Believe it or not, Major League Baseball has two active players that are members of the 500 Home Run Club. In fact both Alex Rodriguez (640) and Jim Thome (608) are members of the 600 Home Run Club. With the new drug testing policy in MLB, you will no longer see power hitters continue to put up inflated numbers. With a level playing field it will be difficult for upcoming ball players to reach the magical 500 number. However, there are still big league players with a chance at joining the elite club. Here are my list of players that have a shot at 500 home runs.
9. Detroit Tigers 1B Prince Fielder
Prince, son of former Detroit Tiger Cecil Fielder, is a whopping 28 years old with 241 home runs in seven big league seasons. He and dad are the only father-son tandem in MLB history to hit 50 home runs in a season. Prince won the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derbys and is a 2-time Silver Slugger Award winner. This past off-season he left the Milwaukee Brewers and took his talents to the Detroit Tigers, where he signed a nine-year deal worth 214 million dollars. Since being in the big leagues, Prince has averaged 37 home runs each season. I am predicting that he will reach the 500 club at the age 35. So far he has hit eleven homers this season, so he has some work to do.
8. Detroit Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera
Superstar Miguel Cabrera is on pace to be one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all-time when his career is over. He is part of the new “Bash Brothers” that exist in Detroit, alongside his new slugging partner Prince Fielder. The Detroit Tigers will be intimidating the American League Central for years to come because of “Miggy’s” potent bat. At the age of 29, he has sent 292 balls out of the park. This young man has already won a home run crown (2008), he is a 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and won an American League batting title just last year. Cabrera is averaging 33 dingers a year and at his age you can calculate him also reaching the 500 club at the age 35. He is also on pace for 3000 hits.
7. Texas Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre
Once the youngest player in the big leagues, Adrian Beltre has blossomed over the years to become a 3-time Gold Glove third basemen as well as a 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He is now 33 years of age with 322 home runs in fourteen Major League seasons. In 2004, he led the National League in home runs with 48. Adrian is in his second season with the two-time defending American League Champions, Texas Rangers, where he flourished with 32 home runs a year ago. Beltre will continue to see good pitches because of the Texas dynamic offensive squad. It also doesn’t hurt that he is playing in a hitter’s park. In his career he has averaged 26 home runs a year so it’s possible that he may join the 500 club at the age of 39.
6. New York Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira
This slugger came into the Majors swinging for the fences as soon as he was called up. “Tex” has never hit less than 26 home runs in a season and that was his rookie year. Mark is 32 years old with 326 round trippers. He will soon join Micky Mantle and Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters to ever hit 500 home runs. He is a 4-time Golden Glove winner, a 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and he won a home run title in the American League with 39 dingers in 2009. Teixeira is currently a member of the New York Yankees, where he gets to benefit from a short porch down the right field line. He averages 37 homers a years so my prediction for him to reach the 500 club would be at the age 36. Realistically he may be looking at the 600 Club!
5. Chicago White Sox 1B Adam Dunn
We have former Texas Longhorn, Chris Simms, to thank for Adam “Big Donkey” Dunn becoming a Major League ball player. When Simms arrived in Austin, Mack Brown asked Dunn to move from quarterback to tight end. So long Austin, no more gridiron for the “Big Donkey”! Adam is 32 years old with 388 home runs. In his career, he hits a home run every 14 at-bats, second on the active list behind Jim Thome and only Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds have a better ratio. In 2011, Adam had a career low 11 homers. He may have thought his career was in jeopardy, but so far in 2012, he leads the Majors in home runs and he probably will be the comeback player of the year. Dunn averages 38 home runs a year so expect the 500 club in his future at the age of 35. Like Teixeira, barring injuries, he has a legitimate shot at 600.
4. Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz
This man needs no introduction as he is known as the greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history. David Ortiz, or “Big Papi” holds the all-time MLB record for RBIs and home runs for a designated hitter. David has a total of 398 career homers, 5-time Silver Slugger Award winner, led the American League in home runs in 2006, and won the Home Run Derby in 2010. “Big Papi” averages 35 home runs a year and at the age of 36 he has some work to do. Fenway is the perfect place for the slugger to pile up home runs so expect Red Sox nation to welcome Mr. Ortiz to the 500 club at the age of 39!
3. Chicago White Sox 1B Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko is the blue-collar player out of the group who steadily puts up numbers year in and year out. He is the surprise of the list with a total of 409 home runs. Konerko has never led the league in home runs, has never won a Home Run Derby, has never won a Silver Sluggers Award, but at this time he can hang his hat on leading the American League in batting with a .346 average. At the age of 36, Paul is 91 homers from 500. He is averaging 32 home runs a season, so I predict in 2 1/2 years he will join his old teammate Frank Thomas in the club.
2. New York Yankees OF Andruw Jones
Did you raise an eyebrow? Mine raised as well; but I had to put him down. This once 10-time Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, National League Home Run leader(2005), and no longer a sure-fire Hall of Famer has only hit 56 home runs in the last four years. What the hell happened? Remember he was the youngest player ever to hit a home run in the World Series (’96). I believe he hit a home run in his first two at-bats in that series. Andruw is 35 years old with 427 home runs and averages 32 homers a season. Jones had a chance at 600 home runs but now I will be surprised if he threatens the 500 club, simply because he is no longer an every day player and he has a history of giving into the breaking ball. He only needs 73 home runs, so if he makes it, he will be the one to limp to the finish line.
1. Los Angeles Angels 1B Albert Pujols
No one in the history of Major League Baseball has put up the numbers Albert Pujols has. Since arriving to the league, his lowest output for home runs has been 32. Upon last year, he had hit at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs every year until last season when he was 1 RBI short. Like Prince Fielder, he took his talents to the American League and signed a 10-year, 254 million dollar contract with the LA Angels. At age 32, he has hit a comfortable 456 home runs. We can say he will pass the 500 home run club as he averages 42 home runs a season. In his first year with the Angels he has put up a meager 11 home runs, pressing a little at each at-bat and trying to live up to that ridiculous contract. Albert is a perfectionist and will soon settle down and figure it out. He is a 3-time MVP,2-time Gold Glove, 6-time Silver Slugger Award winner, a National League batting champ (2003), and 2-time National League home run champ. In the next ten years, we can predict he will chase down A-Rod, Mays, Ruth, Aaron, and Bonds for the number one overall spot. He will be the Home Run King, and with over 2100 career hits, he will be in that select group of 3000 hits and 700 home runs. The only player ever to do that is the great Henry Aaron.
Chipper Jones is 40 years old with 459 round trippers and has announced that this will be his last year. Chipper is going out with class and knows when to hang them up. Vladimir Guerrero 37 years old with 449 HRs, oh so close, not with a team right now. If he gets picked up by another MLB team it will be painful to watch! Jason Giambi is 41 years old with 429 HRs and playing for the Colorado Rockies. Jason is no longer an every day player and only has 1 HR this season. Can we say father time?! Lance Berkman is 36 years old, fighting an MCL tear and has 359 HR. He has pop in his bat but with injury issues he probably won’t make it. Todd Helton will be 39 this year with 354 HR. He has had a wonderful career, and can rival Peyton Manning as the richest quarterback ever to come out of Tennessee, but too far away from the elite club. Alfonso Soriano 354 HRs & Carlos Lee 353 HRs are both 36 years old and might be too far out of reach. The two that may fall just short of the 500 home run club may be Aramis Ramirez who is 34 years old with 324 HRs and Carlos Beltran, who is 35 with 322 HRs.