The Washington Nationals don’t exactly have a long history. You’d have to stretch the timeline back farther and include the Expos days if you want a more historical franchise look. But in having such a short history, the franchise is set up for unique – and perhaps surprising – record holders.
For plenty of teams, when you think of an organization’s all-time single season home run leader, most of the names that are on those lists are expected. For the Yankees, it’s Roger Maris’s 61 in ’61. For the Giants, it’s Barry Bonds’ 73. For the Cubs, it’s Sammy Sosa’s 66. None of those players are surprising, and that trend holds up for many other organizations.
But for the Nationals, the single season home run leader is somebody that’s a bit out of left field. While I’m sure many of you already know the answer, there may be some that don’t. If I told you that Alfonso Soriano holds the single season home run record for the Nationals, would that sound correct? To me, that doesn’t sound correct, but it is.
In 2006, Soriano hit 46 home runs, in his only year in a Nats’ uniform. It also just so happens that 2006 was Soriano’s greatest home run output of his career. He was an All-Star that season, unsurprisingly, his fifth of seven consecutive nominations. He parlayed that output into six consecutive seasons with the Cubs.
The slugging right-hander with the convulsing batting style logged 5.4 fWAR that season, to go along with a 129 wRC+, and a .911 OPS.
He finished sixth in MVP voting and earned a Silver Slugger award that season, as well.
Soriano’s tenure in DC wasn’t a long one, but he provided a bright spot in the team’s second year of existence; a year that saw the club end up in fifth place after finishing 71-91, a 10-game subtraction from its previous win total in its year of inception.
If you’re wondering how other Nationals fare in the top 10 single season home run leaders list, Bryce Harper (42) in 2015 is fourth, Adam Dunn (38, 38) in 2009 and 2010 is sixth and seventh, and Ryan Zimmerman (36) in 2017 is 10th.