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Albert Pujols

(Jeff Roberson/Associated Press Photo)

Will Albert Pujols Reach the 700 Home Run Mark?

Albert Pujols
(Jeff Roberson/Associated Press Photo)

Will Albert Pujols Reach the 700 Home Run Mark?

The 700 Home Run Club is rarified air. Reaching the historic total is the ultimate display of both power and longevity. In the history of Major League Baseball, only three men have ever scaled this mountain: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), and Babe Ruth (714).

Albert Pujols is in the final stretch of his 22-year career, having announced his plans to retire at the end of the season. His career home run total sits at 689 with 48 games left on the schedule.

At his current pace, Pujols would finish the season with 693 career home runs (although it’s worth noting his pace would have him easily above 700 if he was an everyday player from the beginning of the season). 693 is good for fifth all-time but still just shy of the exclusive 700 club.

One More Year?

Although Pujols is a shell of the player he once was, it would be really good for the game if he hung around one more season to get 700. Opportunities for such an achievement are incredibly rare. However, there’s something to be said for when a player’s time is up, and the argument could be made that Pujols should have retired years ago. Tacking on one more season just for the sake of reaching a milestone could be seen as self-aggrandizing, plus Pujols seems too humble to do that sort of thing anyway.

Then again, maybe Pujols has earned it. Although he’s one of the oldest and slowest players in the league, he actually isn’t having that bad of a year. Pujols currently has an OPS+ of 115, his highest mark since his last All-Star appearance in 2015. Per bWar, he’s right around replacement level. Maybe it isn’t a crazy stretch that he’s got enough left in the tank for 700. It’s much easier to make the case that he should keep playing when he isn’t an outright negative to his team’s lineup.

Failing to reach 700 home runs won’t have any impact on Pujols’ reputation. He’s one of the best players the game has seen: third all-time in RBI and extra-base hits, fifth in home runs and doubles, six Silver Slugger awards, three MVP awards, two World Series titles. Pujols will be a first-ballot HOFer.

Will he play for 700 home runs? In the long run it doesn’t matter too much, but it would be the crown jewel of a legendary career.

***

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