When it comes to milestones, we’re allowed to be a little greedy.
After he became the ninth player in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs yesterday, the immediate thought in a lot of people’s minds was “can he make it to 700?”. “The Machine” reaching 600 home runs is a magnificent achievement and definitely shouldn’t be thrown to the side, but it’s always fun to speculate. I do believe Albert has a good chance of becoming a member of the 700 home run club, so long as he stays on the field.
Alex Rodriguez owns the highest HR total among 600 Club-or-less guys at 696. He reached the 600 home run milestone at age 34 in his 16th season back in 2010. Albert is currently in his 17th season at age 37. For A-Rod, it took the rest of 2010 plus another five seasons [six if you count the year he was suspended] to reach his final number of 696. Entering this year, Albert had five seasons remaining on his contract with the Angels, so if he finishes out his deal and is healthy, he’ll at least be close.
If you look closer into the numbers, it seems that barring injury, Pujols actually has a pretty good chance of reaching the prestigious plateau. Taking his yearly average of about 152 games played for the next four years and adding another 101 games [he’s played 51 this year], Albert would have 709 games left while he’s under contract as an Angel. 100 homers in 709 games doesn’t sound impossible.
If he continues on the same home run hitting pace he’s been on this season, he’ll be sitting at 618 by year’s end. The Machine would need to pump out three more seasons of 20 homers and one of 21. This might sound a little steep for a player that will be attempting this from ages 37-41, but if I’m putting my money on a player that can do it, I’d have my full confidence in King Albert.
This is a man who has a career LOW of 28 home runs in full seasons he’s played [17 HR in 99 games in 2013]. A man who hit 30 or more home runs for each of the first 12 seasons of his career. Perhaps even more impressive than those statistics, Albert has hit 40 and 31 homers in the last two seasons at ages 35 and 36 respectively.
While age has reared it’s ugly face in Pujols’s strikeouts and batting average, his power still seems to be showing up, which in a conversation about home runs is all he needs.