When looking back at the 2019 season in the International League, two words come to mind… HOME. RUNS.
With MLB baseballs in use, the International League witnessed a power surge like no other in 2019. All across the board, IL teams flourished in the home run department — wiping away franchise records. The Knights were no exception.
As a team, the Charlotte Knights slugged 208 home runs in 2019 — 105 more than they hit in 2018. With that, the team shattered a 26-year-old franchise record of 185 home runs, which was compiled in 1993 during the team’s first as a Triple-A affiliate. That season, slugger Sam Horn hit 38 home runs — the team’s all-time single-season record. Although the 2019 Knights didn’t have a 30-homer hitter, the team possessed three 20-homer hitters — Daniel Palka (27), Matt Skole (21), and Seby Zavala (20).
Overall, the Knights finished third in the International League in home runs, five behind the IL leaders, the Columbus Clippers (213). Charlotte’s 208 home runs as a team were 83 more than their average of 125-home runs a season from 2009–2018.
In the first 135 seasons of IL baseball, only five times did a team hit over 200 home runs in a season. In 2019, four teams reached the 200-homer mark (Columbus, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Charlotte, and Gwinnett).
As for the Knights, the team celebrated home runs at BB&T Ballpark with notable home runs in back-to-back Saturday games.
In game two of the August 17th twin bill, Chicago White Sox 3B Yoán Moncada’s fourth-inning home run broke the franchise record for home runs in a season (185) with the 186th home run of the season.
On Saturday, August 24, OF Luis Robert connected on Charlotte’s 200th team home run of the season, the first time in franchise history the club has swatted 200 home runs in a season.
CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS 2019 HOME RUN LEADERBOARD
1. Daniel Palka — 27
2. Matt Skole — 21
3. Seby Zavala — 20
4. Zack Collins — 19
5. Danny Mendick/Yermín Mercedes — 17
7. Luis Robert — 16
Lastly, a total of 2,440 home runs were hit by the International League in 2019 — an average of 2.49 home runs per game. In 2018, 1,555 home runs were hit — 1.60 per game.
Chicks dig the long ball.