One of my favorite things to do over the offseason is look at the individual achievements that Yankees players could accomplish during the coming year. Since the team has gotten considerably younger over the years, this exercise isn’t as fun as it once was. There are still plenty of players who have been around long enough to be approaching significant milestones, though (See: Sabathia, CC). Here’s a look at some of the milestones that Yankees pitchers could reach in 2019. We’ll go through position players later this week.
For the second year in a row, Sabathia is poised to be the oldest Yankee on the roster. For awhile there, it looked like he was going to hang up his cleats following the 2018 season, but he has one last shot to climb up the record books.
First and foremost, Sabathia will notch 3,000 career strikeouts this year. He sits at 2,986 right now, and it would have been a bummer to see him retire before hitting that nice, round number. The big lefty has 1,593 with the Yankees, which is the fourth-most in franchise history. That is likely where he will stay, unless he pulls a vintage CC year out of nowhere. He is also only three wins away from passing Allie Reynolds (131) and moving into the Yankees’ top ten.
Over the last five years, Tanaka has recorded 798 strikeouts in pinstripes. Assuming he stays healthy, he’ll move up into the top 15 this year. He could also reach 1,000 innings pitched. If Tanaka starts at least 20 games in 2019, he will pass Jack Warhop and move into the 26th spot on the Bombers’ list.
One of the best parts of last year was seeing Betances return to form. If all goes according to plan, he will pass 700 career strikeouts this season. The right-hander has made at least 66 appearances during each of the last five years. He’ll start the season with 357 Yankees appearances under his belt, and is on track to pass 400 and bump Johnny Murphy out of the Yankees’ top 10.
After so many years of Mariano Rivera serving as the Yankees’ closer, there just haven’t been that many other pitchers given a chance to rack up saves. That explains how Chapman is on the cusp of recording his 100th Yankees save, and on the verge of moving below Sparky Lyle in the franchise’s top five. His 236 career saves put him in 40th place in MLB history, and he should gain six or so spots in 2019.