Predicting every franchise's next record to fall

March 10th, 2018

Setting a team's all-time record in any major category is no easy feat.
Most clubs have many decades' worth of history, and some of them boast more than a century of it. Rare is the player who sticks in one uniform long enough -- and remains productive enough -- to put himself atop the record books.
But that presented a challenge, to predict the next career record breaker for each of the 30 teams. To simplify things, we focused only on counting stats and chose only players who already have debuted in the Majors and remain on that club's roster.
While some clubs provided obvious candidates, others required a lot more imagination. That disparity is reflected in the categories below.
2018 targets
Freddie Freeman, Braves
1,003 games as a first baseman (104 behind Joe Adcock)
Freeman's brief experiment at third base last season was temporary. Still just 28 and under team control through 2021, Freeman figures to be an institution at first base for Atlanta for years to come.
, Indians
122 saves (17 behind Bob Wickman)
Allen passed (104) last year and now has Chris Perez (124), Doug Jones (129) and Wickman (139) in his sights. The righty took over the Cleveland closer job in 2014 and has authored three consecutive seasons of at least 30 saves since.

, Mariners
172 intentional walks (tied with Ken Griffey Jr.)
Ichiro already is Seattle's all-time leader in at-bats, hits, triples, batting average and stolen bases, and now has a chance to add to that list. A three-time American League leader in intentional passes during his first stint with the Mariners, the future Hall of Famer is no longer the type of hitter who inspires fear. Still, he has picked up exactly one "IBB" in each of the past four seasons. Ichiro also has a shot to score the 44 runs he would need to pass current hitting coach Edgar Martinez for that club record (1,219).
Max Scherzer, Nationals
Seven complete games (one behind )
Complete games are a dying art, but between Scherzer's competitive fire and his often unhittable stuff, it seems a sure bet he'll at least tie Zimmermann's Nationals mark (2005-present) this year.

Zach Britton, Orioles
135 saves (25 behind Gregg Olson)
Britton dominated the competition en route to 120 saves from 2014-16, but health woes limited him to 15 last year. Between the Achilles injury that figures to keep Britton out until at least late May, the fact that he is scheduled to reach free agency next offseason and the possibility of a trade this summer, his window could be closing. Still, if the stars align for a successful rehab and a successful Orioles season, Olson's record is within reach.
Chris Archer, Rays
1,044 strikeouts (206 behind )
Thus far, Tampa Bay has not executed the long-rumored trade that would be the only obstacle preventing Archer from obliterating this record. The right-hander has struck out at least 233 batters in three consecutive seasons, and his 734 total Ks in that span rank fourth in MLB. Meanwhile, teammate Alex Colome (84 saves) is only 17 behind Roberto Hernandez for that club record, although the closer role tends to be fickle.

Joe Mauer, Twins
401 doubles (13 behind Kirby Puckett)
Sam Rice holds the franchise record of 479 two-baggers, but he played for the Washington Senators, decades before they moved to Minnesota. Since the Twins were born in 1961, only Puckett sits ahead of Mauer, who has averaged 30 doubles since his first full season, in 2005. He clubbed 36 during a resurgent '17 campaign -- his most in seven years.
On the horizon
, Angels

201 home runs (98 behind Tim Salmon)
The Angels have existed for 57 seasons. Trout has appeared in just the past seven of those -- the first for a mere 40 games -- and yet he already holds the franchise record with 55.2 wins above replacement (WAR). With three seasons to go before he is scheduled to reach free agency, only Trout's contract status and health stand in the way of him adding just about any record you could imagine. That includes the homer mark set by Salmon, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Halos. Trout also is on pace to pick up the 332 runs scored he needs to pass Garret Anderson's record (1,024) in the next three seasons.

