Last Updated on December 6, 2023 by Matt Musico
If you’ve ever wondered which players are among the Padres single season HR leaders at each position, then you’re in the right place. Outside of pitcher and designated hitter, each player had to man their position for at least 100 games (or 75% of games played) for the season in question.
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Padres Single Season HR Leaders
Catcher: Mike Piazza, 22 Home Runs in 2006
When I think of Mike Piazza and the teams he played for during his Hall of Fame career, one of the last squads that comes to mind is the San Diego Padres. But he had a pretty good year for the club in 2006, slashing .283/.342/.501 with 22 homers and 68 RBI in 439 plate appearances.
This was the 12th and final time that Piazza slugged 20-plus homers in a single season. He didn’t like hitting at Petco Park, though. The backstop did hit 10 of his 22 homers in San Diego, but his .732 OPS was about 200 points lower than what he produced on the road (.935 OPS with 12 homers, and 40 RBI).
Pitcher: Four-Way Tie, 3 Home Runs
Thanks to MLB’s Universal Designated Hitter rule, there will forever be a four-way tie at the top of the Padres’single-season pitcher home run leaderboard. It’s shared by three hurlers: Mike Corkins in 1973, Tim Lollar in 1982 and 1984, and Eric Show in 1984.
Lollar gets extra love here because he’s the only one who hit three dingers in one year twice. He was a pretty good hitter throughout his career. Across 255 plate appearances in seven years, Lollar hit .234/.286/.377, which susses out to a .662 OPS. Those numbers included 14 extra-base hits (three doubles, three triples, eight homers), 38 RBI, and 27 runs scored.
First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, 40 Home Runs in 2009
Before Fernando Tatis Jr. came along — who we’ll talk about more in a few minutes — Adrian Gonzalez was the most recent Padres hitter to slug 40 homers in a season. It was part of four years between 2007 and 2010 where Gonzalez slugged at least 30 homers with 90-plus RBI. The 40 he hit in 2009 was a career-high mark. However, it was the only time during this span where he didn’t surpass the 100 RBI plateau (he drove in 99).
El Titan did the majority of his work during the first two months of the ’09 regular season. By the end of May, he had already slugged 20 homers with 40 RBI. This included nine dingers in March/April and 11 in May, both of which were 20 RBI months. He never hit more than six homers in one month and surpassed the 20 RBI mark just once (22 in September/October) the rest of the season.
Second Base: Jedd Gyorko, 23 Home Runs in 2013
Jedd Gyorko kicked off his MLB career in the best way possible. These 23 homers came as a rookie for the Padres, and they’re still a single-season franchise record for second basemen. He finished his eight-year career with 121 total dingers. This included 10-plus homers in each of his first six seasons. The 23 he hit as a rookie was only surpassed by his 2016 performance with the St. Louis Cardinals where he hit 30.
What I find most interesting here is that Gyorko spent a considerable amount of time in multiple lineup spots. He played at least 11 games in five different spots: third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh. The second baseman also hit at least two homers in each situation.
Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr., 42 Home Runs in 2021
Before injuries and a PED suspension wiped out his 2022 campaign, Fernando Tatis Jr. was cementing himself as a perennial MVP candidate. The 2021 season was the second time he finished within the top four. Those 42 homers also led the National League and was the first time a Padres player surpassed the 40-homer plateau since 2009.
Tatis posted a 1.000-plus OPS in two months, and they came consecutively (May and June). Within those 188 plate appearances, the shortstop slugged 19 homers with 11 doubles, 45 RBI, and 44 runs scored. His production also got progressively better as outs were recorded. With nobody out, Tatis posted a .782 OPS. That went up to .996 with one out and up again to 1.223 with two outs.
Third Base: Phil Nevin, 41 Home Runs in 2001
Phil Nevin spent 12 years in the big leagues. However, the majority of his success in the power department came with the Padres. He slugged 208 home runs during his career, with 156 of them (75%!) coming during parts of seven seasons with San Diego. Nevin’s best performance came in 2001 when he hit 41 homers with 126 RBI. Neither of those numbers led the league, but he did get selected to the All-Star Game while finishing 21st in NL MVP Award voting.
The third baseman’s year started incredibly hot in March/April. Heading into May, he was the owner of a .344/.402/.667 line with six homers and 22 RBI. The only other time he produced an OPS of at least 1.000 in a month was in July. It included a .315/.414/.697 triple slash with 10 homers and 23 RBI (his highest power numbers of any month in 2001).
Padres Single Season HR Leaders
Left Field: Greg Vaughn, 50 Home Runs in 1998
The 1998 season was the beginning of an insane two-year stretch for Greg Vaughn. While he spent 1999 in Cincinnati with the Reds, his power from ’98 followed him. He slugged another 45 homers for Cincy, giving him 95 across two seasons. He hit 355 homers across a 15-year career, but this two-season stretch accounted for just over one-quarter of his total round-trippers.
Of course, Vaughn’s 50 homers weren’t talked about very much because of the Great Home Run Chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa that summer. This number is still a single-season Padres record, though.
The outfielder dealt with a slow start and a slow finish in 1998, but three months in the middle made this campaign one to remember. Between May and July, Vaughn slugged 33 homers with 79 RBI in just 350 plate appearances, all while maintaining an OPS above 1.000.
Center Field: Steve Finley, 30 Home Runs in 1996
Steve Finley hit 30-plus homers in a season four times during his 19-year MLB career. The first occurrence came in 1996 with the Padres when he landed on that number exactly. In the seven years prior (3,728 plate appearances), Finley had collected just 47 home runs. Once this season rolled around, it took him just 721 trips to the plate to reach 30.
His home OPS (.980) was much better than his road OPS (.799), but his power numbers were just about identical. He slugged 15 homers with 46 RBI at home and 15 homers with 49 RBI on the road. He enjoyed facing the San Francisco Giants the most, racking up seven dingers and 15 RBI against them in just 12 games played.
Right Field: Dave Winfield, 34 Home Runs in 1979
Dave Winfield is likely better known as a Yankee, and that makes sense since he spent nine years in the Bronx. Of the six teams he suited up for, that was his longest period with any one organization. However, he started his 22-year career with eight seasons in San Diego with the Padres. Winfield racked up three seasons of 20-plus homers and two seasons of 90-plus RBI at this point in his career. The 1979 campaign was the first time he went 30-100 with 34 dingers and a league-leading 118 RBI.
The right-handed slugger never won an MVP Award, but he came the closest in ’79. He finished third in the voting while also taking home a Gold Glove Award for his defensive efforts.
Winfield posted solid stats in all situations, but especially when the game was tied or San Diego was losing. When the Padres were behind, he hit .318/.373/.562 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI. When the score was tied, that triple slash settled in at .309/.433/.613 with another 13 homers and 47 RBI.
Designated Hitter: Luke Voit, 13 Home Runs in 2022
Luke Voit spent 82 games with the Padres in 2022. He didn’t exactly light the world on fire at the plate, as evidenced by his .225/.317/.416 line. But, thanks to the Universal DH rule, his 13 homers in that spot of the lineup for San Diego gives him a franchise record for the time being.
His best month with the club before getting shipped to the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline was June. He posted a .813 OPS with 10 doubles, six homers, 23 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 120 plate appearances. Those numbers were all his best of any month in 2022.
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.