Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Matt Musico
We’ve already sliced and diced home run history in many ways on these here interweb pages. One area that’s been touched upon is powerful rookie seasons. But like we’ve done in the past, that’s just one part of the equation. There’s a story to tell across the league. Who holds the rookie home run record for each MLB team?
All the answers you need are below.
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Rookie Home Run Record for Each Team
Arizona Diamondbacks: Chris Young, 32 Home Runs in 2007
Chris Young had an interesting 13-year MLB career with a few different clubs. When it comes to overall production, though, it didn’t get better than what he did with the DBacks. The 32 home runs he hit as a rookie ended up being the only time he surpassed the 30-homer plateau. Young also added 68 RBI, 85 runs scored, 29 doubles, 27 steals, and .763 OPS while finishing fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.
The two-month span between July and August is what got him over that magical number. Entering July, Young had 11 homers to his name. He then went on to slug another 17 (eight in July, nine in August) to more than double his season-long total.
Atlanta Braves: Wally Berger, 38 Home Runs in 1930
Wally Berger couldn’t have started his big-league career much better than he did in 1930. Accompanied by those 38 homers were 119 RBI, 98 runs scored, and a .310/.375/.614 triple slash. He produced five years of at least 25 dingers during his career, and they all came by his age-30 campaign.
In his first 10 April games, though, Berger had just one homer. He proceeded to hit 21 between May and June to get himself on a historic track when looking at Braves rookie performances. Berger had a .279/.311/.465 line entering the month of May. By the time July rolled around, those numbers all rose dramatically to .318/.372/.691.
Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle, 33 Home Runs in 2021
Ryan Mountcastle technically made his big-league debut during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Because of that, he held onto his rookie status for another year. So, he’ll be one of the very few players in baseball history with two top-10 finishes in Rookie of the year voting.
The right-handed hitter enjoyed playing at Camden Yards (before they moved the left-field walls back). He posted a .871 OPS with 22 home runs and 49 RBI in 301 plate appearances. As a visiting player, his OPS dropped to .713 with 11 dingers and 40 RBI in 285 plate appearances.
It’s also worth noting that just about half of his season-long homer total came over the final two months. Mountcastle hit eight dingers in August and followed that up with another eight in September/October. He’s also the last Orioles player to hit three homers in a game, which is a nice feather to put in your hat.
Boston Red Sox: Walt Dropo, 34 Home Runs in 1950
Walt Dropo had a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 1949. Through 44 trips to the plate, he slashed .146/.205/.195 with two extra-base hits (two doubles). He used that experience to propel himself to Rookie of the Year honors in 1950, as well as placing sixth in AL MVP voting. The first baseman hit .322/.378/.583 with those 34 homers and a league-leading 144 RBI. He was also at the top of the leaderboard in total bases with 326.
I just got done talking about Mountcastle enjoying his time at home, and it was even more exaggerated for Dropo. At Fenway Park, he owned a 1.173 OPS with 24 home runs and 93 RBI. Despite getting 21 more plate appearances on the road, his OPS dropped down to .770 with 10 homers and 51 RBI.
Chicago Cubs: Patrick Wisdom, 28 Home Runs in 2021
Patrick Wisdom‘s trip to the majors was also an interesting one. He appeared for two other clubs before joining the Cubs (the Cardinals and Rangers). However, he still kept his rookie status intact until 2021, when he finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Wisdom spent time hitting in all nine spots of the batting order during this particular campaign. Most of his damage came in the three- and four-holes, but he slugged at least two homers in six different spots. His performance did consistently go down with each out recorded, though. With no outs, Wisdom hit 11 homers with a 1.029 OPS. Those numbers went down to 10 and .766, respectively, with one out, and again to seven and .685, respectively, with two outs.
Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu, 36 Home Runs in 2014
During his nine-year stint with the White Sox, Jose Abreu posted six performances of at least 25 homers and 100 RBI. Four of those occurrences came right out of the gate, beginning with his Rookie of the Year performance in 2014. En route to winning a Silver Slugger and placing fourth in AL MVP voting, Abreu also led the league in slugging percentage (.581) and OPS+ (173).
