MLB Power Rankings: Jim Thome, Albert Pujols and The 10 Cleanest Active Sluggers
In this day and age, everyone always mentions who has cheated the game of baseball rather than those who followed the rules.
Understandable as it might be, some of these tainted sluggers probably made others succumb to their lowliness by peer pressuring them into trying it.
Nowadays all we hear about are the users, and often times we do not recognize those who have never been mentioned in the steroid talks.
Since I put "cleanest" and "active" in the slideshow's title, you will obviously not see the likes of Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz or Miguel Tejeda.
Hope you enjoy this and I would love some constructive feedback!
Honorable Mention: Ken Griffey, Jr.
I know he's not active, but I just couldn't help myself.
Ken Griffey Jr. flat out should be baseball's home run king.
Even though he retired last season with 630, good for fifth all-time, he still had 10 seasons where he missed at least 50 games.
If Junior had hit 14 more home runs in each of those seasons, he would be the game's all-time leader in dingers.
We, as baseball fans united, are only left wondering what could have been for this generation's best hitter.
10. Mark Teixeira
Mark Teixeira might be one of the game's most hated and most envied players, and it is for the simple fact that he's perfect.
He has never gotten in trouble with the law, he's one of the game's highest-paid players and he is a tremendous fielder—winning four Gold Gloves in the last six seasons. He plays in the biggest market in the majors for the best team in the history of the sport.
Not to mention he has a World Series ring.
Throw in the fact that he has blasted 275 home runs in his eight-year career, and you have one of the game's cleanest power hitters.
9. Justin Morneau
Like Griffey but not necessarily up to the same extreme, Twins fans are left wondering how much bigger Justin Morneau's numbers would be if he had played the full eight seasons he has been up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
He has missed at least 25 contests in five of his eight seasons.
Morneau has been to the All-Star game four straight years and was the winner of the Home Run Derby three seasons ago. During the press conference after his victory, the announcer called him "Jason Morneau."
Basically, that incident shows that Morneau has been a bit under the radar, but at the same time it is a good thing to avoid controversy during the steroid era, especially if you have hit 181 home runs before your 30th birthday.
8. Prince Fielder
Usually a 5'11", 285-pound frame screams "Steroids!" at the top of your lungs, but Prince Fielder has been this size ever since he was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft.
Cecil's son hit one over the fence at Tiger Stadium at the age of 13, and hasn't looked back since.
At just the ripe age of 25, Fielder is already a household name due to his power. His 192 home runs in six seasons isn't anything to be shy about, and Fielder has established his name as one to be reckoned with over the next decade at least.
He and Ryan Braun of the Brewers have each driven 100 runners in three consecutive seasons.
Needless to say, I expect a fourth, a fifth and so on.
7. Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones is entering his 19th season for the Atlanta Braves, and it's easy to understand why he is seventh on this list, smashing 436 dingers.
Jones might be one of the most beloved Braves in history, and will likely have his name enshrined into the Hall of Fame as a first or second ballot choice.
His best season was his 1999 MVP season when he hit 45 home runs to go with 110 runs batted in and a solid .319 batting average.
Despite being around all these years, Jones has avoided to be mentioned among the steroid users, and it is understandable considering his ultra-consistent numbers.
6. Ryan Howard
A St. Louis, Missouri native, Ryan Howard had one of the fastest starts to a Major League career in the history of the league.
The 6'4", 265-pound Howard won Rookie of the Year in 2005 and added an MVP to his growing trophy case the following season. He is still the fastest player in MLB history to reach 100 and 200 home runs.
During his rookie season, however, he was a little older than most at 25. Imagine if his career started at 22.
He would have much more than the already-staggering 253 home runs he has smashed in six seasons, a remarkable number considering we live in a pitcher's age.
5. Miguel Cabrera
At the young age of 27, Miguel Cabrera has already hit more bombs in his career than Roberto Clemente, Ken Caminiti, Paul Molitor and Roy Campanella.
His 247 total is a crazy number to have at his age, even when considering his first game came when he was just 20 years old.
He has had controversy, however, but none of it is linked to cheating or using illegal substances. He has overcome alcoholism and now considers himself clean of it since his October 2009 incident involving his wife.
Cabrera had an MVP-like 2010, smashing 38 homers and added 116 runs batted in to the mix.
I am calling it now—Cabrera will have 40 more bombs this season and will collect his first Most Valuable Player award.
4. Adam Dunn
If Adam Dunn has another decade in him, he might just become the game's all-time leader in home runs. All he needs to do is hit just a little over 40 each year, something he is obviously capable of doing.
The 6'6", 275-pound Dunn has remained this size his whole career and has never come under fire for using illegal substances, and to prove it he has been extremely consistent throughout his 10-year career.
A formidale three-four punch with Ken Griffey, Jr. in his early days, Dunn has 354 home runs in his career.
The only knock against Dunn is that his .250 career average is something that he needs to work on. He is clearly swinging for the fences every pitch, which is a good and bad thing.
3. Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko might be a tad high on this list, but he definitely is someone who regularly clocks the ball over the fence, and in hitting 365 homers in 14 years he has proved this point to be valid.
His 39 home runs at the age of 34 isn't something to stray away from, and he might be just reaching his peak when it comes to power.
People will fear the White Sox, as they have the third and fourth guys on this list for 2011.
2. Jim Thome
Jim Thome, although he hit just 25 dingers last season, is second in active players with 589 in that category.
He helped spark the Twins to their sixth division title in the last nine seasons, and could help them further after signing a one-year contract with them.
Thome is great because not only has he been consistent, but he has also never found himself wrapped around steroid talks, and I expect him to be a first-ballot guy in Cooperstown when the time comes.
For now, the Twins need him.
1. Albert Pujols
An easy choice for the No. 1 slot, Albert Pujols has long been setting an example as ball player.
Kids look up to him; pitchers fear him; and with 408 home runs in nine seasons to his name, why wouldn't you?
I predict and have long said that Pujols will be the all-time home run king when his illustrious career has concluded.
People, there will be a time when we can say we remember Albert Pujols' prime. He is that special.
Not to mention the guy is a class-act. A 31-year old Dominican who is also a devout Christian, the controversy-free Pujols make an easy No. 1 on this list.
He is, simply put, the game's best player.