Red Sox slugger David Ortiz announced prior to Spring Training that 2016 would be his last season in Major League Baseball. The audibly loud sigh heard south of Boston that day was millions of Yankee fans thanking Ortiz for making the announcement. In his career, Ortiz has batted .284/.378/.547 with 503 home runs. He has a career 138 wRC+ and has still averaged 34 home runs over the last three years, so I thought it could be fun to see where he'll end up on the career home run list when he finally hangs it up.
None of Ortiz's 2016 home run projections are as high as the above three year average due to a few different variables, primarily his age. He turned 39 in November and most guys see a little bit of a drop off throughout their late thirties. However, people also thought Ortiz's career was on the downswing in 2008 and 2009 when he uncharacteristically "pedestrian" seasons (2008: .264/.369/.507 with only 23 home runs and 2009: .238/.332/.462 with 28 home runs) He rebounded in 2010, and other than an injury shortened 2012, Ortiz has been Ortiz.
Let's look at what the projection systems expect from Ortiz in 2016.
Right now Ortiz sits alone in 27th place on the home run list, but he has a few guys he'd quickly pass with a hot April. Eddie Murray (504) and Gary Sheffield (509) should fall quickly, with Mel Ott (511), Eddie Matthews and Ernie Banks (tied with 512) shortly behind.
The next three are inner circle Hall of Fame names tied with 521 home runs: Ted Williams, Frank Thomas and Willie McCovey. So not only will Ortiz be bidding Major League Baseball adieu, but he will also be saying "See ya!" to a bunch of legendary players on the home run leaderboard.
There's then a gap to reach number 18 on the list: Jimmie Foxx jumps to 534 home runs. Now, in order to reach 534, Ortiz will have to hit 31 home runs and that is just beyond what most of the projection systems expect. Marcels, ZIPS and PECOTA have him landing on 533, one short of Foxx. If Ortiz maintains his most recent three year average and instead finishes with 34 home runs, he will end his career one long ball ahead of Yankee legend Mickey Mantle (537).
533 and 538 are nice numbers, but where is Ortiz with regards to contemporaries and former teammates? Well, his former Boston partner in crime from those scary mid-2000's Red Sox lineups, Manny Ramirez, retired with 555 home runs. Albert Pujols, who should start his season on time after having surgery to repair the plantar plate in his foot, sits at 560 home runs, the 14th most all time. Finally, there's Alex Rodriguez, currently number four on the all-time list with 687 home runs.
Unless Ortiz has a season rivaling Barry Bonds in 2001, he's not catching up to his former teammate or Pujols. Presuming a full, healthy season, where do you think he'll finish?
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Stacey Gotsulias is a contributing writer of Beyond the Box Score. She also contributes to The Hardball Times and writes about the New York Yankees for It's About The Money. You can follow her on Twitter at @StaceGots.