MONTREAL – Several players will try to take advantage of the return to major baseball to reach interesting goals in 2021. As the season begins on Thursday, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera will take the opportunity to further confirm their place in historic baseball.
In Pujols’ case, his place in Cooperstown is secured. The Baseball Hall of Fame is just waiting for the year of retirement to predict the year of his induction, five years later. However, the record writer must follow the companies of the designated hitter and first baseman in the Los Angeles Angels from day to day to ensure a clear round.
The 40-year-old veteran will pass the final year of his $ 240 million ten-year contract with the California club this season. If we believe in an indiscretion from his wife on social networks (since withdrawn), it may be his last. Pujols will therefore try to climb some important steps.
With 2,862 games played, Pujols is ranked 16th in history. Brooks Robinson (2896), Adrian Beltre (2933) and Rusty Staub (2951) may well miss a row.
Pujols could well reach the milestone of 11,000 strokes: he only needs 161. This will then give him 11th place all the time. Four more, and he would pass Dave Winfield (11,003) to take 10th alone.
With 3,236 hits, he takes 15th place and is only seven behind Napoleon Lajoie and 21 behind Eddie Murray. His 662 home run gives him fifth place. Without a remarkable season, he should still be there next October: Alex Rodriguez is next on the 696 list. On the other hand, with 1889 singles, he is predicted to reach 1900.
Pujols also has 2,100 RBIs, which puts him in third place according to Baseball-reference.com, which adds up those collected by Babe Ruth (and other players) before 1920, when they became official statistics.
Cabrera could also reach several interesting plateaus. Designated by manager AJ Hinch to start the season – his 19th in the first bag, the Venezuelan who turns 38 in April 2866 has hits on the record, including 581 doubles and 487 home runs. He has a total of 4,942 goals, produced 1729 points and crossed the plate 1,457 times.
Of his hits, 1781 were singles: only 86 players have hit more than 1800 singles in baseball history. He also played 2457 games. Only 59 players have played over 2500.
2000 hits for Votto
Without a serious injury, Canadian Joey Votto should reach the plateau with 2,000 career hits, he who has 1908. We can also believe that his 295 homers will allow him to reach the plateau of 300 in 2021. Read 1000 RBIs are also within his reach: he starts the season of 966.
Behind the record, Yadier Molina only needs to start 11 games to get to 2000 starts. He became the sixth to reach this mark. If he were to start 36 games, he would join Jason Kendall in fifth place (2025). Gary Carter, fourth in 2056, is also in sight.
A 200. for Lester?
On the mound is Jon Lester, who has just signed a contract with the Washington Nationals, only seven of 200 victories. He is number three among active pitchers, behind Justin Verlander (226) and Zack Greinke (208).
When we talk about Greinke, his next victory will see him join Vida Blue at number 100 in history. Corey Kluber (98) and Charlie Morton (93) can reach the milestone with 100 career victories.
Verlander (2988) and Greinke (2939) should also not have too much trouble reaching the plateau with 3000 strokes. Max Scherzer (2357 and a third) and Clayton Kershaw (2333) are expected to complete 2,500 rounds of work.
Scherzer could also hit the 400 starting mark with 32 more in 2021, while if he were to strike out 216 strokes on strike, he would hit 3,000 career plateaus.
Lester needs 113 strikes to bring the total to 2,500. David Price (1981) and Ervin Santana (1926) are expected to go to 2,000.
Finally, in relief, it is the plateau of 350 rescues that can join Craig Kimbrel, who has 348. The problem is that he will have to pull himself together: he knows a difficult camp, which made boss David Ross that “something is wrong” with him.
Kenley Jansen should not have difficulty in adding 38 saves to his 312 with the Dodgers, but his No. 1 relief position would be on the line if one is to believe camp reports. We have to see if he will be able to defend his position.
On Aroldis Chapman’s side, he lacks 24 protected victories to reach the 300 plateau, which should not be a problem with the New York Yankees.
Frédéric Daigle, The Canadian Press