COED Presents: 5 Young Pitchers Likely To Reach 3000 Ks

Last night John Smoltz became the 16th pitcher and second oldest, next to knuckleballer Phil Niekro, to strike out 3,000 batters.

To put this feat into perspective, a pitcher would have to average 200 strikeouts per year for over 15 years to reach 3,000 – not an easy task.

As we saw in SI’s recent article Baseball’s Top 20 Young Pitchers there are plenty of young arms to go around in the MLB but many of them are “crafty” and lack the ability and durability to rack up Nolan Ryan-esque strike-out numbers (FYI: He ended up with 5,714).

So who are the few young pitchers fresh out of college, or high school for that matter, that have the power, durability and strikeout pitch to reach this mark?

Find out after the jump as COED Presents: 5 Young Pitchers Who Could Reach 3000 K’s!

– Shoe-Ins To Reach 3,000 Strike Outs –

Johan Santana

Age: 29
New York Mets
Total Career K’s:
Strike-Out Pitch:
The “Bugs Bunny” Change-up

At 29, this beast has averaged 214 strikeouts in 6 seasons as a starter and with 1,409 K’s to date, Santana needs to average a mere 160 strikeouts over his next 10 seasons to reach 3,000. What’s even scarier is that Santana now pitches in an offensively weaker National League. “Winner, winner Chicken dinner.”

Cole Hamels

Age: 24
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Total Career K’s: 322
Strike-Out Pitch: Change-up

This 24 year old southpaw may just be the saving grace for MLB’s most losing franchise. With only 2 full seasons under his belt, Hamels has already notched a whopping 341 K’s. Hamels only has two true pitches. A roaring 96mph fastball with late movement and a changeup. Hitters might want to consider a trade to the AL when Hamels develops his curve.

Felix Hernandez

Age: 22
Seattle Mariners
Total Career K’s:
Strike-Out Pitch:

Hernández has electric stuff like few currently in the majors. He throws a fastball that has been clocked as high as 100 mph but often uses a two-seam fastball, which comes in just a bit slower but with more movement and sink as it approaches the batter. His repertoire of pitches also includes a hard curve, a changeup, and a slider, all of which he can throw extremely well. With his age and a pitchers build it is hard to believe Hernandez will not reach the mark.

– Wild Cards To Reach 3,000 Strike Outs

Tim Lincecum

Age: 23
Team: San Francisco Giants
Total Career K’s: 177
Strike-Out Pitch: 81 MPH Curveball

Move over Barry Bonds, Tim Lincecum is the new king of San Francisco. Th 23 year old righty has the stuff, mid to upper 90’s fastball and a devastating curveball to rack up serious strikeout totals but its his small 5’11” frame that could keep him from reaching the mark. If he can keep healthy 3,000 should be a realistic goal.

Carlos Zambrano

Age: 26
Chicago Cubs
Total Career K’s:
Strike-Out Pitch:

At 6’5″ and 255 pounds, 26 year old Carlos Zambrano is an intimidating figure on the mound. If Zambrano can master the control of various off speed pitches and get ahead of hitters his biting 2 seam fastball will lay wasted to his offensive opponents.

Did we miss someone? Let us know is the comment section and if you are persuasive enough we’ll add your suggestion.

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