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Comparing the 2019 Bomba Squad to the 2018 Bronx Bombers

The Homer Hankies versus the Homer Yankees.

Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays
Bombas away!
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Through 66 games, the Minnesota Twins have clobbered 130 home runs, topping their franchise record for the first half of a season by five.

We aren’t even halfway through June.

As mentioned in this ESPN article about the slugging team from the North Star State, the Twins are ahead of the 2018 New York Yankees’ record-setting home run pace; last year’s Pinstripe Platoon knocked 110 dingers through their 66th game.

But that team was expected to club the ball, boasting such slugging sluggers as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and the emerging Gary Sanchez. The Twins... were not. However, reviewing their offseason additions, perhaps their power surge is unsurprising. Nelson Cruz is 38 years old, but every season since his age-33 campaign has seen him swat more than 30 baseballs over various fair-territory fences. Before 2018, C.J. Cron’s season high for homers was 16; he promptly smacked 30. Jonathan Schoop was thought to be on a permanent decline, but his power is making itself known this season, as his 12 long balls have included a pair of two-dong games.

Incidentally, these players are the only three on the 2019 Twins who had ever struck 30 or more home runs in a season. (Miguel Sano’s career high is 28; Eddie Rosario’s, 27.) Meanwhile, Stanton and Judge had each smashed over 50 (59 and 52, respectively) the year before they led the Yankees in their record-breaking mashing.

To lead a league in home runs, much less to set a major league record, a team must get power from across the lineup, but how top-heavy were last year’s New York number compared to the current Minnesota multitude?

At this point in the season, here’s how the two teams stand... or in the Yankees’ case, stood:

Bomba Squad

Player HRs % of team HRs
Player HRs % of team HRs
Eddie Rosario 19 14.62%
Max Kepler 16 12.31%
C.J. Cron 14 10.77%
Jonathan Schoop 12 9.23%
Nelson Cruz 11 8.46%
Mitch Garver 10 7.69%
Jorge Polanco 10 7.69%
Byron Buxton 9 6.92%
Jason Castro 8 6.15%
Marwin González 8 6.15%
Miguel Sanó 6 4.62%
Ehire Adrianza 4 3.08%
Willians Astudillo 2 1.54%
Luis Arráez 1 0.77%
Total 130 100%
through 66 games, 2019

Bronx Bombers

Player HRs % of team HRs
Player HRs % of team HRs
Aaron Judge 18 16.36%
Giancarlo Stanton 15 13.64%
Didi Gregorius 14 12.73%
Gleyber Torres 13 11.82%
Gary Sánchez 12 10.91%
Miguel Andújar 8 7.27%
Tyler Austin 8 7.27%
Aaron Hicks 7 6.36%
Brett Gardner 5 4.55%
Austin Romine 4 3.64%
Greg Bird 3 2.73%
Neil Walker 2 1.82%
Brandon Drury 1 0.91%
Total 110 100%
through 66 games, 2018

Indeed, the 2018 Yankees were slightly more dependent on their top sluggers - at least through the first third-plus of the season - for walloping moonshots than the 2019 Twins. Counting only the top four of last year’s Big Apple artillery encapsulates more than half of their home run total (over 54 percent), while it takes five of the Kasota Gold cavalry to pass the 50 percent mark (over 55 percent). Additionally, each of the top five Yankees has a higher individual percentage than their corresponding Twin, though two of the three Minnesotans have more four-baggers.

Interestingly, this year’s Steinbrenner squad have only four fewer homers through 66 games as last year’s, and spread among more players, with 18 individuals bopping balls out of the park. But like the 2018 Empire State... um... empire, their distribution is weighted at the top:

Manhattan Myriad

Player HRs % of team HRs
Player HRs % of team HRs
Gary Sánchez 20 18.87%
Luke Voit 16 15.09%
Gleyber Torres 14 13.21%
Clint Frazier 11 10.38%
Brett Gardner 10 9.43%
DJ LeMahieu 7 6.60%
Aaron Judge 5 4.72%
Gio Urshela 5 4.72%
Aaron Hicks 4 3.77%
Mike Tauchman 4 3.77%
Thairo Estrada 3 2.83%
Greg Bird 1 0.94%
Mike Ford 1 0.94%
Didi Gregorius 1 0.94%
Cameron Maybin 1 0.94%
Kendrys Morales 1 0.94%
Austin Romine 1 0.94%
Troy Tulowitzki 1 0.94%
Total 106 100%
through 66 games, 2019; yes I know they’re not in Manhattan

And this year’s crew of city clobberers is even more reliant on their main power hitters, with over 57 percent of their satellite shots coming from the top quartet, a higher proportion than last year’s first four.

But the main similarity between these three teams is their provided power from across the roster, getting home runs from over a dozen players in each case so early in the year. For this year’s Twins, that has included low home run totals from contact hitters (Ehire Adrianza, Willians Astudillo, Luis Arraez) and plenty of pummeled pellets from players once thought of as contact hitters (Mitch Garver, Jason Castro).

As the Bomba Squad batters balls brutally, we can observe a closer replica of last year’s Yankees by watching this year’s Yankees... if we can stand watching them for that long. But with the power added from outside and developing (Rosario, Max Kepler) from within, we can expect the bombs - Bombas? - to keep coming.