Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Matt Musico
We’ve sliced and diced single-season home run leaders many different ways here at MLB Daily Dingers. There are still more ways to do it, though. The most powerful seasons at each position in MLB history has been touched upon, but not for each team. First, we’re going to see who the Diamondbacks single season HR leaders are at each spot on the diamond.
Not every single one of the dingers hit by the following players happened while playing their respective position. But most were. To be eligible, players had to man that spot for 75% of their games and register at least 200 plate appearances. Pitchers and (for now) designated hitters are exceptions to the plate-appearance minimum.
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Diamondbacks Single Season HR Leaders
Catcher: Miguel Montero (2011) & Carson Kelly (2019): 18 Home Runs
Miguel Montero had slugged 10-plus homers in a season for the DBacks twice before 2011. However, this particular year began his best streak of power overall. He reached double digits each season between 2011 and 2015. The first four seasons were with Arizona, while the final year was for the Chicago Cubs.
All but one of his homers in 2011 came off right-handed pitchers. Montero also never hit more than four dingers in a month. He started and finished strong, though — he hit four homers in each of March/April and September/October.
Carson Kelly spent parts of three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals but didn’t do much. He posted just a .415 OPS with no homers at all through 63 games (131 plate appearances). The backstop joined Arizona for his age-24 season in 2019 and needed just 365 plate appearances to hit 18 homers. Despite the DBacks playing home games in a hitter-friendly environment, 14 of Kelly’s 18 homers came on the road.
It’s also worth noting that eight of his 18 dingers came in the ninth inning or later (seven in the ninth, one in extras).
Pitcher: Micah Owings, 2007: 4 Home Runs
Micah Owings‘ MLB career spanned from 2007 to 2012. He was an overall excellent hitter, producing a career slash line of .283/.310/.502 with nine homers and 35 RBI. Seven of these dingers came in two different years, with four of them coming as a rookie for the DBacks.
He was quite solid all around for a 24-year-old. Owings produced a 4.30 ERA in 152.2 innings of work. However, he took home a Silver Slugger Award after hitting .333/.349/.683 with those four homers and 15 RBI. Owings actually produced 12 total extra-base hits, which included seven doubles and one triple. This all led to a healthy 1.033 OPS.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt (2013, 2017) & Christian Walker (2022): 36 Home Runs
Paul Goldschmidt is second on the DBacks’ career homer list for a reason, folks. He enjoyed four different seasons of 30-plus home runs. The 2013 performance was significant because it was his first 30-homer output, and it also led the National League. The 2017 season was one of his three top-three finishes in NL MVP voting. He also had some symmetry in his home run splits.
Goldy slugged 20 homers at home and 16 on the road. He also slugged 20 homers in the first half, followed by 16 after the All-Star break. His hottest month of all was August when the first baseman posted a 1.131 OPS with 11 homers and 31 RBI. That was followed by just three homers and a .555 OPS in his final 93 plate appearances.
Christian Walker‘s 36 homers aren’t just tied with Goldschmidt for the most in a single season for Arizona’s first basemen. He was also the DBacks’ home run leader in 2022. He liked to do his work earlier in games. Between the first and third innings, Walker slugged 15 homers. He hit that same number between innings four and six. Obviously, the first baseman hit just six homers from the seventh inning on.
Second Base: Jay Bell, 1999: 38 Home Runs
The 1999 season was truly an outlier for Jay Bell in his MLB career. He played 13 years in the big leagues prior to this campaign. He slugged double-digit homers just five times and averaged 10 homers per year during that span. However, four of those double-digit homer performances came between 1995 and 1998. But then again, Bell never slugged more than 21 in a year. He also never got over the 20-homer plateau in the four years that followed this performance.
What I find interesting about this is that while 24 of his 38 homers were solo shots, his performance with the bases empty and men on base was identical. In both situations, Bell produced a .931 OPS. You can’t even plan a coincidence like that.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew, 2008: 21 Home Runs
The 2008 season was easily the best full year of Stephen Drew‘s career. He slashed .291/.333/.502 with 76 extra-base hits (44 doubles, 11 triples, and those 21 homers). Drew added in 67 RBI and 91 runs scored on his way to finishing 26th in NL MVP voting.
