The KC Royals rank dead last among major league franchises with respect to their single season home run record. Kansas City is the only team that has never had a player hit 40 or more home runs. Will someone break Steve Balboni’s 32-year-old record in 2017?
The Kansas City Royals have traditionally built their teams around speed and defense rather than power. This choice isn’t surprising since they’ve played in spacious Kauffman Stadium since 1973. The team’s single season home run record stands at a major-league low 36 home runs set by first baseman Steve Balboni in 1985. The next lowest team mark is the New York Mets at 41.
KC Royals fans have wondered for years when Balboni’s record would fall. Even with the deep power alleys of Kauffman Stadium, someone has to be able to hit more than 36 dingers sometime, right? Heck, 15 players slammed more than 36 home runs in 2016. And, 72 hitters have surpassed 36 homers in the last decade.
You have to think the Kansas City Royals will field one such player eventually.
Such a record breaking season could be coming soon. Major league baseball set an all-time record for home run rate in 2016. With round-trippers flying out of ballparks like crazy, shouldn’t Balboni’s record fall soon?
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That answer might depend on if the ball is juiced. Home runs spiked the last two months of 2015 and continued through the playoffs and the entire 2016 season. If the ball remains “lively” in 2017, that would certainly increase the chances of someone breaking Balboni’s record. If the ball reverts to the pre-spike standard, obviously breaking the record becomes more difficult. Of course, we don’t know if the ball really was juiced and that some other reason drove the home run explosion.
Leaving that speculation aside and presuming the home run environment remains similar to 2016, let’s look at the top candidates: