With Mike Trout ruled out for the season, the only American League player left to challenge his spot on the AL home run leaderboard was Royals designated hitter Jorge Soler. Entering Saturday’s game, Soler was tied with Trout at 45 homers apiece, still a significant number above the second-place Alex Bregman, with 41, and third-place Nelson Cruz, with 40.
He rectified that during the Royals’ 4-3 loss to the Twins, however, not only snapping the tie with his 46th blast of the season, but moving ahead with his 47th as well. In the bottom of the first inning, he worked a 2-2 count against Minnesota right-hander Cody Stashak, then punched a 93-m.p.h. fastball out to deep center field for a 1-0 lead:
Several innings later, against a 3-1 deficit, Soler pounced on a first-pitch slider from reliever Tyler Duffey and returned it to the left field stands to tie the game — and all but cement his place as the 2019 AL home run leader.
With home run no. 47 under his belt, Soler moves into third place in the league, tied with Cody Bellinger (47) and just a hair below Eugenio Suárez (49). The overall league leader is still Mets’ rookie Pete Alonso, who broke the all-time rookie home run record with his 52nd blast against the Braves on Friday.
Although he’s unlikely to capture the league title at this point, the Royals’ slugger still hit an impressive — and career-best — mark. Prior to Saturday’s contest, he boasted a .263/.352/.555 batting line with 113 RBI, a .907 OPS, and 3.3 fWAR through 671 plate appearances. His 47 home runs still stand as the single-season franchise record.