March 17, 2010

2010 Milestone Preview: American League East

It would be really, really easy to sit here and write on and on about Alex Rodriguez.

The fact that, at 33, he’s just 17 home runs away from becoming the youngest player to hit 600 home runs.

Too easy.

The fact that he’s about to leapfrog plenty of Hall of Famers as he climbs up the all-time RBI list.

Like taking candy from a baby.

The fact that, last year, by finishing with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the 13th time in his career, he broke a tie with Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx for the most in MLB history.

Fish in a barrel.

Like I said, coming up with praise for A-Rod would be easy and that’s why I’m choosing to, again, ignore his efforts and focus on the rest of the AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES

In just their 110th year of existence, the Orioles don’t have a ton to talk about this season.

Among the only milestones worth mentioning…newly re-acquired Miguel Tejada enters 2010 with 285 home runs. And with back-to-back seasons with 13 and 14 home runs…it remains to be seen if the 2002 American League MVP can get his old stroke back.

Also of note for the O’s is Brian Roberts and his ability to amass extra base hits 50 doubles or more at a time. Should “B-Rob” hit that mark again, he’ll be one of only two players (Hall of Famer Tris Speaker is the other) with four seasons with 50 or more doubles.


BOSTON RED SOX

When the Red Sox travel to Baltimore May 2, newly acquired Mike Cameron will celebrate the eighth anniversary of becoming just the thirteenth player to hit four home runs in a game.

With 1798 career strikeouts, the 37 year-old centerfielder sits eleventh all-time…18 behind Dave Kingman. With any luck(?), Cameron, could finish the season fifth overall.

Hooray?

And speaking of Ks (weren’t we?), Fenway’s favorite octogenarian Tim Wakefield is a mere 21 punchouts away from becoming the third knuckleballer with 2000 or more strikeouts.

Also within reach for Wakefield is 200 wins. Nestled behind Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez and the awesomely named Brickyard Kennedy and Urban Shocker, Wakefield is sitting at 189…good for third (fifth if John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez find work) on the active list.

Wakefield’s 175 wins in Boston is just behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens’ 192 on the all-time Red Sox list. But getting 17 Ws out of Wakefield this season (or the next two for that matter), might be a pipedream.


NEW YORK YANKEES

The big news last season (for some reason) was Derek Jeter surpassing Lou Gehrig as the Yankees hit king. Now that that is has come and gone…all we can focus on is the All-World shortstop’s countdown to 3000 hits.

Which, unfortunately, won’t come until 2011.

With 2747 hits to his credit…let’s all agree to re-visit this topic a year from June shall we.

And given only one American League pitcher has notched 21 wins or more in the last four seasons, it isn’t likely that Andy Pettitte is going to get the 21 necessary to raise his career total to 250.

What is likely, however, is that CC Sabathia WILL get the 14 wins he needs to get to 150 for his young career. At only 28 (he turns 29 in June), the big lefty has the best shot among all young hurlers to end up in that 250-300 range.


TAMPA BAY RAYS

Carl Crawford is the Rays career leader is just about every offensive category. With 92 triples to his credit, he is third among active players (Johnny Damon and Jimmy Rollins each have 95), but probably the most likely to reach 100 first.

One category that doesn’t see Crawford atop the leaderboard is home runs. Going into the season, for Ray Aubrey Huff is 12 home runs ahead of current first baseman Carlos Pena.

With an average of 39 home runs in each of his years in Tampa Bay, odds are Pena will be the Rays all-time leader before Memorial Day.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Now that the constant Roy Halladay trade rumors that plagued the Blue Jays last season are a thing of the past…Toronto fans can focus on Vernon Wells inching toward 200 home runs for his career.

Sure, Halladay and his amazing track record north of the border was something of Canadian folklore, but this is Vernon Wells, people.

Vernon. Wells.

Nevermind.

The National League Central is next on the docket…feel free to check out the National League East HERE.



BallHype: hype it up!

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