One of the most exclusive clubs in all of baseball is 3000 hits. It's a milestone that often takes a player two decades to reach. The MLB average for hits ranges from 125-to 150, with some players entering elite levels of 175-200 hits per season.
The 500 HR club is even more exclusive as only 28 players have reached that milestone. 500 HR requires elite power, consistency, and dominance and often is another milestone that can take around two decades to achieve.
As we learned and witnessed in 2022, Tigers 1B/DH Miguel Caberea joined an elite list of seven players to do both; the other six: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Willey Mays, Eddie Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro.
So, who could be the next player(s) to do it. Let's dive in and look at a mix of players under the age of 25, a group of 26-31, and 32+ years old. We will look at these over three separate blog posts.
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Next, let's look at a group of players who are all signed to massive contracts and are a few of the biggest names in baseball. These players are all 26-31years old Side note: The age mentioned of the player will be their age come the end of the '22 seasons. Also, the '22 season is not subtracted from the number of seasons it will take the player to reach the milestone. Example- 5 seasons- '22-'26 would be the range.
OF Mike Trout of the LA Angels. The expected lifelong Angel is one of the best, if not top 3, players we will ever see and is a truly generational talent. The 10-year vet is 31yo and has racked up 3x MVPs and many other accolades so far in his career. Signed through the 2030 season, we have many years to go of enjoying Trout's greatness. The 9x All-star has 1433H to date and 314HR. Trout averages 179H/39HR per season. At the current pace, Trout would need to maintain that average for 8.75 seasons to reach 3K hits and 4.76 more seasons to reach 500HR, and for 7.33 more seasons to reach 600HR. I think Trout can be a productive player until nearly age 40. Staying healthy will be the key to becoming the 8th member of the 3K, 500HR club before he hangs it up.
OF Mookie Betts of the LA Dodgers is 2nd fiddle, it seems to be LA stardom after Mike Trout, but LA is biggest enough for the both of them. The former MVP is 30yo and is under contract with the Dodgers through the 2032 season, which will be his age 40 season. Betts currently sits at 1163H and 180HR. Betts averages about 192H per season over his 7yr career, and at that rate, he will need 9.62 seasons to hit the 3K milestone. At his pace of 30HR per season, he will need 10.66 seasons to reach the 500HR milestone. Betts is in as good of a situation as any to reach both milestones, and I believe he will become a member of one or both clubs.
OF Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is one the biggest names in baseball and one of the game's superstars. Yet another MVP on this list of greatness has 1217H and 161HR. The 30yo, 2x All-Star is under contract through the 2028 season. The current season average for Yeli is 178H and 23HR. Maintaining that pace, Yeli would need 10.01 seasons to reach 3K and 14.73 seasons to reach 500HR. Sadly, as much as I like Yeli, I don't think he will reach either milestone and fall just short of the 3K hits club.
OF Bryce Harper of the Phillies is one of my favorite baseball players and one I will turn on the TV to watch. The swagger, the swing, and the personality are outstanding. The reigning MVP and 2x winner of the award have been incredible during his 9yr career. Harper hits at 1287H and 269HR. Haper averages 161H and 34HR per season. Harper would need 10.63 seasons to maintain that pace to reach 3K hits and 6.79 to reach 500HR. I don't doubt that Harper, in his age 30 seasons, will reach the 500HR club and fall short of the 3K hits club.
INF Manny Machado of the SD Padres is probably the most exciting name on this list as he, to me, is the guy who will, maybe even over Trout, be the 8th member of 3K hits and 500HR. Let's look at why. Machado is in his 30 seasons, playing in his 9th season, and is under contract for 6 more seasons after 2022. Machado sits at 1446H and 254HR. He averages 179H and 31HR per season. Maintaining those averages would take him 8.68 seasons to reach 3K and 7.93 seasons to reach 500HR. This means he would only need until age 38 to hit both marks. I fully support Machado and will state my claim that he will be the next to 3K hits and join the 3K/500HR list as the 8th member.
Stayed tuned for the under 25 club.