In baseball, there are many different milestones. But there's just something special about a home run milestone, be it a huge career threshold or a single-season record. The home run is perhaps the most beloved stat in the game's history, and so when a player reaches a historic number in that department, it's kind of a big deal.
There are several sluggers within reach of significant home run milestones in 2022. Here's a look at each of them, including how many round-trippers they'll need to reach the mark:
Albert Pujols: 679 (needs 21)
One of the most exciting developments of the late offseason was the return of Pujols to the place where he built a Hall of Fame resume from 2001-11: St. Louis. He'll now don a Cardinals uniform again as he chases the 700-home run milestone. And there's reason to believe he could reach it in '22, which he has said will be his final season as an MLB player -- he did, after all, hit 12 homers and post a .759 OPS in 85 games for the Dodgers after the Angels released him last season. Pujols currently ranks fifth on the all-time home run list, and next up is Alex Rodriguez, who hit 696. Then comes the big round number, 700.
522, 20th all-time
Miguel Cabrera: 502 (needs 20)
Miggy reached the 500-homer milestone last year, and now has his sights set on 3,000 hits (he enters the season with 2,987). But he’s also within reach of cracking the top 20 in career home runs. If he can get to 522, he’d leapfrog eight players on the list to reach No. 20: Eddie Murray, Gary Sheffield, Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams, Frank Thomas and Willie McCovey.
Nelson Cruz (needs one)
Barring injury, this one’s a lock. The real question is, can Cruz get to 500 in 2022? It’s a long shot, given that while he’s one of the most prodigious home run hitters in the game, his career-high is 44. But when it comes to the ageless one, never say never as he joins the Nationals.
350-home run club, but possibly even the 400-home run club
Giancarlo Stanton (needs three)
Stanton would’ve reached this milestone sooner if not for injuries, but it seems likely he’ll have a shot at not only joining the 350 home run club, but possibly even the 400 home run club if he can stay healthy.
Robinson Canó (needs 16)
Canó missed the entire 2021 campaign while serving a suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. In the pandemic-shortened ’20 season, he hit .316/.352/.544 with 10 homers in 49 games, showing he still had something in the tank despite entering his late-30s. He’s 39 now, so it remains to be seen how much longer he can produce at the plate, but 16 homers seems more than doable.
Joey Votto (needs 19)
Votto was rejuvenated last year, launching 36 homers and posting a .938 OPS in 129 games, his best numbers at the plate since 2017. The 350-homer mark is just another milestone en route to what might be a plaque in Cooperstown someday.
Justin Upton (needs 26)
Upton, who was designated for assignment by the Angels on Saturday, is entering his age-34 campaign, and based on the past three injury-plagued seasons, it’s uncertain as to whether he has any more big years in him. Still, 26 homers to get to the 350 mark is likely before he hangs it up, even if he doesn’t quite get there in 2022.
Mike Trout (needs 40)
The only real question here is whether Trout will be able to stay healthy -- he hasn’t played in more than 140 games since 2016. If he stays on the field, we could be looking at 50 homers for Trout, rather than 40 (he hit 45 in 134 games three years ago). If so, he’ll eclipse the 350 threshold in his age-30 season. Just another incredible Mike Trout stat waiting in the wings.
Paul Goldschmidt (needs 20)
If healthy, Goldschmidt should get to 300 homers this season, given that he’s hit more than 30 in every full season dating back to 2017. The question is, will he get to 400 someday?
Freddie Freeman (needs 29)
This one will probably be close in 2022. Freeman belted 31 home runs last season and 38 in ’19, so if he can reproduce that, he should be on target to get to 350.
Andrew McCutchen (needs 30)
McCutchen may be 35, but he can still hit the long ball. He hit 27 homers in 144 games for the Phillies last year, so 30 -- and therefore 300 -- isn’t out of the question in 2022.
Nolan Arenado (needs 31)
If Arenado is healthy all season -- he’s only been hurt for any significant period of time once, in 2020 -- this should be a cinch. The last time he hit fewer than 34 home runs in a season (other than the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign) was in 2014, when he played in 111 games as a 23-year-old.
Bryce Harper (needs 33)
The reigning NL MVP needs 33 homers for 300, and that is more than reachable for Harper, who, lest we forget, is still only 29 years old.
J.D. Martinez (needs 34)
A couple of seasons ago, 34 homers would be standard fare for Martinez, and perhaps it still is. But since slugging an MLB-best .690 with 45 homers in 2017, his slugging percentage has fallen year by year, and was .518 last season, when he hit 28 home runs.
George Springer (needs four)
Mike Moustakas (needs four)
Asdrúbal Cabrera (needs five)
Eugenio Suárez (needs seven)
Charlie Blackmon (needs nine)
Eric Hosmer (needs 12)
Mookie Betts (needs 22)
Nick Castellanos (needs 32)
Kris Bryant (needs 33)
Brandon Belt (needs 33)
José Ramírez (needs 37)
Marcus Semien (needs 40)
Christian Yelich (needs 40)
Joey Gallo (needs 42)
Aaron Judge (needs 42)