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St. Louis Cardinals: 2018 Milestone Watch

Yadier Molina

With every season comes a handful of milestones throughout baseball. Homeruns, strikeouts, hits, wins. All fun stats to watch pile up and speak to a player’s sustained success at a high level. At arms length, I’m sure there are several Cardinals fans keeping an eye on Albert Pujols as he makes his approach to 3000. However, it’s bittersweet to watch him reach the milestone numbers while knowing that the foundation (and most of the house) was built during his time in St. Louis.

So just for fun, I perused the Cardinals 2018 roster looking for some milestones that we may see achieved this year. None are on the historic level of 3000 hits, but there are several nice career benchmarks that our players are approaching.

Keep in mind, not every player can have a “milestone”, especially considering that many Cardinals are still very early in their careers.

Postion Players

Matt Carpenter – Matt is just one HR away from 100, sitting at 99 as we head into April 25th’s game. He is also creeping up on 500 career, non-intentional walks, needing just 6 more to reach that mark. Those are numbers we will likely see him hit within the next week or so. A longer range milestone would be 1000 career games, a figure he will reach with 115 more games this season. Now, the most interesting number to watch this year will be hits. He currently sits at 865, with 12 hits so far this year (meaning he began the year at 853), he will need a total of 147 in 2018 to reach 1000. His career average for hits in a full season is 153. By that average, could achieve is by season’s end, but also consider that with his increase in walks the past two seasons, he has averaged just 124 hits per year. This is why it will be interesting to follow his hit total. He may reach 1000 late in September, or it may have to wait until 2019.

(UPDATE: 100th HR was hit 5/1/18 vs White Sox.)

Dexter Fowler – Like Carpenter, Dex is sitting on 99 career HR’s. Another number to watch, although it is likely out of reach, is his career RBI. He sits at 412. With 9 so far, it would take a season total of 97, which would be by far a career high, to reach an even 500. The reason that this is an intriguing watch is due to the apparent shift to the middle of the lineup for Dex. With a lot of OBP in front of him, he has the chance to accumulate a big number in this category.

(UPDATE: Dex hit HR #100 on 5/2/2018 vs. White Sox.)

Jedd Gyorko – Yet another Cardinals sitting on 99 HR’s!!! My goodness. Jedd also is siting on 299 RBI, which could come on HR #100. He also has 89 career doubles and should easily reach a nice round 100 by season’s end.

(Update: Gyorko achieved HR 100 and RBI 300 on 4/25/18 vs. the Mets.)

Marcell Ozuna – Career HR’s? NINETY…….eight. The cleanup hitter isn’t part of the 99 club, but he’s close behind. His bat has yet to really come alive, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see all 4 of these hitters reach 100 career bombs within a game or two of each other, within the next week.

Kolten Wong – Wonger is sitting on 440 career hits and should be able to reach 500 for his career, even if he were to lose a few at-bats to Gyorko. He also has 171 career RBI. 29 more doesn’t seem unreasonable, but it may prove more difficult to achieve while batting 8th. Also consider that DeJong will often leave the bases empty for him after hitting a HR. It’s something to watch.

Yadier Molina

Of course, he has the most. At 1755 hits, he is closing in on 1800, which isn’t really a milestone. However, if he reached 1856 this year, he will pass Curt Flood and Ken Boyer and reside at 8th all-time for the franchise.

He has 132 career HR’s. With the 6 already hit, adding 18 more to reach 150 would require a new career high of 24. With the power surge across baseball, I think it could happen.

He currently has 1736 games played as a catcher. 83 more, which he will no doubt get this season, will move him into 12th place all-time among catchers. He currently needs 289 total games caught over the next 2 5/6 seasons to reach 5th place on the all-time list.

He currently has 1768 total games played. When he reaches 1821, he will be 4th in franchise history. It won’t happen in 2018, but by careers end he will bypass Ozzie Smith in games played and rank 3rd for the franchise. His counting stats have crept into the top 10 across the board.

For those that like Defensive WAR, he sits as 23.8 for his career. Upon reaching 25.0, he will pass Marty Marion and sit second only to Smith in Def WAR for the franchise. That seems fitting.

He has also hit into 228 Double Plays in his career. 15 more this season will tie him with Stan Musial for the franchises all-time lead.

Pitchers

Carlos Martinez – Carlos is at 729.1 Innings Pitches and should easily surpass 800 this year with an outside chance at 900. Similarly, he has 720 strikeouts. Again, only health would prevent him from reaching 800, but (with 37 already) a season total of 217 would get him to 900. Strangely, that is exactly how many strikeouts he had in 2017.

Greg Holland – Though he has yet to record a save with his new team, he is just 14 away from 200 for his career.

Brett Cecil – He has to get healthy and back to being the effective pitcher he was in Toronto, but at 651 K’s, he has an outside chance of reaching 700 this year.

Michael Wacha – Wacha is very close to strikeouts #600 for his career, sitting at 599 entering his 4/25 start. Given health, he should have no trouble also achieving the 700 mark later this season.

(Update: Wacha garnered K #600 on 4/25/18 vs the Mets.)

Adam Wainwright

At 280 career starts, he will *likely* make 20 more this season to reach a nice round 300.

At 347 career games, he needs just 2 more appearances to passed Todd Worrell and move into 7th on the franchise list.

At 1907.1 innings pitched, he again is very likely to cross over the 2000 inning threshold. Just 27.1 more innings will move him into 6th all-time for the franchise. However, that’s likely where is ends as he is unlikely to catch Bill Doak‘s 2387 innings in a Cardinals uniform.

One last thing to watch is his batting average as a hitter. Currently his career average is .202. First, it would be nice to seem him maintain that. Second, with a good season at the plate, he could bypass Bob Gibson‘s .206 career average. It wouldn’t be the best average by a pitcher in franchise history (and he won’t touch Gibson’s 24 career HR’s), but it would be symbolic to be in Gibby’s company at the plate as well.

Mike Matheny needs just 64 more wins this season to pass Billy Southworth and move into 4th place for the most wins by a Cardinals manager.

Nostalgia Matheny
Mar 17, 2014; Fort Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (22) watches his team take batting practice before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Cardinals at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks for reading!

Rusty Groppel
I'm a diehard Cardinals fan that feels privileged to write about his favorite team in this corner of cyberspace. I'm also the bass player for the best damn band in the 618, Tanglefoot. Check us out some time.
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