MLB Record Watch 2013: 20 Players Who Could Reach Milestones by the End of the Season
Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are Two of 20 Guys in Pursuit of Milestones
Now that the 2013 All-Star break has come to an end, fans have the second half of the baseball season to look forward to. The AL will be hoping that the home field advantage gained from their 3-0 victory over the NL in the Midsummer Classic will go to use as the quest for October officially begins now.
And while some of the league's top teams will be contesting for just 10 playoff spots, the season isn't over yet for those teams that aren't quite going to the postseason. Because while baseball is a team sport first and foremost, individual accomplishments are something to be celebrated as well.
For fans of teams that won't be making the playoffs, watching favorite players chase history and career milestones provides the exciting layer the baseball season may be otherwise missing. And for fans of players on successful teams, watching record pursuits is just another exciting thing to pay attention to in the second half of the year.
In 2013, just like every season, there are players on a handful of teams in both the AL and NL that are in pursuit of history of their own. While this list has just 20, tons of players are chasing their own special milestones. But for these 20, the milestones are more than just personal.
Ranging from 500 home runs to 650 career saves, each of the players on this list is hoping to accomplish something spectacular in the second half of the season while climbing or cracking the all-time leaderboards.
So while you watch Miguel Cabrera's pursuit to become the first player ever to win back-to-back Triple Crowns, don't forget to pay attention to these 20 players and their milestones as well. The excitement is sure to provide a great end to the 2013 baseball season.
Jason Giambi: 2000 Hits
Jason Giambi, an 18-year veteran now with the Cleveland Indians, sits on 1,991 hits for his career. He is just nine hits away from 2,000 which would put him in a club with just under 300 active and past players. On the season, Giambi is batting just .200 as Cleveland's DH, with only 23 hits in 115 at-bats. However since he only needs nine more hits, it is all but assured that the 42-year-old Giambi will reach this milestone.
Miguel Cabrera: 2000 Hits
Just like Giambi, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is chasing 2000 hits. And there is no doubt that he will get there. He needs 66 to join the exclusive club and he is well on pace to do this, having already recorded 132 hits in 362 at-bats.
In addition, Cabrera is also in pursuit of even more remarkable history as mentioned in the intro slide. Currently leading all of baseball in RBI (95) and batting average (.365) and only seven home runs back of the league-leader, Cabrera has an incredible chance to be the first ever player to win back-to-back Triple Crowns.
Torii Hunter: 2100 Hits
Torii Hunter, who just turned 38 years old, is having a resurgent year with the Tigers. He is currently hitting .315 with 44 RBI and 112 hits in 356 at-bats. That means Hunter is just two hits away from 2100 for his career. Hunter could also continue to climb the list of the all-time hit leaders and with just 46 more hits, he will crack the top 200.
Cole Hamels: 1500 Strikeouts
Despite Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels' struggles this season, he is still within reach of 1500 strikeouts for his career. He needs just 75 more on the season, an average of six or seven a start, to hit this milestone. This will also give Hamels 200 on the season for just the third time in his career.
Andy Pettitte: 2400 Strikeouts
At 41 years old, Andy Pettitte of the NY Yankees, actually retired before making the decision to come back and pitch in 2013. And in making the decision to return to baseball, Pettitte has given himself the chance to hit the mark of 2400 strikeouts in his career, which will put him in very god company. Pettitte is just nine strikeouts away from this exclusive club, which boasts just 38 current members.
AJ Burnett: 2100 Strikeouts
AJ Burnett, now in his 14th major league season and his second with the Pittsburgh Pirates, is just 19 strikeouts away from 2100 on his career. When he hits this mark, Burnett will pass Kevin Millwood and crack the top 60 on the all-time list.
Miguel Tejada: 2400 Hits
Currently sitting on 2389 career hits, Miguel Tejada of the Kansas City Royals, is now in his 15th year in the league. And with just 11 more hits, something Tejada will no doubt reach in 2013, he will join the club of guys with 2400 hits. Needing just 79 to crack the top 100 all-time hits leaders, Tejada, could also hit his way into this club with a few more seasons in baseball.
Albert Pujols: 500 HR, 2400 Hits
Albert Pujols, now in his second year with the LA Angels, has been one of the best hitters in the league throughout his career. Since his rookie year in 2001, Pujols is one of very few players to record at least 30 home runs in each of his now 12 major league seasons. He needs 15 to continue this stretch but just 10 to hit his way into the 500 HR club, of which Pujols will become just the 26th member.
Additionally, Pujols is just 65 hits away from 2400 on his career.
Paul Konerko: 2300 Hits, 400 Doubles
A 16-year major league veteran, Paul Konerko has played each of his 14 full seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Still with the Sox, Konerko is now just 54 hits away from 2300, a mark he is expected to reach before the end of the 2013 season.
