The Counting Stat Formerly Known as a Big Deal: Best Bet for 500 HR

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I’ve been thinking about Encarnacion’s chance at 500 HR. Don’t know if that’s still automatic HOF induction or not--probably not, but I don’t think there’s been a non-PED test case yet. Anyway, he seems to have a decent chance. If I calculate right, the Favorite Toy gives him a 54% chance (seems high).

Cabrera still needs 42; the way he’s going that may mean 2019, but he still seems safe. After him--and assuming Beltre falls short--there may not be another 500 HR guy until Stanton (27, 238), who would seem like a good bet barring injury. Trout has 186 at age 25; don’t think he can make up the 50-HR gap if Stanton’s still healthy, but if Stanton does fall short, Trout would presumably be next. Votto’s far and away the best hitter on this list, but unless he stays locked in at this year's rate for a few more seasons, 500 seems out of reach.

These are all the players between Ryan Howard and Stanton on the active HR leaders list (age in brackets). Obviously, Matt Holliday and many others have zero chance, and a few more close-to-zero, but I didn’t want to spend time editing, so I included everyone.

Encarnacion will get the most votes. Anyone else viable? My next pick might be Longoria, who may still have many seasons left at 1B and then DH.

Poll Results

[code]Edwin Encarnacion (34) 329 2
Joey Votto (33) 247 2
Jay Bruce (30) 265 1
Chase Utley (38) 255 1
Ryan Braun (33) 296 1
Brian McCann (33) 256 0
Evan Longoria (31) 255 0
Hanley Ramirez (33) 255 0
Matt Kemp (32) 253 0
Adam Jones (31) 242 0
Chris Davis (31) 258 0
Mike Napoli (35) 259 0
Mark Reynolds (33) 271 0
Robinson Cano (34) 296 0
Nelson Cruz (36) 304 0
Curtis Granderson (36) 306 0
Adrian Gonzalez (35) 309 0
Matt Holliday (37) 311 0
Jose Bautista (36) 324 0
David Wright (34) 242[/code] 0

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 13:58 (two years ago) link

(oh yeah, no coding for poll choices.)

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 13:59 (two years ago) link

none of the above and i'll take trout

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 July 2017 15:19 (two years ago) link

In terms of the list, I think that's valid--I see Edwin more like 30%. (I find plugging in the right numbers for a Favorite-Toy calculation a little ambiguous.) But I would take Stanton ahead of Trout.

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 15:46 (two years ago) link

Should have added a "none" option.

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 15:52 (two years ago) link

voted Aaron Judge.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:07 (two years ago) link


Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:11 (two years ago) link

none of the above and i'll take trout

Karl Malone, Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:15 (two years ago) link

same here

brimstead, Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:23 (two years ago) link

Curious as to the hesitation about Giancarlo. He could well have 350 by the time he's 30; the contract lasts till he's 38, so unless someone eats it, he'll always have a job. Unless it's that you think Trout's going to pass him along the way. Fifty HR is a big head start, especially when the guy trailing probably has a ceiling of 40-45 and the guy ahead has one of 50+.

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:23 (two years ago) link

on that list, I would say Votto. but i doubt it.

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:38 (two years ago) link

[Trout] probably has a ceiling of 40-45 and [Stanton] has one of 50+

i don't think this is true, necessarily. this year trout has 18 HRs in 53 games. a full season at that pace would have him at 54. but it's kind of a toss-up between stanton and trout. stanton hits them with more regularity (stanton: 16.07 PAs per HR; trout: 20.37) but it's tough to imagine staying healthy through his late-30s. when in doubt, i just answer Trout.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:47 (two years ago) link

Good point about Trout upping his rate this year (and in fact, their career highs are 41 for Trout and 37 for Stanton). I was thinking more of their career rates--Stanton's 5th on the all-time list, Trout somewhere around 50th)--and also mentally penciling in Stanton for 50+ this year.

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:57 (two years ago) link

i think trout and stanton both have really good chances, but i bet trout gets there first

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 July 2017 17:18 (two years ago) link

None of the above, though I won't rule out a couple completely. Trout maybe, Stanton perhaps. I'm not even 100% on Cabrera, sometimes the cliff is closer than you think.

nomar, Saturday, 22 July 2017 17:32 (two years ago) link

none of the above; cody bellinger

mookieproof, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:07 (two years ago) link

trout seems like a virtual lock unless something truly tragic happens. stanton and harper both also seem like good bets

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:09 (two years ago) link

i'm hoping for all three of those guys to blow past 500 with ease. i would lean hard towards Trout being a sure thing, my only caveat was if he isn't a consistent 40 HR type guy going forward, if he has more seasons like last year than this. though if you assume he's healthy (and he hardly seems injury prone at all, knock on wood) even hitting around 25-30 HR per season on average for the next ten years would get him around 450 at age 35.

nomar, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:22 (two years ago) link

I don't think Judge is gonna get there, just because of his current age and wondering how he will age.

nomar, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:23 (two years ago) link

I always have 300-by-30 in my mind as a stepping-stone; if you've got 300 after your age 30 season, and you're still playing regularly and reasonably productive, you've got a good chance.

