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Sunday, September 04, 2022

Albert Pujols approaches 700 home runs: Do any other active sluggers have realistic chance at similar run?

After Pujols, the active leaders in home runs are Miguel Cabrera (506 HR, age 39), Nelson Cruz (459 HR, age 41), Giancarlo Stanton (371 HR, age 32) and Joey Votto (342 HR, age 38). Only Stanton has more than a season’s worth left in his career and he can hit them in bunches, but his health track record won’t allow it. Simply getting to 500 is much more realistic. Aaron Judge is potentially looking at single-season homer history in 2022, but the Yankees star is 30 and sits at 209 career homers.

Let’s look at nine other active players who are among the best home run hitters in the game today.

Mike Trout
Trout has 338 career home runs and he’s still just 30 years old. His 162-game average is 40 home runs, but therein lies the rub. I just mentioned health track record for Stanton and while Trout was incredibly durable for the first five seasons of his career, he’s had lots of issues since. The shortened 2020 season, only 36 games last year and, to this point, 91 in 2022 really hold him back.

The funny thing is, his pace has actually picked up. In the last three seasons, his 162-game average is 48 homers (he’s hit 53 in 180 games). I suppose from this perspective we could opine that if he becomes durable again, a run is possible.

Then again, he’s still not even halfway to 700 and the current back issue is very worrisome. Don’t bet on a run here.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 04, 2022 at 05:26 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: albert pujols

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 04, 2022 at 05:54 PM (#6094491)
Aaron Judge is potentially looking at single-season homer history in 2022, but the Yankees star is 30 and sits at 209 career homers.
Now 211. Still very much a long shot, but you do make up a lot of ground with seasons of 50 - 60, or more. Might surprise some by reaching 500.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: September 04, 2022 at 06:41 PM (#6094499)
Spoiler alert: the answer is no (surprise!) Everybody is a longshot. We all knew this, if there's to be any "insight" in an exercise like this it would be in developing some method to provide a good estimate for how likely it is that somebody in the field will do it. But of course on a case-by-case basis, nobody stands a chance.

The only real "hope" that anybody has is that Aaron wasn't quite halfway there through age 29 and Pujols was barely over halfway there. So not being on pace at age 23 is not that big of a deal. The guy's conclusions are of course also inescapable -- unless this guy starts hitting 40-45 with regularity...

HR totals through 29

Bonds 259
Aaaon 342
Ruth 284
ARod 429
Pujols 366
Mays 279
Griffey 398
Thome 233
Sosa 273

Now in some sense, if Thome can hit 379 HRs after age 29 then "anybody" can ... which still requires a player to make it to 321. Andruw Jones and Juan Gonzalez pulled that off with room to spare. But more "realistically", either an ARod/Griffey first half (and neither made it) or an Aaron/Bonds/Ruth 2nd half. It doesn't look like anybody is gonna do the first one, the second is pretty much completely unpredictable.

One thing I did learn is that Acuna has been a much bigger power guy than I realized -- not so much this year and the missed time makes it less obvious. A very solid 16% HR/FB, a 5.3% HR/PA rate and he's still only the same age as Thome's first full season.
   3. The Duke Posted: September 04, 2022 at 09:50 PM (#6094517)
The big question that can't ever really answered are general health and longevity. To some extent they are related. Ruth is viewed as having had injuries and not lasted long but he was bashing HRs to 39. His high peak compensated for missing several early years while pitching. Aaron and Pujols were plodders. Play 22 years, average 37 per year and "voila"

A-rod and Bonds were all roided up. That's another way to do it

I'd bet on Soto. He seems to be in the Aaron/Pujols camp.

Hard to tell with the rest. If acuna had not that injury I'd add him but he's still complaining about his knees. He looks more like Mickey mantle to me.



   4. danup Posted: September 04, 2022 at 10:11 PM (#6094524)
Would be a fun Favorite Toy exercise to see what the odds are of Pujols doing it in the next month (would have to do that using projections, since the FT assumes you have at least 1.5 years left) vs. the odds of every other active player combined
   5. Walt Davis Posted: September 04, 2022 at 11:25 PM (#6094544)
He looks more like Mickey mantle to me.

Nah. Mantle was a rock in his 20s -- 1456 games, 6300 PA from 20-29 in (mostly) 154-game seasons. Me missed a month at 21, otherwise was durable as. He wasn't really sidetracked until 31, then it ended fairly quickly for a player of his caliber. No good Acuna comps are springing to mind (Eric Davis debuted too late to be a good Acuna comp ... Tony C maybe but we have no idea how his career would have played out so he's not that useful).