He frontloaded his home run power toward the beginning of his season. Abreu posted a slugging percentage of at least .552 in each of his first four months (with three of them finishing above .600). Over the final two months, his slugging percentage failed to top .500. The first baseman was specifically clutch in tie games. He slashed .339/.407/.683 with 15 home runs and 39 RBI in that situation.
Cincinnati Reds: Frank Robinson, 38 Home Runs in 1956
Frank Robinson began his Hall of Fame career by setting the Reds’ rookie home run record, and it ended with him being on a number of home run leaderboards. Even all these years later, he remains in the top 10 of the all-time list. This also began a powerful 10-year stint with Cincinnati before heading over to Baltimore. He hit fewer than 29 homers in a season just once during this time (21 in 1963).
What’s interesting about his campaign is it started and ended slowly, but what he did in between was quite legit. He combined for five homers and 13 RBI, along with a sub-.800 OPS in April and September. But between May and August, he slugged 33 homers with 70 RBI and a 1.000 OPS.
Cleveland Guardians: Al Rosen, 37 Home Runs in 1950
Al Rosen spent parts of three seasons with Cleveland from 1947-49. He appeared in 35 total games before finally landing in the big leagues as a regular. With that opportunity, Rosen not only set the franchise’s rookie home run record, but he also won the league’s home run crown that year. It was the start of five consecutive years of 24-plus homers and at least 102 RBI.
Outside of Cleveland — where he slugged 21 of his 37 homers — the next most popular place where Rosen went deep was Shibe Park in Philadelphia. He hit five homers with 13 RBI to go along with a 1.162 OPS in 51 plate appearances there.
Colorado Rockies: Wilin Rosario, 28 Home Runs in 2012
Wilin Rosario has the honor of not only having the Rockies’ rookie home run record, but also the franchise’s catcher home run record with this 2012 performance. All five of his big-league seasons came with Colorado, and 2012-13 were his most powerful. These two campaigns were the only times he slugged at least 20 homers with 70-plus RBI.
The backstop obviously racked up most of his homers against other NL West opponents. He slugged four homers each against the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Dodgers. He added in another three for the Padres, too. Outside of those four, he hit .333/.333/.792 with three homers and nine RBI in just six games (24 plate appearances) against the Phillies.
Detroit Tigers: Rudy York, 35 Home Runs in 1937
Like Rosario, Rudy York was a catcher. And like Rosario, he owns the Tigers’ rookie home run record and their single-season record for homers by a catcher. There’s just something about backstops coming out of the gate extra hot from the standpoint of power production, I guess. York ended up slugging 30-plus homers four times in his career, including three in his first four years.
He only appeared in 32 games before the All-Star break, and the majority of his homers (28, to be exact) came in the second half. But if we’re being honest, it was the month of August that made this all possible. In just 126 plate appearances, York slashed .363/.429/.920 (!) with 18 (!!) home runs and 50 (!!!) RBI.
Houston Astros: Yordan Alvarez, 27 Home Runs in 2019
Yordan Alvarez burst onto the scene to win the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year Award. What’s even more impressive is he did that and set the Astros’ rookie home run record while just playing in 87 games as a 22-year-old. He’s since enjoyed two more seasons of 30-plus homers, and there will be plenty more where that came from.
He didn’t make his big-league debut until June 2019 and proceeded to hit at least five homers each month down the stretch. He also had an OPS of a least 1.000 each month, except for September/October. It was “just” .999 to close out the regular season.
Kansas City Royals: Bob Hamelin, 24 Home Runs in 1994
Bob Hamelin had a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 1993. He used that to propel himself to Rookie of the Year honors while slashing .282/.388/.599 with those 24 homers and 65 RBI in just 375 plate appearances. His MLB career lasted six total seasons, and he’d never again hit more than 20 dingers in a year.
Hamelin posted an OPS of at least .811 in each third of a ball game throughout the season. However, it was the middle innings he enjoyed the most. He hit .328/.418/.707 with 11 homers and 27 RBI between innings four and six. Outside of hitting 13 homers at Kauffman Stadium, the left-handed slugger didn’t hit more than two dingers at any other venue during the ’94 campaign.
Los Angeles Angels: Tim Salmon, 31 Home Runs in 1993
En route to hitting 299 career homers (all as a member of the Angels), Salmon slugged at least 30 in a season on five different occasions.
