Take a look at the career leaders in home runs for the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.
For the White Sox, Frank Thomas tops the list with 448 career HRs with the team; in Tampa, Carlos Peña's 163 homers top that franchise’s list. Over in the National League, the Mets have legendary player Darryl Strawberry as their career leader with 252 home runs, while Hall of Famer Robin Yount has the most career HRs for the Milwaukee Brewers with 251.
One of the thrills of sports is the possibility of one player ousting another for a title. For each of the four teams listed above, however, there is a strong possibility that this could happen in the 2013 season.
There are active players in seven franchises who are within 100 home runs of their teams' HR leaders.
Team: Current HR leader (HRs), Active player with most HRs with team—Difference
Chicago White Sox: Frank Thomas (448), Paul Konerko (415)—difference of 33 HRs
Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Peña (163), Evan Longoria (130)—difference of 33 HRs
New York Mets: Darryl Strawberry (252), David Wright (204)—difference of 48 HRs
Milwaukee Brewers: Robin Yount (251), Ryan Braun (202)—difference of 49 HRs
Miami Marlins: Dan Uggla (154), Giancarlo Stanton (93)—difference of 61 HRs
Washington Nationals: Vladimir Guerrero (234), Ryan Zimmerman (153)—difference of 81 HRs
San Diego Padres: Nate Colbert (163), Chase Headley (67)—difference of 96 HRs
So, which of these seven active players will supplant the current leader atop the franchise’s career HR list?
For starters, let’s assume that the first four teams on the list above have a possibility of seeing a change at the top of their list, while the other three teams (Miami, Washington and San Diego) will not see a change. That having been said, let’s go inside the numbers and see which of the remaining four teams (White Sox, Rays, Mets and Brewers) has the greatest likelihood of a new career HR leader by the end of the 2013 season.
Chicago White Sox
At age 37, Paul Konerko is heading down the backstretch of his career. He slugged 26 HRs last year and has averaged 31 over the past four seasons. His career high is 41, which he hit in 2004. If he stays healthy, Konerko has a legitimate shot of passing Thomas in the second half of this season.
Tampa Bay Rays
With the Rays being a relatively young franchise, any player who has carved out a nice career with this expansion team certainly has an advantage for the career high for home runs. Longoria fits the bill. He has had 130 HRs in five seasons.
Peña returned to the Rays last season and added to his career leading numbers, but he has since taken off for Houston as a free agent. That will give Longoria this year and possibly the next to take over the franchise lead. Will it happen in 2013? Longoria dropped to a career-low 17 homers last season. His career-high is 33, the exact amount he needs to tie Peña for the team lead. My guess would be Longoria passes Peña in 2014.
New York Mets
David Wright needs to hit 49 home runs in 2013 to pass Strawberry. That could be a tough task considering that Wright’s career high is 33 in a season, plus he has averaged only 18.5 HRs per season in the last four campaigns. The Mets locked Wright up for eight more years with a new contract, so the chance of him passing Strawberry is probably more likely to happen in 2014 than this year.
This is one battle to keep an eye on. Braun hit 41 home runs last year and has shown that you can not underestimate his hitting skills. Hitting 50 this season might be a stretch but not out of the realm of possibility. If he doesn’t reach Yount’s mark this season, he will breeze by Yount’s numbers in the first half of the 2014 season.
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