By: Chandler Ragsdale
There have been a lot of balls flying over the fence in the MLB since the start of the 2017 season. Coming into 2018, people expected one team to be hitting home runs like crazy because of the moves that they made in the offseason. This team, of course, is the New York Yankees. They have delivered very much so, leading the MLB in homers with 83.
While this isn’t very surprising, there is something that I’ve found interesting about the long ball this season. The Yanks’ two star home run hitters, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, have hit 14 (Judge) and 11 (Stanton) home runs on the season so far. While over in Boston, Mookie Betts has hit 17 home runs, and J.D. Martinez 16. Betts is tied for league lead in homers with Mike Trout, and Martinez is tied for 3rd with Bryce Harper. Aaron Judge is tied for 8th and Stanton for 19th. With this being said, it seems that the two start home run hitters in the AL East have been in Boston so far this season and not in New York. Don’t get me wrong, Judge and Stanton are both prolific hitters and the Yankees do lead the league in home runs (83), but Boston is 2nd in the league with 76 dingers. Noting that this rivalry is very strong and that the two best teams in the MLB as of right now are the Red Sox and Yankees, it seems clear that the long ball has had a lot to do with it up until this point. The Red Sox lacked the home run ball last season, only finishing 27th in the league by the end of the regular season. This year, however, things have seemed to change.
The homers have not only made the Red Sox a powerhouse team, but the Atlanta Braves have also been seemingly rejuvenated by the long ball. They finished even worse than the Red Sox did last season in total home runs, finishing 28th in the league. However this season, they are 13th in the league in total homers, being lead by Ozzie Albies who already has 14 on the young season.
I say all of this to say that more and more managers are giving their team the approach of going up and swinging away, and it seems to be working. It had been working for the Yankees, and still is, but now some other teams are jumping on board, including the Red Sox and Braves.
Sources for factual information regarding MLB statistics: mlb.com