About the Off-Season: The Cream of the Crop
By Tim Kabel
January 28, 2023
There are 28 men in Major League baseball history with 500 or more career home runs. 28. There are 26 players on each Major League team. Think about it. Of all the men who have ever played Major League Baseball, about the same number have hit 500 home runs as suit up for each team on any given night. That is a very exclusive group compared to all the people who have ever worn a Major League uniform. They are the cream of the crop,
Currently, the Yankees do not have any active players with 500 or more career home runs. The only active player with that many home runs is Miguel Cabrera, who has 507. He is 39 years old. The active player who is the closest to hitting 500 home runs is Nelson Cruz, who has 459. He is 41 years old. He hit ten last year. It is safe to say he will fall short of the mark. The active player with the most home runs after Cruz is Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton Is tied for 75th place all-time with 378 home runs.
The Yankees have two players who very likely will hit 500 or more career home runs.
Aaron Judge has 220 career home runs. He just signed a 9-year contract, so he would have to hit 280 home runs over those nine years to join the 500-home run club. Judge would have to hit 31 homers a year over that timespan in order to do it. So far, he averages 49 home runs a year. I'm not saying he will keep that pace up for the next nine years but, it is fair to say he will probably hit at least 31 a year if he remains healthy. Because Judge got off to a late start and didn't play his first full season until he was 25 years old, he has practically no chance to be the all-time career leader in home runs. However, 500 is a very nice number when it comes to home runs. Unless you are a pitcher, of course.
Stanton is under contract for five more years and will be 33 years old this year. He averages 43 home runs per every 162 games, despite missing large portions of most seasons due to injury. He needs to hit 122 home runs over five years to reach 500. That's an average of a little more than 24 a year. Last year in just 110 games, he hit 31 home runs. It is highly likely that he will hit 500 home runs in his career. It is also quite probable that he will do it as a Yankee.
There is a very good chance that both Stanton and Judge will finish their careers with at least 500 home runs. It is possible that they will both wind up ranking in the top 20 of all time. Take a step back. Just let that sink in. The Yankees could very well have two players who rank in the top 20 all time in career home runs playing on the same team at the same time. They would join Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz as the only teammates on that list.
Some Yankees' fans take Aaron Judge for granted. Not many, but some. Many Yankees' fans take Giancarlo Stanton for granted. He missed most of 2019 and 2020 due to injuries. In 2018, Stanton played 158 games and had 38 home runs. In 2017, he played 159 games and had 59 home runs. If he is able to remain healthy and stay on the field, he is practically guaranteed to hit at least thirty home runs. He is truly a special player, especially when he avoids injury.
I know the goal for the Yankees and their fans is to win another World Series this season and hopefully more after that. However, we should all take a moment or two during the season to appreciate what we have in Judge and Stanton. They seem destined to rank among the all-time leaders in home runs. When they both hit home runs in the same game, the Yankees are practically unbeatable. Now, the team will need contributions from many other players, including the pitchers. The point is that we, as Yankees' fans, are watching two of the best power hitters in the history of the sport together in the same line up. Enjoy it for as long as you can, because it doesn't happen very often, and it won't last forever. Judge and Stanton really are the cream of the crop,