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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.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.