A number or players will be reaching milestones in their careers, some more prominent than others. Without further ado, here we go:
Miguel Cabrera sits at 477 career home runs. He played essentially at replacement level last year, but with good health it’s not unreasonable to think he can be the next member of the 500 homer club this year. He also has 2815 hits, but can’t be expected to get to 3k yet—save that for next year. He has 577 doubles, 24th best all time. #20 on the list is Rafael Palmeiro at 585, so expect him to move into the top 20 this year, passing Wade Boggs, Cap Anson, and Robin Yount also. After Palmeiro comes Todd Helton (592), Luis Gonzalez (596), Barry Bonds (601), Cal Ripken (603), and Paul Waner and Paul Molitor (605). Far into the decline phase of his career or not, let’s take time to appreciate how great his career has been.
Speaking of appreciation of greatness despite his decline, next is Albert Pujols. With even half decent health, even with diminished expectations of production, he will continue to remind us he is an inner circle Hall of Famer. He has 100.3 bWAR. That’s #21 all time among position players. He put up 0.4 bWAR last year—that isn’t good, but if he repeats it, he will pass Joe Morgan (100.6) to move into the top 20. He has 3202 hits, #15 all time. #10 all time, Paul Molitor at 3319 is possibly in reach…and in doing so he’d pass Nap LaJoie (3243), Eddie Murray (3255), Willie Mays (3283), and Eddie Collins (3315). He has 656 home runs, good for #6 all time. Willie freakin’ Mays’ 660 is almost certainly getting surpassed. A-Rod’s 696 is out of reach for this year unless he finds the fountain of youth. His 2075 RBI is #4 all time, tied with Cap Anson. He’ll pass A-Rod’s 2086 to move into the top 3. Babe Ruth would be next, but it’d be next year at soonest to get to his 2214. He is #7 on the all time doubles list with 661; expect him to move into the top 5, passing George Brett (665) and Craig Biggio (668). Ty Cobb at #4 with 724 is out of reach.
I’ve mentioned career doubles twice; here’s a third—Robinson Cano has the 29th most doubles all time. He has 562. Bobby Abreu is #25 at 574, so he’s moving into the top 25 this year. I listed Miguel Cabrera at #24 above and expect him to move into the top 20; that probably means Cano tops out at #21 this year, if he passes Palmeiro’s 585. Cano and Cabrera both sit at 69.6 bWAR. Cano likely moves past 70; Cabrera was at 0.0 last year, so that achievement isn’t a given for him this year but could happen.
Having mentioned WAR, I move on to Mike Trout. He turns 28 this year and already has 72.5 bWAR. He’s averaging over 8 a year. If he gets 7.5-8 this year, he will pass: Larry Walker, Paul Waner, Jim Thome, Arky Vaughan, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson, Luke Appling, Lou Whitaker (put him in the Hall of Fame, dammit), Johnny Bench, Sam Crawford, Bill Dahlen (the one eligible early baseball player who still isn’t in the Hall of Fame but should be), Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount, Joe DiMaggio, Brooks Robinson, Pete Rose, Dan Brouthers, and Jeff Bagwell. If he racks up 9, he also passes Charlie Gehringer and Rod Carew. Did I mention he’ll still only be 28 at the end of the season? He also has 285 homers, so he’ll pass 300 this season.
Also worth mentioning: Joey Votto has 284 homers and 1866 hits and so is likely to pass 300 homers and 2000 hits if he stays healthy. Edwin Encarnacion has 414 homers, #52 all time—top 50 is in reach (Mike Piazza at 427). Nelson Cruz is not a lot further behind with 401 homers (#57 all time)—for both Cruz and Encarnacion to move into the top 50 requires also catching up with Cal Ripken’s 431. It’s not impossible but maybe more likely to happen for Cruz next year.