Could the 2019 Phillies Become the New Home Run Kings?

Last season, the New York Yankees broke a 21-year record for most home runs hit by a team. The 1997 Mariners had 264 and the 2018 Yankees had 267.

Well the Phillies probably won’t touch either of those numbers in 2019, unless the DH is adopted in the National League tomorrow. The National league record of 249, however, could be reachable for the phightins.

The 2000 Astros

Now for our younger readers, the Houston Astros used to be part of the National League and 19 years ago they set the all time mark for home runs. While their pitching staff only had 1 man with an ERA under 4 (Tony McKnight, 3.86 ERA in 35ip), their lineup was filled with big boppers.

A total of 3 batters hit 30 or more homers and 2 others hit 20 or more. In order, here they are.

Jeff Bagwell

The recent HoF inductee had one of the best seasons of his illustrious career. In addition to hitting a whopping 47 HR, he batted .310/.424/.615 with a 1.039 OPS. He would place 7th in the MVP race that year.

Richard Hidalgo

I for one, have never heard of Richard Hidalgo, but yet, he hit 44 dingers in the year 2000. He would never hit over 28 HR again and for his trouble, came in 20th in MVP voting.

Moises Alou

Alou is one of the long list of player currently in the running for PSN’s “All One and Done Team”. In 2000, he hit exactly 30 HR, but also happen to hit .355 (the highest BA in his career) and 1.039 (the highest OPS of his career). He tied with Hidalgo for 20th in MVP voting.

Lance Berkman

Another man being considered for PSN’s “All One and Done Team”, Berkman ‘twas but a young 24-year-old pup in 2000. A pup who swatted 21 homers in 114 Games. He also slashed .297/.388/.561 good enough to finish 6th in RotY voting. He only got 1 vote even though he led other vote-getting rookies in batting average, slugging, and home runs. Excuse me while I sip some tea.

Daryle Ward

Another player I’ve never heard of! Good ol’ Daryle hit 20 homers in 2000, but never hit over 15 again. Somehow, he stuck around until 2008.

The Rest

Four more players hit 10 or more: Ken Caminiti (15),
Mitch Meluskey (14), Chris Truby (11), and Julio Lugo (10). HoFer Craig Biggio hit 8 round-trippers. Pitcher Shane Reynolds added 1 of his own to the party. There were 28 more homers hit between the rest of the team.

All of that adds up to 249 home runs.

How the Phillies can pass that

The goal of 250 begins and ends with Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Bagwell and Hidalgo hit 91 combined home runs. To even get close to the record, Hoskins and Harper will have to combine for at least 80. Harper has hit the 40 HR plateau only once with 42 in his MVP campaign of 2015. Hoskins hit 34 last year and could be easily boosted by being sandwiched between Harper and JT Realmuto.

While 80 would be 11 short of Bagwell and Hidalgo, the 11 could be made up elsewhere.

30 Homer Threats

Maikel Franco is on a 162 HR pace right now after hitting 2 in his first 2 games of the season. Joking aside, Franco has always shown a comfortable level of power at the plate, hitting 22 or more HR since 2016. In 16 games hitting in the 8-hole, Franco has hit 4 home runs. This season, like Hoskins, Franco is surrounded by much better hitters and should see a few more pitches to barrel up.

JT Realmuto hit his first homer in game 2 of the season, but could knock on the door of 30 in 2019. Last season in Miami, JTR smacked 21 long balls over the fence. While that was his career high, Citizens Bank Park is very friendly towards the long drive. Another thing has changed for the young catcher; he has fans now. The electricity alone from CBP could help electrify JTR’s bat.

Andrew McCutchen hit the first home run for the Phillies in 2019. He has only hit over 30 homers once in 2012 with 31, but that doesn’t mean it’s outside of the realm of possibility. Just 2 years ago, he hit 28 for the 2nd most in his career. Even more telling, in the HR friendly confines of Yankee Stadium McCutchen hit 5 HRs in 25 games. Citizens Bank Park is similarly friendly to homers, as mentioned before. In 150 games, the total would be exactly 30 homers. Spectulation? Yes. Possible. Also yes.

Possible 20 HR Hitters

Odubel Herrera, even with all his ups and downs last season, set a new career high in dingers with 22. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that he builds on this number. However, I couldn’t see him hitting more that 25.

Jean Segura has only hit 20 homers once in his career. In his lone season with the Diamondbacks, Segura hit 20 HR on the nose. He’s hit double digits in homers the past 3 seasons, but it would be a pleasant surprise if he hits 20 in 2019.

Cesar Hernandez is the last person you’d think hit 20 homers, but when you think about it, it’s not too far fetched. Cesar hit a career-high 15 homers last year even though he had a foot injury in the second half of the season. Cesar has also trended upward in power since 2015 where he hit only one homer. Stranger players have hit 20 HR, remember Freddy Galvis?

The Rest

Nick Williams will most likely lead the way on the bench. He’s hit double digits in HR in both of his first 2 seasons. Scott Kingery hit 8 last season, but could hit more if he finds the power he had in the minors in 2017 where he hit 26. Aaron Altherr had a terrible season in 2018, hitting 8 homers after hitting 19 in 2017. Let’s say he hits at least 5. Andrew Knapp will only hit a handful barring a minor miracle. And of course the 2000 Astros had 1 HR from a pitcher, so let’s say Jake Arrieta takes his 6 career HR and adds 1 or 2 more (he hit one in 2018). For good measure, let’s say Zach Eflin repeats his total from last season and hits one as well.

If the all the 2019 Phillies trend upward in their power numbers, there is no doubt that they could surpass the 2000 Astros. The goal is 250 to pass the 2000 Astros, but even if they hit 225 it will be notable. The Phillies set their franchise record in HR hit in 2009 with 224. That record could be easily shattered.

The Phillies already have a head start as the 2000 Astros didn’t hit their 6th HR until their 7th game. The 2019 Phillies already have 6 in 2 games.

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