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More home runs were hit in June than any other month in baseball history

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Major League Baseball set a record for the most home runs hit in a month in May when 1,135 homers were hit. That record lasted one whole month. Seven more — 1,142 homers — were hit in the month of June.

This continues the pattern which began about three years ago when the home run rate in Major League Baseball skyrocketed.  Indeed, five of the top six home run months in all of baseball history have been in the last three years. After this past month and last month comes August 2017 (1,119), June 2017 (1,101), May 2000 (1,069) and May 2017 (1,060).

So far this year a total of 3,421 home runs have been hit in 1,255 games, for an average of 2.73 per game. That’s up 19% from the 2.28 average through June last year, when 2,822 home runs were hit in 1,236 games. Batters are on pace to hit 6,624 home runs in 2019. The all-time record was set in 2017 with 6,105. Last year 5,585 homers were hit.

As we’ve been saying for a couple of years now, it’s quite clear that the cause of all of this is a juiced baseball. There have been multiple studies to that effect. Most recently Dr. Meredith Wills published a study in The Athletic finding that the composition and design of baseballs has changed, with lower seams, thicker laces, smoother leather covers, a rounder, more symmetrical ball and a more centered core, or pill. All of this has led to reduced drag and longer flight distances for each strike of the bat. It should be noted that these changes are over and above the changes seen in the baseball beginning in late 2015, which itself led to a home run spike.

So here we are. We are already on pace to shatter existing home run records just as the season’s hottest weather is about to set in and just as pitchers are going to start becoming fatigued and more and more minor leaguers are called up to take up innings.

Enjoy your souvenirs, folks.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.