Associated Press

Albert Pujols ties Jim Thome on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols hit a pair of two-run homers off of Oakland’s Kendall Graveman in last night’s Angels win. The second of those homers was number 612 of his career, which ties him with Jim Thome for seventh place on the all-time list.

Next up on the all-time list is Ken Griffey Jr., who has 630. As Pujols has 21 this year — he’s on a pace for 25 —
Griffey should be reachable next season. Beyond that he has a way to go, with Willie Mays at 660 and Alex Rodriguez at 696.

Pujols is having a superficially good year in terms of power, with those projected 25 homers and a projected 100 RBI representing the sorts of stats that most people associate with strong production. It’s pretty empty power, however, as his overall line is .232/.278/.387. He’ll hit a homer if you make a mistake, and with Mike Trout hitting in front of him there’s often a guy on base, but he’ll do almost nothing else at this point.

Still, he’s under contract through 2021, so he’s likely to hit some more mistakes. If he stays healthy, at least for him, and if the Angels don’t release him, he has an outside chance to hit 700 homers.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.