Found this site with a mish-mash of HR info, including where all the 500-HR guys were at each age increment:

After age 30 season:

Bonds - 259
Aaron - 366
Ruth - 309
Mays - 319
A-Rod - 429
Griffey - 438
Thome - 233
Sosa - 336
Robinson - 324
McGwire - 238
Killebrew - 336
Palmeiro - 155
Reggie - 281
Manny - 310
Schmidt - 235
Mantle - 404
Foxx - 429
Thomas - 286
McCovey - 268
Williams - 222
Banks - 298
Matthews - 399
Ott - 369
Sheffield - 236
Murray - 275
Pujols - 408

A lot of guys under 300, and not just PED-era: Reggie, Schmidt, McCovey, Williams (some war), Banks, and Murray were all under 300. The median for all 26 is 309.5; Stanton, Trout, and Harper should all sail past that before they turn 31.

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:37 (two years ago) link

Edwin was only at 195 after his age-30 season, which would put him second-last on that list ahead of Palmeiro.

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:39 (two years ago) link

judge will need to average about 48 per year to get to 300 by the end of his age 30 season

mookieproof, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:55 (two years ago) link

don't think judge will make it bc i want him to be the next ryan howard

qualx, Saturday, 22 July 2017 18:55 (two years ago) link

Prominent exceptions to the age-30 benchmark--sometimes the cliff is closer than you think.

Juan Gonzalez - 362 (the drugs ran out)
Adam Dunn - 354 (helps to hit over .220)

clemenza, Saturday, 22 July 2017 19:04 (two years ago) link

Changed my vote to Eric Thames.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Sunday, 23 July 2017 04:46 (two years ago) link

I'm not even 100% on Cabrera, sometimes the cliff is closer than you think.

His contract pays him 30M+ per and runs through 2023 at the earliest. Like Pujols, he'll be playing forever no matter how bad he might get. The real question is whether he'll get to 600.

I took a flyer and voted for Jay Bruce (given the options available). He's consistently in the 25-35 HR/year range and is young enough to have a reasonable chance at 500. I'd put his chances at no more than 30%, but he "only" needs to average 25-30 HR/year until age 38.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 23 July 2017 05:53 (two years ago) link

I was surprised when I looked at Bruce's career box yesterday, how consistent he's been. Having said that, the only 500-HR guy who took a similar route was Eddie Murray. Everyone on the list had a career high of 40+ HR--usually much higher, and usually multiple 40+ seasons--except Murray, who amazingly never hit more than 33 in a season. But for 20 straight seasons, from the time he came up until quitting (ignoring a final partial season), he hit between 16-33 every year.

He was also, for a five-year window early in his career, considered one of the best players in the game, though, and, deserved or not, there was sort of a mystique attached to him for the rest of his career (pre-sabermetric days; even James always wrote positively about him). Bruce doesn't have any of that. He has one 5+ WAR season, one 4+, a career BA of .249, and a career OBP of .319. I just can't see him playing full-time for long enough to get even close.

clemenza, Sunday, 23 July 2017 13:02 (two years ago) link

All good points about Bruce -- there's definitely a case to be made for him as this generation's Rob Deer. My second choice is probably Chris Davis. Even though it's unlikely, if he somehow puts up another four 40-50 HR seasons, he'd be in the 400-450 range by age 36 and would probably be a lock to trickle over 500.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 23 July 2017 15:23 (two years ago) link

I"m sure Cabrera's gonna get to the high 500s, even over 600! but also baseball is weird, you never know. He's certainly in decline, unless this year is sort of an anomaly and he can right the ship next season and cruise past 500.

nomar, Sunday, 23 July 2017 15:34 (two years ago) link

can't believe justin upton is still only 29, and that he has 237 HR. he's averaged 28 per season over the past few years, looks like this season will maintain that trend.

nomar, Sunday, 23 July 2017 15:39 (two years ago) link

murray really was steady as hell, in his first 14 seasons he never dipped below 3 WAR and only had 4 below 4, including strike-shortened 1981 (3.6, 19th in majors).

jay bruce is always gonna look like a disappointment to me after he was so hyped as a prospect. possibly bc he and colby rasmus were both on the trading block when baltimore had bedard to get rid of.

qualx, Sunday, 23 July 2017 20:40 (two years ago) link

colby's probably been a bit more disappointing though

qualx, Sunday, 23 July 2017 20:41 (two years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 31 July 2017 00:01 (two years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Tuesday, 1 August 2017 00:01 (two years ago) link

lol who voted for chase utley

k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 August 2017 01:55 (two years ago) link

Jay Bruce could go either way. He might not have peaked yet and seems to be in pretty good shape. I could definitely believe he could could end up moving to first base and being mobile enough to be decent at the position, which could extend his career. Bruce could also fall off a cliff at age 31 too. That said, if he can just do his career average for another 4-6 years, I think 400 HRs is fairly probable. For 500, he would have to be just as good till he is in his late 30s, stay healthy and not fall off. It's been done, but it is quite a bit to ask.

Willie Stargell was one guy I thought about and looked up that had his peak in his early 30s and then he was fairly productive into his late 30s. That might be a model, although Pops ended up at 475 HRs.

earlnash, Tuesday, 1 August 2017 03:29 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Still up and down on EE's chance's for 500. He's having a good power year--may hit 35-40 HR, which would give him ~415 heading into his age-37 season. He'd still need three more solid seasons, or hang around long enough as a part-time player. I don't know--maybe a 10 or 15% shot at the moment?

clemenza, Monday, 20 May 2019 14:18 (six months ago) link

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