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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Nelson Cruz hits career homer No. 400 before Twins hold off Royals 12-8

Nelson Cruz is a man of his word.

Twice before the season started, Cruz told team officials he planned to reach 400 home runs this season. The second time came during spring training, when he initiated a conversation with baseball communication director Dustin Morse about ways he could raise funds for charities off reaching 400.

When informed that would require him to hit 40 home runs, the then-38-year-old Cruz nodded and said, “Yes.”

Despite two trips to the injured list because of left wrist problems, Cruz’s actions have backed up his statements. His 40th home run of the season — and 400th of his career — helped the Twins down Kansas City 12-8 on Sunday for their third victory in the four-game series.

A reminder of how much the power game has changed: thirty years ago, there would be HOF arguments around Cruz in direct relation to his hitting this milestone.


QLE Posted: September 22, 2019 at 11:48 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: home runs, milestones, nelson cruz

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   1. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:49 AM (#5882058)
I love Nelson Cruz. He's one of the best post-30 hitters ever, especially if you compare his hitting to what he did before he turned 30. Hank Aaron, for example, was a tremendous post-30 hitter but he basically just kept doing what he was doing in his 20s. Nelson Cruz somehow improved.

If I calculated right, Cruz has 335 HR since his 30th birthday, and he's not slowing down (Aaron hit 413, Bonds hit 509).
   2. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: September 23, 2019 at 01:29 AM (#5882063)
Good for Cruz. Very cool
   3. bbmck Posted: September 23, 2019 at 02:49 AM (#5882076)
Starting from 30th birthday, most regular season HR since 1908:

509 - Barry Bonds
430 - Babe Ruth
414 - Rafael Palmeiro
413 - Hank Aaron
385 - Jim Thome

375 - Willie Mays
364 - David Ortiz
354 - Mark McGwire
336 - Sammy Sosa
335 - Nelson Cruz

Others active with 200+:

290 - Albert Pujols
255 - Edwin Encarnacion
231 - Jose Bautista (MLB career probably over)
217 - Curtis Granderson
   4. Walt Davis Posted: September 23, 2019 at 03:59 AM (#5882083)
Of course, by WAR, not so amazing. From 30-38, Cruz has 29.8, just ahead of Sosa's 29.7 and behind Maury Wills' 30.2. In addition to Sosa, other decent comps around there are Billy Williams, Jose Bautista, Norm Cash, Jason Giambi, Eddie Mathews ... not far off Killebrew, Thome and McCovey. Not that it's surprising at all given body type and position. By OPS+, he does a lot better of course but is still 34th. This is Cash, Reggie, Thomas, Palmeiro, Jack Clark group; Billy Williams a bit behind; Berkman, Miggy, Sosa a bit in front. (Miggy with 2 years to go to 38 could fall behind).

For ages 36-38 (1500+ PA), looking much better. Everybody is light years behind Bonds. Cruz sits 12th overall with 11 WAR -- tied with the great Randy Velarde. He's a bit ahead of Ortiz, Yaz, FRobinson; not far off Chipper and Palmeiro. By OPS+ he's all the way up at 5th although 148 is a bit shy of Edgar and Ortiz.

If we keep the same ball, you'd think he's got a decent shot at 500. Ortiz had 75 HRs at 39-40 and obviously Cruz will have to make it through at least 41 to do it. I don't think it would be enough to get him serious HoF consideration (at best he'd have about 47 WAR, minimal MVP love. He's actually got an excellent postseason record (292/347/669) but no rings, series MVPs or WS heroics that I'm aware of. Looking at the list in #3, he seems nearly a cinch to reach Mays/Thome even if he doesn't play at 41.

He never really got PT until age 28. But that looks justified -- he didn't do anything in the minors until 23-24; that got him a couple of decent stints in the majors at 25-26 during which he put up a 72 OPS+. At 27, he again destroyed AAA (342/429/695) and carried that into MLB. That finally won him a job but he remained pretty inconsistent (between good corner hitter and very good corner hitter) until age 33 in Balt. Since then a 147 OPS+ and 242 HRs. That's 5th in HR for 33-38 -- Bonds, Ruth, Palmeiro, Mac, 11 more than Aaron (and nearly 50 more than Galarraga in 7th). That's nice company to be in.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5882126)
ut no rings, series MVPs or WS heroics that I'm aware of.

He butchered a flyball that would have been the final out in a 2011 World Series championship, but you probably weren't looking for opponents' heroics.

   6. ajnrules Posted: September 23, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5882348)
ut no rings, series MVPs or WS heroics that I'm aware of.

2011 ALCS MVP doesn't count? I mean a lot of Rangers fans still hold Game 6 against him, but he still won the LCS MVP award. Plus he had home runs in Game 3 and Game 6 in the World Series, both before the infamous Freese fly ball.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: September 23, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5882352)
#6 I missed it. I was looking in the wrong b-r column for the MVP notation.
   8. ajnrules Posted: September 23, 2019 at 06:55 PM (#5882355)
#6 I missed it. I was looking in the wrong b-r column for the MVP notation.
That's understandable. Seems like the Freese fly ball has overwhelmed everything else that Nelson Cruz had done in the 2011 off-season, which is unfair but that's what baseball does.

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