His monthly OPS numbers resembled a roller coaster. It began with a .810 mark in April, followed by a .778 mark in May. Things bottomed out in June with a .694 OPS before he progressively played better: .813 in July, .864 in August, and 1.041 in September/October. The final month of 2008 was also Drew’s most powerful. Between July and August, he hit just four homers in 51 games. In September/October, he slugged six in 24 games.
Third Base: Mark Reynolds, 2009: 44 Home Runs
Mark Reynolds did two things during his tenure in Arizona: hit homers and strike out. He struck out 200-plus times from 2008-10, leading the league on each occasion. However, Reynolds did also post three straight years of at least 28 homers and 85 RBI.
His best, of course, was 2009. It was the first and only time he surpassed the 40-homer and 100-RBI plateau. Reynolds also finished 20th in NL MVP voting, and his .892 OPS was the best of any season in his MLB career. The right-handed slugger got to 44 dingers thanks to his consistency. His most powerful month included 11 dingers in August, but he hit exactly eight homers in each of May, June, and July.
Diamondbacks Single Season HR Leaders
Left Field: Luis Gonzalez, 2001: 57 Home Runs
Luis Gonzalez holds the distinction of being both the DBacks’ career and single-season home run leader. He nearly took the single-season RBI crown, too. Similar to Bell, this performance easily stands out when looking at his yearly statistics. His next-highest homer total for a single season came in 2000 when he hit 31. His 35 first-half homers are among the most in baseball history, and if it wasn’t for a slow September, he’d be part of the 60-homer club.
Gonzo enjoyed three months of double-digit homers: 13 in March/April, 12 in June, and 10 in August. He also posted an OPS greater than 1.000 in each of the first five months of the regular season. The outfielder cooled off in his final 128 plate appearances, though. His six homers were the lowest output of any month of the year, as was his .886 OPS.
Center Field: Steve Finley, 2000: 35 Home Runs
Steve Finley‘s first year in Arizona was in 1999. He made a terrific first impression by blasting 34 homers with 103 RBI and an .861 OPS. Hard to follow that up, right? Well, Finley did a little better in two of the areas by slugging 35 dingers with 96 RBI and a .904 OPS.
Finley did the majority of his work in the first half. He slugged 25 homers and posted a .601 slugging percentage in his first 366 plate appearances. Through his final 257 trips to the plate, Finley collected just 10 more homers and posted a .465 slugging percentage. There was pretty good balance on his homer production throughout the course of a game. Finley hit 10 homers between innings 1-3, 15 between innings 4-6, and another 10 between innings 7-9.
Right Field: Reggie Sanders, 2001: 33 Home Runs
Reggie Sanders enjoyed eight seasons of 20-plus homers during his 17-year MLB career. The 2001 campaign was his first of two 30-homer performances, and this total was a single-season career-high mark for the outfielder.
Despite having just 149 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers (compared to 347 vs. righties), Sanders nearly split his homers down the middle. He slugged 14 against southpaws and 19 against righties. He also hit 19 at home and 14 on the road, as well as 19 in the first half and 14 in the second half.
By June 1st, Sanders already had 15 home runs, but the final four months of the regular season were weird for him. He combined to slug eight homers between June, July, and September/October (58 games). But in August, he slugged 10 in 25 games played. It also resulted in a 1.088 OPS, which was just the second time that number crested over 1.000 (he also had a 1.190 mark in March/April).
Designated Hitter: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., 2023: 8 Home Runs
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. racked up 208 plate appearances in 50 games as the DBacks’ designated hitter. While he now holds the franchise’s home run record at this spot, it’s not like the rest of his production was top-notch. He posted a 77 wRC+ and -0.6 fWAR as the DH, which included a triple slash of .221/.260/.415.
Overall, Gurriel had a great first year with Arizona. He slugged 24 total home runs with 82 RBI and a .772 OPS. He also earned his first-ever All-Star Game selection in the process.
Want to see some homers in person this season? Of course you do. Grab MLB tickets from our friends at Vivid Seats. And before you get to the stadium, make sure you’re decked out in the right gear. Get your favorite team’s official merch from the MLB Shop or a ‘Big Dinger Energy’ shirt from our apparel store.