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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Who will be next MLB player to reach 500 home runs after Miguel Cabrera joins exclusive club?

Bryce Harper
In 10 seasons, the 28-year-old Harper has passed the halfway point. He’s at 255 and counting. He signed with the Phillies through 2031. He’s avoided injury since 2017 and is aging well, as he’s having a star-caliber season in 2021. As I alluded to in Stanton, things can turn quickly and it’s never a “good” bet to say someone will get to 500 home runs when they are this far away. Harper is definitely on pace, though. I’ll say he gets there.

Manny Machado
Machado is a few months older than Harper and is now 29, but they are both in their age-28 seasons (it’s determined with a June 30 cutoff and Machado’s birthday is July 6). Machado is a bit behind Harper at 245 career homers, but if we include Harper here, we have to include Machado with the age and home run totals being so close. Machado is also in his 10th year and is closing in on the halfway point. He’s signed with the Padres through 2028, so it’s possible he won’t have quite as much time.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:31 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, freddie freeman, giancarlo stanton, manny machado, nelson cruz

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   1. cookiedabookie Posted: August 25, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6036255)
Unless Cruz continues to defy his age, I'd say Trout is the safest guess
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 25, 2021 at 01:16 PM (#6036256)
Bryce Harper has surprisingly become underrated. He walks as much as any player in the game (with the possible exception of Juan Soto), he's got great power, and whereas you used to be able to expect him to hit either well over .300 or under .250, his BA has stabilized around .270, which means he doesn't have the extreme uncertainty he had earlier in his career. Plus he seems like a great teammate. I'll be surprised if he doesn't reach 500 homers.
   3. GregD Posted: August 25, 2021 at 01:51 PM (#6036264)
That's right on, Tom. Anecdotally I got to a Phillies game while back east this summer and was interested at the warmth of Phillies fans to him, seemingly tied to his hustle (even daring) in the field and basepaths. That's not easy for a big contract guy to elicit, especially in Philly.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 25, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6036279)
Giancarlo Stanton seems like the best bet after Cruz, and Cruz is at an age where his career could head south quickly. Of course, that’s been the case for a few years now. Stanton is age 31 with334 HRs, and is signed for another 6 seasons. Just 28 HRs per year gets him over 500, which allows for some injury and age effects.

The more interesting, and difficult, question is how many of the youngsters who started on a quick pace - Acuna, Soto, Guerrero & Tatis - will get to 500. I wouldn’t want to bet against any of them, but predictions a decade and a half ahead of time have a way of turning out differently.
   5. Eddie Gaedel Posted: August 25, 2021 at 03:37 PM (#6036291)
Stanton is age 31 with334 HRs, and is signed for another 6 seasons. Just 28 HRs per year gets him over 500, which allows for some injury and age effects.


Even Albert Pujols was able to hit 169 HR from ages 32-26! Of course, he was able to average 626 PA per year in that span, something Stanton has done only three times since debuting in 2010.
   6. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 25, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6036298)
Let's say Harper gets seven more dingers this year, for a total of 30 this year and 252 for his career. Using the Favourite Toy, at age 29 he's got 6.6 Years Remaining and average of 31 HR a season, so Harper has about a 32% chance of getting to 500.
   7. Eddie Gaedel Posted: August 25, 2021 at 04:58 PM (#6036311)
Fangraph's version of the same story.


ZIPS-informed Spoiler alert: Top three candidates are Trout (85% likelihood), Tatis (at 46% despite 73 career HR), and Cruz (42%).

Bryce Harper is at #8 (26%) and Machado is at #10 (14%).
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 25, 2021 at 05:08 PM (#6036316)
Harper is "aging well" at 28? We've really gone off the rails regarding the horror of a ballplayer turning 30.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 25, 2021 at 05:17 PM (#6036320)
Just 28 HRs per year gets him over 500, which allows for some injury and age effects.


Of course, Stanton hasn't actually hit 28 homers in any season since 2018, although he has a reasonable chance of getting there this year.
   10. pikepredator Posted: August 25, 2021 at 05:46 PM (#6036330)
The more interesting, and difficult, question is how many of the youngsters who started on a quick pace - Acuna, Soto, Guerrero & Tatis - will get to 500. I wouldn’t want to bet against any of them, but predictions a decade and a half ahead of time have a way of turning out differently.


Agreed, as well as the flip side of "who is going to have a stronger showing in their 30's than we would anticipate?" Just watch, Freddie Freeman will go all Adrian Beltre, stay healthy, and keep cranking out 20-30 HR a year for another decade, and then . . . there we are.

I love when it happens with pitchers in particular.
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 25, 2021 at 07:48 PM (#6036349)
Cruz is going to end up with over 450 by the end of the year. He is still crushing the ball. I know he's like a thousand years old, but his bat speed, exit velos, etc. are all still solid so I can see him going another 2 years and getting there.
   12. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 25, 2021 at 08:31 PM (#6036357)
Re 11: Know how guys in their mid-to-late 30s suddenly drop off a cliff? Well, 41 is older than that.

