Mets' Bartolo Colon Approaches 2,000 Career Strikeouts

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffApril 3, 2014

New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws in the second inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman

Friday will mark the 17th anniversary of New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon's major league debut, and the right-hander is closing in on 2,000 career strikeouts.

Following a four-K performance in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, the 40-year-old Colon has 1,954 career strikeouts in 2,589.2 innings.

He only needs 46 more to hit No. 2,000, but reaching the milestone may take a couple of months.

Once a bit of a strikeout artist, Colon started pitching to contact as his skills eroded with age. He fanned more than 200 batters in back-to-back seasons in 2001 and 2002, but he hasn't topped 173 strikeouts since that 2002 campaign.

Never one to be bothered with the typical career path, Colon somehow picked up a Cy Young Award in between his early-career peak and late-30s revival.

He won the award as a member of the Los Angeles Angels in 2005, when he posted a 3.48 ERA and 157 strikeouts as part of a 21-win season. As many sabermetrically-inclined writers have pointed out before, Colon was far from being the league's best pitcher that year, but he got to suit up for an excellent team that won 95 games and an AL West title.

Colon won't benefit from any such circumstances this season, as his Mets still appear to be a year away from contention. A betting man would say that Colon is unlikely to come back to see the team grow, but then again, a betting man would know by now that it's never wise to wager against Colon, 285 pounds and all.