, Cardinals
124 home runs as catcher (35 behind Ted Simmons)
Molina already surpassed Simmons for games caught for St. Louis two seasons ago, and now he has 'Simba's Cardinals homer total in his sights. Molina's 18 homers in 2017 were his highest total since '12, and he could catch Simmons within the next two seasons.
, D-backs
176 home runs (48 behind Luis Gonzalez)
Gonzalez will always be remembered in Phoenix for his World Series heroics, and the 57 homers he hit that 2001 season figure to remain unchallenged for a while. But after just seven seasons in the desert, the ever-consistent Goldschmidt is likely just two seasons away from breaking Gonzalez's dinger total.
, Dodgers
2,120 strikeouts (576 behind Don Sutton)
Kershaw, like Sutton, is already assured of forever enjoying legend status in Dodgertown. Today's high-strikeout environment, along with Kershaw's combination of stuff and command, would make this record a cinch -- unless he opts out of his contract and leaves the team next winter.

, Mets
855 runs scored (94 behind )
Reyes and Wright are forever linked in Mets lore, and Wright would likely have been able to put this mark further out of reach if not for the spinal stenosis that has sidelined him in recent years. Reyes will be a free agent next winter, and would likely need two campaigns in Queens to pass his old teammate.
, Rangers
1,379 games played (444 behind Michael Young)
Andrus debuted with the Rangers at the age of 20 and has nine full seasons under his belt, with another six left under his current contract (plus a vesting option for 2023). At his career average of 153 games per season, he would hold this record by the end of '20, and with all that playing time also could pass Young in several other categories, including hits (773 behind), runs (337), doubles (164) and triples (14). Andrus long ago set the mark in steals (now at 266).
Joey Votto, Reds
996 walks (214 behind Pete Rose)
Votto has logged eight fewer seasons in Cincinnati than the Hit King, but baseball's most patient hitter is already on Rose's doorstep in one category. Votto has averaged 130 walks over his past four full seasons, and he's under contract with the Reds through at least 2023.

, Red Sox
139 home runs as a second baseman (34 behind Bobby Doerr)
Boston has an enviable group of talented young players but also an enviable history that makes many of their all-time records a huge reach. Pedroia already has set several top marks among Red Sox second basemen and is under contract for four more years. However, he did go deep just seven times in an injury-shorted 2017 and will begin '18 on the disabled list.
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
33 triples (20 behind )
Blackmon's free agency is fast approaching, perhaps making this triples mark more of a stretch than our other milestones in this tier. But hear us out: Blackmon led the Majors with 14 triples last season, and he'll play another home slate amid the thin air and vast dimensions of Coors Field (not to mention all the other spacious NL West ballparks). Even if Blackmon signs elsewhere next winter, a 21-triple season isn't the most outrageous idea, right?
, Tigers
324 home runs (75 behind Al Kaline)
Cabrera's massive contract has him locked up in Detroit through at least 2023. That could be an issue for the Tigers, based on Cabrera's age (34) and '17 struggles, but it should give him plenty of time to pass Norm Cash (373) and Kaline (399). How soon it happens could depend largely on Miggy's health.

Long-term bets
, Astros

1,250 hits (1,810 behind Craig Biggio)
Biggio had 451 fewer hits than Altuve through his age-27 season, so the reigning AL MVP -- who has 200 or more knocks in four consecutive years -- is on a fantastic pace. But even at that pace, Altuve would need nine more seasons to catch his Hall of Fame predecessor, and that assumes no decline in performance. Altuve also is under team control only through 2019, so the Astros will need to sign him to a long-term extension to make this a realistic target.
, Blue Jays
95 saves (122 behind Tom Henke)
Closers come and go, but Osuna just turned 23, has four seasons of club control remaining and has been of one of the top ninth-inning pitchers in MLB since his 2015 debut. The righty has a good shot at passing Billy Koch (100) and Duane Ward (121) for second in club history sometime this year.