More impressively, perhaps, is that Konerko is also just five doubles away from 400 career doubles. This club is more exclusive, consisting of less than 200 members.
Alfonso Soriano: 400 HR, 2000 Hits
Alfonso Soriano, now 37 years old, has had a very solid major league career. Currently with the Chicago Cubs, Soriano now finds himself in pursuit of two pretty impressive milestones. He is just 12 home runs shy of 400 for his career and having already hit 16 in 2013, he should reach his club by the end of the year.
Additionally, Soriano is just 14 hits shy of cracking into the 200 hits list. And with 89 hits in 343 at-bats on the season, this is yet another milestone Soriano should reach.
Ichiro Suzuki: 2700 Hits
Known in Japan as "The Hit Manufacturing Machine," Ichiro Suzuki became the first Japanese position player to enter the major leagues. And had he not spent the best years of his career outside of America, many believed Suzuki would have had a shot at Pete Rose's all-time hits record.
As such, Suzuki, now in his 12th major league season, is just four hits away from reaching 2700 on his career. He is just 78 hits away from breaking into the top 50 of the all-time hits leaderboard.
Carlos Beltran: 2200 Hits
Now in his 15th season, second with the St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Beltran, a seven-time All-Star, is approaching the milestone of 2200 career hits. He is currently just 34 hits away and considering he is hitting .309 this season with 19 home runs and 102 hits already, Beltran should join this club before August comes to an end.
Jose Valverde: 300 Saves
Consisting of just 25 current members, Tigers closer Jose Valverde is only 14 saves away from joining the 300 career saves club. On the season, Valverde has nine saves and three blown saves. And while 300 is within reach, Valverde will have to make it back to the big league roster first as he was demoted to a minor league assignment back in June.
Joe Nathan: 330 Saves
Now 38 years old and in his 12th major league season, second with the Texas Rangers, Joe Nathan is having an incredible season as one of the best closers in the AL. On the year, he is allowing just a 1.36 ERA and has struck out 42. He already has 30 saves, meaning he is just two away from 330 in his career.
With 330 saves, Nathan will climb to 11th on the list of most career saves. It is also quite possible that he could jump into the top 10 as he needs just 14 more saves to pass Rollie Fingers for this spot.
Derek Jeter: 3319 Hits (8th All-Time)
The career Yankee, Derek Jeter, just continues to climb the all-time hits list. Currently Jeter, now in his 18th season, all with New York, is the active hits leader with 3305. This also places him as 10th on the all-time list. Jeter needs just 14 hits to tie Paul Molitor, which would move him up to eighth on the leaderboard.
While Jeter should easily continue his climb toward 3319, he needs to be healthy first. He has played in just one game this season and is currently day-to-day for a quad injury he sustained in his 2013 debut.
CC Sabathia: 2400 Strikeouts
Just like Pettitte, his Yankee teammate, CC Sabathia is closing in on 2400 career strikeouts. With 117 on the season, the 32-year-old lefty is just 69 strikeouts short of 2400. He will get at least 10 more starts on the season, so it would be surprising actually, if Sabathia did not crack 2400 by the end of the year.
Todd Helton: 2500 Hits, 583 Doubles
Just like Jeter, Todd Helton has spent his entire 16-year career with one team, the Colorado Rockies. And with the Rockies, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2013, Helton is their best career player. He leads the all Rockies in home runs, RBI, runs and of course, hits and doubles.
Helton, who is the active career king of doubles, is sitting on 574, just nine shy of 583. And when Helton hits this mark, he will pass Robin Yount to sit 17th on the all-time list. He needs 26 doubles to reach 600 and this is a mark he should also surpass possibly as early as next season. Additionally, Helton needs just 29 to move to 2500 career hits.
Tim Lincecum: 1500 Strikeouts
After throwing his first ever no-hitter this season, Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants, is on the verge of accomplishing another pretty impressive career number. The 29-year-old Lincecum has thrown 129 strikeouts so far this season making him just 58 short of 1500 for his career. And like Hamels, Lincecum has enough starts remaining that he should join this club by the end of the season.
Aramis Ramirez: 350 HR
Although Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez has struggled this season with his power, it is still reasonable to expect that he will get the three home runs he needs for 350 on his career. If Ramirez, who has five home runs this season, manages to get to 350, he will move into the top 90 on the all-time career home run leaderboard.
Mariano Rivera: 650 Saves
Since getting the full-time job in 1997, Mariano Rivera has been with the Yankees for the entirety of his 18-year career. He has been the team's closer for 16 years, and in that time, Rivera, who is retiring at the end of the 2013 season, has used his signature cutter to become the best closer in the history of the game.
When he recorded his 602th save, Rivera passed Trevor Hoffman for most of all-time. Since then, he has just been adding to this number and currently sits at 638 on his career. Rivera, who has saved 30 games for the Yankees this season, is just 12 away from the incredible mark of 650.