Rookie commissioner Rob Manfred has been proactive in speeding up the pace of play in Major League Baseball and the early signs are promising. On the other hand, Manfred has said he would rather see baseball’s other problem fix itself, that is, the lack of scoring and home runs. It turns out, the early signs are promising here also.
As we near the halfway point of the season there are currently 10 players on pace to at least 40 home runs this year, led by Giancarlo Stanton who is on pace to hit 60, and an 11th player on pace to his 39.3. That is more than the last three seasons combined and comes just one year after there was just one such player, Nelson Cruz, who led of MLB with exactly 40.
What is even more exciting about this for MLB is that of the 11 players, five are 25 years old or younger, including Stanton (25), Bryce Harper (22), Mike Trout (23), Joc Pederson (23), and Nelson Arenado (24).
If MLB keeps up this pace, it will be the most players with 40+ home runs in a single season since the 1996-2006 era when players routinely hit 40+ home runs and may have had some pharmaceutical help doing so.
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