As Miguel Cabrera’s 500th home run sailed beyond the outfield wall of the Rogers Centre in Toronto, the Detroit Tigers franchise favorite all but cemented his place in the baseball history books. Not that he wasn’t already there before his legendary blast, but Miggy’s never been one to leave any doubt when it comes to his once-in-a-generation talent.
Now that Cabrera’s earned himself a place in one of baseball’s most prestigious clubs, we thought this would be a good time to look towards the future and see who might be joining Detroit’s lovable home run launcher next.
While the 34-year-old seems to be heading into the twilight of his career, McCutchen still has some milestones left to hit. In a career that’s seen him play for the Pirates, the Giants, the Yankees and most recently the Phillies, Cutch has been known for his all-around skill set, not just his bat. However, as he heads into the end of his 13th MLB season, the former MVP finds himself with 264 home runs, averaging around 22 round-trippers a season.
In order to join this fabled group of power-hitters, McCutchen would have to hit 236 homers, a feat that would take him 10.7 seasons to complete. While that might be possible for younger hitters, Cutch would be nearing age 44 by the time he could step into the box to even attempt to hit #500.
Votto has a similar problem. The 37-year-old first baseman has been a staple of the Cincinnati infield since 2008, and has been one of the most cerebral hitters of the last twenty years. But as he reaches the final seasons of his career, Votto might be out of time to join the 500 club. Sitting at 323 home runs, Votto lands 7th on the active list, but 177 homers away from getting into the club.
With a season average of 25 home runs, Votto would need 7 more seasons, and a team to sign him until he’s 44 years old. That kind of contract might only exist in the NFL, so Votto might be out of luck and out of time.
#11 – Anthony Rizzo – 246 Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2031
Rizzo is the kind of player who hits home runs at such a consistent rate, it’s easy to be surprised at his career numbers. With 246 homers to his name, Rizzo finds himself with a 24.5 HR/year average over his the course of his career. The question will once again be “how long can he continue to play, and will he be able to keep his bat hot over that span?
To reach 500, Rizzo would need to hit 24.5 home runs a season over the next 10.4 seasons. It would be somewhere around 2031, when he’ll be playing in his Pujols years as a DH in the American League or as a first baseman in the National League. Rizzo’s consistency is something to be praised and should help him reach this milestone in the next decade. But that all depends on his ability to hold down a job.
#10 – Freddie Freeman – 267Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2030
The 2020 National League MVP is a fan favorite across the country, and his loud bat is one of the reasons why. While there are some other young sluggers on the Braves roster surrounding him, Freeman has seen his fair share of longballs. And Freeman doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
#9 – Bryce Harper –255Home Runs,, Expected 500th Home Run: 2030
The former National has spent that last few years getting acclimated to his new home in Philadelphia, but that hasn’t cooled off his bat. Harper has been averaging around 25 home runs a season over the course of his career and unlike a few other names on this list, he has plenty of time to reach 500.
With Harper turning 29 later this year, we’re just seeing the former 2015 NL MVP’s peak, and from here on out it’ll be a smooth ride. It’s very possible that Bryce’s home run days are just getting started, so an uptick in production should be on the menu. That being said, with his 25 round-trips a season, it would take Bryce 9.6 seasons to reach 500 home runs. In that grand scheme of things, that would put him around age 37 in the year 2030, which makes it totally plausible he’d still be playing. Why? The Phillies have him contracted through 2031.
But if we do see an uptick in production, Bryce could reach the 600 Home Run Club by then as well.
#8 – Manny Machado – 245Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2030
Another younger player on this list, similar to Freeman, Machado is the elder statesman on a team of young sluggers. The San Diego Padres made a splash when they signed the former Baltimore Oriole to a $300 million dollar deal in 2019. Since then, Manny has hit just under 30% of his career long balls, and he’s still just 29-years-old.
Similar to Harper, Machado’s home run prowess feels like it’ll only get stronger with time, and since he’s jumped out to such an immense head start, his joining the 500 Club seems imminent. That being said, if he continues on his 27 home runs a year trend, Machado will meet the requirement in 9.4 seasons, which lands him somewhere in the 2030 campaign.
#7 – Nolan Arenado – 260Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2030
While Arenado has the youth to put him on the fast track to joining this club, his recent relocation to St. Louis might be a bit of a deterrent. Arenado spent the first 8 seasons of his career in the home run friendly Coors Field playing for the Rockies. In that span, he hit fewer than 37 home runs only three times: his first two seasons in the league and the pandemic shortened 2020 season.
Now with the Cardinals, it remains to be seen as to whether or not he can maintain his current pace of around 29 home runs a season. However, if his first season in St. Louis is any indication, location might not be as much of a factor as some might have thought.
All that said, if he holds his pace, Arenado should launch his 500th home run in 2030. That would put him within reach of the milestone after 9 seasons, as he hits the twilight of his career at age 39.
#6 – J.D. Martinez – 267Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2029
The Boston slugger who came up with Detroit has filled the DH position vacated by David “Big Papi” Ortiz beautifully. Since joining the Red Sox, Martinez has hit 109 home runs, 10 more than he did during his 4-years with the Tigers. Perhaps spending all that time with Miggy paid off?
