More than any other sport, baseball is a game of numbers. Certain figures mark the passage of the game and stand as easily identifiable touchstones of performance. Just seeing 42, 56, .406, 61*, or 73* will conjure up images of players and moments. A .300 average remains the de facto mark of elite hitting, while the Mendoza Line means something else entirely.
Then there are those career-defining totals that tell the story of a given player in relation to his total career or his time with a given team. For instance, you may know that beloved Cubs hero Anthony Rizzo hit his 200th career major league homer against the Marlins at Wrigley Field on May 7, followed by his 200th Cubs homer on May 9.
Several other Cubs are likely to hit career milestones in 2019, including one of major significance, so check below and take your guesses at when we’ll see these come to pass.
Mark Zagunis – 1st MLB HR
Zagunis was selected to the Opening Day roster as a backup outfielder and is hitting .241/.333/.345 with a .678 OPS as of May 13. While he also appeared in a small number of games in 2017 and 2018, he has yet to go yard for the big club. Backup catcher Taylor Davis finally hit his first dinger in grand fashion against the Cardinals with fewer career plate appearances than Zagunis, so it should be simply a matter of time until Zagunis has his first MLB home run.
Kyle Ryan – 100 K
Before being promoted to the Cubs’ active roster in 2019, Ryan threw 141.1 innings for the Detroit Tigers between 2014-17. He has a total of 86 career strikeouts as of May 13 and should be able to reach 100 sometime this year, provided he remains on the 25-man roster.
Kyle Schwarber – 100 HR
Schwarber is not one of the Cubs’ current home run leaders, but he has been a major producer in the last two seasons, with 30 in 2017 and 26 in 2018. He’s now at a career total of 72, so exceeding his 2017 production will see him reach 100 late this year. Ideally that comes in a bid to clinch another division title for the Northsiders.
Javy Báez – 100 HR
After 11 bombs so far this season, El Mago is sitting on a career total of 92. At his current pace, we should expect him to reach 100 home runs within the next month or so, and he will be well on his way to 200 by the end of the year.
Cole Hamels – 2,500 K
As of May 13, Hamels is currently tied for 40th place on the all-time strikeouts leaderboard with 2,464. The only active pitchers with more strikeouts are Zack Greinke (2,492), Félix Hernández (2,501), Max Scherzer (2,528), Justin Verlander (2,774) and CC Sabathia (3,009). As long as Hamels remains healthy, he should reach the 2,500 strikeout mark later on this year.