Salmon spread out his power production quite evenly depending on the game’s situation during his Rookie of the Year campaign. When the Angels were winning, he hit nine homers with 37 RBI. If he was hitting while they were losing, he hit 12 dingers with 32 RBI. And in tie games, he slugged 10 homers with 27 RBI.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger, 39 Home Runs in 2017
Cody Bellinger took home NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. He actually broke Frank Robinson’s NL Rookie Home Run record with these 39 home runs. That made some headlines, but he was mostly overshadowed — literally and figuratively — by another slugger who broke the MLB Rookie Home Run record. More on him in a little bit.
Bellinger was solid from the moment he made his debut through the end of the regular season. However, there were only two months where he slugged at least nine homers while driving in 25 runs. They came consecutively in May and June. He hit .265/.338/.654 with 22 homers, 14 doubles, 54 RBI, and 44 runs scored in 237 plate appearances. The Dodgers went 40-16 in the 56 games during that stretch.
Miami Marlins: Dan Uggla, 27 Home Runs in 2006
Dan Uggla is home run royalty when it comes to Marlins’ second basemen. The 27 homers he hit as a rookie were his lowest season-long total. He followed it up with four straight years of 30-plus dingers before joining the Atlanta Braves.
Unsurprisingly, he was a big factor regarding wins and losses for Florida. When the Marlins won, Uggla was usually part of the action. He slashed .335/.400/.628 with 20 homers and 59 RBI during that situation. In losses, his triple slash dropped dramatically to .232/.280/.340 with seven homers and 31 RBI.
Rookie Home Run Record for Each Team
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun, 34 Home Runs in 2007
Ryan Braun is comfortably the Brewers’ all-time home run king, and it started immediately in 2007. This Rookie of the Year campaign was the start of six straight years where he slugged at least 25 homers with 95 RBI. The five seasons that followed ’07 were all 100-RBI performances.
He didn’t make his MLB debut until May 25th. Once the calendar flipped to June, he had only hit one homer. So, the dude went nuts over the final four months. It’s also worth noting how much he torched left-handed pitching as a rookie.
Against right-handers, Braun collected 19 homers with a .845 OPS in 364 plate appearances. But against lefties, he nearly matched that homer total (15) with an incredible 1.480 OPS in just 128 trips to the plate.
Minnesota Twins: Jimmie Hall, 33 Home Runs in 1963
The 1963 campaign was the peak of Jimmie Hall‘s career from a power perspective. He began his MLB tenure with four straight years of 20-plus homers. But after hitting 33 as a rookie, his homer production went down in nearly every season that followed.
You’d have to imagine there aren’t a ton of 30-homer campaigns that begin with no homers in April. That’s what happened to Hall, though. In his first 53 plate appearances, the outfielder didn’t hit a single homer while producing a .639 OPS. He made up for it in August, though. In 123 trips to the plate, Hall produced a 1.114 OPS with 13 homers.
He also enjoyed being a visiting player. Of the 33 homers he hit in 1963, 20 of them came on the road.
New York Mets: Pete Alonso, 53 Home Runs in 2019
Pete Alonso came out of the box hot for the Mets. He broke the franchise rookie home run record by the end of June. The franchise’s overall home run record fell by the end of August before he captured the MLB rookie home run record in September.
The month in which he hit the fewest homers was July when he slugged six. Other than that, he didn’t finish a month with fewer than eight dingers. Alonso entered the All-Star break with 30 homers and then proceeded to win the Home Run Derby. He cooled off in the second half, but that event didn’t ruin his swing one bit. The first baseman hit 23 homers down the stretch, including 11 in September to pass the guy directly underneath him on this list.
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge, 52 Home Runs in 2017
All of the attention on Aaron Judge is now typically focused on the 62 homers he hit in 2022. But that was the second time in his career he surpassed the 50-homer plateau. In fact, he was the first rookie to ever hit the half-century mark, which is a nice feather in the cap to have.
The first four months of his Rookie of the Year campaign had a nice bit of symmetry to it. He slugged 10 homers in April, seven in May, 10 in June, and seven in July. But once he got to August, the dog days started getting to him. Not only did he collect just three homers, but he also slashed .185/.353/.326.
All he needed was for the calendar to flip to September because he was back to his dominant self. Over his final 121 trips to the plate, Judge hit .311/.463/.889 with 15 (!) homers and 32 RBI to catch the guy also immediately underneath him on this list.
