When former MLB player Manny Ramirez approached 500 home runs for his career during 2008, he spoke about 600 as a milestone to take the pressure off reaching 500.
Now, Albert Pujols, a fellow Dominican has taken a similar stance as he approaches 600 career home runs. Ramirez ended his career 45 home runs short of that plateau but Pujols needs just four more and has even higher goals in mind.
Pujols has said that goals are set annually by every player and the first is winning that year’s World Series and then having a strong season individually.
He said that he has four years remaining on his current contract and if he can remain healthy his chances of reaching 700 career home runs is good.
Just three years ago Pujols was trying to reach the 500-home run plateau and closing in on 100 more is testament to Pujols’ extraordinary ability to hit the long ball.
Pujols has averaged 33 home runs during his past three big league seasons, which is No. 10 in baseball, and only 4 less than his career average of 37 homers per season.
Only three previous players Babe Ruth with 714, Hank Aaron with 755 and Barry Bonds with 762 have reached the 700 career home run plateau.
It seems realistic that Pujols could reach that but he needs four more first to be at 600. He needs 13 to tie Sammy Sosa at 609, which would make him the number one home run hitter for players born in Latin America.
Pujols, who is 37, is not the hitter he once was. During his 11 seasons with St. Louis pitchers feared him at the plate as he won three MVP awards, reached the postseason on seven occasions and won a pair of World Series titles.
Pujols has also been an RBI machine during his career. He has had trouble finding his stroke this season but has 27 RBIs nonetheless, which is sixth best for the American League.
His 319 RBIs during the past three seasons is No. 5 amongst all of baseball.
Over the years, Pujols has become nearly a full time pull hitter especially if no one is one base as he may be looking to hit a home run.
Because of that, defenses make shifts and he ends up being robbed of base hits on balls that he has struck well.
Pujols said his season average of .238 is for the most part due to not being able to continue his offseason workout routine following foot surgery he had in December, which meant he got a late start to his spring season training regimen.