In a sparse bright spot on the season, the Angels have something to look forward to this weekend and on the upcoming road trip. Albert Pujols has been sitting on 599 home runs since May 30 and we’ve all been watching and waiting for number 600. We’ve been fortunate to watch Pujols hit tape measure home runs over the course of his career, but what might be most impressive, is that he could be the last to join the 600 home run club for quite a while.
As the active home run leader, Pujols has almost 150 dingers on the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera with 451. He can hit homers at a pretty good click some of the time, but he’s 34 years old and is more of a doubles and RBI guy. There’s a good chance Cabrera makes the 500 club next year, even with a subpar year at the plate this season. However, he’ll turn 36 just after the season starts in 2019 and I don’t see him playing long enough to make 600.
To find the next potential member of the 600 club, we have to dip down into the 200 club. The youngest active member of this club is the Florida Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton. I’ve raved at how huge the New York Yankee’s Aaron Judge is at 6-foot-7, but Stanton is no pygmy at 6-foot-6 himself. A giant block of a man, Stanton is a tremendous hitter who will likely give a run at the 600 club. He’s just about on Pujols’ pace through his first seven seasons, as Stanton hit a home run every 3.97 games and Pujols homered every 3.89 games. Stanton might have to eventually make the move to the American League to make a run, though, so he can play as a DH and prolong his career.
Another possible candidate for the 600 club is Pujols’ fellow Angel Mike Trout. Though he’s yet to even reach the 200 club, Trout is sure to drop bombs at a pace that will get him near Pujols’ level. The only thing stopping him would be himself, as Trout has incredible power to the gaps and tags a lot of extra-base hits rather than belting copious homers. That could change with age.
The Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper will likely push for the 600 club, as he seems to have found his stroke at the major league level. After just 24 jacks in 2016, Harper has already hit 15 round trippers this season. Of course, he’ll have to stay healthy to eventually reach 600.
Pujols will eventually hit number 600. It might not come today, tomorrow or even this week. But when he does eventually hit it, make sure you’re watching, because he could be the last to join the 600 club for a very long time.
Photo by Brigham Berthold