Last year, plenty of MLB milestones occurred. One that stood out the most was when Albert Pujols surpassed Willie Mays for fifth-most home runs in MLB history, where Pujols currently sits at 662. The future Hall of Famer needs 35 home runs to move into fourth place all-time. Now, we’re quickly approaching the 2021 MLB season. While the season is set to return to a 162-game schedule, it means that some players’ career records and milestones will be more achievable. There’s a chance history will be made with several players reaching significant career milestones.
MLB Milestones to Keep an Eye On
Clayton Kershaw: All-time Dodgers strikeout leader
Clayton Kershaw enters the year with 2,526 career strikeouts. After surpassing the 2,500 strikeout milestone last year, Kershaw is now 171 strikeouts behind Don Sutton for most strikeouts in Los Angeles Dodgers franchise history. He isn’t a lock to put up 200+ strikeout seasons he’s used to, but this milestone will be one Dodgers fans will be celebrating at some point in the season.
Yadier Molina: 2,000 games caught
Yadier Molina will look to solidify himself as one of the best catchers of all-time. The long-time St. Louis Cardinal has a chance to surpass 2,000 games this season. Molina needs to play 11 games to reach the milestone, and he could move into the top five all-time for games caught. Here is the current top five, with Molina sitting sixth all-time:
- Ivan Rodriguez: 2,427
- Carlton Fisk: 2,226
- Bob Boone: 2,225
- Gary Carter: 2,056
- Jason Kendall: 2,025
Molina will likely surpass both Jason Kendall and Gary Carter on this list by season’s end.
Miguel Cabrera: 500 home runs, 3,000 hits
Miguel Cabrera enters his 19th big league season with 487 home runs. He sits 30th all-time, but the soon-to-be 38-year old needs seven more to move into 28th place. Thirteen home runs will get Miggy to 500 in his Hall of Fame career. Another milestone Cabrera is likely to reach 3,000 hits. He enters Opening Day with 2,866 career hits, 134 away from the achievement. If he can accomplish both milestones, Cabrera will be the seventh player to do so.
Jon Lester: 200 career wins
Three-time World Series Champion Jon Lester is nearing the 200-win mark. The southpaw sits with 193 wins, and he has the third-most wins among active pitchers. Only Houston Astros teammates Zack Greinke (208) and Justin Verlander (226) have more. If the Washington Nationals find their competitive edge, and Lester being part of the rotation, it could make for an easy path to reach the milestone. Lester is also 103 strikeouts shy of the 2,500 mark.
Max Scherzer: 3,000 strikeouts
Max Scherzer could become the newest addition to the 3,000-strikeout club. The Nationals ace has 2,784 strikeouts and needs 216 to reach the milestone. Scherzer has recorded at least 225 strikeouts in every entire season since 2012. Scherzer currently sits 23rd all-time on the strikeout list, and he’s second among active players. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has a chance to surpass Verlander (3,016 career strikeouts), who will likely miss the 2021 season.
Other Notable Milestones
David Price: 2,000 strikeouts (currently at 1,981)
Joey Votto: 300 home runs, 1,000 RBI (currently at 295 HR and 966 RBI)
Jose Abreu: 200 home runs (currently at 198)
Aroldis Chapman: 300 saves (currently at 276)
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images
Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Clayton Kershaw, Don Sutton, Yadier Molina, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk, Bob Boone, Gary Carter, Jason Kendall, Miguel Cabrera, Jon Lester, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Price, Joey Votto, Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman