Home Run Milestones – Who Might Reach Them?

by KerryWhisnant

Who has the best shot at breaking Barry Bonds’ record of 762 home runs? Who is likely to reach 500 or 600? We all know the usual suspects, but is there a way to estimate their actual probabilities? Using past performances beyond a given age level, we can try to quantify what we think we already know.

Using baseball-reference.com, it is easy to determine how many home runs every player in the history of baseball has hit starting at any given age. Then for any current active player, we can compare that information with how many home runs they need to reach a certain milestone to find how many players in the past have done what that player needs to do. For example, we find that 36 players have hit at least 64 HR from age 36 on, which is what Vlad Guerrero must do to reach 500 HR.

But to get a probability, we need both a numerator and a denominator. The latter is trickier. We need to identify players at that age who are in some way representative of the current player. We don’t want to take all players at that age, since that would include players who were not at all similar, such as light-hitting middle-infielders, etc. As a first stab at this, I determined (once again using baseball-reference.com) how many players at a given age had hit 20 or more HR. This then represents the approximate pool of power hitters at a given age.

The following table lists players with their age in 2011 (using the baseball-reference criterion, which is their age on June 30, 2011), the number of HR they currently have, the total number of players of the same age who hit at least 20 HR the previous year, and the number of players who have hit enough HR from that age on that would allow the current player to reach the 600 and 500 HR milestones. The last two columns then give the approximate probability using the previous columns. (The NA, obviously, indicates that a milestone has already been reached.)

Age Player HR # >= 20HR #(600) #(500) %(600) %(500)
40 Thome 589 25 21 NA 84 NA
39 M.Ramirez 555 25 6 NA 24 NA
38 Cameron 269 47 0 0 0 0
37 Helton 333 79 0 0 0 0
36 V.Guerrero 436 109 1 36 0.9 33
35 Konerko 365 142 1 11 0.7 8
35 Ortiz 349 142 1 7 0.7 5
35 C.Lee 331 142 1 8 0.7 6
35 Berkman 327 142 1 8 0.7 6
34 A.Jones 407 181 11 74 6 41
34 Glaus 320 181 1 16 0.6 9
33 A.Ramirez 289 215 2 13 0.9 6
32 Beltre 278 249 4 21 1.6 8
32 Wells 223 249 1 7 0.4 3
31 Pujols 408 289 54 225 19 78
31 Dunn 354 289 22 92 8 32
31 Teixeira 275 289 6 35 2 12
31 Howard 253 289 4 22 1.4 8
30 Morneau 181 335 2 8 0.6 2
29 A.Gonzalez 168 323 4 11 1.2 3
28 M.Cabrera 247 348 15 66 4 19
27 Fielder 192 323 9 46 3 14
27 Votto 90 323 3 9 0.9 3
26 R.Zimmerman 116 290 6 27 2 9

As an example, we see that for Jim Thome, 25 people have hit at least 20 HR in their age 39 year, and 21 people have hit at least 11 home runs from age 40 on (the amount needed by Thome to reach 600), giving an estimated probability of 84% that Thome will reach 600.While this may seem a little low given how close he is, players often do hit a wall at age 40. A similar calculation for Manny Ramirez gives a 24% chance of reaching 600.

The only other player with a probability of reaching 600 that is even close to these is Albert Pujols, at 19%. He needs 192 more HR and is only 31 this year, but at his current pace it will still take at least 5 years, and a lot can happen in that time. As the number of players who have hit at least 20 HR at a given age shows, HR productivity drops markedly after age 30, with only half as many hitting 20 HR at age 35 as compared to age 30. Adam Dunn is next with an 8% probability of reaching 600 HR.

By the way, for the players who have just one player in the #(600) column (i.e., only one player in the past who performed at a level that would allow the current player to reach 600 HR), that player is always Barry Bonds. So now that steroids have been mostly removed from baseball, you might want to consider it a zero.

For the 500 HR milestone, Pujols leads the way at 78%, followed by Andruw Jones (41%), Vlad Guerrero (33%), Dunn (32%), Miguel Cabrera (19%), Prince Fielder (14%) and Mark Teixeira (12%). While some of these may appear to be a little off – Jones’ probability in particular might seem too high, given his recent decline – they mostly seem plausible.

So – to me at least — the 20 HR level used to determine the pool of similar players gives results that aren’t too far off, on average. If you think the probabilities are consistently too high or too low, you might want to choose a different criterion to choose the pool of similar players. For example, if you use 25 HR, the pools at each age are only about 60% as big, which multiplies the probabilities by a factor of about 1.6. This would make some of the probabilities greater than 100%. If you use 15 HR, the pools rise by 60%, which multiplies the probabilities by about 0.6. This makes the probabilities seem too low to me, which is why I like using the 20 HR criterion. You could also have a different criterion at different age levels, but that introduces even more variables to choose.

What about the ultimate milestone of 763 HR, one more than Barry Bonds? The following table lists the players who can point to at least one past player who performed well enough from their current age to enable the current player to reach the magic 763 number.

Age Player HR # >= 20HR #(763) %(763)
35 A.Rodriguez 613 142 16 11
31 Pujols 408 289 4 1
31 Dunn 354 289 1 0.3
28 M.Cabrera 247 348 2 0.6
27 Fielder 192 323 1 0.3

This list of possible record breakers is very short, and once again, the ones with only one player in the #(763) column (Dunn and Fielder) must duplicate Barry Bonds’ performance to do it. Cabrera adds Babe Ruth to his list of  “role models,” while Pujols adds Ruth, Hank Aaron and Raphael Palmeiro. Of course Bonds and Palmeiro used steroids, and Ruth was, well, Babe Ruth (who, by the way, was actually quite prolific from age 31 to 36, averaging 50 HR a year in that span). Aaron would seem to be the best comparison for Pujols – never hitting 50 HR, but consistently hitting 40 or so a year over a long time.

Pujols is a special player, and the 1% probability may seem low, but a lot can happen between now and age 40. The next few years are critical – if he can average 40 HR for the next five years, he will be a year behind ARod’s pace and his probability will go up to 6%.

ARod has by far the best chance by this measure, about 11%. He would have to maintain his recent pace of 30 HR/year for the next five years, and would take longer – past age 40 — if he slows down. The 16 players who have hit at least 150 HR from age 35 on are Bonds, Aaron, Palmeiro, Andres Galarraga, Darrell Evans, Ruth, Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams, Edgar Martinez, Winfield, Jim Thome, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson, Hank Sauer, Steve Finley and Stan Musial. Even discounting steroid users, there are a number of possible players – including at least two who are hardly Hall of Fame material — who Rodriguez could copy to reach 763.

So it looks like ARod is the favorite to hit 763, but it’s still not likely, while Pujols needs to channel Hank Aaron. This may not be much different than what you thought before, but it’s nice to see it confirmed.

Naturally you can do something similar for other milestones, such as 3000 hits or the 4256 hit total of Pete Rose. Stay tuned for a future article on hit milestones.

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61 Responses to “Home Run Milestones – Who Might Reach Them?”

  1. Chuck Says:

    I don’t care about homeruns, really, and it isn’t just about steriods.

    Hitters today have it so easy..bandbox ballparks, tighter wound baseballs, strike zones the size of a dinner plate, of course it’s much easier to hit the long ball today.

    Oh, yeah, almost forgot to mention the 75 or so minor league pitchers collecting major league salaries.

    Just because Jim Thome played in the greatest homerun hitting era of all time doesn’t make him a great homerun hitter, and the same applies for just about everyone else playing today.

    Pffft.

  2. Hartvig Says:

    I would be against anyone hitting 763 but I also think ARod’s chances are better than 11%. Pujols won’t unless he winds up playing in Colorado or maybe Texas, Boston or New Yorks (the latter 2 seem highly unlikely) but I would bet against his hitting 600. Of the rest, I think Cabrera has the best shot but his park hurts him. Teixeira is helped by Yankee stadium but had a subpar year, AGon might just go on a tear in his new digs. I think Guerrero’s combination of lost bat speed & free swinging ways will keep him from reaching 500 and Dunn, Howard & especially Fielder will have difficultly playing long enough to make it. Ryan Zimmerman could surprise IF he moves to a hitters park. If I had to rank the chances of hitting 500 it would be:
    Pujols 99% (he could always get hit by a falling meteor or something)
    Cabrera 25%
    Teixeira less than 10%
    Gonzalez just over 10%
    Guerrero just over 10%
    Dunn 20% (because he doesn’t have as far to go & moved to White Sox stadium where hanging curves find themselves in the bleachers- but my gut tells me he will break down in a couple of years)
    Howard less than 5%
    Fielder less than 1% (unless he becomes the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig or something)
    Zimmerman about 5% unless he moves to a good hitters park

    I’m not real sanguine about Thome reaching 600 either- his best chance is if Morneau can’t come back & the Twins wind up out of contention by the AllStar break- the publicity surrounding his chase for “600″ might justify leaving him in the lineup even though I think his production will be way off from last year.

  3. Hartvig Says:

    that should read “would NOT bet against his hitting 600″ in reference to Pujols

  4. John Says:

    “Just because Jim Thome played in the greatest homerun hitting era of all time doesn’t make him a great homerun hitter, and the same applies for just about everyone else playing today.”

    Sigh.

  5. John Says:

    If you neutralize Jim Thome’s stats for playing in 1968 at Dodger Stadium – the lowest run-scoring environment ever – he still has 485 career homeruns.

    So yes. He is a great fucking homerun hitter.

  6. KerryWhisnant Says:

    Hartvig,

    Not to pick on you in particular (especially since many of your numbers are close to the probabilities in the table and some of the differences you have with them make sense based on body type, etc.), but your giving AGon a slightly better chance than Teixeira is interesting, since AGon would have to hit 107 HR in the next two years just to get to where Teixeira is now. Even in Fenway that probably won’t happen. So you must really be predicting AGon will age much better than Teixeira.

  7. Hartvig Says:

    I’m probably over-reacting to last year and maybe over-estimating what Gonzalez will do in Boston- but given decent odds I would put money on Gonzalez hitting 50 home runs in 2012- but Teixeira’s performance with that lineup in that ballpark would really have me worried if I was paying his salary. I think IF Gonzalez says in Boston (or moves to another hitters park) he will age like Hank Aaron- where his numbers don’t decline as he ages because he moved to a better hitters park, with the added benefit of doing it while he’s still in his prime- & I think he could reasonably him 250 home runs in the next 6 years which would leave him needing about 80 homers when he reaches 36 years of age, which isn’t as close as Guerrero but I think when Vlad’s reflexes slip a bit he’s going to drop off like a stone.

    Bear in mind, this is coming from someone who was 1 for 7 in his playoff/series predictions last year, so I would advise against anyone putting any money on my predictions.

  8. Cameron Says:

    Wait, Hank Aaron aged? I thought he just replayed his age 20 season about 22 times, had an average couple seasons as a Brewer and retired.

  9. Chuck Says:

    “If you neutralize Jim Thome’s stats for playing in 1968 at Dodger Stadium – the lowest run-scoring environment ever – he still has 485 career homeruns.”

    104 fewer homers he’s got the same HOF chance as Mario Mendoza.

    Or Tim Raines.

  10. Cameron Says:

    I dunno, accounting that he’s got another year or two left in the tank and he’s a 500 HR hitter adjusting for a career total played in the entirety of the toughest pitcher’s park of the liveball era and I’d say he’s got a decent chance.

  11. Raul Says:

    With all due respect to Jim Thome, if he played his entire career in Dodger Stadium, that makes him a National League player, which means no DH, which means I highly doubt if his career is much longer than 7 or 8 years.

  12. John Says:

    Raul -

    Your point is well taken, although I think he would’ve made it a bit longer. Not too much longer, and his HOF worthiness would be debatable – but he didn’t really become a DH until 2006 – which would give him a 15 year career with 430 HR and a 149 OPS+.

