Climbing the Career Ladder: A Look At Astros Milestones for 2011

Again, let's focus on what the 2011 Astros could do on the field. Today, we'll look at some of the milestones the team's players could top.

Hunter Pence could charge past Art Howe for 26th place on the Astros all-time games played list. He can't catch Luis Gonzalez this season, as he's 165 games behind Gonzo for a spot in the top 25. Carlos Lee, however, might just catch Phil Garner for 24th on that list. Lee, at 594 games played, would have to play in 159 games to do it. Lee has played in at least 160 games in two out of his four Astros seasons and played in 157 games last season. So, he's got a good shot of catching and maybe passing Garner.

Lee and Pence should both catch Derek Bell for 23rd most plate appearances as an Astro. Lee only needs 505 plate appearances to pass Bell while Pence needs 563. Neither will be able to catch No. 22 on the list, Richard Hidalgo, who had 3,230 plate appearances with the Astros.

Pence is actually ahead of Lee in runs scored. Both could catch Derek Bell for 19th with 100 runs scored. Pence could pass Brad Ausmus for 17th with 115 runs and Glenn Davis at 16th with 124 runs. Since Pence hasn't ever scored 100 runs in a single season in his career, both of those are long shots. Similarly, Lee has averaged about 65 runs per season for the past three. If he adds another 65 in 2011, he'll pass Luis Gonzalez for 22st and will need 66 to pass Denny Walling for 22nd. Michael Bourn could jump into the Top 25 with a 100-run season. Heck, he only needs 86 to pass Ensberg for 25th and 99 to pass Bob Aspromonte for 24th.

Both Lee and Pence should get to 800 hits this season, which means they will both pass Glenn Davis for 19th place. Neither has a good shot to catch Roger Metzger at 18th. Pence would need 200 hits and Lee would need 186 hits. Lee did have 190 hits in 2007 but Pence has never had more than 173 hits in a single season. Also, the Astros have only had one player in team history get 200 hits in a season (Craig Biggio, 1998). Michael Bourn only needs 130 hits to pass Morgan Ensberg for 32nd place. He'd need 174 hits to pass Steve Finley for 30th place, which isn't out of the realm of possibility, since Bourn had 173 hits in 2009.

Lee needs just 29 doubles to pass Ausmus for 15th place on the all-time doubles list. Pence needs 32 to catch Glenn Davis for 20th place. With eight doubles, Bourn will catch Kevin Bass, Denny Walling, Phil Garner, Doug Rader and Bob Watson for 13th place. If he gets 11 doubles, he'd move into sole possession of 11th, passing Jeff Bagwell and Jimmy Wynn. Pence could also move into the top 20 of career triples. With four, he'd pass Bob Aspromonte for 20th. With five, he passes Luis Gonzalez and ties Lance Berkman at 18th.

Lee needs 19 home runs to take over 10th place on the franchise home run list, passing Doug Rader. With 25, he'd pass Richard Hidalgo and needs 30 to pass Bob Watson for seventh place. Pence needs just 14 home runs to pass Morgan Ensberg and move into Lee's vacated 11th place on the all-time list. He'd have a little harder time catching Rader but could do it with 37 home runs. If Chris Johnson can hit 18 home runs, he'll break into the top 50, tying Ty Wigginton at 48.

59 RBIs moves Carlos Lee past Kevin Bass for 11th place on the all-time list. Pence needs 91 to pass Enos Cabell for 16th place, which is exactly how many RBIs he had last season. Bourn could pass Kevin Bass for career strikeouts with another 109 strikeouts while Pence could pass Derek Bell with 111 strikeouts.

If Bourn steals 49 bases next season, he'll past one Jeff Bagwell for sixth place in franchise history. It'll be a bit harder for him to break into the top five, since he needs 64 to pass Terry Puhl for fifth and 67 to pass Little Joe Morgan for fourth place. Pence could tie Sonny Jackson for 20th place with 19 steals.

There are less milestones that the pitchers can hit, but Wandy has positioned himself next to a couple. With 144 innings pitched, he'll pass Mike Hampton for 12th place. With 15 wins, he'll pass Hampton again for 11th place. To break into the top 10, he'll need 17 wins to pass Ken Forsch. He'll pass Darryl Kile for ninth place on the strikeout list with 136 strikeouts. He'll also have the lowest innings total of anyone in the top 10 (unless he throws more than 215 innings next season). Just two shutouts will move him up to 25th on the list, though that would also double his career shutouts.

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