, Brewers
41 saves (92 behind Dan Plesac)
Relievers can be wildly unpredictable, and we're banking on just one terrific season from the Crew's flame-throwing righty. But with Hall of Famer Robin Yount putting most of the Brewers' career hitting marks out of reach, we'll bet on Knebel putting together at least two to three more All-Star caliber campaigns.
and , Cubs
525 and 274 RBIs, respectively (1,111 and 1,362 behind Ernie Banks)
Predicting that anyone could surpass "Mr. Cub" may seem like heresy to some on the North Side. But Rizzo (28 years old) and Bryant (26) have youth on their side, and both are already beloved in Chicago to the point where it's easy to see them remaining at Wrigley for a long time. Rizzo would need to average roughly 113 RBIs over the next 10 years to pass Banks, while Bryant could average 114 through his age-37 campaign.
, Giants
1,482 strikeouts (1,022 behind Christy Mathewson)
Mathewson's last game as a Giant came more than 100 years ago, so it's high time his strikeout mark faced a serious challenge. Bumgarner still has some years left before he catches Big Six, but he's still just 28 years old and it's hard to imagine him pitching for any club besides San Francisco. The southpaw averaged 235 strikeouts from 2014-16 before a dirt bike accident cut his '17 campaign short.
, Padres
66 home runs (97 behind Nate Colbert)
Colbert's 163 home runs represent the lowest record total for any of the 30 clubs, and Myers' power -- combined with the homer-friendly era he's participating in -- make him an optimal candidate to finally break the mark Colbert finished off back in 1974. Don't count out , either, now that he'll be a Padre through at least 2022.

Wild guesses
, Athletics

24 home runs (339 behind Mark McGwire)
Oakland has experienced so much turnover that almost nobody on the team's roster has been there for more than a few seasons. That leaves little to do other than throw darts with young players, but Olson is a pretty impressive dart. At age 23 last year, he walloped 24 homers in just 59 games with a swing tailored for big flies.
, Marlins
Zero hits (1,129 behind )
This may be our wildest prediction, seeing as how Castro just arrived in South Beach via the trade. Castro has already collected 1,280 hits through his age-27 season, however, putting him on a decent track toward the historical 3,000 mark. If the Marlins decide to make Castro a cornerstone of their rebuilding effort, he could surpass Castillo's record on the way to that milestone.

, Phillies
462 hits (1,844 behind Jimmy Rollins)
Philly's young roster requires some long-term vision for this exercise, and with that mindset we'll choose the club's athletic center fielder. Herrera averaged 154 hits over his first three seasons and could still improve. He'd need to average that number over the next dozen campaigns (taking him through his age-37 season) to catch the iconic Rollins.
, Pirates
21 saves (165 behind Roy Face)
had an outside chance to break Willie Stargell's record 475 home runs for the Black and Gold, but his trade to the Giants this offseason forced us to dig deeper. Rivero represents a player the Pirates can build around as they retool, and we'll side with his extraordinary heat from the left side to rack up saves moving forward.
Danny Duffy, Royals
670 strikeouts (788 behind Kevin Appier)
With Hosmer and gone, and Mike Moustakas re-signing for just one year, Kansas City is getting light on potential franchise-record breakers. Duffy has the stuff and talent to make a run at Appier's record, and he is signed for the next four seasons. The bigger issue is that the 29-year-old has averaged just 25 starts and 153 innings since 2014, limiting the K's he is able to collect. The lefty would need nearly 200 per year to pass Appier by the end of '21.

, Yankees
352 strikeouts (1,668 behind Andy Pettitte)
Most Yankees records are light years in the distance, but the increasing role of strikeouts in today's game might give Severino a chance, provided he beats the odds all pitchers face of keeping their arms healthy. Pettitte was a workhorse but never struck out more than 180 batters in a season, while Severino racked up 230 in his first full year as a big league starter. At that breakneck pace, the 24-year-old would need eight more seasons.
, White Sox
267 hits (2,482 behind Luke Appling)
Chicago's long history and ongoing rebuild make this a herculean task, despite the young talent now percolating through the organization. Anderson's free-swinging ways -- he's walked 13 times in each of his first two seasons -- are a blessing and a curse in his pursuit of hits. But if he can refine his approach a bit and use his speed, time will be on his side. Including club options, the White Sox have Anderson signed through 2024.