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As Bartolo Colon, 45, eyes another season, what records are in sight?

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon wants to become the all-time innings leader for Dominican-born pitchers. (AP Photo)

Bartolo Colon, 45 years old with cat-like reflexes, became the winningest Latin American-born pitcher in MLB history Tuesday night with his 246th win – but he’s not yet satisfied.

Currently in his 21st year in the League, Colon told The Athletic’s Levi Weaver that he’s got his sights set on one more record: Most innings amassed by a Dominican-born pitcher. Only Juan Marichal has racked up more – 3,507 in his 16-year career.

Colon currently sits at 3,445, with less than 50 games left in the season, meaning he likely has around eight starts left if he continues to pitch adequately. He’s averaged about six innings per start, once going only two and once completing eight, meaning he more than likely won’t close the 62-inning gap between himself and Marichal this season.

Could Bartolo Colon try for (at least) one more year?

Coming off a 2016 campaign in which he finished 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA in 191.1 innings, Colon signed a $12.5 million, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves in 2017, but was designated for assignment in late June with a 8.14 ERA. He was then picked up by the Twins on a minor league deal, and called up to to the majors in mid-July. 

A few weeks later, at age 44, Colon became the oldest American League pitcher to throw a complete game, and win, since Nolan Ryan did it at age 45 in 1992. Then shortly after that, he became the first pitcher to record a win against all 30 MLB teams, and complete his time with the Twins with a 5.18 ERA in 80 innings. 

With his future in the majors in peril, Colon signed another minor-league deal in February, this time with the Texas Rangers.

Colon was called up shortly after the season began, and has posted a 5.18 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP in 130 1/3 innings, through his win Tuesday night.

Assuming he stays healthy, a team in need of a starter to eat up some innings could be willing to take a chance on the former Cy Young winner with another low stakes, one-year deal in the offseason. If things don’t go well, he could always call it quits after breaking the innings record.

Colon already holds the record for oldest player to hit his first MLB home run, and is one of two remaining players today who started their careers in the 1990s, along with teammate Adrián Beltré. He also is the oldest active player, and the last active major leaguer who played for the Montreal Expos.

If he continues to play, what other milestones can Bartolo Colon reach?

We know he wants that Dominican innings record, but Colon will turn 46 on May 24, meaning just about every time he takes the mound,  there are new records in sight. Let’s take at some major ones on the horizon.

  • If he throws 20 more innings in 2018, Colon will become the seventh-ever pitcher to throw 150 innings in an age 45 or older season; Nolan Ryan is the only other Ranger to do it.
  • If he pitches past his 46th birthday, Colon will be the 13th-ever pitcher to do so.
  • If he pitches in the 2019 postseason, Colon would join Jack Quinn as the only pitcher 46 or older to do so – and the first since 1930.
  • By pitching in his age 46 season, Colon would surpass the longevity of Nolan Ryan and tie Roger Clemens, but still trail Jamie Moyer by three years.
  • One he almost definitely will not reach in his career: Former Latin wins leader Dennis Martinez’s all-time Latin innings record of 3,999 2/3 (but with Colon, never say never, right?).

We’re sure some more obscure and meaningless records are still out there, but those are the big ones.

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