The 1997 Seattle Mariners set the record for most home runs hit by a team in a season with 264. In 2017, the New York Yankees hit 241 home runs. Now that Giancarlo Stanton is in pinstripes, can the 2018 Bronx Bombers break the single-season team home run record?
Yes, the 2018 Yankees can break the record.
On paper, the Yanks appear to be a hazardous team for opposing pitching. It’s a lineup that’s so dangerous that if everyone just meets their expectations, they could obliterate the record.
Since last season’s Bronx Bombers fell just 23 homers shy of tying the record, one would think they are at least contenders.
Yankees ZiPS projections for 2018
Aaron Judge broke the rookie record for home runs in a season with a historic 54. Experts don’t expect Judge to hit 50 again (because that would be overkill), but he’s probably going to hit 40-plus. In fact, his ZiPS projections show he’ll hit 43 home runs in 2018.
As far as Judge’s teammates, Giancarlo Stanton is projected to hit 55 bombs. If the two of them can stay healthy, they can hit 100 together!
But wait, there are more Yankees with pop in their bats.
As for the other Yankees’ outfielders, the rotation is expected to hit a modest 45-50 combined. Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier will belt between 15-20 each, and Jacoby Ellsbury could hit eight-to-12.
The combined long ball totals these nine players should hit according to their individual respective ZiPS projections are between 220-230. And I haven’t even named the other contributing players on the team yet or factored in potential breakout seasons.
Breakout Candidates – Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Greg Bird
There’s a chance Aaron Hicks breaks out this season. Some even believe his intense offseason workout regimen could lead to more power. But critics think Hicks should learn from the injury-prone Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who arguably overdid it last winter.
What about the ‘legendary speed’ of Clint Frazier? Some of you fed-up haters will say “Yeah what about it?’ My answer to that is, what’s your gripe with Frazier?
As a rookie in 142 plate appearances, Red Lightning had a .216 ISO. Judge, in his first 95 major league plate appearances batted .179 and had an ISO of .167. Have some faith in your guys, you pessimists.
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I’m personally happy Frazier wasn’t traded away this offseason. He could surprise us all and hit 25 homers this season if he finds the playing time.
By the way, Greg Bird for some reason is comparable with David Ortiz, according to ZiPS and Fangraphs. Why? Because Bird has a similar power stroke and hitting approach.
We just need to see a full season out of Bird, so he can prove he has 30 HR potential. Many experts have Bird highlighted as a breakout star for 2018, while others think this is Bird’s last chance to prove he is the first baseman of the future for the franchise.
Regardless, we should think one of these players will overachieve in 2018.
Replacements for Headley, Castro and Frazier
The departures of Chase Headley, Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier seem trivial to some fans since Stanton donned the pinstripes this winter. In comparison to home runs, Stanton’s 59 dingers in 2017 were more than the 55 hit by Castro (16), Headley (12) and Frazier (27) combined.
We’re not sure who will be filling in the open second base and third base positions, but we have an idea. Assuming Gleyber Torres starts at second and Miguel Andujar starts at third, the two combined are projected to hit 34 home runs; six more than the combination of Castro and Headley last year.
Add the 34 projected home runs to the 230 expected homers by the nine previous players, and the Yanks would tie the record.
But the club did just curiously sign ex-Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa to a minor league deal. Espinosa will compete for the starting second base job, and if he fixes his swing, he’s another power bat in the lineup.
In 2016, Espinosa hit 24 homers but batted .209. Then in 2017, he batted an atrocious .173 with only six homers.
If you factor in projections, combined, production for Yankees’ second basemen and third basemen could see anywhere between 25-45 home runs in 2018.
On paper, they could break the record, but will they?
Records are meant to be broken. It’s possible the Yankees or another team this season breaks the mark because of the alarming spike in home runs.
I would imagine all of the key players for the Yanks will not stay healthy the entire year, and some players could regress. So I would bet that the Bombers don’t break the record.
The scary thing about this team is that they are not old and therefore are more likely to progress instead of regress. Oh boy, the Yankees are going to break the record, aren’t they?