Youth being served atop HR leaderboard
The home run leaderboard has already been historic this year, and it keeps getting even more so. Entering Tuesday, for the third straight day, there are three players who are all age 23 or younger ranking in the top four in home runs in the Majors. Twenty-three-year-old Ronald Acuña Jr., 22-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and 22-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. are all tied for the MLB lead with 16 homers, along with Adolis García, who is 28.
Entering Monday, Guerrero was tied for the lead, while Acuna and Tatis were each tied for third, and entering Sunday, the same was true. That’s a lot of youth atop the home run leaderboard. If that sounds rare, it’s because it is -- or was, before the last three days.
Before 2021, there had been just one day in MLB history where three players, age 23 or younger, all ranked in the top four in homers, at least 15 HR into a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
That occurred through the games of June 11, 2015, when the top four in homers in MLB included a seven-way tie for fourth. Through that date, 22-year-old Bryce Harper was second, with 20 homers, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton. And 23-year-olds, Mike Trout and Joc Pederson, were each part of that tie for fourth, with 17 homers apiece.
That year, Harper ended up with 42 home runs and the National League MVP Award. He tied for the most in the NL with Nolan Arenado, and became the seventh youngest player to have at least a share of his league’s lead in home runs at the end of the season.
Yes, it’s only June 1 and there is plenty of baseball yet to be played and many more homers to sail over the fence. But it is worth noting: if either Guerrero or Tatis were to lead the Majors, he’d be the third-youngest to do so (and if they tied, they’d be third and fourth, respectively).
If either led his league, he’d be the fourth-youngest to do so. Or, if both did, Guerrero would be the fourth-youngest and Tatis fifth-youngest.
Acuna would just barely miss out on the list of players to do this before turning 23, but would generate plenty of ‘youngest since’ fodder himself. No matter which names or ages ultimately lead it, there’s no question that this home run race will continue to bring the energy and fun this summer.