Soto is the obvious choice and top 10 all-time through age 23 but, as the article points out, he's got just 24 this year and just 29 last year. So we haven't seen him take that step up to 40+ HR level yet.

If there's a name missing on the list, it's Alonso. He'll only be about 20 behind Thome through age 27 despite Thome having a much earlier start. He should be about that far behind Machado through age 30. All the usual caveats about needing to age very well and no realistic chance at 700 but I'd bet on him over Machado at least.

I know it wasn't meant as derogatory as it may have sounded and I'll accept "plodder" for Pujols but not Aaron. His is one of the greatest 30s performances of all time -- 301/382/566, 161 OPS+, 67 WAR. Yes I know you mean he was plodding on the HR chase by never hitting 50 and just hitting a consistent 35-40 a year for a long time but "plodding" still suggests he was Kingmanning his way to 700.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: September 04, 2022 at 11:30 PM (#6094546)
this reminds me of the "300 win" game.

it SEEMS like you have to win well over 150 games before you turn 30 - reality says, not so much.

(not that, after all these decades, this form of baseball still is liable to yield a 300-game winner. not so much. but many pitchers defied the prognosticators in the earlier modern era.)
   7. Booey Posted: September 04, 2022 at 11:36 PM (#6094547)
The answer to the 700 question is always a blunt "No." It's such an absurdly large number that no matter what incredible pace someone is on, the odds against it are tremendous. Bet against it every time...and you'd have been wrong just 3 times - soon to be 4 - in baseball history. I'll take those odds.
   8. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 05, 2022 at 02:23 AM (#6094551)
A-Rod could still hit 700.
   9. The Duke Posted: September 05, 2022 at 10:51 AM (#6094569)
I know Pujols is going to retire but he'd have a good shot at 714 if he played one more year. It's not like he's not adding value. He's at a material positive WAR for the year.

It's always good to go out on top but 715 would be pretty cool. I also don't happen to think he will reach 700 this year. So he could do both next year if the stars align
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: September 05, 2022 at 07:53 PM (#6094650)
I also don't happen to think he will reach 700 this year. So he could do both next year if the stars align


I think the team will do everything in their power to give him a chance, as it stands now, the Cardinals are more than likely going to win the division, probably clinch it with more than a week remaining for the season, and have zero chance of getting the bye. So you imagine the last week of the season Albert not only is starting, but he might be batting second, add in that he'll get put in the game, any time there is a game out of reach for either side, and he's probably going to see another 70+ more at bats this year. Any other mortal and you would think that is still an outrageous hr/ab rate, not sure Albert falls in that category.

Edit: and also add in that no team is going to pitch around him if the game isn't close. The Cardinals face non-contenders for most of their remaining schedule, when Albert comes up, the other team is going to challenge him.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2022 at 09:53 PM (#6094688)
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is some Cal Ripken All-Star game stuff going on with Pujols.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: September 05, 2022 at 10:08 PM (#6094691)
this Pujols second half has been tremendous.

and, if he gets a charity milestone like the dual-lack-of-self-awareness-embarrassment that Aaron Rodgers and Michael Strahan pulled to claim a bogus "sack record" - that doesn't strike me as a positive.

professional pride is not yet extinct, I hope.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: September 06, 2022 at 12:14 AM (#6094702)
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is some Cal Ripken All-Star game stuff going on with Pujols.

It's kinda hard/impossible to tell. The Cubs certainly have offered up a few meatballs but then we're #2 in the NL in HR allowed so it's not like we don't serve up plenty to everybody. The Reds are #3 (5 games), the Brewers #4 (4 games) and StL is hosting the #1 Nats as we speak (4 games). With a roughly 35 game lead, the Dodgers might put Cody Bellinger on the mound.
   14. John Northey Posted: September 06, 2022 at 12:36 AM (#6094706)
I could see him getting there if other teams act like the Expos manager did vs McGwire in 1998 - he told his pitchers to pitch to him no matter what and that helped him get to 70. Btw, we already knew he was on stuff (creatine found in his locker iirc, plus of course he played with Mr. Steroids Canseco who was well known to be on the juice in the late 80's) so basically inside MLB no one cared then beyond the 'fun' factor wanting to see records set.

For 700+ HR it will rarely be over 10% for any one hitter. It was rare the Favorite Toy had anyone over 1% or 2% even iirc (you'd see those low percentages for kids who had hot starts, but often vanishing quickly). Here is an article from 2019 about it where it mentions Cabrera having a 75% shot at 3000, Trout a 14% shot at 762 (damn you COVID!). Guys with a shot at 762 in 2019 - Trout, Cody Bellinger 6%, Nolan Arenado 1%, Pete Alonso <1% but over 0%. With a shot (10%+) at 600 HR: Trout, Arenado, Eugenio Suárez, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Cody Bellinger, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Christian Yelich. That suggests one of them should get to 600 (combined % over 100) but not more.

