Through 95 games, the 2019 Minnesota Twins have clobbered, smacked, crushed, smashed, and walloped 177 home runs, putting them on pace to break 300 dingers on the season. For the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, let’s take a fitting look at all these moonshots.
(All stats are through July 18 and come via Baseball Reference or Fangraphs.)
Impressively, the Twins have accumulated their league-leading pile of homers without a traditional slugger on their roster for a portion of the season, as Eddie Rosario has just returned from the Injured List (and my, how he returned). Max Kepler currently tops the team in long balls with 23, fifth in the American League and tied for 16th in the majors. But even without a single player among MLB’s top 15 dong leaders, the Twins currently stand above every other team in the majors in four-baggers thanks to power throughout their lineup. Of the 15 Twins who have knocked a ball over the fence, six have done so at least 15 times, and ten at least 10.
A Phil Miller tweet after Rosario’s pinch-hit home run Thursday, thus far the Twins’ only pinch-hit home run of the year, gives background behind this graph:
Crazy stat: Eddie Rosario’s pinch-hit HR is the Twins’ first 3-run HR in more than six weeks, since Byron Buxton hit one on June 5. The Twins’ last sixty-two (!!) home runs were either solo shots (44, including the last 10 in a row) or 2-run shots (18).— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) July 19, 2019
Sixty percent of Minnesota’s bombs have come with the bases empty, good for power but not so good for getting crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Byron Buxton, who hit the last pre-drought three-run home run, also hit the Twins’ sole grand slam this far in 2019, during a May 18 blowout of Seattle.
The Twins have spread out their launches throughout individual innings, with the highest portion of this graph, those hit before the opposition has recorded an out, only 38 percent of the total. Thus if anyone in the comments insists that the Twins cannot hit the ball out of the park under pressure, they’ve got math to face.
Even excluding the 106 solo smacks, the Twins have hit most of their home runs without runners in scoring position, as that revised wedge would still be the largest, with 36 hit with a man on first base only - one more than the 35 the team has hit in cRISPy situations. Of those 35, 14 have been struck with two outs.
One can explain the smaller ninth-inning wedge by pointing out that in home games where the Twins have held they lead, they have not had to bat in the final inning; thus, that wedge is going to be smaller. But in 2019, the Twins have particularly teed off in the third inning, when the lineup is starting its second turn through the order, and in the eighth, when... y’know, I’m not really sure what’s so special about the eighth inning. Minnesota’s sole extra-inning münball came courtesy of Kepler, a game-tying 13th-inning blast against Boston on June 18 - exactly one month after Buxton hit the Twins’ sole 2019 grand slam.
Here’s to more Bomba Blast-Offs.