About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

40 Home Run seasons by catchers. Can Gary Sanchez join them?

Played at least 75% of games at Catcher. Below are the 17 seasons in which a catcher hit at least 35 Home Runs (HR) to include those who came close to 40 HR.

1Johnny Bench45141148.587197022CINNL1586716059717735454910201111252.293.345.932*273/9H85
2Javy Lopez43169109.687200332ATLNL12949545789150293335904011001.328.3781.065*2H/D
3Todd Hundley41140112.550199627NYMNL153624540851403217915146302913.259.356.906*2H
4Roy Campanella41154142.611195331BRONL1445905191031622636758401342.312.3951.006*2H
5Mike Piazza40135124.575199930NYMNL1415935341001622505111701072722.303.361.936*2/HD
6Mike Piazza40185124.638199728LADNL1526335561042013216911773051951.362.4311.070*2/DH
7Johnny Bench40166125.541197224CINNL14765353887145222100238420121866.270.379.920*29/35
8Mike Piazza38155113.614200031NYMNL136545482901562605810693021542.324.3981.012*2/HD
9Carlton Fisk37115107.488198537CHWAL1536205438512923152128117269179.238.320.808*2D/H
10Gabby Hartnett37144122.630193029CHCNL1415775088417231355621140.339.4041.034*2/H
11Mike Piazza3614894.573200132NYMNL141573503811512906719872012002.300.384.957*2/HD
12Mike Piazza36166105.563199627LADNL148631547871841608121931022103.336.422.985*2/H
13Joe Torre36156101.560196625ATLNL14861454683172203608612241804.315.382.943*23/H
14Ivan Rodriguez35125113.558199927TEXAL14463060011619929124264105312512.332.356.914*2/HD
15Terry Steinbach35116100.529199634OAKAL145571514791402514951156021601.272.342.871*2H/D3
16Mike Piazza35153112.561199324LADNL14960254781174242466863061034.318.370.932*2/H3
17Walker Cooper35140122.586194732NYGNL14054751579157248244334132.305.339.926*2/H

Only once did a catcher hit at least 40 HR in fewer than 500 at bats (AB): Javey Lopez 2003: 43 HR in only 457 AB. Mike Piazza is the only other catcher to hit at least 35 HR in fewer than 500 AB: in 2000 38 HR in 482 AB.

Johnny Bench had by far the most AB of any catcher 40 HR season when he set the record for catchers with 45 HR in 605 AB in 1970. Among the 17 seasons with at least 35 HR, the only other one with at least 600 AB: Ivan Rodriguez: 35 HR in 600 AB in his MVP season of 1999.

Gabby Hartnett was the first catcher to hit at least 35 HR: 37 in 508 AB in 1930. Hartnett's Cub teammate outfielder Hack Wilson set the National League record with 56 HR that stood until 1998.

Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella was the first catcher to hit at least 40 HR: 1953 41 HR in 519 AB. Campanella was NL MVP in 1951, 1953, 1955.

Johnny Bench was the next to hit 40 and the first of two to do it twice:
1970 45
1972 40

Mike Piazza:
1997 40 Dodgers
1999 40 Mets

Piazza is the only catcher to hit at least 35 more than twice: SIX times! But Piazza never held the Mets record for HR in a season. Met catcher Todd Hundley hit 41 HR in 1996, a Met record that was later tied by center fielder Carlos Beltran. Hundley is the only catcher to currently hold his team's season record for HR.

Four of the 17 catcher seasons with at least 35 HR are by Dodgers or Mets, the most of any teams. OK, Piazza has three for each of those two teams. Campanella and Hundley the other ones.

Javey Lopez is the most recent catcher to hit at least 40 HR: 43 in 2003. So, can Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez join this very exclusive club? In 2017 Sanchez hit 33 HR in 471 AB; career: 53 HR in 674 AB. That's one career HR every 12.7 AB. At that rate Sanchez would hit 40 HR in about 508 AB. Here are the Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System baseball-reference.com 2018 projections for Sanchez and two of his Yankee teammates:

1Giancarlo Stanton2859351690136261431043267154.264.352.568.92029310513984%
2Aaron Judge265494539412320237867389161.272.395.570.96425812513776%
3Gary Sanchez254854327112121031803142111.280.351.544.8942359714275%

Would Yankee fans take that, 111 HR for the three of them? The fans probably should ... but probably won't. After all, Yankee fans have this dancing in their heads:

Ruth/Gehrig, Mantle/Maris, Stanton/Judge: another Yankee 60 Home Run race? Thursday, February 22, 2018

89 best hitting seasons for catchers 1920-2017. Saturday, February 24, 2018