All that to be said, as the Red Sox track record with Designated Hitters goes, should he stay on with the Red Sox after his contract is up in 2022, Martinez would be given the pace to launch as many balls over the Green Monster as he wants. Amassing a season average of 29 home runs, Martinez should join Papi in 8.1 seasons, or late into the 2029 season. However, it should be mentioned that Martinez would be 41 at this point, that’s one year older than Ortiz was when he retired.
#5 – Paul Goldschmidt – 267Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2028
Another St. Louis Cardinal slugger, Goldschmidt went from perennial NL MVP candidate with Arizona to a big bat trying to find his swing again in St. Louis. Not that Goldschmidt’s taken a step back in production, he’s just calmed down a bit since leaving the desert.
That being said, whether or not his 29.6 home runs a season can continue to hold as he moves to a less offense-friendly ballpark still remains to be seen. However, if Nolan Arenado is any indication, it’s just a matter of time before Goldy gets back on track. Should that happen, it’s most likely that Goldschmidt will hit his 500th home run in 7.8 seasons, or somewhere in the year 2028. But, unlike his fellow teammate, Goldschmidt will be chasing Father Time while simultaneously chasing history.
#4 – Justin Upton – 324 Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2028
To be perfectly honest, Upton was the one surprise on this list for me. Upton’s only been an All-Star four times and has finished in the Top-4 for MVP only once back in 2011, where he finished behind Ryan Braun*, Matt Kemp, and Prince Fielder, all of whom are no longer playing in the Majors.
However, to his credit, the 34-year-old Los Angeles Angels outfielder has been insanely consistent over his career, with exception of a few blips like 2010 or 2019. And that’s why he remains somewhat off the radar for power-hitters.
All of this is to say, the man is still 4th on this list for a reason. Solidly averaging 25 home runs a season over his career, Upton finds himself within striking distance of 500 within the next 7 seasons. The only issue is that he’ll be nearing age 40 and he might not be hanging around in the league much longer. However, as we’ve seen this year with the changes Joe Maddon has instituted with the Angels, things might be turning around. He might not hit #500 with the Angels, but Upton still carries a very good bat wherever he goes.
#3 – Mike Trout – 310Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2027
This one seems obvious. Michael Nelson Trout is on his way to becoming the greatest baseball player to ever take a major league ballfield. So why wouldn’t he be a member of the 500 Home Run Club? Seems like an absolute no-brainer.
To be honest, the question with Trout becomes, will he be a member of the 700 home run club? Probably. But that all depends on his longevity and how the back-end of his career plays out. As of right now, Trout would most likely hit his 500th home run in 2027, within the next six seasons, before he turns 35. That leaves plenty of time for him to hit another 100 moonshots and then some.
Trout is a lock. It’s only a matter of time.
#2 – Giancarlo Stanton – 332 Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2026
There are guys who need to remain in the league, and guys who need to remain consistent, but Giancarlo Stanton needs to remain healthy in order to reach the 500 Club. Our fourth NL MVP on the list, Stanton’s had his fair share of injury issues over the last two years, and since his 2017 win with the Marlins, Stanton’s production has been stunted by injuries. Since joining the Yankees, Stanton has launched 17 home runs a season, including his injury-plagued 2019 and the shortened 2020 season. In comparison, during his eight years in Miami, Stanton parked 33 home runs a season.
That’s the kind of difference his injuries have made.
But if Stanton can somehow split the difference from here on out, he’ll reach the 500 home run mark in 2026 at the age of 36, and he’ll still have two more years on his contract for him to do more damage. So if you’re a fan of the Pinstripes, cross your fingers and pray to whatever God you believe in that Stanton can stay healthy. If he can’t he’ll bring a new face to the legacy of being a Bronx Bomber.
#1 – Nelson Cruz – 443 Home Runs, Expected 500th Home Run: 2023
The player closest to joining Miguel Cabrera in the 500 Home Run Club is Nelson Cruz, and it’s not even close. Only two other active players have more home runs than Cruz: Albert Pujols with #661 and Cabrera who of course recently smacked his #500.
Cruz has had an interesting career, one that didn’t really start on the whole home run thing until he left the Texas Rangers. Once in Baltimore and eventually in Seattle, Cruz began to CRUSH. With the Mariners, Cruz launched 163 homers in four seasons, compared to 157 over EIGHT years with the Rangers. After signing with the Twins in 2019, Cruz hit another 41 at the age of 38. And in 2021, he was a big deadline acquisition for the Tampa Bay Rays, a team he’s hitting home runs for at a pace of one out of every three games.
Should Nelson Cruz play for another 1.7 seasons, he’ll reach 500 home runs if he can continue to smack 34 home runs a season. It’s more likely that he’ll slow down a bit, and leave himself just shy of the mark after 2 seasons, but still wouldn’t that make a great story to open the 2024 season with? I certainly think so.
The Future of the 500 Home Run Club is Bright
If there’s anything I have learned while compiling these numbers it’s that we have a wave of historic homers coming our way the likes of which the world has never seen. Over the next decade, we have the possibility of seeing 13 hitters join the 500 Home Run Club. If all 13 players hit the mark, which is a small chance, it would give the 2020s the most players to do so in any decade in the history of the game. Even the Steroid Era only had nine players reach the milestone in the 2000s.
We are truly witnessing some amazing power-hitters defining home run hitting for a new generation. And as someone who grew up watching these men do incredible things with a twig and a ball of twine, it’s fantastic to see. And for the health of the sport, it’s an encouraging sign to see as we head into the next decade of baseball moments.
- / 1 year ago
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