Now that the 60-game schedule has been released for 2020, we can start looking ahead to some of the big milestone games for some St. Louis Cardinals players in the coming season.
After Rob Manfred mandated that a 60 games season will take place, baseball is finally on its’ way to us in 2020. Although it isn’t going to be a normal major league baseball season by any means, it could still be an important one for a number on the St. Louis Cardinals roster.
The Cardinals have a number of older players who are nearing retirement.
However, while they may be nearing retirement, they also are nearing many career milestones. Let’s take a look at those milestones we may see in the 2020 season.
2020 is lined up to be a major season for Yadi. At present, his contract expires at the end of the 2020 season, though there appears to be every intention for Yadi to see out his career as a Redbird. There are some key milestones Molina will be looking to hit in 2020 to really push his case for the Hall of Fame:
- 2,000 games: right now Yadi is sitting at 1,983 games. Assuming no injuries in Summer Camp or at the start of the season, Yadi should be joining the 2,000 game club sometime around mid-August. So be sure to keep your eyes open during the second home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates as we all know Yadi will be looking to put on a show during this game.
- 2,000 hits: with Yadi currently sitting at 1,963 hits, it is very much in play to see 2,000 hits by the end of the 2020 season. Last season, it took 36 games for Yadi to make 37 hits which in 2020 would line it up in the series against the Reds at the start of September.
- 1,000 assists: currently Molina sits at 983 assists which, in a regular season, should be feasible. But his number of assists has been reducing each year and with only 30 assists in his 111 games in 2019, it could be real close to the line whether or not Yadier Molina can reach the milestone of 2,000 games, 2,000 hits and 1,000 assists in the 2020 season.
Joining the 2,000 games, 2,000 hits, 1,000 assists at catcher club would make Yadi one of only four players to have managed this feat – along with Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk, and Ivan Rodriguez, who are all in the Hall of Fame!
There are a number of infielders who are heading towards big milestones, so 2020 could be an important season for a number of players within the diamond.
- Paul DeJong is entering his fourth season as a Redbird and is looking on the right track to hit some key numbers in 2020. DeJong should be hitting 1,000 assists and 250 double plays turned sometime during the first series against the Chicago Cubs and if he can start the season like 2019, there is a chance PDJ can hit the 100 doubles mark. He currently sits at 82 doubles and managed 17 in his 60 games of 2019. So if he can turn up ready to go we could see Paul hitting his 100th double around game 60!
- Paul Goldschmidt should be joining the 300 doubles, 250 homers and 1,000 double plays club in 2020 with ease. Goldy currently sits at 292 doubles and 243 homers, so should be hitting those heights around mid-season which will likely come in the first series against the Kansas City Royals. Finally, with Goldy averaging just under one double play a game in 2019 and needing only 23 more to have been involved in 1,000 double plays, we should see Paul catching that grand around mid-July at Wrigley field.
- Matt Carpenter will be an interesting one, if he gets regular playing time we could see big things and there are still a lot of Cards fans hoping for a Carp bounce-back season in 2020. Even if he doesn’t take the field, we will likely at least see him at DH which lays the tracks to making 5,000 career plate appearances, hitting 300 doubles and 150 homers. Now the home runs should be simple, he needs only two more which last year came after just 15 games. The plate appearances (needing 193 more) and doubles (needing 16 more) could be very dependent on the 2018 MVP candidate doubles Carp returning to form. At his peak, he hit 16 doubles and had 183 plate appearances in just 41 games. Time will tell on this one.
- Harrison Bader has only played three years in the majors so far and there are still improvements to be made at the plate, but Bader is heading towards 250 hits, 100 RBI, and 100 walks.
- Dylan Carlson, on the other hand, could be looking to make an impression in his first season in the majors, so some Cardinals milestones that Carlson could be looking to breach are:
- Most consecutive games to start a career with an RBI – 4 games, held by Matt Holliday in July 2009 after he moved from the A’s
- Most consecutive games to start a career with a hit – 10 games, held by Charley Smith in April 1966 and Al Dark in June 1956
- Most consecutive games to start a career with a walk – 6 games, held by Mike LaValliere in April 1985
- Most consecutive games to start a career with a stolen base – 4 games, held by Chuck Carr in September 1992
- Jack Flaherty is currently sitting on 433 strikeouts, so hitting the 500 mark is well and truly in his grasp. It looks like Flaherty could get the 500th strikeout sometime during the final Pirates series at the end of September.
- Alex Reyes not necessarily a milestone, but I’m intrigued to see if the guy can pitch more than five innings this season. That’d be his highest since 2016.
- Adam Wainwright is currently on 383 games, so unfortunately it seems extremely unlikely (unless he switches into relief) but we may have to wait until the 2021 season (if he comes back) for Waino to hit the 400 game mark. If Waino could hit 402 starts, that would put him at sixth on the most games pitched by a Cardinal!
- Mike Shildt has only been in the job for a season and a half, but having won the National League Manager of the Year in 2019 Shildt will be looking to take the Cardinals to their second consecutive postseason and get his hands on his second NL Manager of the Year award. That would make him only the second-ever manager to win in back-to-back years (with Bobby Cox in 2004/05) and become the 15th manager to have won the award multiple times.
So lots to look out for in this 2020 season. Summer Camp has kicked off, the players are back in Missouri and everything is gearing up for that July 24th start date at Busch Stadium against these Pirates. Roll on some 2020 baseball and let’s go Redbirds!