It’s almost here – Opening Day of the 2021 MLB season! Here are some big milestones that could be hit in the coming season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
2021 will hopefully be a return to normalcy for the St. Louis Cardinals.
After a shortened 2020, 2021 will be a full 162 games and that presents more opportunities for players on the team to up their counting stats.
There are some major milestones across the St. Louis Cardinals to keep an eye out for, but lets first kick off with taking a look at the offense.
After Yadi succeeded in getting his 2,000th hit in the shortened 2020 season, you wouldn’t expect there would be much left for Yadi’s resume. Though coming into 2021, there are still some key numbers Yadi will be looking to hit:
- Make his tenth All-Star Game (taking Yadi into the top 10 All-Star appearances by catchers in MLB history) and get his tenth Gold Glove (moving Yadi joint second amongst catchers all-time with Johnny Bench).
- 400 doubles, which has only been managed by seven other catchers in MLB history and Yadi needs just 19 more to reach that milestone.
- 0.1 fWAR more would take Yadi into the top ten all-time for catchers in fWAR with 54.5.
- 1,000 RBI is a definite reach for Yadi, who needs a further 68 RBI in 2021 to 1,000. He has only done this four times previously, but managed that in 2018 getting this 68th RBI in the 115th game – so it’s certainly feasible!
Then finally from a St. Louis Cardinals’ perspective, once Yadi has another 46 at-bats, he will reach third overall in franchise history. Plus, with 64 more hits we will see Molina move to fifth in Cardinals’ history.
This could be a potentially massive year for Yadi and his push towards becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer!
Paul Goldschmidt & Nolan Arenado
Both Goldy and Nado are on track to reach 250 homers in 2021. Goldschmidt made his major league debut in 2011 and is just one big fly away from hitting the 250 mark, so we’ll be seeing him hit the 250 mark on Opening Day, right!?
Arenado is about to start his ninth major league season and needs 15 more dingers to reach the 250 milestone which will take him into the top 30 all-time for home runs among third basemen. Arenado will then also be chasing his ninth consecutive Gold Glove which would tie him with Mike Schmidt for second all-time Gold Glovers at third base.
Some good and some…not so good milestones could be on the way for Matt Carpenter in 2021. This is evidently all very dependent on playing time after a poor spring training, but Carp could be lined up for some big personal milestones as well as franchise milestones to define his St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame case.
First, we take a look at some personal milestones for Carpenter:
- 5,000 plate appearance – only 24 more needed, so even as a bench bat we should see this sometime in 2021 easily.
- 300 doubles – as a doubles machine, getting another 10 through a full season wouldn’t seem any trouble for Carp. But after his stunted spring and likely to be a bench bat this could be a real challenge.
- 500 extra-base hits – 31 more extra-base hits feels like it could be unrealistic for Carp.
- 1,000 strikeouts – five more strikeouts and Carp hits 4 figures for strikeouts which has only been done by 3 St. Louis Cardinals ever (oops!).
Then some big milestones from a franchise perspective:
- Seven more home runs will take Carp to 11th all-time in the franchise.
- 35 more strikeouts and Carpenter will sit third all-time for the Cardinals.
- 18 more walks would move Carp ahead of Lou Brock to sixth all-time for the Redbirds.
With the outfield being so early in their careers (we all know the stat by now that the starting outfield is going to have fewer plate appearances than Adam Wainwright), there aren’t too many milestones to look out for. Though some interesting ones to track could be:
- Dylan Carlson and his charge to be the first St. Louis Cardinals Rookie of the Year since Albert Pujols in 2001.
- Harrison Bader looking to reach 100 RBI when he returns from injury.
- Tyler O’Neill aiming to maintain his streak of ranking in the top five players in the National League for sprint speed since 2019.
- Justin Williams looking to continue his spring form of having a 72% hard-hit rate.
Flaherty is heading towards 500 innings pitched and 500 strikeouts in 2021. This will see Flaherty hit the mark as the quickest pitcher in St. Louis Cardinals’ history.
This in itself is not far off of the MLB-best pace set by Jose Fernandez in 2016 where he hit the 500 strikeouts mark in just 400 innings for the Miami Marlins.
Waino already sits as the Cardinals’ second-best pitcher in franchise history per fWAR, but there are still milestones that Wainwright can knock down in 2021.
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In seven more games, Waino will hit 400 career games and with just nine more games he will move ahead of Jason Isringhausen to sixth on the St. Louis Cardinals franchise all-time games list.
Now a real reach for Wainwright will be the strikeout target. He currently sits at 1,830 and so if he could manage 170 more strikeouts that would move him to 2,000 career strikeouts which has only been done by 83 pitchers in the entire history of Major League Baseball. This could be a challenge though, as Wainwright has only managed 170 strikeouts five times in his career and not since 2014!
Now spring training is finished and regular season baseball being just hours away you can now mark your calendars to look out for some of these interesting Redbirds milestones in 2021. Though most importantly for now we have a very exciting battle ahead in the race for the 2021 National League Central title, starting in Cincinnati versus the Reds!