Andruw Jones inexplicably stopped being a productive everyday player at age 29, but was in the majors so young and was so good throughout his twenties that yesterday’s homer was still the 400th of his career.
For most players reaching 400 homers midway through their age-33 season would start talk of whether they can get to 500 or perhaps even 600 by the time they’re done, but in Jones’ case he might be lucky to get to 450.
With that said, he’s now just one of five players in baseball history who’ve hit 400 or more homers while playing center field in at least two-thirds of their games:
Willie Mays 660
Ken Griffey Jr. 630
Mickey Mantle 536
Duke Snider 407
ANDRUW JONES 400
His epic collapse upon turning 30 really complicates the matter, but Jones was clearly on a Hall of Fame path through age 29. Even now he’s a 10-time Gold Glove winner with the fifth-most homers of all time by a center fielder, which certainly looks like the opening line of a Hall of Fame resume.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.