    Chuck,

    If Jim Thome had hit 485 HR in the biggest pitching era in history, then yes, he would be inducted into the HOF on the first ballot.

    Just like he will be in 2017 or 2018.

    Really, the point I’m trying to make is that Jim Thome is a great HR hitter, and hitter period. Chuck thinks that every 5′7 145 lb dude from 1965 could be parachuted into today’s game and hit 40 jacks a season.

  13. Chuck Says:

    “If Jim Thome had hit 485 HR in the biggest pitching era in history, then yes, he would be inducted into the HOF on the first ballot.”

    I meant 485 today, John.

    Christ, why must everything be explained to you?

    “Chuck thinks that every 5′7 145 lb dude from 1965 could be parachuted into today’s game and hit 40 jacks a season.”

    You really are an ignorant douche.

  14. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, 485 today and 485 in 1968? Totally different numbers. You could probably count the 500 guys on one hand back then.

    And while John’s douchiness may have shown there, you really do undercredit a bunch of modern guys (and some guys whose primes were from before I was born), so I have to agree with him in principle.

  15. John Says:

    “I meant 485 today, John.
    Christ, why must everything be explained to you?”

    Because that’s completely fucking different.

    Yes, if Jim Thome hit 104 fewer HR today he would be a worse player. He would be Fred McGriff. If Willie Stargell hit 475 HR today, he would also not be a HOFer. But he would also be a different fucking player (Carlos Delgado?), so who cares.

    As it stands you’re saying, Jim Thome would have no chance if you took away 104 homeruns, which is like 20% of his total.

    A) Yeah, he probably would have a chance, and a good one.
    B) That’s a pretty major qualifier. He homers every 13.6 AB for his career. Take away 20% of his HR and he homers 16.5 AB for his career. Basically adding an extra game gap between each of his HR. Go figure.
    C) Why would taking his HR total in a 1960’s context and comparing it to a HOF-worth HR total today mean fucking anything?

  16. John Says:

    “You really are an ignorant douche.”

    Takes one to know one.

  17. KerryWhisnant Says:

    Good grief guys, if this is what happens I’m going to stop posting articles.

  18. Chuck Says:

    Sorry, Kerry.

    That’s why there are separate tables for the adults and children on holidays.

  19. John Says:

    I’m sorry too.

    We’ll play nice.

  20. brautigan Says:

    Jim Thome hit 26 homeruns in well over a 1,000 minor league at bats. Who would have thought he was going to hit over 150 in his major league career raise your right hand?

    (not me….)

  21. John Says:

    Brautigan,

    I’ve got him hitting 52 in 1700 PA, including 29 in about a full-season’s worth of AAA at-bats.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=thome-001jam

  22. brautigan Says:

    John: WHooops. I was using a 1993 stats book and of course, I didn’t count his 25 homeruns in Charlotte in ‘93.

    Still, I recall watching Thome in 92 while at Spring Training in Tucson and his batting stroke was perfectly suited for him to be a line drive machine. I thought he would be the second coming of Wade Boggs. Like I said earlier, who would have thought he would hammer that many home runs? Not me.

  23. Raul Says:

    Thome’s numbers are what they are.

    I do think he will get elected to the Hall of Fame.
    I don’t think he’s one of the best first basemen of all-time. At least, not in the upper-tier. Just my opinion.

    I know that sounds crazy. I just think there were other players I would rather have that might not have hit for as much power, but were better fielders and base runners and thus better overall players — to me.

    Also, while I’m not vigorously against the DH, I admit that the idea has long exceeded its use. And the position has allowed for players to either get in the game when they normally wouldn’t, and it has allowed for players to stick around for longer than they probably should have.

    With all due respect, if Babe Ruth had the DH rule he might have hit another 150 home runs.

  24. Raul Says:

    By the way, kudos if you were aware that Babe Ruth won the MVP just once in his career.

    I did not know that.