Oakland Athletics: Mark McGwire, 49 Home Runs in 1987
Until Judge passed him, all MLB rookies were chasing what Mark McGwire did in 1987 in the homer department for Oakland. He accomplished this 49-homer, 118-RBI campaign in his age-23 season. He didn’t enjoy a 40-100 season again until 1992. Big Mac hit those benchmarks a total of six times during his career, though.
McGwire spread his homer production quite evenly throughout games (17 in innings 1-3 and 4-6, 12 in innings 7-9), but certain innings reigned supreme. He slugged five in the first, nine in the second, 10 in the fourth, and five in the seventh. Outside of that, he didn’t hit more than four in any other frame. The right-handed slugger also hit 28 of his homers between the first two turns through the lineup (15 in the first at-bat, 13 in the second at-bat).
Philadelphia Phillies: Willie Montañez, 30 Home Runs in 1971
Willie Montañez enjoyed a 14-year MLB career. But when it comes to power, nothing was better than his rookie campaign in 1971. He enjoyed eight years of at least 10 homers. After this 30-homer performance, the closest he ever got to it again was in 1977 when he slugged 20.
His power production was consistent across the board when looking at monthly splits. Montañez never hit fewer than four or more than seven in a single month. From an OPS standpoint, his performance got better with each out recorded. With no outs, he owned a .765 OPS. That went up slightly to .773 with one out and more noticeably to .852 with two outs.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jason Bay (2004) & Josh Bell (2017), 26 Home Runs
Jason Bay played during a time when the Pirates were consistently a losing team. So, his opportunities to perform in losses typically outweighed his opportunities in Pittsburgh victories. But still, it’s interesting to see that his numbers weren’t incredibly different in each situation. During wins, he posted a .958 OPS with 12 homers and 47 RBI. In losses, those numbers were .867, 14, and 35, respectively.
As for Josh Bell, he was at his best in the batter’s box when the Pirates were fighting back from a deficit. Through 271 plate appearances, he slashed .281/.354/.500 with 11 homers and 39 RBI in that situation. Bell also faced winning teams in 89 games during his rookie season and performed by collecting 17 of his homers and 54 of his RBI against squads boasting a record at or above .500.
San Diego Padres: Hunter Renfroe, 26 Home Runs in 2017
Hunter Renfroe was consistent during his Padres career. He enjoyed three straight seasons of 26-plus homers, but there wasn’t a ton more outside of that. The outfielder actually had 20 homers by the end of July, but then went homerless in August before finishing out the year with six final dingers.
The opponent he did the most damage against in the home run department was the Arizona Diamondbacks. Renfroe slugged seven homers in 16 games against the DBacks. And surprisingly enough, he only hit two in 11 games against the Colorado Rockies, with one coming at Coors Field. Renfroe actually enjoyed being at Petco the most, as 14 of his 26 homers coming in that situation.
San Francisco Giants: Jim Ray Hart, 31 Home Runs in 1964
Jim Ray Hart immediately made an impact in the big leagues. He slugged at least 23 homers with 78 RBI in each of his first five years. These performances included a second-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting, as well as three top-20 finishes in MVP voting and All-Star Game selection.
Hart was a much different hitter on the road compared to what he did at home in San Francisco in 1963. He slugged 19 homers with a .928 OPS as a visiting player, compared to 12 homers and a .753 OPS in front of Giants fans. His power also came after a brief warm-up. By the end of May, Hart had just three homers to his name. Then he never slugged fewer than six in a month the rest of the way.
The right-handed hitter spent at least some time in each of the first eight spots of the batting order. Most of his time was spent in the fifth spot (241 plate appearances). He loved it based on the .350/.392/.596 line with 13 homers and 42 RBI produced from it.
Seattle Mariners: Julio Rodriguez, 28 Home Runs in 2022
Through Julio Rodriguez‘s first nine MLB games in 2022, he struggled to a .125/.200/.156 line. It included just one RBI and one extra-base hit (a double). Things went up from there. Over his final 122 games played, Rodriguez’s triple slash improved to .294/.354/.532 with 28 homers, 24 doubles, 23 steals, 74 RBI, and 81 runs scored.
Oh, yea — and he put on a tremendous show during the Home Run Derby.
