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Baseball’s power surge continues

Minnesota Twins v Washington Nationals

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins hits a three-run home run in the eigth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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Twins second baseman Brian Dozier homered twice again three times on Monday afternoon, bringing his season total up to 38 and further extending his career-high. He’s also one dinger shy of tying the American League record for home runs hit by a second baseman, held by Alfonso Soriano who set the mark in 2002.

Mark Trumbo leads baseball with 41 home runs and is currently the only member of the 40-homer club. But Dozier and eight others are projected to join him in that club. Two others are projected to finish at 39, so even a slight uptick in power would add to the club. Baseball hasn’t seen 10 players hit 40-plus home runs in the same season since 2006, when 11 players accomplished the feat. For perspective, from 2011-14, there were 11 combined player-seasons with 40-plus dingers including multiple appearances by Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera.

Here’s the list, updated for today’s games:

PlayerTeamTm GmHRPace
Mark TrumboBAL1364148.8
Brian DozierMIN1383844.6
Nolan ArenadoCOL1363642.9
Kris BryantCHC1363642.9
Edwin EncarnacionTOR1363642.9
Nelson CruzSEA1363541.7
Todd FrazierCWS1363541.7
Khris DavisOAK1363440.5
Josh DonaldsonTOR1363440.5
Chris DavisBAL1373440.2
Manny MachadoBAL1363339.3
Chris CarterMIL1373339.0
Evan LongoriaTBR1353137.2
Robinson CanoSEA1363136.9
David OrtizBOS1363136.9
Mookie BettsBOS1363035.7

As pointed out earlier this season, the 2016 campaign is seeing home runs hit at the second-highest rate in baseball history, second only to the 2000 season. 1.16 home runs are being hit per game compared to 1.17 in 2000. 1999 is in third place at 1.14. Only 1.01 home runs were hit per game in 2015.

Despite the power surge, run-scoring is still not close to the levels seen in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, even though we saw increases from 4.07 in 2014 to 4.25 in ’15 and 4.50 this year. That has a lot to do with the ever-increasing strikeout rate, currently at an even 8.00 strikeouts per game compared to 7.71 last year and 6.30 as recently as 2005.

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