  25. John Says:

    Raul,

    I think there was some rule that you couldn’t win MVP more than once or something. The award was pretty iffy pre-1931, I know that.

  26. Cameron Says:

    Not really Raul. When Ruth tanked, he tanked hard. Not even the DH could’ve saved that season he put on a Braves uniform.

  27. Cameron Says:

    You know, in addition to unlimited consumption of cheap beer, cheap hot dogs, and cheap women. Not necessarily in that order.

  28. Lefty33 Says:

    “I think there was some rule that you couldn’t win MVP more than once or something.”

    Exactly.

    AL voters were required to select one player from each team and player-coaches and prior award winners were ineligible. These flaws resulted in the award’s being dropped after 1928. The NL award, without these restrictions, lasted from 1924 to 1929.

  29. Raul Says:

    LOL @ Cameron

    Funny guy.

  30. Bob Says:

    Baltimore is stockpiling pitching. First Justin Duchscherer, and now Mark Hendrickson.

  31. Raul Says:

    The Duke is one thing.
    Mark Hendrickson? He’s just there for the company BBQ and basketball exhibition game fundraiser.

  32. brautigan Says:

    Raul, darnit, you beat me to the Hendrickson punchline.

  33. Raul Says:

    Just for fun, if you guys had to choose who had the best pitches, who would you go with?

    I’d break it down 2 ways.
    1. Best pitch you’ve ever seen (could be a player or even a prospect who didn’t make it).
    2. Best pitch by a current player.

    So suppose we’re talking Curveball. Who do you think has the best curve in the game? Who do you think had the best curve, out of all the pitchers you’ve seen in your lifetime?

    So let’s say:

    1. Fastball
    2. Curve
    3. Slider
    4. Change-up
    5. Splitter
    6. Curve
    7. Knuckleball

  34. Raul Says:

    Happy 80th Birthday, Ernie Banks!

    Banks retired at end of the 1971 season.
    At the time, his 512 home runs were good for 8th all-time, behind:

    1. Ruth – 714
    2. Mays – 646
    3. Aaron – 639
    4. Mantle – 536
    5. Foxx – 534
    6. Williams – 521
    7. Killebrew – 515
    8. Banks – 512

    Banks has subsequently been pushed down to 21st.

    One of the greats, Banks won consecutive MVP awards in 1958 and 1959 while playing SS for the Cubs, starting and playing in all 154 games in both seasons.

  35. Raul Says:

    Also born today,

    Nolan Ryan and Jackie Robinson.

  36. John Says:

    Check out Banks’s splits as a 1B compared to SS.

    Granted, he played 1B in the 1960’s, but crap…he was basically average for over half his career.

    But what he did at SS was unprecedented in the history of the game.

  37. brautigan Says:

    Raul: These are the best that I’ve seen:

    1) Pedro Martinez (He had such good movement on his fastball) and Randy Johnson (his fastball got to homeplate in a hurry, it was like he reached out and put the ball in the catcher’s glove with a sleight of hand)
    2) Sandy Koufax (his over-the-top curve was just UGLY)
    3) Bob Gibson
    4) Greg Maddox (I think I’ve seen better change ups, but no one had better results than Greg’s circle change)
    5) Bruce Sutter (Sutter made more batters look silly than anyone else)
    6) Hoyt Wilhelm (his knuckleball was hard to hit, and harder to catch)
    7) Fernando Valenzuela had the best screwball, with Mike Cueller a close second

  38. Cameron Says:

    In MY lifetime? That’s not really fair because I didn’t get to watch baseball until the mid-late 90s.

    1. Pedro/Randy Johnson tie. In between the beauty that was Pedro’s EVERYTHING and the pure gas of Johnson, tough call.

    2. Mike Mussina’s Knuckle Curve. Mussina wasn’t too outstanding in other pitches, but that hammer curve of his just makes my gut wrench.

    3. Randy Johnson. “Mr. Splitty” wasn’t fucking fair to face.

    4. Johan’s Circle Change/Trevor Hoffman. Tough call. In his prime, Johan’s circle change sent guys packing fast. Same with Hoffman. He set up that dynamite fastball of his and people buckled failing to catch the change coming.

