Batters on pace to shatter MLB home run record

Major league batters are on pace to hit 600 more home runs than in any previous season, nearly 10% above the record set two years ago.

There were 1,057 home runs in July, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, breaking the previous July record of 961 in 2004.

A total of 4,478 home runs were hit in 1,621 games through Wednesday, an average of 2.76 per game. Batters are on pace to hit 6,712 home runs, well above the record 6,105 set in 2017 and up 20% from 5,585 last year.

Milwaukee's Christian Yelich began Thursday leading the major leagues with 36 home runs, followed by Los Angeles Angel's Mike Trout (35), New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso (34) and Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger (34).

On Thursday, the Mets' Robinson Cano became the 200th player to hit 10 home runs this season. The record for players with at least 10 homers in a year is 242 in 2017, according to ESPN Stats & Information. There are currently 56 players who have between seven and nine home runs.

A year after strikeouts surpassed hits for the first time, whiffs remain ahead: 28,422 to 28,088. Strikeouts project to 42,607, which would top last year's 41,207 and set a record for the 12th straight season.

The major league batting average was .252 through June. That is up 4 percentage points from last year's average, which was the lowest since 1972 -- the year before the American League started using the designated hitter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.