Los Angeles Dodgers ace Max Scherzer joined some elite company on Sunday when he recorded his 3,000th career strikeout.
He became the 19th pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
Max Scherzer becomes the 19th pitcher in MLB history to reach 3,000 career strikeouts! pic.twitter.com/4n47ety0Ke
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 12, 2021
It was an unbelievable performance on Sunday for the future Hall of Famer, who carried a perfect game into the eighth inning and fanned nine in total.
He is undoubtedly one of the greatest pitchers of this generation.
Today, we’re going to look at three other active pitchers who could soon join Scherzer in the 3,000-strikeout club.
3. Chris Sale
As long as Chris Sale stays healthy and doesn’t retire anytime soon, he should have no trouble reaching 3,000 strikeouts before his career ends.
The Boston Red Sox ace is sitting at 2,037 strikeouts right now.
He has been a strikeout machine throughout his entire pro career.
In 2015 and 2017, he led the league in strikeouts, and he has seven 200-strikeout seasons to his credit.
The lefty just returned from Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago, and he has looked very promising far.
There’s no reason to believe he won’t return to his pre-surgery self in due time.
At 32 years old, Sale should have enough seasons left in the tank to eventually reach the 3,000-strikeout milestone.
2. Clayton Kershaw
If Scherzer is the greatest pitcher of this generation, then Clayton Kershaw is a very close second.
And truthfully, there’s a very valid argument to be made that Kershaw has had a better overall career than Scherzer.
But that’s a conversation for a different day.
The focus today is on the 3,000-strikeout club, which is a group that Kershaw will almost certainly join in the near future.
He has fanned 2,653 batters so far, and he should have no trouble reaching the millstone sometime down the road (likely in 2023).
Next pitcher to 3,000 career strikeouts. Zack Greinke and then Clayton Kershaw? pic.twitter.com/e8hEO8JnDR
— DodgersBeat (@DodgersBeat) September 12, 2021
The lefty already has an absurdly decorated resume, and his list of accomplishments includes three past seasons with league-highs in strikeouts.
Keep something in mind: Right now, Kershaw’s contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers only runs through 2021.
Could the three-time Cy Young winner be wearing a different uniform when he strikes out his 3,000th batter?
1. Zack Greinke
Greinke is extremely close to 3,000 strikeouts, and that’s why he tops this list.
However, age is starting to become a factor for the righty.
At 37 years old, will he stay in the league long enough to reach the watermark?
Right now, he’s at 2,799 career strikeouts.
That number figures to go up before the end of the 2021 season (assuming he returns from his IL stint soon).
Depending on how many more batters Greinke fans this season, there’s a very real chance that he could reach the 3,000-strikeout mark next year.
That is, if he decides to continue his playing career into next season.
His current deal with the Houston Astros expires after the 2021 campaign, so there are some questions about his future.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see, but earlier this year, Greinke addressed the idea of retiring.
At the time, it seemingly wasn’t on his radar.
“It all depends on how good I feel,” he said when asked about his longevity. “Hopefully, I’ll pitch a lot longer still, but a lot of things come into play on whether you’re allowed to pitch as long as you want to and stuff.”
Time will tell how long he remains in the league.