    5. Rocket’s Splitter. I don’t exactly know where Clemens picked that splitter up, but he made a decent career out of it.

    6. Mariano’s Cutter. Had to mention that thing somewhere. It’s a thing of beauty.

    7. Greg Maddux’s fastball. Either to two-seamer or four-seamer. Not the most gas, but that location just made folks look plain silly.

  39. Lefty33 Says:

    And now the Yankees just signed Freddy Garcia.

  40. Raul Says:

    I accidentally mentioned Curve twice in my listing above. I apologize. I must have been distracted.

  41. Lefty33 Says:

    “So let’s say:

    1. Fastball
    2. Curve
    3. Slider
    4. Change-up
    5. Splitter
    6. Screwball
    7. Knuckleball”

    1. Ryan

    2. Blyleven

    3. Carlton

    4. Pedro

    5. Cone

    6. McGraw

    7. Hough

  42. Cameron Says:

    Sokay, I just changed the last couple around.

  43. Cameron Says:

    And saw the reports of New York signing Freddy Garcia. Honestly? If you need a guy just there for average pitching and needs to chew innings, you really can’t do any better. He’s not the best, but he’s there every day. While I like Duchscherer as a pitcher better, for what the Yankees need, Garcia was a better fit. Justin’s high start total was 22 starts, Garcia’s very reliable for a full season.

    So… What’s the rotation now?

    CC
    Hughes
    AJ
    Garcia
    Random Lottery (Nova/Joba/Mitre/Colon… And I heard they’re considering Brackman.)

  44. John Says:

    Well Freddy Garcia was just signed to a minor league deal, so he’s not assured of anything yet.

    “Garcia’s very reliable for a full season.”

    Garcia only made 23 TOTAL starts from 2007-2009.

    He gave his team 28 last year, but I wouldn’t count on him necessarily beating out Nova and Mitre…which is why a minor league deal is appropriate.

  45. Raul Says:

    Brackman got healthy 4 minutes ago. They won’t let him start.

    Barring some injury, the 5th spot is probably Nova’s to lose. And Mitre’s probably 2nd in line.

    Today is now February 1st. Andy Pettitte has not officially retired nor returned. I would have to treat him like Markinson in A Few Good Men. Andy’s gone. There is no Andy Pettitte.

  46. Cameron Says:

    Appropriate, yeah. Thing is, Garcia’s pretty much the definition of innings-eater. If you need someone to just be there and man a spot while getting the farm guys over a year, you’ll get someone who isn’t completely toxic. I like the signing from New York’s side.

  47. Chuck Says:

    Check this out..

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/9811

  48. John Says:

    Even I think that’s a load of crap.

  49. Lefty33 Says:

    “Today is now February 1st. Andy Pettitte has not officially retired nor returned. I would have to treat him like Markinson in A Few Good Men. Andy’s gone. There is no Andy Pettitte.”

    To me I think Pettite will pull a Clemens and return mid-season as long as the Yankees are not in fourth and twenty games out.

    As for the Garcia signing, I think it reeks of desperation and he is NOT an innings eater and is nothing more than roster filler and will only win games if the Yankees provide eight runs a start for him.

    He is a injury-riddled train wreck and I guess that it’s appropriate to take a chance with a minor league deal on him but the back end of the rotation with some combination of Garcia, Nova, Colon, and Mitre just flat out sucks if the Yankees stand pat, which I doubt, and especially if Pettite does not return.

    To me those four guys sound more like 4/5 of the Scranton starting rotation than guys who should be pitching in the majors.

  50. Hartvig Says:

    To be fair, McCracken figured out something that could be statistically useful to show that someone had a better or worse season than their record would indicate & was a reasonable predictor of the next season. Might be a useful tool as part of overall player assessment or mostly for contract negotiations when Rick Helling or Mike Witt ask for megabucks because they won 20 games because they got run support up the ying-yang. Be that doesn’t qualify him to work in a major league front office any more than winning the Noble prize for mathematics would.