Julio ramped up his game when the score was tied, too. In that situation, he hit .325/.400/.613 with 11 homers and 25 RBI. He also completely torched the Athletics in 16 games played against them. During that time, Rodriguez racked up five homers and 12 RBI to go along with a 1.201 OPS.
St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols, 37 Home Runs in 2001
Looking in retrospect, Albert Pujols‘ 37 home runs as a Cardinals rookie served as a foreshadowing of what was to come. This began one of the most dominant 11-year stretches by a player in MLB history. Between 2001 and 2011, Pujols racked up a Rookie of the Year Award, three NL MVPs, and a truckload of All-Star Game appearances and Silver Sluggers. He mixed in a couple of Gold Gloves, too.
On offense, he enjoyed 10 straight years with at least 30 homers and 100 RBI. He nearly did it in 11 straight, but he fell one (1!) RBI short in 2011.
The only time Pujols didn’t post an OPS above .950 in a month during the 2001 season was in July. It settled in at .793. Between April and June, his OPS was 1.043 with 21 homers and 66 RBI. From August to the end of the regular season, those numbers were 1.062, 12, and 52, respectively. His longest hitting streak during the year was 17 games, while his longest on-base streak was 48 games long.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria, 27 Home Runs in 2008
By the time Evan Longoria‘s time with the Rays was finished, he was already the franchise’s all-time home run leader. It’ll probably be safe for a little while, too. It’s gotta start somewhere, and for the third baseman, that starting point was in 2008. Those 27 homers were joined by 31 doubles, 85 RBI, a .272/.343/.531 line, a Rookie of the Year Award, an All-Star Game appearance, and an 11th-place finish in MVP voting.
Not bad for your first year in the big leagues, right?
Longo particularly enjoyed it when a pitching change was made and a fresh arm was on the mound to face him. When going up against a relief pitcher for the first time in a game, the third baseman slashed .302/.372/.576 with 10 homers and 31 RBI.
Texas Rangers: Adolis Garcia, 31 Home Runs in 2021
Adolis Garcia got brief cups of coffee in the majors in both 2018 and 2020 before finally playing his first full season in 2021. And boy, that dude made the most of his opportunity. He finished fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting with a .741 OPS, those 31 homers, and 90 RBI. Garcia also followed it up with his first 100-RBI campaign in 2022.
His season was off to a decent start, but May was the only month he posted an OPS above .800. It checked in at .981 thanks to a .312/.348/.633 line with 11 homers and 27 RBI. The Rangers didn’t do s ton of winning during the 2021 campaign, but when they did, Garcia was right in the thick of things. When Texas won, he posted a 1.001 OPS. That number went down to .573 in losses.
Toronto Blue Jays: Eric Hinske, 24 Home Runs in 2002
Eric Hinske found a home for himself in the big leagues for 12 seasons, which is no small feat. However, his best overall work at the plate came in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2002 for the Blue Jays. Those 24 homers ended up being a single-season career-high mark for him, as were the 84 RBI he accumulated. The only other time he reached the 20-homer plateau was in 2008 with the Rays.
And while some hitters loved feasting on relievers, that didn’t work so much for Hinske. He preferred to do his work against the starters. Of his 24 homers, 17 came against starters while posting a .915 OPS, compared to a .698 mark against hurlers coming out of the bullpen.
Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper (2012) & Juan Soto (2018), 22 Home Runs
This is quite the duo at the top of a leaderboard, now isn’t it? What I love about this is neither began the year in the big leagues. It’s just a testament to how good they were at such a young age.
Bryce Harper made his big-league debut on April 28th, 2012. If we discount the month of April since he played in just two games, the highest monthly OPS he produced heading into September was .860. But then he went off to finish the year, slashing .330/.400/.643 with seven homers and 14 RBI.
Meanwhile, Juan Soto didn’t make his debut until May 20th, 2018. He ended up hitting .292/.406/.517 with those 22 homers and 70 RBI. He finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting, as well. Soto’s home OPS (.914) and road OPS (.929) were nearly identical, but his homer production wasn’t. The outfielder hit 16 of his 22 home runs as a visiting player. Those dingers were split evenly based on the situation, too.
He slugged seven homers in tie games, eight when the Nationals held a lead, and another seven when Washington was behind.
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