Let’s check out 2021 MLB Home Run leaders and try to handicap the winner of the race this season. 22 — 22 is all it took to win the home run crown in 2020. But hey, they only played 60 games during that pandemic-shortened campaign as Luke Voit was the only player to eclipse the 20-homer mark to take home the honors.
It’ll take a lot more than 22 this year, with nearly 70 players passing that mark as we approach the final stretch of the year.
At publishing time, it appears to be a five-player race to take the prize in 2021, but stranger things have happened. Just six long balls separate those five. Let’s take a look at who has the edge with a little over 20 games left for each club.
2021 MLB Home Run Leaders –
Fernando Tatis, Jr – San Diego Padres
The phenom lit it up in June with 10 dingers, but only launched 10 more total combined in July and August. Tatis spent three different stints on the IL, so for him to still be in the conversation at this point is an achievement in its own right. However, his vicious swing is partly responsible for at least one of those stretches.
He’s only hit one home run in September and doesn’t have a ton of homer-friendly ballparks left on his schedule. He’ll finish right where he sits in fifth unless San Diego falls out of the race and they shut him down.
Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
What a season for the 31-year old catcher. Perez had 12 homers in August and already has three through the first week of September. He’s also driven in over 100 runs for the first time in his career! He’s never drawn many walks, but the fact that he only has 22 BB is fascinating considering the other options opposing pitchers have in that lineup.
Perez at-bats are the only thing worth watching on a nightly basis in KC, and he will finish the best season he’s ever produced with the third-most homers in all of baseball.
Shohei Ohtani – Los Angeles Angels
You can only wonder what type of season Ohtani (and the Angels, for that matter) could have had had they had a healthy Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Another disappointing season in Anaheim, but Shohei took the world by storm this year with his double-service dynamic.
He’s led the way in the home run category for much of the season, but he’s running out of gas and will finish in second by a slim margin.
Vlad Guerrero, Jr – Toronto Blue Jays
June, too, was Vlad’s most productive months in terms of homers (10), and just like Tatis, has “cooled” to some degree in the months that followed. Guerrero joined very elite company when he hit his 40th homer this past Monday as one of a select few to hit that many in their age-22 season.
He and teammate Marcus Semien (who we really shouldn’t neglect in this space) have been forced to play in three different home stadiums (though two were bandboxes), and he is right at the top of the MVP race.
Vlad is three behind Ohtani for the most in the majors right now, but will likely finish the year as the top dog.
2021 MLB Home Run Leaders | Darkhorse to Consider
Depending on the odds you’re able to get, you might want to take a look at throwing a few shekels on Adam Duvall of the Atlanta Braves. Yes, he’s 11 behind Ohtani with 25 to play, but that’s why he’d be a “long shot” with a valuable return.
Since being acquired by Atlanta at the deadline, Duvall has the most homers in the National League and has been a revelation in the lineup, filling a cavernous hole left by Ronald Acuna, Jr.
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