HomeTrending MLB NewsReachable Milestones for the 2024 Season

Reachable Milestones for the 2024 Season

Baseball is a game made up of milestones.

Often paving a path to Cooperstown, those milestones range from 500 home runs (for hitters) to 300 wins (for pitchers).

Though nobody is close to either plateau this season, future candidates abound.

The only active player with 400 home runs is Giancarlo Stanton, a former MVP whose numbers have fallen as his injuries have increased in recent seasons.

Scheduled to serve as designated hitter for the New York Yankees, Stanton is a towering former outfielder whose right-handed power would be far better suited to Fenway Park’s Green Monster. But the arrival of Juan Soto, a lefty hitter swapped to the Bronx from San Diego, provides better balance in the batting order and should help Stanton if he stays healthy. It isn’t a stretch to think Stanton (402) can’t catch Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. (431) on the lifetime home run list.

At the moment, Stanton leads all active players with 402 home runs but should gain company in the 400 Club if Mike Trout avoids such injuries as the left wrist fracture that plagued him last season. The author of only 18 homers in 2023, Trout starts the year just 32 homers short of 400.

Paul Goldschmidt, entering the walk year of his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, needs a 60-homer season to reach 400. Don’t bet on it – even though he, like Stanton, is a former MVP.

Goldschmidt is much more likely to join the 2000 Hit Club this season. The towering first baseman, nine homers shy of cracking te Top 100 sluggers in baseball history, needs 91 hits to get there and should succeed by the All-Star break in July.

Evan Longoria is even closer – 70 hits away – but unsure of continuing his career even though he reached the World Series with the 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s 38 and fading fast.

Joey Votto, another former star in his twilight years, leads all players with 2,135 hits but needs to hook onto the roster of his hometown Toronto Blue Jays if he wants to keep adding to that total at age 40.

On the other hand, Freddie Freeman is formidable force who could be even better now that he’s batting in a lineup that also includes Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani. All three are former MVPs, with Ohtani winning the trophy twice.

The durable Freeman is a strong bet for his second straight 200-hit season as he marches toward 2,500 hits by the end of the 2025 campaign. He started 2024 in the two-game Seoul Series against San Diego Wednesday with 2,114 hits.

Betts, Starling Marte, Justin Turner, Stanton, and Nick Castellanos are approaching 1,500 and likely to reach 2,000 – provided Turner plays often enough at the advanced athletic age of 39 (he’ll turn 40 after the season ends).

Two-time National League MVP Bryce Harper, who plays half his scheduled in the South Philadelphia bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park, has 306 home runs at age 31 but is nowhere near any milestone for hits or homers.

The owner of a lethal left-handed swing and $330 million contract, Harper has been collecting runs batted in at a record rate.

With 889 so far, he would reach 1,000 if he knocks in 111 – a figure he exceeded by three in 2019, his first year in the City of Brotherly Love.

The nine current players who already collected 1,000 RBI are Longoria, Votto, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Andrew McCutchen, Stanton, Carlos Santana, and J.D. Martinez.

On their heels are Jose Abreu, with 953, just ahead of Manny Machado’s 944, Trout’s 940, and Anthony Rizzo’s 930. All have been idled by injury over the last few years, however, so their ascent to the luminary level could be dictated by their health status.

After reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. became the first player with at least 40 (41) home runs and 70 steals (73) in the same season, more attention has focused on the art of base-stealing.

Elvis Andrus has 347 career steals, followed by Starling Marte at 338, but a pair of others likely to reach the 300 level are Jose Altuve, the smallest man in the majors, and fellow middle infielder Trea Turner. They have 293 and 260, respectively, and Turner is not only coming off his first 30/30 season but has the motivation of a $300 million contract.

Nobody has a milestone bigger than Justin Verlander, the three-time Cy Young Award winner of the Houston Astros. Verlander, who turned 41 last month, leads all pitchers with 257 wins and is determined to become the 25th pitcher with 300 victories.

Beset by injuries in recent seasons, however, the veteran right-hander would need to average 14 wins a year for the next three years – and would still be one short. No one has joined the 300 Club since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 2009.

In addition to his age, factors against Verlander include the five-man rotation, 100-pitch limit, and frequent use of relief pitchers.

Speaking of relief pitchers, only eight have amassed 400 saves, including Kenley Jansen (420) and Craig Kimbrel (417) last season. They rank seventh and eighth, respectively, on the career saves list but nobody is close to joining them in the 400 Club.

The short list of active pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts is headed by Verlander and Max Scherzer, followed by Zack Greinke at 2,979 and Clayton Kershaw, who is 56 away but sidelined until August after shoulder surgery. Yu Darvish, with 1,929, is closing in on 2,000, along with Lance Lynn and Charlie Morton.

The major-leaguer closest to any major milestone is veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His first home run of 2024 will be the 300th of his career but may occur on the road. The former MVP, slowed by a partially torn Achilles late last season, will play his first seven games on the road this year.

Dan Schlossberg, Senior Writer
Dan Schlossberg, Senior Writerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is a national baseball writer for forbes.com; weekend editor of the Here’s The Pitch newsletter; columnist for Sports Collectors Digest; and contributor to USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Memories & Dreams, and many other outlets. He’s also the author of more than 40 books. His email is ballauthor@gmail.com.


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