Franchise career HR leaders: Which teams will welcome new players at the top this season?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers. Postings appear Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a look at the top of the career leaders in home runs for the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. For the White Sox, Frank Thomas tops the list with 448 career HRs with the Sox; in Tampa, Carlos Pena’s 163 homers top that franchise’s list with 163.

Over in the National League, the Mets have legendary player Darryl Strawberry as their career leader in four-baggers with 252. In Milwaukee, Hall of Famer Robin Yount has the most career HRs for the Brewers with 251.

For each of the four teams listed above, however, there is a possibility that a new player may take over as the leader in career home runs, and there is a possibility that it could happen in 2013.

There are seven franchises that have an active player within 100 home runs of the player who leads the team in career home runs. First, let’s take a look at the seven teams.

Team, Current HR leader (HRs), Active Player with most HRs with team, Difference

Chicago White Sox: Frank Thomas (448); Paul Konerko (415)… difference of 33 HRs

Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena (163); Evan Longoria (130)… difference of 33 HRs

New York Mets: Darryl Strawberry (252); David Wright (204)… difference of 48 HRs

Milwaukee Brewers: Robin Yount (251); Ryan Braun (202)… difference of 49 HRs

Miami Marlins: Dan Uggla (154); Giancarlo Stanton (93)… difference of 61 HRs

Washington Nationals: Vladimir Guerrero (234); Ryan Zimmerman… difference of 81 HRs

San Diego Padres: Nate Colbert (163); Chase Headley (67)… difference of 96 HRs

So, which of these seven active players will supplant the current leader atop the franchise’s career HR list? For starters, let’s assume that the first four teams on the list above have a possibility of seeing a change at the top of their list, while the other three teams (Miami, Washington and San Diego) will not see a change. That having been said, let’s go inside the numbers and see which of the remaining four teams (White Sox, Rays, Mets and Brewers) have the greatest likelihood of a new career HR leader by the end of the 2013 season.

Chicago White Sox: At age 37, Paul Konerko is heading down the backstretch of his career. He slugged 26 HRs last year and has averaged 31 over the past four seasons. His career high is 41, which he hit in 2004. If he stays healthy, Konerko has a legitimate shot of passing Thomas in the second half of this season.

Tampa Bay: With the Rays being a relatively young franchise, the career high for home runs is certainly an advantage for any player who has carved out a nice career with this expansion team. Longoria fit the bill. He has 130 HRs in five seasons. Pena returned to the Rays last season and added to his career leading numbers, but he has since taken off for Houston as a free agent. That will give Longoria this year and possibly next to take over the franchise lead. Will it happen in 2013? Longoria dropped to a career-low 17 homers last season. His career-high is 33, the exact amount he needs to tie Pena for the team lead. My guess would be Longoria passes Pena in 2014.

New York Mets: David Wright needs to hit 49 home runs in 2013 to pass Strawberry. That could be a tough task considering that Wright’s career high is 33 in a season, plus he has averaged only 18.5 HRs per season in the last four campaigns. The Mets locked Wright up for eight more years with a new contract, so the chance of him passing Strawberry is probably more likely to happen in 2014 than this year.

Milwaukee: This is one battle to keep an eye on. Braun hit 41 home runs last year and has shown that you can not underestimate his hitting skills. Hitting 50 this season might be a stretch, but not out of the realm of possibility. If he doesn’t reach Yount’s mark this season, he will breeze by Yount’s numbers in the first half of the 2014 season.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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