MLB Players Are Hitting Home Runs at a Steroid-Era Pace This Season

Baseball has four players in the 40-homer club through just 125 games

MLB Players Are Crushing Home Runs Like It's the Steroid Era
Pete Alonso of the New York Mets reacts after he hit a home run. (Paul Bereswill/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / August 22, 2019 11:19 am

On Wednesday night in Baltimore, the Orioles surrendered their 258th homer of the season, tying the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for most moonshots allowed by a team in a Major League Baseball season … and it’s only late August.

At least a couple of those home runs have come off the bats of Pete Alonso of the Mets (40), Mike Trout of the Angels (42), Christian Yelich of the Brewers (41) and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers (42), the only members of this season’s 40-homer club (so far).

When Alonso joined the club on Sunday, it was the first time four hitters have mashed 40 or more home runs through their teams’ 125th game since 2001, the height of the steroid era in MLB, according to FiveThirtyEight.

In 2001, the members of the club were Sammy Sosa, Luis Gonzalez, Jim Thome and Barry Bonds, the latter of whom went on to set baseball’s single-season home run record with 73 dingers. Prior to that, the feat had only been accomplished once before, when Sosa, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Vaughn all did it in 1998.

This season’s early offensive outburst may be a sign of things to come in MLB, as home runs are way up across the league. Three of the top four seasons for total home runs in MLB history have come in the past four years, and the record for most home runs in a season is likely to be set once again this season.

While today’s players might not actually be on steroids, they’re certainly hitting home runs like it’s 1999.

“We could have a double-digit population of 40-homer hitters for the first time since 2006,” according to FiveThirtyEight. “From 1996 through 2001, at least 12 players reached 40 home runs each season, including a record 17 in 1996.”

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