Derek Jeter finally joined the 3,000-hit club yesterday with a solo shot off David Price.
So now what?
With the Jeter-mania now over, who's the next player who could join Jeter in the 3,000-hit club? Here's a look at the 10 next names on the active list most likely to get to the historic number.
Several different players are on pace to get to 3,000 if they play at a high level long enough, but at this stage in their careers it’s just too soon to call.
David Wright (28) – 1,182 hits
Robinson Cano (28) – 1,174 hits
Joe Mauer (28) – 1,037 hits
Adrian Gonzalez (29) – 1,026 hits
Hanley Ramirez (27) – 998 hits
Andrew McCutchen (24) – 381 hits
Rodriguez is second on the active list with 2,842 hits, and at 39 years old he’s also one of the oldest players in baseball. He’s not a full-time player anymore, but it’s hard to see Pudge retiring when he probably just needs one more season to get to 3,000.
A-Rod, 35, is fourth on the active list at 2,762 hits and is a virtual lock to join the 3,000-hit club some time late in 2012. The real question is: Can he become just the third member of the 4,000-hit club? He averages close to 200 hits a season and should easily have five years left in his career.
Damon, believe it or not, is fifth on the active list with 2,662 hits. That’s what happens when you average more than 180 hits for 17 consecutive seasons. The question is if the 37-year-old has another two productive seasons left in him. Judging by his .753 OPS in 82 games for the Rays this season, I’d say yes.
Guerrero may look like he’s in his 50s while running the bases, but Vlad is actually just a very old 36. If he can stay in the AL as a designated hitter for another two or three years then it may be enough to see him turn his 2,513 hits (seventh on active list) into 3,000.
The fact Ichiro is even on here is an incredible testament to his talent, considering he didn’t start playing MLB until he was 27. However, in his 11 seasons since making his debut he’s been hands-down the best hitter in baseball. He led the league in hits seven times, including setting the MLB record with 262 hits in 2004. He’s currently ninth on the active list with 2,343 hits, but at his current pace the 37-year-old should have an excellent shot at joining Jeter sometime in 2014.
Surprised to see Beltre on here? Yeah, me too.
However, Beltre has two things on his side: He’s relatively young (32) and he’s already two-thirds of the way there (1,985). The reason Beltre is even this high is because he made his MLB debut as a 19-year-old (or so his birth certificate would suggest) and has already played 14 seasons. If the durable Beltre can hold on for another six years then he should get there.
Pujols, 31, would seem to be another lock for the 3,000-hit club if he can just keep up his torrid pace at the plate (1,979 hits, 19th among active players). In 11 major league seasons he’s never recorded fewer than 177 hits and averages just under 200 each year. He will join the 2,000-hit club later this year (there are 263 players in that club) and by 2016 should be approaching 3,000.
We’re going to take a big jump now and look at No. 41 on the active list: Carl Crawford.
The speedy outfielder is more than halfway there with 1,544 hits and he’s still just 29 years old. As long as his struggles this season aren’t a sign of things to come, there’s no reason he can’t play another eight or nine productive seasons.
Cabrera, 28, is in the same boat as Crawford and just behind him on the active list with 1,497 hits. Cabrera is keeping pace with Crawford despite more than 500 fewer at-bats and he’s incredibly durable (at least 150 games played in seven consecutive seasons). The only potential issue is what position will he play once he’s too old to be in the field? He may have to follow Guerrero’s path.
Even mentioning Reyes’ name before this season would have been laughable. After all, from 2009-2010 Reyes recorded just 200 hits total. Yet in 2011 he’s already at 124, giving him 1,243 for his career. That seems like a small number, but the shortstop has also just played the equivalent of 6.5 seasons. If the 28-year-old can stay healthy or productive for another eight or nine years, there’s no reason he couldn’t be the next shortstop to join Jeter in the 3,000-hit club.