Aug 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun (8) celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo hoe run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Current Total: 255
Braun took the league by storm by cranking out 34 home runs in 2007 to capture the Rookie of the Year award. He followed that up by hitting at least 25 homers in each of his first 6 seasons, topping 32 in 5 of those seasons.
Braun finished as the runner-up in the MVP race in 2012 when he led the NL with a career-high 41 home runs. That’s the only year in which he has ever led the league in that category, as his career has been more about consistency rather than a number of monster seasons.
Of the current members of the 500 Home Run Club, Eddie Murray is the only one that never hit more than 41 home runs in his career. Murray’s career-high was only 33, but he hit at least 30 in five different seasons and played for 21 years in the big leagues. Even with over two decades of consistent production, Murray still barely made the list, finishing with 504 career home runs.
Braun will have difficulty duplicating that path to 500 unless he manages the same type of longevity, which seems unlikely given that he’s not even halfway to playing that many seasons at the age of 31. It also doesn’t help that he missed over 100 games in 2013.
Speaking of which, we can’t ignore the fact that those missed games two years ago came as the result of a suspension for a failed PED test. Braun had a bit of a down year in 2014 as he attempted to shake off the rust from a lengthy layoff, but he has returned to his All-Star form this year. While his numbers are starting to climb back towards his peak level, he has still only managed 25 home runs this season. It makes you wonder if he will ever get back to the 40+ level now that he’s clean.
Verdict: Long shot