2020 has screwed up a LOT of that of course, but some kids today should still have a shot at it... checking a few names and the Favorite Toy...
Juan Soto: 0%, 10% at 500. Adjust 2020 to 162 games though (not changing career totals, just that figure for future projections) and you get a 4% shot.
Vlad Guerrero: 9% at 600 without adjusting, adjust 2020 and you get 13%.
Judge: 13% at 600, adjust 2020 17% for 600, 3% for 700.

Yeah, fun as always.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: September 06, 2022 at 09:13 AM (#6094721)
I could see him getting there if other teams act like the Expos manager did vs McGwire in 1998 - he told his pitchers to pitch to him no matter what and that helped him get to 70.


Is different than

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is some Cal Ripken All-Star game stuff going on with Pujols.


I support the former, will condemn the latter.
   16. Darren Posted: September 06, 2022 at 12:36 PM (#6094755)
I have a hard time imagining anyone going easy on Pujols during a pennant race, for one, but also on a personal level. If I'm a Brandon Hughes or Ross Detwiler, I have respect for Pujols and all he's done, of course. But he's hit his 690+ HRs, made his $300 million+, I need to get outs and earn my next contract.
   17. The Duke Posted: September 06, 2022 at 03:46 PM (#6094795)
I think there is an effort to give Pujols a fair chance but not an effort to groove him BP fastballs .

That seems like the right approach
   18. DL from MN Posted: September 06, 2022 at 04:03 PM (#6094800)
I think it helps Pujols that he's not the best hitter in the Cardinals lineup. He's going to get strikes because the pitchers need to get him out. They can't pitch around Arenado, Goldschmidt AND Pujols.
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: September 06, 2022 at 05:10 PM (#6094818)
So, just for the sake of argument, let's say that Albert doesn't hit 700 this year, and against his own protests, he's convinced to come back next year, how would most of you feel about that? How should mlb fans feel about that?

Arenado has said he hopes Albert comes back even if he makes it to 700. I know that this second half he is having is a mirage, a dead cat bounce or whatever you want to call it. Still it would be nice to see if he makes it to 714+, if it wasn't Covid he would be knocking on 714 right now.(just around 705-710-- I'm assuming he gets another 10-15 hr in 2020)

Edit: I know some people knock Pete Rose for writing his own name in the lineup, so I know there will be detractors out there, at the same time it's not like he's going for a record, just a milestone. Just like Bernie Mac.
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: September 06, 2022 at 05:26 PM (#6094822)
I just looked at his second half peripherals - and it's not just smoke and mirrors.

can't imagine anyone objecting to a legendary player having an epic (if part-time) second half then deciding to return, even if no milestone was in play.
   21. Srul Itza Posted: September 06, 2022 at 10:59 PM (#6094908)
I don't care if he reaches 700. I just want to see him pass A-Rod.

I also like the fact that he has pushed his WAR up past 100 again.

I also would be quite happy if this last half season is how we remember him -- coming back to the Cardinals, one last play off run, one last hurrah. I agree with the those great players who say they will play until they tear the uniform off them, and if that is what he wants, he is entitled to it, but this would also be a great way to remember him.

   22. Brian C Posted: September 06, 2022 at 11:49 PM (#6094930)
the dual-lack-of-self-awareness-embarrassment that Aaron Rodgers and Michael Strahan pulled to claim a bogus "sack record"

Don't love defending Rodgers for any reason, but that was Brett Favre.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: September 07, 2022 at 12:04 AM (#6094935)
Don't love defending Rodgers for any reason, but that was Brett Favre.


GAH - that is correct, of course.

I'm intrigued, though, that Rodgers after all these years has gotten so weird that I can conflate him Favre.

would never have imagined that more than a decade ago. and on his way out, Rodgers repeating the meme doesn't even seem so farfetched....
   24. John Northey Posted: September 07, 2022 at 12:30 AM (#6094941)
Pujols has a heck of an opportunity to pull a Ted Williams - retire on top. But I can easily see reasons to stick around, even at minimum, for St Louis. Hitting like he has this year with a 145 OPS+ and 16 HR so far puts him in eyeshot of 700, although 5 more in a month isn't asking much. I don't see 714 as a goal he'd stick around for given it has been passed a couple of times - getting past A-Rod will probably be enough for him. 3364 hits is nice, and with 63 this year he could crack 3400 next year but that is a 'so what' - next on the list for him is Yaz at 3419, 101 away from Jeter at #6 but like I said 'so what'. 2193 RBI means 2200 should be reached this year, but again a 'so what' stat, Ruth is #2 at 2214 which might be tempting to reach, and Aaron at 2297 holds the record so he is just over 100 away from that - about 2 years more playing to get there, might be tempting to him but could he play like this for 2 more years? I don't see it.

