I received the following message from a buddy of mine in an email yesterday. I wondered if you all could share your opinions not just on SI's list, but also on the comments my buddy makes throughout the message.
The new Sports Illustrated has a projection of the all-time home run list in 2020 (courtesy of Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projection system, which uses comparisons to similar players throughout history, weighing factors such as statistics, age and major league service time, defensive position and body type. Projections are adjusted to reflect the fact that it is easier to hit home runs today, and also based on a player's 2006 performance to date). This is the current (2006) top 10:
1) Aaron - 755
2) Ruth - 714
3) Bonds - 713
4) Mays - 660
5) Sosa - 588
6) Robinson - 586
7) McGwire - 583
8) Killebrew - 573
9) Palmeiro - 569
10) Jackson - 563
Now, keep in mind, 2020 is 13 1/2 years from now. It isn't clear if they're saying the following list is following the 2020 season, or going into it, but I'm skeptical of some of the names/numbers on this list:
1) Bonds - 765
2) Aaron - 755
3) Ruth - 714
4) Alex Rodriguez - 678
5) Mays - 660
6) Adam Dunn - 638
7) Ken Griffey, Jr. - 637
8) Albert Pujols - 620
9) Manny Ramirez - 589
10) Sosa - 588
Let's break this down: Behind Bonds, Griffey is the next highest active leader in home runs with 539. He's 37 years old, has a history of injuries, and they say he's going to hit another 98 homeruns? Including his three this year, Griffey has hit a combined 101 home runs in the past SIX seasons!!!! There's no WAY he's going to hit 98 more homeruns before he retires -- NO WAY. You say, "But he hit 35 last year alone." I still say no way. Maybe he gets to 600 -- maybe.
Next two on the active list are Frank Thomas, Gary Sheffield, Jeff Bagwell (he's active?) and Jim Thome, none of whom are deemed good enough to crack the all-time top 10 in 2020. I'll buy that -- everybody but Thome are older than Griffey. Thome has a year on him, but is currently 93 homeruns behind him -- obviously no way he makes up that difference in one year. But he has 446 and is the AL leader this year -- you're saying he's not going to get another 142 before he retires? He's averaged 28 homeruns each year -- that's 5 more years. He doesn't turn 36 until August, and will most likely stay in the AL for the rest of his career -- it's a done deal he will pass Sosa.
Next is ManRam -- stands at 442 right now. They have him at 589 total -- he's about to turn 34, has averaged 32 homeruns/year for his career, which is just above what he's on pace to get this year. That means he needs a little less than five years to get to 589 -- actually, I think that's about right for him.
A-Rod: 438 total. Lowest total for a full season was 23 homeruns, average of 34 per year. Turns 31 this year. At his average (which, by the way, he has surpassed every year for the past EIGHT seasons), would need seven full seasons to get to their projection of 678. That means he would ONLY be 38 when he reaches 678 -- you're telling me he's not playing past age 38?! A-Rod gets to 700, easy.
Piazza's next at 401 -- older than Griffey, no chance to even get to 450. Delgado's next at 382 -- he's interesting. About to turn 34. Has averaged 29 homers, and has 13 already this year. Hasn't hit less than 30 since 1996. Getting 206 more homers in seven years is a longshot, though, unless he goes back to the AL. Next four are Kent (337), Edmonds (336), Chipper Jones (334) and Giambi (325) -- all are either old, former 'roiders or way too far down the list to challenge Sosa. Next is (stifled laugh) Luis Gonzales (321) - 'nough said. Vinny Castilla (316) -- he's with the Padres?! Anyway, old and way too far down the list.
Now comes the most interesting guy -- Vlad Guerrero (315). Why has he dropped off the radar so fast? He's averaged 32 homers for his career, and has hit less than 30 only once since 1998. He just turned 30 this year. To get to Sosa, he only needs about 8.5 years -- like A-Rod, you're telling me he's not playing past 38-39? I think he makes the top 10 -- he already has 10 this year.
Another guy who's dropped off the radar for some reason -- Andruw Jones (310). Averaged 28 homers/season and he just turned 29. Has hit less than that average once since 1998. His position is a little tougher since he's an NL guy (and a centerfielder, to boot) -- he would need 10 seasons to get to Sosa. I say 550, tops.
Shaun Green (306), Ruben Sierra (306 -- my god, he's still playing?), Jeromy Burnitz (305), Moises Alou (304), Steve Finley (298), Reggie Sanders (296), Tim Salmon (295), Bernie Williams (277), Todd Helton (273), Ryan Klesko (272), Pudge Rodriguez (266), Craig Biggio (264), Javy Lopez (254), Brian Giles (250), Richie Sexson (243), Scott Rolen (235), Troy Glaus (231), Jose Valentin (229), Garrett Anderson (228) -- all a big NO for obvious reasons. Miguel Tejada (228) is about to turn 30 and has only averaged 25 a year, so he needs nine good years just to get to 500. Next is Tony Clark (224 -- Huge NO) and we finally get to...
Albert Pujols (220) -- Turned 26 this year. Has averaged -- my god, is this right?! -- 37 home runs his first six seasons (equal to his FIRST year total). That means he can get to Sosa by the time he's 36. And they're telling us that he's ONLY going to get to 620?!!!! I'm not going to be so bold as I was with A-Rod, but I'm saying at least 650 -- gotta be that high.
But what about the shocker of the top ten -- Adam Freaking Dunn (171). He's older than Pujols (okay, just by a couple of months, but still), has 49 (!) less home runs than Pujols, and has averaged just 29 homers a season. How in H-E-double hockey sticks can they say that he will end up with more homeruns than Pujols? (and not just a little, but 18 more) There is no freaking way Adam Freaking (and, yes, that is his official middle name now) Dunn will end up with 638 homers -- to reach that goal, he would need to meet his average for the next SIXTEEN seasons!!!!!!! Sure, that "only" makes him 42, but I can envision no possible scenario that allows that to happen.
What do you think?