Anyway, if he gets to 500 HR, is he Hall-worthy? Survey says no, not with no rings, no MVPs and a mid-40s WAR. Thanks for playing. (No, seriously, thanks for playing, Boomstick!)
   13. The Duke Posted: August 25, 2021 at 10:54 PM (#6036386)
Trout may have higher odds but Cruz is the next. Hell he might hit 600
   14. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:12 PM (#6036390)
Know how guys in their mid-to-late 30s suddenly drop off a cliff?


Yeah, very much aware. I'm 56 and wish the cliff was still within reach, I'm more of the splat at the end of the fall.

But every year since Cruz has been like 33 or 34 we keep waiting for the end. Maybe he'll just go all big Papi, have his 2 years, get his 500 and just retire while still being able to hit the ball really hard.

Definitely not a HOFer, but a super interesting career nonetheless.
   15. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:19 PM (#6036391)
Yeah, if there was a post-30 HOF, Cruz would be first-ballot.

He didn't play his first 100-game season until he was 28, and he wasn't really a regular (due to injury or whatever) until he was 31. But from that point on, his career has resembled Hank Aaron's (superficially, at least), and Aaron was probably the greatest post-30 hitter of all time. (If you discount Barry Bonds.)

   16. Booey Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:22 PM (#6036392)
Cruz might get 500 anyway, but no one has mentioned yet that he'd have been a near lock if not for the COVID shortened 2020 season. He lost a prorated 27 homers last year, which would've put him at 470 and counting right now.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: August 26, 2021 at 01:06 AM (#6036409)
Ages 31-40

Edgar 319/435/553, 157 OPS+, 50 WAR
Ortiz 289/384/553, 146 OPS+, 34 WAR
NCruz 280/354/538, 141 OPS+, 33 WAR

Ortiz from 21-30 had a 135 OPS+ and 21 WAR while Cruz 24-30 had just a 115 OPS+ and 9 WAR. Why back in the day, we'd burn a guy like Cruz at the stake as a roid witch.

For the expansion era, aged 31-40 with at least 3000 PAs, Cruz is 28th in WAR ... coincidentally half a win behind Jose Cruz who was a completely different type of player. He's got a lot of similar types clustered near him -- Ortiz obviously, Thome, Sheff, DaEvans, McGwire's only 1 win ahead but many, many fewer PA. By OPS+, he's again got similar guys near him -- FRob and Manny are well in front; McCovey, Ortiz and Thome are a little in front; Killebrew, J Clark and Sheff are basically tied; Berkman, Giambi, Delgado, Thomas and Cash are a bit behind. Again what distinguishes him is his 4900 PA vs (usually) somewhere around 3500. By HRs (from age 31-any), he's 6th, just 4 behind Mays, 8 behind Mac, 38 to catch Palmeiro, 52 to catch Hank and 79 to catch Bonds. Tough to catch Bonds but will be no worse than 4th barring tragedy and has a good shot at 3rd.

As I've said many times, I won't be surprised if Schwarber is the next Cruz/Ortiz but I suppose MLB currently abounds with guys who have the potential to turn into Cruz/Ortiz in their 30s -- certainly dozens have the power, it's finding their way to that 280-290 BA.
   18. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 26, 2021 at 02:08 AM (#6036419)
Thanks for the research, Walt!

Cruz has no/negative defensive value, so I know he's never going to look great by WAR, but he's almost identical to Ortiz from 31+ and he's actually still raising his OPS+ (well, right now he's at 141 for the season and 141 over ages 31-40, but he could get hot again over the next five weeks).

The interesting thing about Cruz, as others have mentioned above, is that he hasn't really shown signs of slowing down. If you run a similar comparison for age 32+, age 33+, etc., I think he'd keep climbing the rankings.

Just cherry-picking, from ages 34-40 he has a 151 OPS+ and 246 HR, 25.9 WAR. Ortiz is also at 151 OPS+ with 224 HR and 25.3 WAR. Edgar slides back a bit to a still-phenomenal 154 OPS+, with 180 HR and 33 WAR.

From ages 38-40, Cruz is at 159 OPS+, 83 HR, 8.8 WAR in just 283 games so far. Ortiz was 149 OPS+, 110 HR, 11 WAR in 439 games; Edgar 147 OPS+, 62 HR, 10.7 WAR in 374 games.
   19. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 26, 2021 at 09:13 AM (#6036472)
Why back in the day, we'd burn a guy like Cruz at the stake as a roid witch.


Which is funny, because Cruz was actually suspended for buying PED's from the Biogenesis Clinic. The fact that that is NOT constantly brought up when discussing Cruz is refreshing.
   20. bfan Posted: August 26, 2021 at 11:02 AM (#6036498)

Which is funny, because Cruz was actually suspended for buying PED's from the Biogenesis Clinic. The fact that that is NOT constantly brought up when discussing Cruz is refreshing.


Bill James wrote a great article several years ago, predicting that as medical advancements and human body enhancements, surgically and chemically, became more and more common in the future, the steroid stigma on players would drop, and most people would instead wonder why all players didn't take maximum advantage of the modern, chemical advancements available to them at that time.