2020 really sucks. If it had been a full season he'd have had another 30 or so RBI's which would've put him in eyeshot of Aaron's record and that might have been tempting enough to hang around another year (players still love the RBI's). Although looking at his career what really sucks is that he didn't stay in St Louis as he played best there and if he had played his whole career there who knows? Maybe we'd be talking HR record, RBI record, and a shot at the hits record. Probably not, but it is fun to imagine.
   25. SandyRiver Posted: September 07, 2022 at 08:39 AM (#6094964)
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is some Cal Ripken All-Star game stuff going on with Pujols.

Or the Mickeys (Lolich/Mantle) late in 1968, so The Mick could pass Jimmy Foxx on Lolich's watch.
   26. Sleepy was just looking for porta potties Posted: September 07, 2022 at 07:34 PM (#6095128)
With a shot (10%+) at 600 HR: Trout, Arenado, Eugenio Suárez, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Cody Bellinger, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Christian Yelich. That suggests one of them should get to 600 (combined % over 100) but not more.


Pedantic alert: if nine players each have a 10% probability of reaching a milestone, the probability of one (or more) of those nine players reaching that milestone is (1-(1-.1)^9) = .61

2 or more: 23%
3 or more: 5%
4 or more: <1%

To get to a 95% probability of one of those guys hitting 600, you’d need individual probabilities of about 28%.

   27. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 07, 2022 at 10:14 PM (#6095171)
You know, Pujols is going to end this season maybe 90 RBI from the all-time record. Would someone feel like paying him for two years to get that shot? To some degree, if he’s chasing leaderboards, why not go for the top spot?
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: September 07, 2022 at 10:29 PM (#6095172)
You know, Pujols is going to end this season maybe 90 RBI from the all-time record. Would someone feel like paying him for two years to get that shot? To some degree, if he’s chasing leaderboards, why not go for the top spot?


IF you keep him around for two years, he's probably knocking on the all time hr record by that time also.
   29. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 07, 2022 at 11:05 PM (#6095177)
Not likely. since 2019, he’s averaging about 3.4 RBI for every HR. At that pace, he gets 105 more RBI with 31 HR. Gets him to 726, which is nowhere near Bonds.
   30. greenback does not like sand Posted: September 08, 2022 at 08:02 AM (#6095192)
Or the Mickeys (Lolich/Mantle) late in 1968, so The Mick could pass Jimmy Foxx on Lolich's watch.

I think you mean Denny McLain here. I'm surprised it took that long for someone here to make the reference, because supposedly that homer was as close to batting practice as any in history. See Mantle's description here.
   31. Rally Posted: September 08, 2022 at 08:29 AM (#6095195)
Btw, we already knew he was on stuff (creatine found in his locker iirc, plus of course he played with Mr. Steroids Canseco who was well known to be on the juice in the late 80's) so basically inside MLB no one cared then beyond the 'fun' factor wanting to see records set.


It was 1998. People gave McGwire a pass on the over the counter stuff in his locker. We didn’t know he was using harder stuff back then. And it was 7 years before Canseco published his book. He was a suspected, but not confirmed steroid user, 33 years old and past prime but still with a few years left in his career.
   32. Mefisto Posted: September 08, 2022 at 08:52 AM (#6095197)
Also, creatine was and is legal and has never been a banned substance.
   33. Rally Posted: September 08, 2022 at 08:58 AM (#6095198)
Albert’s 10 homers since the break:

2 off sliders, 83-84 mph. Both were hangers, right down the middle.

8 off fastballs (inc. sinkers). All between 91-94 mph. He hasn’t hit one on a pitcher over 95 mph.

Location:

1 down the middle
1 up and in
1 up near outside corner
1 down and in
2 down, over middle.

Those 6 were in the strike zone or close to the strike zone, based on statcast data.

2 out of the zone, both were up and away

Not saying he was getting especially good pitchers or not, or how this compares to what other sluggers are hitting. Just putting the data out there.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: September 08, 2022 at 09:17 AM (#6095203)
Not saying he was getting especially good pitchers or not, or how this compares to what other sluggers are hitting. Just putting the data out there.


Just looking at Judge on baseball Savant... of his 55 hr, 3 have been out of the strike zone (all 3 high and inside)

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