Commentary

Who's next to 600 home runs?

Current big leaguers whose career arcs suggest they have a shot at 600 homers

Updated: August 15, 2011, 9:23 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory
Alex Rodriguez Rob Grabowski/US PresswireAlex Rodriguez has already joined the 600 home run club, and he has a teammate who could join him.

At long last, Jim Thome hit his 600th career home run and became the eighth player in major league history to reach that milestone. Given the increase in home runs in the past 20 years, the 400-homer club has become almost old news, and hitting 500 homers is no longer an automatic ticket to Cooperstown.

But 600 homers is still a pretty rare feat -- you can count the club members without running out of fingers -- and many of the best players of this generation are likely to fall well short.

Who else will pass the 600-homer mark? Because waiting years and decades to find out isn't much fun, I used the ZiPS system to project the final home run totals for every player who looked to be even remotely on a 600-dinger trajectory. (Players like Geoff Blum or Juan Pierre need not apply.)

In ZiPS' estimation, just 10 active players other than Thome have at least a 2 percent chance to retire with at least 600 homers on their résumés.

For offensive environment, I used a level between 2010 and 2011, and I used the current home park for each player. A return to a higher level of offense or a change of park could increase or decrease each player's odds, but we don't have that information yet. For each player, I list the chances of a 600-home run career and, in parentheses, his expected career total.


Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

100 percent (764)

Given that A-Rod is already past 600 homers, we can be pretty sure that 100 percent is accurate.

The only question surrounding A-Rod is whether he can pass Barry Bonds. ZiPS has given him a 50-50 chance for a couple of years, and he's right on target so far.