Mariners’ home runs piling up in historic fashion
As the Mariners have continued piling up home runs this spring, questions have arisen regarding how this year compares with the best in Cactus League play.
The Mariners broke their own club record for most home runs in a spring on Monday when they hit two more bombs to reach 52 through 29 games, with four more games still to play.
There are no official Cactus League records, so it’s impossible to know how this club ranks all-time. But Jeff Evans of the Mariners’ Baseball Information Department dug through recent years and uncovered that only four other Major League clubs — Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues — have hit more than 50 homers in a spring since 2006.
The Royals hit 56 in 36 games in 2009 and the Tigers slugged 54 in 32 games in 2006. The Rangers hit 52 in 29 games in ’06 as well, while the Brewers bopped 50 in 2009.
So there you have it. The Mariners can track their own spring records back to when they started play in 1977, but again, there are no official spring marks. As Evans notes, most springs don’t include as many games as the 2006, 2009 and now 2013 years when MLB started camps earlier in order to help prepare players for the World Baseball Classic.
So there probably aren’t a lot of springs when any MLB teams hit more dingers than the current Mariners. And it’s worth noting that this club isn’t just benefitting from the long spring. This year’s group is averaging 1.79 home runs per game, which is well ahead of the per-game average club record of 1.59 set in 1999.
Perhaps most amazing about this spring has been the consistency, as the Mariners have hit a home run in 28 of their 29 games going into Tuesday’s battle with the Royals.
Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales share the team lead with six each, two shy of the club record eight hit by Mike Wilson in ’09. Morales has homered in four of his last five starts. And, yep, he’s in the lineup today in the 1:05 p.m. game.