StaTuesday: Twins hitting homers like it’s 2004

Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier celebrates his three-run home run with Joe Mauer, left, and Eduardo Nunez against the Chicago White Sox.

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated/AP

Home runs are up across baseball this year, with major-league teams hitting them at the highest rate since 2000.

The Minnesota Twins are no exception, hitting home runs at their best rate in more than 10 years.

Minnesota is averaging 1.16 homers per game this season, a rate that would be its highest since 2004 and sixth-highest in team history. The team ranks 16th in the majors in home run per game, which would be its highest since it finished 13th in 2009.

The Twins haven’t ranked in the top 10 in home runs per game since 1988.

Year Home Runs Games HR/G MLB Rank
2016 107 92 1.16 16th
2015 156 162 0.96 16th
2014 128 162 0.79 19th
2013 151 162 0.93 18th
2012 131 162 0.81 26th
2011 103 162 0.64 28th
2010 142 162 0.88 19th
2009 172 163 1.06 13th
2008 111 163 0.68 29th
2007 118 162 0.73 29th
2006 143 162 0.88 28th
2005 134 162 0.83 24th
2004 191 162 1.18 12th
2003 155 162 0.96 20th
2002 167 161 1.04 12th
2001 164 162 1.01 20th
2000 116 162 0.72 30th
1999 105 162 0.65 30th
1998 115 162 0.71 27th
1997 132 162 0.81 25th
1996 118 162 0.73 28th
1995 120 144 0.83 22nd
1994 103 113 0.91 22nd
1993 121 162 0.75 23rd
1992 104 162 0.64 15th
1991 140 162 0.86 10th
1990 100 162 0.62 23rd
1989 117 162 0.72 17th
1988 151 162 0.93 4th
1987 196 162 1.21 7th

1986 196 162 1.21 2nd
1985 141 162 0.87 12th
1984 114 162 0.70 15th
1983 141 162 0.87 10th
1982 148 162 0.91 7th
1981 47 110 0.43 23rd
1980 99 161 0.61 20th
1979 112 162 0.69 20th
1978 82 162 0.51 22nd
1977 123 162 0.76 18th
1976 81 162 0.50 17th
1975 121 159 0.76 11th
1974 111 163 0.68 11th
1973 120 162 0.74 14th
1972 93 154 0.60 17th
1971 116 160 0.73 12th
1970 153 162 0.94 10th
1969 163 162 1.01 Fifth
1968 105 162 0.65 Ninth
1967 131 164 0.80 6th
1966 144 162 0.89 10th
1965 150 162 0.93 7th
1964 221 163 1.36 1st
1963 225 161 1.40 1st
1962 185 163 1.13 4th
1961 167 161 1.04 7th

Minnesota has led the majors in home runs twice — in 1963 and 1964. Harmon Killebrew led the 1963 Twins with 45 home runs, while Bob Allison hit 35, Jimmie Hall hit 33 and Earl Battey hit 26. Killebrew hit an MLB-leading 49 the next season, while Allison and Tony Oliva added 32, Hall hit 25, Don Mincher hit 23 and Zolio Versalles hit 20. Minnesota finished 79-83 that season.

The Twins had five players with at least 20 home runs in 1986, led by Gary Gaetti with 34 and Kirby Puckett with 31. Four had at least 20 the following season, including three with at least 30, as the team went on to win the World Series.

That year was the start of an 18-season drought in which the Twins did not have a hitter with 30 home runs. Minnesota especially struggled to hit the long ball in 1999 and 2000, when they finished last in the majors in home runs. The Twins did not have a 20-home run hitter either of those seasons.

The Twins had a home run renaissance in 2004, when eight players hit at least 10, led by Corey Koskie’s 25. That was also the last full season in which Minnesota averaged more than one home run per game.

This season, Minnesota already has four players (Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, Eduardo Nunez and Byung Ho Park) with at least 12 home runs. Another, Max Kepler, has nine home runs in 50 games. Dozier, Sano and Nunez are on pace to reach at least 20 HRs on the season.

All told, the Twins are on pace to hit 188 home runs in 2016. Not bad for a team that has historically struggled to hit the long ball.

Stats courtesy mlb.com

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