It’s been a busy year in the big time record breaking (and setting) department around Major League Baseball. Derek Jeter became the 28th member of the 3,000 hit club in July, and is rapidly climbing up the list still (he currently sits at 20th all-time in total hits). Jim Thome hit his 600th home run in August with the Minnesota Twins, and has since return to the Cleveland Indians where it all started for him back in 1991.
The record pace kept moving along yesterday, when the game’s most dominant closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, notched his 600th save. He joined Trevor Hoffman has the only player to ever reach that level of game ending excellence, and by the end of the week he could be in solo waters once again. His 43rd save of the year would also be his 602nd of his career, moving him past Hoffman and making him the all-time saves King.
So what’s next? Next season won’t be able to match this summer in career excellence coming to age before us in big, round “WOW” numbers. Apologies to Ivan Rodriguez and his prolonged attempt to be the first catcher to surpass 3,000 hits, but it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. But there are more than a few milestone markers that are in the sights of a few either potential or ticket-punched Hall of Famers. However, how many will be able to seal the deal and when could it come to pass? Here’s the magic numbers that could be met next summer, and what it would take to meet the mark.
200 WINS – One guy is guaranteed to hit the mark, and could do it before the All-Star. Roy Halladay sits at 186 wins today with two or three more 2011 starts remaining. That will put him most likely as needing 12 to 13 W’s to get to his next mile marker as a starter. With the way that Doc has pitched in his first two years in the NL and the Phillies standing to return another great club, he’ll hit this level easy. For prediction’s sake let’s say July 2012.
Outside shot: CC Sabathia and Tim Hudson. CC sits at 176 wins currently and saying he wins another two this year, it would still require a 22 win season to match it. If he stays in the Bronx, 22 wins are very possible, but it’s still a tough number to put an absolute on. Early 2013 (like his first two starts) is more likely. Hudson actually sits closer to the record than CC with 179 wins and plays for a good Braves club, but has only won more than 17 games twice, so early 2013 for him as well.
2,500 HITS – Ichiro is guaranteed to top it, and Bobby Abreu won’t be too far behind. Even after a step backwards (by his unreal standards) this year, he is still among the most productive hitters in the game. With his career mark sitting at 2,414 right now, he’ll get over 2,600 as well most likely. First things first, and by June, he’ll be past 2.5k. His division mate Abreu will continue to quietly accumulate more impressive numbers in his career as well, with 2,500 being the next. He’s at 2,374 and by August of next year, he’ll be at his next milestone.
Outside shot: Todd Helton has a chance, but it’s about how often he’s out there. His with good health, his current 2,363 hits and a few more set him up to meet an important number for his Hall of Fame candidacy next September.
2,000 HITS – A record eight players reached this mark in 2011 alone. Not quite that many will get there next summer, but it’s a clear shot for a few. Placido Polanco (1,956), Derrek Lee (1,944) and Carlos Beltran (1,900) will all pass it by midsummer; June for Polanco, July for Lee and Beltran.
Outside shot: Andruw Jones (1,881) and Jason Giambi (1,946) are close, but playing time is an issue, as neither is a regular at anymore. Jimmy Rollins (1,848) has the best shot to make it with a combination of range and playing time opportunities, but health is his struggle and if his recent trend stays up, 2013 will be his time.
2,000 RBI – Alex Rodriguez stands to jump a lot of Hall of Fame hurdles in route to becoming the 3rd player to meet the mark (the names Mays, Cobb, Musial, Gehrig and Bonds should be familiar among others), along with Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. His career number will be over 1,900 after this season, and hitting in the heart of the Yankees order will get him the 100 RBI he’ll need by September.
That’s the best of what could be to come from next summer, and some of what to expect from 2013. However, the summer of ’13 has some big moments from the biggest names in store:
– 500: Albert Pujols stands to hit this number in both home runs and doubles.
– 1,500: Once again, Pujols shows up here, as he’ll hit that level in RBI.
– 3,000: Alex Rodriguez will get to yet another big number in his career and get past the big number for career hits…but the focus will will be on…
– 700: A-Rod could conceively become the 4th player to smack this many home runs
– Also…: Derek Jeter stands to enter the top 10 hitters of all-time this summer, which will require him to top Willie Mays’ 3,288 hits. At his current level, he could get as high as sixth all-time this summer.
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