Last year at this time I posted a list of milestones that Yankee players could be expected to make in the upcoming baseball season. A look back at the season in September showed that pretty much all the expected milestones had been reached, except for Gary Sheffield's, as he was out much of the season with an injury.
Here's 2007 edition of Yankees milestones to watch out for.
Mike Mussina, 250 wins. Moose opens the season with 239 wins. Even at this stage of his career he's a great pitcher and a workhorse who can be relied upon for 15 wins. So I expect we'll see him reach 250 wins in the second half. That will put him handily in the top 50 all time in this category. In the modern era of five-man rotations and six-inning starters, 250-win careers are going to get rarer and rarer - so I'll enjoy this milestone when it arrives.
Andy Pettitte, 200 wins. This once and future Yankee is a few years younger than Mussina and has also weathered more injuries. He kicks off the season at "only" 186 wins, and if he stays healthy, should have no trouble getting to 200 before the season is over. 200 wins won't quite land him in the top 100 of all time, but it's still a pretty total in the modern era, and Andy is likely to pitch for several more years.
Mariano Rivera, 450 saves. Mariano reached 400 saves last season to much (deserved) fanfare, and he begins his 2007 season with 413. He's not an absolute lock to reach 450, but he usually totals more than 35 in a season so I think it's very likely he'll be celebrating #450 this season. He should pass John Franco for third on the all-time list, behind Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith.
Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter, 200 home runs. What a pleasure it's been for Yankees fans to watch the careers of these two guys. Jorge stands at 198 homers and can be expected to reach the milestone at any moment. Jeter enters the season with 183 home runs - given that he's typically a 15-20 homer kind of guy, I'd say there's a 50-50 shot that he reaches 200.
Alex Rodriguez, 500 home runs. It wasn't that long ago that Alex picked up home run number 400, during is 2005 MVP season. Now, after a beleaguered 2006 year, he begins 2007 at 464 homers. If Alex stays healthy I expect him to rack up the 36 home runs he needs to make this milestone. Alex was the youngest player to reach 450 home runs last year, and I suspect he'll be the youngest to reach 500 as well.
Bobby Abreu, 1000 runs, 400 doubles. This late-season acquisition was one of the best pickups the Yankees ever made; Abreu is a great offensive player with a lot of energy. Beginning the year with 951 runs, Bobby can be expected to cross the plate for the thousandth right around the all-star break. He's also got 375 doubles to his name, and he's hit at least 35 doubles in each of the previous eight seasons (and as many as 50 in 2002), I expect him to reach 400 some time during the second half.
Johnny Damon, 2000 hits, 400 doubles. Like his neighbor in the outfield, Johnny Damon may also reach 400 doubles this year. He begins the seasons with only 361, and seems to collect about 35 two-baggers a season, so he's a somewhat longer shot than Bobby. With 1958 hits, though, he is a lock for 2000, barring some kind of injury I don't want to contemplate. Damon watched his teammates A-rod and Jeter collect their 2000th hits last season, but he fell a little bit short himself. He'll get there this year.