Despite an uptick in 2012, the number of Major League players with 20+ home runs in a single season has been declining steadily since 2008. Last season just 56 MLB players reached that mark, the lowest such tally since the 30-year low of 31 such players in 1994.
Since 1985, the Red Sox have always had at least one 20+ home run slugger, save for 1992.
David Ortiz, who hit 35 home runs in 2014, has belted 20+ HRs every season since joining the Red Sox in 2003. His 12 such seasons is 2nd in Red Sox history only to the 16 by Ted Williams. Last year Ortiz surpassed Dwight Evans and Jim Rice, both of whom had 11 such seasons.
2014 was, well, forgettable.The Red Sox total of 123 home runs last season was their worst output since 114 total HRs in 1993. In 2014 Ortiz was the only Boston player to reach 20+ home runs. It marked just the 5th time over the past 30 seasons (and the first time since 1994) that the Sox had just one such player. The four other times since 1985 featured Ellis Burks (1990), Jack Clark (1991), and Mo Vaughn (1993-94).
In what turned out ultimately to be the disappointing season of 2003, the Red Sox had a club record six players with 20+ home runs: Manny Ramirez (37), David Ortiz (31), Nomar Garciaparra (28), Trot Nixon (28), Kevin Millar (25) and Jason Varitek (25).
The MLB record for a club with the most players with 20+ home runs in a single season is seven. It’s happened just five times: 1996 Orioles, 2000 and 2010 Blue Jays, 2005 Rangers, and the 2009 Yankees.
By every measure, the 2015 Red Sox offensive production should be prodigious, particularly when compared to the anemic campaign we just witnessed. It will be fun to see how the retooled Boston offense performs together and what new records can be written.