Alex Rodriguez has a decent shot at tying or surpassing Babe Ruth next season

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Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez smacked his 17th home run of the season in the first inning on Friday night against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. Thus continues Rodriguez’s terrific season. Along with the 17 round-trippers, he has knocked in 48 runs while batting .279/.384/.511. Despite not making the 2015 American League All-Star roster, Rodriguez is rated as the ninth-best hitter in the league according to the Sabermetric statistics weighted on-base average. The 15 other players in the AL’s top-16 are All-Stars.

Anyway. Rodriguez now has 671 home runs in his career, leaving him 43 home runs shy of tying Babe Ruth for third on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard at 714. A-Rod is currently on pace to finish with 32 home runs (15 more the rest of the way), which would put him at 686. That means Rodriguez would need to hit 28 home runs next year to tie Ruth and 29 to pass him. That doesn’t seem unreasonable, even though Rodriguez will be 40 years old.

This will, however, be the first season in which Rodriguez has hit more than 18 home runs since 2010. If he hits the 30-homer threshold, he’ll have done something he hasn’t accomplished in half a decade. But if he can do it at 39, he can do it at 40, right?

Imagine where Rodriguez would be if he didn’t need to undergo knee surgery in 2011, suffer a hand injury in 2012, require hip surgery in 2013, and miss all of 2014 due to his PED suspension.