It’s about time for my annual update on the teams that have gone the longest without a 40-home run hitter in the lineup. Last season saw the removal of the fifth-longest tenured team on the list when Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit his 40th home run of the season on August 2, the first Oriole to do so since Rafael Palmeiro in 1998.
We currently have eight teams that are working on at least twelve seasons without a 40-home run hitter. Some of them could see that streak end this season; most of them will not.
Kansas City Royals
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: None
Current Leader: Salvador Perez/Alex Gordon (9)
When I started this project several years ago, I wish I had chosen to ironically title it “The Steve Balboni Project” or something like that. It would have been much catchier, as well as paying homage to the man who may forever hold the Royals’ single-season home run record (unless I’m mistaken, Balboni also set Kansas City’s single-season record for strikeouts that year, a mark that was broken in 1989 by Bo Jackson).
That’s a really long way of saying that unless Mike Moustakas ever figures out what the hell he’s doing at the plate, Balboni may remain the holder of one of baseball’s most interesting records for quite some time.
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Harmon Killebrew, 1970
Current Leader: Brian Dozier (15)
Some day, Miguel Sano will return from the elbow injury that tried to ruin him. He will return, and he will hit all the home runs, and Killebrew’s mark will fall.
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Willie Stargell, 1973
Current Leader: Pedro Alvarez (13)
In most cases, if a player on a team has 13 home runs halfway through the season, I write it off as a “not gonna happen” and move on. For some reason, though, Alvarez just feels like the kind of guy who could go crazy and hit 27 homers in three months.
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Gary Sheffield, 1996
Current Leader: Giancarlo Stanton (21)
One of these years, it’s gonna happen for Stanton. I’d say barring injury, but in 2012 he went deep 37 times despite missing 39 games, so getting hurt really isn’t even a barrier.
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Jason Giambi, 2000
Current Leader: Brandon Moss/Josh Donaldson (18)
This is a fun one. You have to believe that if a guy can hit 18 in half a season, he can hit 22 in half a season. But at the same time, we’re talking about Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson, a couple of good players who aren’t exactly known as mashers. It really could be interesting to watch this one down the stretch.
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Alex Rodriguez, 2000
Current Leader: Kyle Seager (13)
I honestly don’t know when a Mariner will hit 40 home runs in a season again. It could be a while. How’s that for expert analysis?
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Todd Helton, 2001
Current Leader: Troy Tulowitzki (18)
Tulowitzki has looked like a potential 40-homer guy for a while now; he’s gone over 30 a couple times and it didn’t seem unreasonable to think that he could add a few more in one or two special seasons. He’s in that Moss/Donaldson group from above, except I’d be slightly less surprised if Tulo busted out 22 more bombs before season’s end.
Los Angeles Angels
Last 40-Home Run Hitter: Troy Glaus, 2001
Current Leader: Mike Trout (18)
It’s amazing that a team with Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, and Josh Hamilton is working on its 13th seasons without a 40-homer guy (and they also had six seasons of Vlad Guerrero in there). Hamilton’s not getting there, at least not this year; Pujols might, if he kicks it up a notch or three; Trout is yet another level above Tulo in the “currently has 18 home runs” club, mainly because it feels like he is capable of anything. Forget 40 home runs – he’s a 40-40 season waiting to happen.