    My money is on Pettite playing, at least at some point. But if he’s not planning on returning until after the All-Star break it may be too late to do the Yankees much good. I don’t even know what’s out there still for free agent options. Millwood? Bondermann? Nothing I can think of that I’d want to have to bank on.

  51. John Says:

    Rick Helling was a bad pitcher who won 20 games because he stayed healthy and pitched behind some great hitters.

    The idea that a pitcher can’t control balls in play? Contact on a low&outside slider is different than contact on a fastball up in the zone.

  52. Raul Says:

    For the love of…

    If you need DIPS or any other stat to tell you that a Rick Helling wasn’t as good as Pedro Martinez…just give up on watching baseball. Seriously.

  53. chuck Says:

    ”’Does anyone truly believe what McCracken “discovered” was an unknown? Pitchers control nothing, that’s been true since forever. As one of the commenters said on the article, McCracken’s info was important if you were trying to win your fantasy league.

  54. Hartvig Says:

    And yet, Barry Zito is guaranteed another $64 million dollars to be a back of the rotation starter for 3 more years.

  55. Chuck Says:

    Rob Neyer left ESPN.

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2011/2/1/1967537/rob-neyer-joins-sb-nation-becomes-part-of-us-not-them

  56. Mike Felber Says:

    I must volunteer that I disagreed with Chuck on his analysis of Pujols-who he seemed to think would be in a wheelchair by August-on his prospects for hitting 600 or 700 HRs. But Kerry’s analysis basically supports Chuck’s opinion, ironically.

    But break it down for me please Kerry: 5 years at 30 is significantly slowing down already, & at his age are not the odds that he will play at some level of productivity longer than that significant? Sure, all kinds of things can happen, but i do not see why he does not have a majority chance at least, rather than almost exactly 1 in 5, of hitting 192 HRs starting from age 31.

  57. Hartvig Says:

    Mike- I don’t see where Chuck commented on Pujols’s chances. Were you maybe thinking about my comment @#2? If so, I did correct my statement so that I “would NOT bet against Pujols hitting 600″. I don’t think he’ll hit 700 but it’s certainly possible. I don’t think it’s very likely he’ll hit 763 however.

  58. Hartvig Says:

    Speaking of home run milestones:

    If you get ESPN Classics: Home Run Derby is just starting (11:30am CST)- Mickey Mantle vs Willie Mays

  59. Kerry Says:

    Hi Mike,

    The analysis looks at all “power” hitters of the same age, and of course most of them were not averaging 40 HR/yr over their careers. (It’s hard to find a peer group for Albert Pujols.) But my gut feeling is that a 19% chance to get to 600 does seem low. I could have upped the HR requirement, but then the sample size goes down. There were only 103 players with 30 or more HR in their age 30 year (as opposed to 289 with 20 or more) — that would lead to a 52% chance of reaching 600,
    and 4% for 763. Maybe that sounds better.

    OTOH, stuff happens, especially after age 35 (the number who hit even 20 HR at age 36 is about a third of the number who did it at age 30 — see table above), and Albert already had some nagging health problems in his 20’s.

  60. Mike Felber Says:

    No Harvig, I was talking about my exchanges with Chuck in another thread. I agree with you overall, though maybe 195 is reasonable for hitting 700, not 600, given his nagging injuries.

    Otherwise I likely would give him a higher chance. Kerry, if you up the HR requirement to EXACTLY what Pujols has been producing-understanding that you will have to guesstimate upwards for most, since few have produced at his level through age 30-is it really still only at 52% for 600? i could understand if his personal health profile might be used to reduce the final probability, but if you use simply the rates he has producing at through his age, I would think it would be higher.

    At least if we considered how players are tending to play longer due to medical & training advances & the DH. Maybe though this is at least balanced by Pujols aforementioned imperfect injury history.

  61. Mike Felber Says:

    I meant to type maybe 19% is about right for his odds of reaching 700.

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