Albert Puhols Approaches 700 Home Runs: Do Other Active Players Have a Realistic Shot at That Mileage?

Albert Puholz is currently approaching 700 home runs. We haven’t seen anyone reach that plateau since Barry Bonds, and he joins only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. Those are the only three players to ever get there, and Pujols would make it four. This is incredibly rare; we’re talking about four elite hitters in baseball history.

We know that’s a gigantic number, but it’s still fun to ask the question: Are there any active players who could one day hit a 700?

After Pujols, the active home run leaders 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 one season in his career, and he can hit them in bunches, but his health record won’t allow it. Just getting to 500 is much more realistic. Aaron Judge is potentially eyeing the single-season homer record in 2022, but the Yankees star is 30 and has 209 career homers.

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

Trout has 338 career home runs and is still only 30 years old. His 162-game average is 40 home runs, but that’s the problem. I just mentioned Stanton’s health record, and while Trout was incredibly durable through the first five seasons of his career, he’s had a lot of issues since then. A shortened 2020 season, just 36 games last year and 91 so far in 2022 really puts a damper on it.

The funny thing is, his pace has actually accelerated. Over the past three seasons, his 162-game average is 48 homers (he’s hit 53 in 180 games). I guess from that perspective we could assume that if he becomes durable again, a run is possible.

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

He’s 29 years old with 282 career home runs, but the expectation is that he’ll play into his 40s, and his durability isn’t as big of a question as Trout’s (Harper’s injury this season was a hit by pitch, who broke his thumb, which is a freak accident and not foreboding).

He is far away though. He has 68 home runs since the half. Harper hit 42 in 2015 but has topped out in the mid-30s since then (34 in 2018, 35 in 2019, 35 last season). We need to see some mid-40s totals before that becomes realistic.

It’s not realistic at all right now.

Age 30 with 275 career home runs. From 2015-18, he was very consistent in hitting 35, 37, 33 and 37 per season respectively. That’s 142 over a four-year period. Let’s double that and say he did it for the next eight years, starting next season — an incredibly generous estimate. That would give him 559 career home runs plus however many he hit the rest of the season.

700? is not

You have to start early to work toward a career milestone like 700 homers. Devers did. He debuted at age 20 and hit 10 that season. He had 38 last year and is now up to 137 in his 25-year-old career. It’s a solid foundation, but the math is still not on his side. Taking his current 137 home runs at five equals 685. That’s in a nutshell. And it’s in its sixth season. He hasn’t played in 30 years, so how much will he really pick up the pace?

We are talking now. Here is the best choice.

Soto is still only 23 years old. He has 122 career home runs. Puhols had 114 homers in his age-23 season, so Soto is ahead of the pace. On the other hand, Soto’s career high so far is 34 (2019) and he has only 24 home runs this season. In Pujols’ age-24 season, he hit 46. The next year, he hit 41. The year after that, he hit 49.

That means that while Soto is currently ahead of Pujols’ pace in terms of home run volume by age, he’s on track to either become a completely different player or fall off the pace pretty quickly.

Ronald Acuña Jr

A shortened 2020 season and a torn ACL last year were pretty tough setbacks in Acuña’s stat sheet. He’s only 24 and has 115 career home runs despite these factors. The average of 162 games of 38 home runs is good and he can increase it in the coming years. He’s still 585 home runs short. It’s a career for some of the best we’ve ever seen.

He’s 23 and his next home run will be number 100. Wow! Only 600 left, right?

Something on Vlad’s side here is the volume he got in 2021. He hit 48, so we know he’s got that in him. If he puts together a mid-to-high 40 streak, racking up something like 180 home runs over four seasons, that really moves the needle here. Of course, he’s only 27 this season. What if 48 was a little different?

There’s an argument to be made that Guerrero is the best bet here, but it’s also overblown because 700 is just a gigantic number.

The self-saboteur joined the conversation!

In his age-22 season, Tatis hit 81 home runs in just 273 games. Of the 24 players in MLB history to top 75 home runs by age 22, Tatis, Acuña and Joe DiMaggio are the only ones to have appeared in fewer than 330 games. Injuries and the pandemic prevented Tatis from making more history. He outpaced Puhols. His 48 homers in 162 games is strong enough that getting to 700 might be realistic.

Of course, then he broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident this past offseason and tested positive for PEDs. He won’t play again until May of his age-24 season. Now he is behind the necessary pace, in all likelihood.

Julius Rodriguez

Could Julio be our man? He has 21 home runs at 21 years old!

Of course, Pujols hit 37 at that age, and we’ve already covered how much more work Pujols did in subsequent seasons. It’s just so much volume. I will lay it out.

Here are Pujols’ top 10 home run seasons by year: 37, 34, 43, 46, 41, 49, 32, 37, 47 and 42.

Imagine if Rodriguez did that for the next 10 seasons. He would already be a legend among sailors. Also, he would still be a long way from 700. That 10-year stretch was 408 home runs.

Best bet: None of them

I said Soto is the best pick while Guerrero isn’t terrible, but they both fall short nonepretty strong.

Pujols entered the league at age 21 and hit 37 homers. He hit 40 home runs at age 35. Ages 23-30, he averaged 42 home runs per season. Now he’s 42 years old, in his 22nd season, averaging 37 home runs in 162 games, and he’s still not there. Seven hundred is an absurd number of home runs for one player.

As such, the most likely outcome here is that none of the players listed above make it to 700. In fact, it’s possible that none of them even make it to 600.

Enjoy Pujols’ pursuit of 700 while it lasts. It may be a while before baseball fans see him again.

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