more than that? I'd say there's a pretty good chance.
Which leads, finally, to a funny comment from new Yankees manager Aaron Boone. You want to talk about a charmed guy -- Boone's first manager's job after years in the television booth is with the Yanks just as they are coming into their own. On what was basically his first day, he got the news that they're getting Stanton. Boone talked about how much fun he has had playing around with the lineup already; he hasn't made any decisions but has told Stanton, "I"m thinking you will be in the top four."
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Anyway, I asked Boone what he would do with those three incredible right-handed hitters. Would he split them up with lefties like Bird and Gregorius? Would hit hit them all in a row?
"I might split them up," Boone said. And then he smiled.
"But you know what," he said. "I might not. I mean, I don't have to."
There are no wrong answers with this Yankees lineup.
Joe Posnanski is a columnist for MLB.com.