Potential offensive milestones for 2013 (starring Derek Jeter)
Let's have a look at which players are in line to achieve some notable career milestones during the 2013 season.
Each new season brings with it a haul of individual milestones, which are stones made of miles, and the 2013 campaign will be no exception. With that in mind, let's take a look at which players might reach notable benchmarks before the curtain drops on the the season ahead ...
- Los Angeles Angels masher Albert Pujols is sitting on 475 career bombs, which -- high-level mathematics forthcoming -- means he's just 25 shy of 500 (and presently tied with Stan Musial). He'd become the 26th player to reach that mark. Chances he'll get there: 70 percent. I'll knock him down a bit for age and possibility of injury, but he still managed hit 30 in 2012, the worst season of his career.
- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez needs just three homers to reach 650 and just 14 to pass Willie Mays and move into fourth place on the all-time list. A-Rod, it should be noted, is trying to come back from hip surgery and will miss at least half the season. Chances he'll get there: Give him an 85 percent chance of reaching 650 (it's not inconceivable that he'll be laid up for the entire season) and a 35 percent chance of passing Mays in 2013.
- Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is just 28 spanks shy of 400. Fifty other players in MLB history have pulled off that feat. Chances he'll get there: He's coming off a season in which he totaled 32, but prior to that he didn't tally 28 or more since 2008. Give him a 45 percent chance.
- The great Derek Jeter (what's he looking at up there?) needs just 11 more hits to tie Eddie Collins for 10th place on the all-time leader board. Jeter will of course open the season on the disabled list, but, barring unforeseen disaster, tallying 11 hits is a certainty. Chances he'll get there: 99 percent. Less likely is his notching 196 hits for 2013 and thus becoming just the sixth player ever to total 3,500 or more. Sure, Jeter rang up 216 hits (to lead the majors) last season, but health concerns and anticipated decline make a total of 196 or more less likely. Chances he'll get there: 35 percent.
- It's A-Rod again. At present, he's 50 RBI shy of 2,000 for his career. The other players to reach 2,000 ribbies? Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Cap Anson. Rarified air, that. Chances he'll get there: For reasons laid out above, any assumptions regarding A-Rod in 2013 are suspect. I'll say 30 percent.
- Jeter! The cap'n needs a mere 30 runs scored in order to tie teammate A-Rod for 10th place on the all-time list. Consider it a near-cinch, as touching the plate 30 times is no big thing for a player who's averaged 117 runs scored per 162 games played. Chances he'll get there: 90 percent.
- Pujols hasn't notched 124 runs in a season since 2009, but if he reaches that total in 2013, then he'll become the 71st player in major-league history to score 1,500 runs or more. Batting in front of Josh Hamilton in the Angels' lineup should give him at least a puncher's chance, recent history notwithstanding. Chances he'll get there: 42.5 percent.
- Colorado Rockies first baseman emeritus Todd Helton is 30 two-baggers away from 600 for his career. He'd become just the 15th player ever to achieve that total. The problem is that Helton has hit 30 or more doubles in a season just once in the past five years, and that was back in 2009. Coors Field is an accommodating environment for all flavors of extra-base hits, but one must be healthy to take advantage of it. Chances he'll get there: 25 percent.
- Farther down the list, Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz is within hailing distance of 500 doubles (57 others have pulled that off). He needs 18 more, and his per-162-games average of 43 doubles suggests he'll get there with ease. On the other, buzz-killing hand, Ortiz is 37 and coming off a major Achilles injury. We'll ding him a bit for those reasons. Chances he'll get there: 65 percent.
- Much to our cultural diminishment, this is not an era rich with triples. With that said, two guys who can run fast and stuff -- Carl Crawford of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jose Reyes of the Blue Jays New York Mets -- have chances to crack the top 100 career triples ledger. Crawford, who has 114 for his career, needs four more to move into a 100th-place tie with Lloyd Waner (Little Poison, they called him!), Chick Stahl and Joe Cronin, while Reyes needs seven more. Chances they'll get there: Crawford? His grim history of recent injuries cannot be ignored. Four isn't a lofty total for a healthy Crawford, but will he be healthy? 55 percent. As for Reyes, he's averaged just shy of 13 triples per season over the last three years. 80 percent.
- More Jeter. If he's able to rack up 277 TBs this season, then he'll be the 20th player ever to get to 5,000 total bases for his career. In two of the last five seasons, including 2012, Jeter has reached the necessary TB total. Again, though, Jeter's age and ankle injury cannot be ignored. Chances he'll get there: 35 percent.
- Juan Pierre , come on down. The banjo-hitting Pierre, who's poised for regular duty solely because the 2013 Miami Marlins is a thing that exists, needs just nine thefts to reach 600. A mere 17 other speed merchants have done that throughout the sprawl of baseball history. Even if Pierre's playing time drops off -- which it presumably will -- he attempts steals at such a high rate that he's almost certain to get there. For instance, his career low since becoming a regular is 27 swipes in 2011. Chances he'll get there: 90 percent.
- We'd of course be remiss if we didn't go negative, at least for a moment or two. Jim Thome is currently without an employer, but if he signs on in time and plays enough, he'll have a shot at becoming baseball's all-time strikeout king. At this writing, he's 49 whiffs short of Reggie Jackson's all-time mark of 2,597. Chances he'll get there: Considering that Thome may in fact be retired, this one's a longshot. Then again, last season Thome managed to strike out 61 times in just 186 plate appearances. So it's not as though he'd require much playing time to get there. 12 percent.
Up next, we'll have a look at which pitching milestones might be achieved in 2013. Presumably, Jeter won't be mentioned.