With all apologies to Bruce Buffer…”Itttt’ssssssss Tiiiiimmmmmeeee!”.
It’s been a while since I last wrote about the Braves. Part of it is because I entered the busy part of my work year, dealing with the IRS on a regular basis. Another reason is that the Braves were making so many moves that it was just too difficult to keep up with the transactions and deal with the IRS. I figured that I would let the beat writers and other journalists cover the day-to-day transactions, and I would do a recap after tax season ended. And once we know who is actually on the team.
In the meantime, I thought I would take a look at some of the career milestones that could be reached in the upcoming season, both for the Braves as well as other MLB players.
Alex Rodriguez needs 61 hits to reach the magical 3,000 number for his career. Say what you will about his PED usage, but the science on whether steroids can actually make one a better hitter is still unsettled. Sure, he may have been able to recover faster and play more often, but, ultimately, he still had to go out and hit the ball. He’s been one of the best in the game of baseball at doing just that.
Rodriguez has averaged 302 ABs over the last 5 seasons, and has hit .269. If he simply maintains his average, he should get his 3,000th hit in June, depending on his playing time. I expect howls of outrage and protest when he does it.
Ichiro Suzuki can reach 3,000 carer hits if he reaches at least 156 hits on the season. Ichiro will be the 4th OF option for the Miami Marlins this season, so it is unlikely that he would reach the ~575 ABs or so he would need to reach 156 hits. At 41, his days as a regular player are probably done, but he could still hang on into 2016 to get the requisite number of hits. While I am not generally a fan of players hanging on for records, I would like to see Ichiro get to 3,000 hits. He joined MLB late, in his age 27 season. He played a very good defensive RF early in his career. He was an on-base machine for a decade. And despite being constantly criticized for not having any skill beyond being a slap singles hitter who could steal a base, he was consistently on base, scoring runs, and, ultimately that’s what the game is all about. Oh…and he was a Hall of Fame caliber player for the Nippon League before ever coming to MLB.
To see how they would compare, below is a list of players with at least 3,000 MLB hits. Only Pete Rose and Derek Jeter are not in the Hall of Fame. Jeter will be, and Rose should be, if he is reinstated. Given their other accomplishments, a very good case could be made for adding Rodriguez and Ichiro to Cooperstown.
Other players with potentially reachable career milestones in hits this year are Carl Crawford (needs 132 for 2,000), A.J. Pierzynski (needs 133 for 2,000), Matt Holliday (163 for 2,000), and Robinson Cano (needs 164 for 2,000).
Rodriguez needs four runs to move into 10th place all time. If he were to score 81 runs this season, he would be only the 8th player all-time to score 2,000 runs in a career.
With 70 runs scored, Albert Pujols can move into the top 50 all-time.
The very highly under-rated Adrian Beltre can reach 400 career home runs with just five on the season, putting a milestone number on what many would argue is a Hall of Fame caliber career.
Miguel Cabrera can do the same with 10 home runs.
Former Brave Brian McCann needs one more HR to reach 200 for his career.
Runs Batted In
Yes, him again. Alex Rodriguez needs only 31 RBI to reach 2,000 for his career. He would be only the fourth player to ever reach that figure, the other three being Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cap Anson.
Jimmy Rollins needs 21 doubles to reach 500 for his career.
Torii Hunter needs 24 doubles to reach 500.
With 31 doubles, Carlos Beltran can also reach 500 career doubles.
Ichiro needs 13 stolen bases to reach 500 for his MLB career. If he were to reach 3,000 hits and 5oo stolen bases, Ichiro would join Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Paul Molitor, Eddie Collins, Rickey Henderson, and Lou Brock as the only players in history to reach those milestones, and would have done so in by far the fewest number of games and plate appearances than the others listed.
Carl Crawford needs 30 stolen bases to reach 500 in his career.
Mark Buehrle needs one win to reach 200 career wins. In today’s age of 5-man rotations and specialized relievers, that’s an accomplishment.
Felix Hernandex (49) and Dan Haren (119) are both close to 2,000 career strikeouts.
Huston Street needs 25 saves to reach 300.
Craig Kimbrel needs 14 saves to reach 200 for his career.
There are others who have chances at some less notable career achievements, but all the above have had tremendous careers and deserve recognition.