Who’s next to 600 homers?

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Whenever someone wins their 300th game, we get a bunch of “no one will ever win 300 games again” columns. They’re fun until the next guy wins 300, which someone always has.

I haven’t seen any “no one will hit 600 homers again” pieces, but I imagine someone is toying with one as we speak.  They’ll have to work hard to explain away Albert Pujols who, after a weak 50 games to begin the season is back to being his same old self and would seem to be a lock for 600 one day, but it’s not that hard to imagine someone getting hit by a bus.

Anyway, against that backdrop the great Dan Szymborski — and he really is great — has a column up over at ESPN.com (sadly behind the paywall, but his work is worth the price) projecting who among active players may hit 600.

I’ll give away this much: he has Pujols at 95 percent. Then it’s a huge dropoff to Miguel Cabrera at 47 percent and a bunch of guys way lower than that, either because they’re painfully young (Mike Stanton), are a bit old and too far away at the moment (Ryan Howard) are not projected to age well (Prince Fielder) or because they’ve fallen off a cliff (Adam Dunn).

I’m a little more optimistic about Fielder aging well — call me crazy — but it’s a good list and breakdown.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.