Colorado Rockies have chance to top Minnesota Twins home run mark
By Kevin Henry
This is the first in a series of bold predictions for the Colorado Rockies heading into the 2020 season.
Last season, in an epic display of power, the Minnesota Twins set a Major League Baseball record by hitting 307 home runs. Could the 2020 Colorado Rockies beat that record?
The Minnesota Twins set the new MLB record for home runs by a team in a season with 307 home runs in 2019. In 2019, the Rockies hit 224 home runs, led by Nolan Arenado’s 41 homers. The Rockies were not healthy for much of the 2019 campaign, though.
Before you go all “Coors Field” on me when I mention a home run total and tell me the Colorado Rockies play on the moon, check out this article about what playing in Denver really does for Colorado’s offense. If that’s your narrative, read it and come back here. I’ll be waiting.
If you’ve read the article (and/or believe that baseball in Denver is still baseball), then let’s proceed with the question at hand. Can this Rockies team be the ultimate power source in the history of Major League Baseball?
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Yes, we know something was going on in baseball last season when it comes to the long ball. MLB stated this offseason that the baseballs weren’t “juiced,” but rather the increase in home runs was because of launch angles and seams that produced far less drag. In either case, it was a perfect scenario for seeing more baseballs leave the yard than ever before.
Minnesota led MLB’s home run charge, with five players hitting 30 or more homers (led by Nelson Cruz with 41) and eight Twins posting 20 or more home runs.
Meanwhile, the 2019 Rockies had 224 homers, paced by Nolan Arenado‘s 41. Three Rockies (Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon) had 30 or more homers while five had 20 or more.
Some quick math says that the Rockies hit 83 fewer homers than the Twins last season (but … COORS FIELD!). So how could Colorado hit 84 more home runs this season and eclipse that mark?
Let’s throw out some scenarios where it’s possible. After interpolating the data, here are five key things that could (yes, could) happen to give the Rockies a shot at the record.
First, Ryan McMahon hit a career-high 24 home runs last season. Let’s bump that number up to 30 this year (yes, it’s possible if McMahon takes another step forward in his career). If Arenado, Story, and Blackmon produce as they did last year, that’s four Rockies with 30 or more homers.
Second, let’s add in a healthy David Dahl and project him out for a full season. In 100 games last season, he hit 15 homers. Throw in another 50 games and that number could easily eclipse 20.
Third, and keeping on the staying healthy theme, let’s throw Daniel Murphy into the mix. Supposedly healthier and in better shape than we saw him last season, Murphy has had some power in the past. Even in a down, injury-plagued season last year, the veteran hit 13 (good for seventh on the team) in 132 games while battling that infamous broken finger suffered in the season-opening series in Miami. Like Dahl, 20 or more is possible from Murphy this year.
Fourth, let’s add more Sam Hilliard into the 2020 Rockies mix. In 77 at-bats last season, he hit seven homers. He has the power to make a big splash in the home run total if given the chance this season.
Fifth, if Ian Desmond is used more against left-handers in 2020 (his splits show that is when he is most effective by far), he has a chance to be more potent at the plate (which would be a welcome sight to Rockies fans). Don’t forget he hit 20 homers last season, fifth-highest on the team.
Is it possible to top the all-time MLB home run mark? If everything falls right, sure. However, Colorado’s all-time home run mark in a season of 239 in 1997 is certainly in play this season for a team that seemingly has power to spare … in Denver and on the road as well. In fact, I think that record will fall this season.