Now the easy counter to this would be that it was the competitive advantage given to those players by breaking the rules that most other players followed that created the problem and the stigma, but there is that Bill James theory that over time and as time passes, no one will care. We will see.
   21. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: August 26, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6036506)
Nearly 40 years ago, when Dick Allen had only a handful of Hall of Fame supporters and an army of people who decried as ridiculous the notion that Allen might one day be a Hall of Famer, Bill James (who was himself vocally in the latter group) predicted that Allen would, one day in the far future, go into the Hall of Fame, because the farther we get from a player's career, the fuzzier our collective memory of him grows and the more we rely on his statistics to form an impression of him. Allen isn't in the Hall of Fame just yet, but he probably will be very soon (shame that he didn't live to see the day). James himself endorsed Allen's candidacy about ten years ago. I think what James wrote all those years ago was true, and it's also true that culturally we have progressed to where we are inclined to cringe more at the horrendously racist culture Allen lived and played in, and cringe less at Allen's personal assholery.

For what it's worth. I expect James will be proven right about PEDs, too. Hell, I'll be surprised if we're not deeply into outright genetic engineering 50 years from now.
   22. cookiedabookie Posted: August 26, 2021 at 02:09 PM (#6036539)
Cruz might get 500 anyway, but no one has mentioned yet that he'd have been a near lock if not for the COVID shortened 2020 season. He lost a prorated 27 homers last year, which would've put him at 470 and counting right now.


I remember when McGriff was at 478 coming off a 125 OPS+ and into his age 39 season...and didn't get to 500. So maybe COVID cost him, or maybe he falls off a cliff next year and never gets to 500 even with a full 2020
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 26, 2021 at 02:20 PM (#6036544)
The fact that that is NOT constantly brought up when discussing Cruz is refreshing.

BBWAA: "Cruz made a funny commercial while Bonds, Clemens, et al are all jerks."
   24. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 26, 2021 at 02:31 PM (#6036547)
Bill James wrote a great article several years ago, predicting that as medical advancements and human body enhancements, surgically and chemically, became more and more common in the future, the steroid stigma on players would drop, and most people would instead wonder why all players didn't take maximum advantage of the modern, chemical advancements available to them at that time.


Under Baseball Commissioner Khan Noonien Singh, it'll be mandatory!
   25. bookbook Posted: August 26, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6036578)
#9, there’s only been one season since 2018 when Stanton could have hit more than 28 hrs (plus 60 games in 2020).


So, your statement is essentially: “Stanton didn’t hit 28 homeruns in 2019.” Which may be true, but isn’t strongly predictive.
   26. jingoist Posted: August 26, 2021 at 05:07 PM (#6036579)
“Hell, I’ll be deeply surprised if we’re not deeply into outright genetic engineering 50 years from now”.
I think you are way too conservative on the 50 years number.
I will be very surprised that the worlds super-rich elites don’t drive that to happen in much less time.
If you have $10+ Billion dollars in your account why wouldn’t your inflated ego drive the engineering process to build your super child at any cost.
   27. Booey Posted: August 26, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6036583)
#25 - Well yes, but even in the 60 game 2020 season, he could've hit more than 4 homers...
   28. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 26, 2021 at 07:53 PM (#6036590)
If Stanton stays healthy, he gets there first.
   29. Hombre Brotani Posted: August 26, 2021 at 08:50 PM (#6036603)
If Stanton stays healthy
"If Stanton had stayed healthy" will be the second line of his obituary.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: August 26, 2021 at 08:55 PM (#6036605)
#25 ... but more precisely, for 2019-21 Stanton has 29 HR in his last 605 PA. For his career, he has 3 seasons well over 605 PA and one season at that level. Even if we ignore his rookie season and 2020, he's averaged 500 PA a year. Or this year he has played in 83% of his team's game which puts him on a 28-HR pace for this season. Even if you apply his career HR% to 500 PA a year, it's 31 per year.

So if Stanton hits HRs at about his current pace or his career pace and his durability gets no worse, he'll make it somewhere around age 36-37. That's when his contract comes to an end so he will likely receive as much PT as his team can get out of him over those years. If his HR% or durability takes a further hit, then he may be in trouble -- if those happen then entering his age 38 season, he'll be a fragile DH-only player and better hope he's coming off a solid age 37 season.

Don't get me wrong -- I think his chances are excellent and that ZiPS is under-estimating his chances. But barring a big turnaround in durability, he's going to eke over, quite possibly needing one or two of those "DH for a crappy team" type seasons at the end.

There are heaps of positive comps of course. Even somebody as fragile as Frank Thomas (2511 PA from 32-37) had 147 HR which would put Stanton in the 480s and surely somebody would give him a 1-year contract. We've discussed a bunch of other guys in the Nelson Cruz discussion -- Killebrew (3191 PA, 166 HR), Thome (3306, 207), McCovey (2750, 145). Even Griffey managed 133 HR from 32-37 and a total of 170 after 31 before he was done. And given the way the game is played these days, it's not like he's gonna stop swinging for the fences. He needs to avoid Mo Vaughn obviously.

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