On August 22nd, 2021, Miguel Cabrera made history. He became the 28th player in MLB history to join the hallowed ranks of the 500 home run club. He joined legends like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Ken Griffey Jr. in that elite club. With Miggy finally eclipsing the milestone mark, let’s take a look at a couple of players who have a chance to get there.
Nelson Cruz: Age 41
39 HOMERS PER 162 GAMES
Nelson Cruz is one of a kind. Since he turned 34, he has averaged an astounding 44 long balls per 162 games played. With 443 home runs in his rearview mirror, he has the shortest path to 500 out of any active player. Unfortunately, age will most definitely factor into his chase for 500.
With Boomstick already at 41 years old, it appears he’s nearing the end of his run; but, Nelson Cruz is built different. I legitimately wouldn’t be surprised if he is still mashing when he turns 50. Age is just a number for Nelson.
Cruz has defied father time his entire career, and he’s looking to do it one last time.
Mike Trout: Age 30
39 HOMERS PER 162 GAMES
Barring any more injuries, Trout is almost a lock for 500 homers. With 310 of them through eight full seasons, it will only take another five or six years until he eclipses the threshold. In Trout’s last full season, 2019, he smashed a career-high 45 taters en route to another MVP award. And being that he’s still so young at age 30, there’s no reason he shouldn’t have a minimum of six great years left in him.
Mike has had his power production skyrocket over the last three years. After hitting 45 in 2019, he was on pace for 51 homers in the shortened 2020 season, which would have set a new career-high. This season, Mike has only played in 36 games, but during that short time, he batted .333 and hit eight long balls. Next season, Mike will remind the world what he is capable of.
For Trout, it’s a matter of when not if.
Giancarlo Stanton: Age 31
42 HOMERS PER 162 GAMES
If Stanton would have been consistently healthy throughout his career, he might already be on pace for the 700 homer club. (You did not read that wrong. He was that good.) But injuries have derailed his career. As a young Mike Stanton on the Florida Marlins, he was a budding superstar. He finished second in MVP voting at age 24 after hitting 37 homers and 105 RBI’s.
A year later, he started even better, hitting 27 blasts in his first 74 games. However, injuries derailed his season. He was on pace for a 59 homer season, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. When healthy, he has been an elite-level hitter, as evidenced by his remarkable 2017 campaign.
Stanton should’ve been a lock for 500, but as the injuries pile up, his chances start to fade.
Bryce Harper: Age 28
33 HOMERS PER 162 GAMES
In 2015 after a 22-year-old Bryce Harper won NL MVP on the back of hitting 42 homers, he seemed like a lock for the 500 dinger club. As one of the most highly-touted prospects in decades, Bryce weighted the world on his shoulders. And for the most part, he’s delivered.
At age 28, he already has 258 career homers through 10 seasons. (He has only played more than 150 games three times.) Plus, he had a down year in 2020, at least by his standards. However, 2021 has been a revelation for him.
If he keeps up this pace, Harper will definitely have a crack at reaching 500.
The Young Players
While those are the only established players who have a real shot at the 500 homer threshold, there are a few bright young stars who look like they’ll get there one day.
Juan Soto is the most polished hitter in all of baseball at the tender age of 22. While he may not have the raw power that some have, his incredible bat-to-ball skills will translate into many, many home runs.
Fernando Tatis Jr. burst onto the scene last year, quickly becoming the most electrifying man in all of sports entertain… baseball. His pop is incredible. Even with 33 games missed this season, he still leads all NL sluggers in dingers, with 36 on the year.
His per 162 game stats are insane. His batting splits are .294/.370/.605/.976 and he’s averaging 50 homers(!), 119 RBI’s, 34 stolen bases, and a 163 OPS+! That is other-worldly production from a player who hasn’t even turned 23 yet. He will reach 500 one day.
Ronald Acuna Jr. might be the most powerful man in all of baseball. He has hit moonshots as far as the eye can see. At only 23 with 108 homers already under his belt, Acuna is already a fifth of the way there. (He is also averaging crazy numbers, for example, 43 homers per 162 games.) Acuna is a generational talent who will only get better with experience.
Other notable young sluggers: Vladimier Guerrero Jr., Rafael Devers, Luis Robert, Spencer Torkelson, Jarred Kelenic.