Every week throughout the 2017 regular season, we’ll handpick impressive, embarrassing and peculiar feats for you to witness across Major League Baseball. The following MLB milestones could be achieved from April 17-23, so adjust your viewing schedule accordingly. All stats current entering games of April 16.
Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels): 50.0 career Wins Above Replacement
When it could happen: any game this week
Trout’s first dozen games of 2017 put him on pace for a career year. And yet, the Halos are on pace for their worst season since he arrived in the majors (going by their run differential of minus-10). Even dominant players cannot single-handedly lift their teams into contention, and “dominant” might actually be underselling the Milville Meteor. At 49.8 WAR (via Baseball-Reference), he has already flown past Hall of Fame outfielders like Chuck Klein, Jim Rice and Ralph Kiner in career value. And if a Cooperstown induction is all he’s after, Hero Habit’s Aidan Jackson-Evans says Trout could put down the bat at any time—it’s a lock!
— Aidan Jackson-Evans (@ajacksonevans) April 15, 2017
Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers): 50-plus saves with four different franchises
When it could happen: Apr. 18-20 (vs. Tampa Bay Rays)
K-Rod’s been around so long at this point, most of his career appearances, innings and saves have come with teams other than the Angels. He hasn’t performed nearly as well since leaving the west coast, but that Proven CloserTM label can stick with a reliever for awhile, apparently. He worked the ninth inning for the Milwaukee Brewers (95 SV), New York Mets (83 SV) and now the Tigers (48 SV). For now, current Angel Huston Street is the only major league pitcher to save 50-plus games in four different uniforms (OAK, COL, SDP, LAA). Rodriguez will join the club whenever he closes out his sixth game of 2017.
Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners): 10,000 career batters faced
When it could happen: Apr. 19 (vs. Miami Marlins)
Let’s put this in perspective first—familiar names who never quite reached 10,000 include Chris Carpenter (9,305 BF), Freddy Garcia (9,595 BF), Roy Oswalt (9,301 BF) and Sandy Koufax (9,497 BF). Jake Peavy (9,838 BF) would also need at least another solid month of starting to crack quintuple digits. King Felix gets there by facing just 20 Marlins on Wednesday afternoon. Such a shame that he’s still never had the opportunity to see one batter in the postseason.
Rajai Davis (Oakland Athletics): 1,000 career hits
When it could happen: Apr. 20-23 (vs. Seattle Mariners)
Davis was never supposed to appear in the majors. A 38th-round draft pick born and raised in the baseball “hotbed” of Connecticut? No way. Even when he improbably earned a 2006 call-up, slashing .143/.250/.214 and failing in three out of four stolen base attempts didn’t bode well for his future at the highest level. But after the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants both grew impatient with his bat, the A’s trusted him with a significant, season-long role. Fast-foward to 2017 and he’s back in Oakland and on the doorstep of 1,000 hits (nine more to go).
New York Mets: most March/April home runs, Mets franchise history
When it could happen: Apr. 21-23 (vs. Washington Nationals)
The Mets kept the band together after launching a franchise-best 218 homers in 2016. Yoenis Cespedes (6 HR) unsurprisingly leads the way so far this season, but it’s surely been encouraging for them to have Michael Conforto (2 HR) and Travis d’Arnaud (2 HR) joining the fun as well. The club’s opening month record is 33 home runs, and at the rate they’re mashing (22 HR in 12 G), that’s achievable with a week to spare.
Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins): 1,000 career strikeouts
When it could happen: Apr. 21-23 (vs. San Diego Padres)
Alex Rodriguez famously had bonuses for “historic milestone accomplishments” included in his New York Yankees contract, based on his career home run total. It’s unclear whether Stanton has a similar clause in his own mega-deal that rewards him for strikeouts. Probably not! However, it’s easy to reach that conclusion from watching him play. Reggie Jackson is the sport’s all-time leader in this category and whiffed 996 times through eight MLB seasons; Stanton (991 K) is on the verge on surpassing him…with nearly an entire campaign still ahead of him.