The 2016 Baltimore Orioles have their sights set on an American League wildcard berth, but there’s one other feat they could accomplish in the process: breaking the single-season home run record for an MLB team.
The Orioles are currently on pace to hit 255 home runs this year, leading the second-place team, the Toronto Blue Jays, by 27. As it stands, that projected total puts the Orioles nine short of the current record-holders, the 1997 Seattle Mariners, a team which contained the likes of legendary baseball players Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Edgar Martínez.
The Orioles boast three players who currently rank amongst the top 15 highest home run hitters in the league: Mark Trumbo with 45 home runs, first-baseman Chris Davis with 38, and third-baseman Manny Machado with 36. If Davis and Machado hit two and four more home runs respectively, the Orioles could be the first AL team to have three players hit 40 or more home runs in a single season.
Adam Jones, who is a fan favorite in Baltimore, ranks fourth on the team with 28 home runs. Jones has been a very consistent player for the team, this being his sixth straight season with at least 25 home runs.
Mark Trumbo, who was acquired by the Orioles through a trade with the Seattle Mariners during the off-season, has been a huge surprise for the 2016 season. He has more than double the amount of home runs compared to the previous season (22), paralleling Chris Davis’ 2013 season where he hit 53 home runs after having only 33 the year before.
Another player the Orioles acquired this past off-season was designated hitter Pedro Alvarez, a free agent who formerly played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alvarez was a major factor towards the team’s home run total as well, hitting 22 home runs, good for sixth best on the team.
Manny Machado, along with second-baseman Jonathan Schoop who has 22 home runs on the year, both set career marks in home runs for the season, which is another reason the Orioles are approaching this historic mark.
This prolific season is indicative of a larger trend in baseball – the average amount of home runs per team per game has risen by 0.15 the past two seasons and this year’s average of 1.16 marks the second highest average in MLB history, only behind the 2000 season’s average of 1.17.
As for the Orioles, their final series of the 2016 season is against the New York Yankees, who currently rank fourth among all teams in the league in home runs allowed this season. The Orioles, on the other hand, have only 19 home runs in 16 meetings against the Yankees during the course of the year, which is their lowest total against any of their AL East rivals.
Although it seems like a long-shot for the Orioles to break this record, it is still within reach, along with the team record of 257 home runs set in 1996. Still, the pursuit of these home run records is secondary compared to clinching a wildcard berth, with the team hoping to avoid missing the postseason for the second consecutive year.