These Baltimore Orioles could reach personal milestones in 2024

A rundown of some major and minor milestones Orioles players could reach in 2024.
Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles / Greg Fiume/GettyImages
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Statistics have been kept throughout sports almost since they began, and arguably no sport loves stats more than baseball. Baseball even continues to find new ways to come up with new stats to chase. Some of those numbers are given a higher weight than others, and a few have been made into benchmarks. Pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts or 300 wins almost always get elected into the Hall of Fame, likewise batters who have 3,000 hits or 500 home runs.

As it currently stands, there are no active players that will even get close to 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, or 300 wins during this season. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander both have over 3,000 strikeouts, and if Clayton Kershaw can return to health and get 56 more strikeouts, he can join the 3,000 club. None of the Orioles are anywhere near these incredible numbers, but they are a young team. Even though the career numbers for many of the Orioles players won't blow baseball historians away yet, they do have some milestones that fans can be on the lookout for in 2024.

Baltimore Orioles milestones to expect in 2024

Strikeouts

Corbin Burnes should hit 1,000 career strikeouts this season. Burnes has been a workhorse over the last three seasons, averaging over 187 innings per season and better than 225 strikeouts per year in that time. He entered the season with 870 for his career, and already added 11 more on Opening Day in a dominant performance. Now needing just 119 more strikeouts to join the 1,000 K club, Burnes is a lock to get there this season, provided he stays healthy.

Three other Orioles starters have an outside chance to get to 500 career strikeouts this season, but the odds may be against them. Cole Irvin (356), John Means (318) and Dean Kremer (313) could all theoretically get to 500 strikeouts this season, but they would all need to set career highs in that category. Kremer is the furthest of the group, but might have the best chance because he should be a starter throughout the season. Irvin is the next closest and did show an uptick in velocity this spring, but is the most likely person to get bumped from the rotation when Means or Kyle Bradish return. Means, who has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, isn't projected to return to the majors until early April at best, and will likely have some restrictions when he arrives. It's not impossible for these players to reach 500 Ks this season, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Saves

Knowing that they were not going to have All-Star closer Felix Bautista for the 2024 season, the Birds went out and signed Craig Kimbrel to be the primary closer this season. Kimbrel entered this season second among active players (Kenley Jansen with 421) and eighth all time in saves with 417. He's still a very good reliever and was an All-Star in 2023. The Orioles' offense showed on Opening Day that they don't plan to allow Kimbrel to get many save opportunities, but he could reasonably get to 450 career saves this season, which would put him fourth all time.

Hits

Three more Orioles should get to 500 career hits this season. Austin Hays is the closest, starting the year with 470 and adding one more in each of his first two games. Now just 28 hits away, Hays is another lock to achieve this career milestone. He's been inconsistent during his career and has had some trouble staying healthy for a full season, but Hays plays the game as hard as anyone, and has provided tremendous value to the Orioles with his defense out in left field. Given the amount of hits Hays entered the season with, he should get to 600 before the season's end.

Joining Hays in the 500 hit club will be Ryan Mountcastle. Mounty began the season with 431 career base knocks and, like Hays, added another to his total on Opening Day, followed by two more on Saturday and one on Sunday. Mountcastle lost some at-bats last season to health issues and a few more to Ryan O'Hearn when the team is facing right handed pitchers, but his batting average improved significantly. Even if Mountcastle finds himself in more of a platoon role, he should easily be able to pass the 500 hit total this season.

Finally, the newest Oriole, Tony Kemp, should also be able to get to 500 career hits this season. Kemp currently has 460 hits and has never played a full season and had less than 40 hits, but he's no longer an everyday player. With the limited role Kemp will play for the Orioles and the looming promotion of Jackson Holliday (or even Connor Norby), Kemp may struggle to reach the 500-hit plateau. If he does reach that mark, it may not be as a member of the Orioles.

Home Runs

The two Orioles with the chance to hit milestone home runs this season are exactly who you would expect. Mountcastle currently has 78 home runs, needing just 22 to get to 100. He hit 33 in his rookie season, so we know he has the capability if he gets the at-bats, but the potential platoon with O'Hearn could eat into those opportunities.

The other is Anthony Santander, who began the season needing 39 homers to reach the 150 mark. Tony Taters has the power to blast the ball out of any park from either side of the plate, and he already put that power on display when he hit a monster shot over Mt. Walltimore on Opening Day, followed by a second titanic blast on Saturday afternoon in another Orioles blowout. 39 homers would be a career best for Santander, who's led the O's in home runs in each of the last two seasons, but he's capable of reaching it. Santander has even more incentive as he plays out the final year of his contract, with players like Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers banging on the major league door in the O's farm system.

Steals

Another category with no surprises, as both Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo could finish the season with 100 career steals. Mullins is almost a lock to do it, coming into the season with 93 for his career. He averaged 32 steals per season between 2021-22 and still had 19 last year, even though he dealt with some lower body injuries. Speed has always been a big part of Mullins' game and it always will be. He's back to 100% health, and it's only a matter of time before he's giving pitchers headaches on the base paths.

Mateo began the season needing 21 steals to reach the centennial mark. He led the American League in 2022 with 35 steals, besting Mullins by one, and added 32 more thefts in 2023 while playing a reduced role. The reduced role will be the only thing holding back Mateo this season, as he has lost his spot as the team's primary shortstop. However, the Orioles seem determined to keep him on the field. Mateo started Opening Day at second base and got lots of work in the outfield, as the O's plan to use him in a super utility role. The playing time he'll get in his utility role and the opportunity to come off the bench and pinch run should allow Mateo enough chances to reach 100 steals this season.

Even though none of these numbers, with exception of Kimbrel, will garner any Hall of Fame consideration, they are still fun to keep an eye on. As if watching the Orioles wasn't already enough fun by itself.

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