Pujols’ Pursuit of 700


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Looking at other players that hit this historic mark in the latter part of their careers, the closest comparison to career output year in and year out is Alex Rodriguez. Albert hit his prime at 21 and Alex hit his prime at 20 so overall pretty similar players. But for A-Rod, a guy who did not play due to suspension for PEDs when he was 38 in his 2014 season, its hard to draw a complete comparison based off of HR value. But for the sake of this article, let’s take a closer look at Rodriguez numbers fter joining the elite 600 club, in pursuit of 700.

A-Rod reached this 600 mark at age 34, midway through the 2010 season. He had three extra years on Pujols and still did not eclipse 700 (ended career with 4 HRs short – at 696). When you look at that extra three years A-Rod had, you add some valuable time farther away 40 with less diminished bat speed, and those are years that Pujols did not get when chasing the 700 mark. But in Pujols’ defense, he may be able to add a few more years provided his average goes up. Since A-Rod had overstayed his welcome in the major leagues,  his career would have ended even if his final batting average didn’t decline as much as it did (.237 in his final three seasons).

Watching these star players lose bat speed with age, one player who stands out as an anomaly from this group and that is David Ortiz, who hit .315 and 38 HRs in his final season at age 40. But we have to remember that Ortiz was a player that peaked later in his career at age 27, and as a result follows the trend for late bloomers who have higher output later in their careers compared to players who peaked early (like A-Rod and Pujols).

To draw another comparison to the man that Pujols is chasing, let’s look at Babe Ruth. If he finishes career with the same output that Ruth did, he would have 62 HRs in years 38-40 and would come up short. But when we really get down to it, this pursuit of 700 is not going to define Pujols’ career and 700 is a long shot for any player regardless of his age. But to end on a positive note for Pujols’ camp: the difference could be that Pujols doesn’t miss an entire season due to suspension like Alex Rodriguez did and that could push him to join the elite club of 700.

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