MLB’s home run record could fall

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This year’s 5,000th home run will be hit tonight. We currently stand at 4,990 homers this year with three weeks to go. That’s already the highest total in any year since 2009, and we still have one-eighth of the season to complete. The overall home run record is within reach.

I’ve been tracking this on twitter for a while now. Here are our biggest home run seasons of all-time:

2000: 5,692
1999: 5,528
2001: 5,458
2004: 5,451
2006: 5,386

When I first added it up on July 27, we were on pace for 5,587 homers, which would have been the second highest total of all-time. On Aug. 23, the pace was up to 5,673. Today, we’re at 5,677, leaving us just a tad short of a new record.

Scoring isn’t up as much as homers. Right now, we’re averaging 8.99 runs per game, which is the highest mark since 2009, but still considerably lower than what we saw from the mid-90s to the mid-00s. We’re on pace for 21,846 runs scored, which is up 1,200 runs from last year and 2,000 runs from 2014, but still 3,000 runs lower than the 1999-2000 peak.

One thing that might seem like an oddity is that the home run record could fall without a single 50-homer guy this year. Mark Trumbo is the only player currently at 40, with 41, and he’s probably not hitting nine homers in three weeks. The year the record was set, though, featured no one with more than 50 homers. Sammy Sosa led the majors with 50 on the button in 2000, followed by Barry Bonds at 49 and Jeff Bagwell and Troy Glaus with 47 apiece.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.