May 31, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Many of baseball’s best off to record starts

As the heat of summer approaches, many of the top players in baseball don’t want to cool off. They want to chase history.

Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz has crushed the ball all season, as he currently sits at 21 home runs. If he continues his torrid pace, he’ll have 59 home runs, the most since Barry Bonds’ record setting 73 in 2001.

That isn’t all for Cruz, however, who is also set to drive in 154 runs, a mark in which hasn’t been reached since Alex Rodriguez’s 156 in 2007.

The Yankees Masahiro Tanaka’s insane rookie season continues, as the 25-year old is 9-1, with a 2.02 ERA. While wins and losses are often out of any pitcher’s hands, Tanaka’s projected final 2014 numbers are an astounding 25-3, which would be one of the most impressive debut seasons in major league history.

Tanaka’s win total still lacks in comparison to that of veteran Mark Buehrle, however. The Blue Jays starter was the major league’s first to ten this season. While it’s highly unlikely, Buehrle projects to a 27-3 record. No major league pitcher has reached 27 wins since Bob Welch of the Oakland Athletics did it in 1990, on his way to a World Series appearance.

He may not have a long-term contract, but Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto does have a miniscule 1.68 ERA. If he can hold on to that, it will be the lowest since Greg Maddux in 1995, and the lowest of any non-abbreviated major league season since Doc Gooden in 1985. The injury prone Cueto needs just 71 more innings pitched to qualify for the ERA title at year’s end.

The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg and the Rays’ David Price are in a dead heat for the major league lead in strikeouts with 101, which could put both between 270-285 if they keep things up. No major league pitcher has managed over 280 since Randy Johnson in 2004.

We wrote a few weeks ago about Dee Gordon’s insane start for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he’s not only kept on pace, but accelerated things. With his 35 stolen bases, he’s on pace for 93 for the season, the most in baseball since 2007.

Can these players stay on track? Some of these numbers would be incredibly hard to reach, and others entirely unlikely, but in the numbers-heavy sport of baseball, it’s fun to look at.

Tags: Dee Gordon Featured Johnny Cueto Mark Buehrle Masahiro Tanaka Nelson Cruz Popular