Who is next in line for 3,000 hits?
About two weeks ago Miguel Cabrera became the 33rd player overall and the 3rd Tiger to join the club of players who have achieved at least 3,000 hits. With two years left on his contract, there is a good chance Cabrera is able to enter the top 20 of all time hits leaders (and for Albert Pujols to enter the top 10).
What the Venezuelan has done to get there is basically get 150 hits per season, which translates into a batting average of well over .300. More than 150 hits per season hasn’t been achieved by Cabrera since his last season as an All-Star, which was 6 years ago, when he was already 33 years old.
Take that into account and the question on who will be the next active player to enter that same club of players with at least 3,000 hits becomes a tough one, if it isn’t a difficult one to begin with.
First in line is Robinson Canó with 2,632 hits. In theory, he might have gotten there with a few more seasons of 100 hit ball, but a shortened 2020 season and a PED suspension threw sand in that motor and after a DFA in New York and at 39 years of age it is highly doubtful that he will reach the milestone of 3,000 hits.
A bigger opportunity to reach the 3,000 club is presented to Jose Altuve and Freddie Freeman. If I had to choose between the two I’d put my money on the Astros second baseman as he is a .307 lifetime hitter, although he hasn’t gotten over that mark since 2018, and the Dodger has a .296 career batting average. But both are probably still 7-8 years away of getting into the conversation with a total of 1789 and 1730.
And if we take a look at (former) active Diamondbacks...Justin Upton has averaged 48 hits per season in the last 3 seasons, so his odds are probably non-existent, although his career total of 1748 is very respectable. Paul Goldschmidt could have been in the conversation had he reached the MLB a bit earlier, but at 34 years of age and with 1,597 hits he won’t make it either.
Nope, if we really want to take a bet on the next player to reach 3,000 hits...maybe it isn’t that weird to put our money on Manny Machado, who is also the 2022 BA leader, or one of the upcoming stars like Vlad Guerrero Jr, who hasn’t been punished by the shortened 2020 season.
And Mike Trout? Why haven’t we talked about Mike Trout? Well, the future HOF has seen his mission to become the GOAT derailed a bit by injuries. When he is on the field, and luckily he has been a lot in 2022 so far, he hits well. But he will first have to get to 1,500 hits, a milestone he will reach this season if the 30-year old stays healthy, and needed 10+ years to get there. His chances are probably as high or low as Altuve’s or Freeman’s.
What do you think is better?
Currently there are 28 players with 500 homeruns, Miguel Cabrera being the latest to join that club in August last year, but most voters thought that with some juiced balls in the past, getting there isn’t as impressive as other milestones. The next player that could get there is Nelson Cruz, who is playing on 1 year contracts. With just 2 homeruns in 2022, a .211 slugging percentage and 49 homeruns to go, I think his quest won’t be completed. Mike Trout probably has the best chances to become the next one: with 318 homeruns and averaging 39 homeruns per season he could get there before his current contract with the Angels comes to an end.
Getting to 3,000 strikeouts didn’t get much love either from SBNation voters, although the club of those players getting there already becomes much more exclusive than the previous ones. Future Hall of Famers Justin Verlander, in 2019, and Max Scherzer, last season, were the latest ones to join 17 other Hall of Famers (Curt Schilling included).
Zack Greinke has a tiny chance to get there but it will be a race against the clock. He is at 2,816 career strikeouts and got to 120 last season, but this season has punched out just 7 in 28 innings. But Greinke will always surprise us, so who knows? Although he probably doesn’t care not even the slightest bit if he would reach the milestone.
300 wins, however, is considered as the most impressive milestone, and that might be true since all 24 pitchers who got there are in the Hall of Fame (except for Roger Clemens). Justin Verlander is closest to it, of all pitchers still active, but does not even sniff it with 229 wins.