Two weeks away from opening day, and with a few shifts and changes in the last from last year, including Ken Griffy Jr. retiring and Carlos Delgado staying put while Albert Pujols and Paul Konerko joined the list, here are the top ten active home run leaders in the MLB.
Number 10 – Paul Konerko, 365
The White Sox captain had a fantastic 2010, hitting 39 home runs and 111 RBI’s, his best numbers since the mid 2000’s. It was his sixth season in which he has hit over 30 home runs, with his best efforts coming in 2004 and 2005 (the title year), hitting 41 and 40. He is second on the White Sox’s all time home run list with 358, trailing Frank Thomas by 90.
Number 9 – Andruw Jones, 407
At 33, Jones is looking much older than he should be, but at least he’s found some sort of plateau last year with the White Sox, halting the nose dive his career was in. He hit 19 home runs, driving in 48 runners, playing 107 games, all highs since leaving the Braves after 2007. That 51 home run year in 2005, a league best, seems very far away. Jones has had seven 30+ years and two topping 40. The Yankees will probably be pleased with something around the 15-25 zone.
Number 8 – Albert Pujols, 408
Is this Albert’s final year with the Cardinals? He won’t sign the contract renewal and his is up when the 2011 season ends. Maybe a trade (Ryan Howard?) is in the books. Back to numbers, and Pujols’ are pretty much the best in the Majors in recent years. He has hit over 32 homers in each of his 10 seasons and has led the National League in home runs for the last two years with 47 and 42. He has three more 40+ years, including 49 in 2006, leading to a World Series win over the Tigers. He drove in 118 runs last year, also leading the NL.
Number 7 – Jason Giambi, 415
At 39, with the BALCO scandal behind him, with his MVP and All-Star days behind him, Giambi is enjoying life with the Rockies, being quite a crowd favorite since his arrival in 2009. Giambi hit only 6 home runs in 2010 and don’t expect much more this season. He’s had 8 30+ season, the last of them 2008 with the Yankees. His best years came in the early 2000’s, hitting 40+ three times, including 43 with the A’s, winning the AL MVP.
Number 5 (tied) – Chipper Jones, 436
It was far from a certainty that Jones would return to play baseball after tearing his ACL in August last year, but he’s back for another round, probably his last. After an amazing 2007-2008 period, looking like a young man again, Chipper looked like a man his age the last two years, with his averages down the .260’s. His slugging days are way way behind him – last time he hit 30 was in 2004. Between 1998-2001 he hit four conecutive 34+ seasons, including 45 in 1999, winning the NL MVP.
Vladimir Guerrero, 436
Had a great season with the Texas Rangers last year, hitting 29 homers and driving in 115 runs as the Rangers won their first pennant, losing in the World Series to the Giants. Vlad got a nice deal (8 mil a year) from the Orioles. He hasn’t hit 30+ since 2006, during his Angels days. His best came during the Montreal Expos days back in the late 90’s, hitting 42 and 44 in 1999 and 2000. Guerrero made his 9th All-Star game last year.
Number 4 – Carlos Delgado, 473
Carlos Delgado still doesn’t have a team for 2011, and Spring training is almost over. Still not 100% after repairing his hip, Delgado hasn’t played any Major league baseball since 2009. Just a little Minor league time for the Red Sox in 2010. He’s so close to 500, it’s a shame if he won’t find a team. Not to long ago, in 2008, before the injury, Delgado hit 38 home runs for the Mets. In fact, from 1997-2008 Delgado hit under 30 home runs only once. His best came in 2003, hitting 42 home runs and a league best 145 RBI’s.
Number 3 – Manny Ramirez, 555
It’s incredible sometimes how fast sluggers lose it. Hitting only one home run for the White Sox and 9 all together last year (in 320 AB), Manny Ramirez is giving it another go in Florida with the Rays. He also has former Red Sox co-champions Johnny Damon. Ramirez won two titles with the Red Sox and from 1995-2008, playing for the Indians and Boston only twice hit under 30 home runs. He hit over 40 five times, including 45 in 1998 and 2005. He led the AL with 43 in 2004.
Number 2 – Jim Thome, 589
Starting his second season with the Twins, Thome continues to be productive with his power. At 40 (will turn 41 in August), Thome looks like he’ll reach 600 pretty soon. He hit 25 last year and 23 the year before. If he stays healthy, he’ll reach that mark, becoming the 8th player in MLB history to reach that mark. Outside of his injury riddles season with the Phillies in 2005, Thome has hit over 30 home runs each year between 1996-2008. He topped 40 six times, including 52 in 2002 and a NL best 47 in 2003.
Number 1 – Alex Rodriguez, 613
What is it this year for A-Rod? Another 30’ish kind of season, a drop, signaling the end, or back to the WOW numbers, which he hasn’t produced since hitting 54 in 2007. Rodriguez said he had the best preparation to a season in years this winter, meaning if he stays healthy for the entire season this might be another monster year from him. He did have 125 RBI’s last year, his 13th consecutive 100+ RBI season. He’s had 13 consecutive of 30+ home runs season, who knows how many of them with steroids. He’s had 40+ eight times and 50+ 3 times. He led the AL in home runs five times, including a career best 57 in 2002. He won 3 AL MVPs, the last one in 2007, and is looking for another World Series victory after finally winning one in 2009.