Despite baseball's statistical revolution, the career milestones we tend to look at remain the traditional ones -- 3,000 hits, 500 home runs or 300 wins -- even if they have lost a bit of their luster.
Yet 100 wins above replacement (WAR) -- the Baseball Reference version -- has a lot to offer as a milestone. It's a round number, it's incredibly difficult to reach and it puts position players and pitchers together in one category. True, WAR is far from a perfect metric, but it comes closer than any other single number to summing up a player's contributions.
The "100-WAR Club" has a new member -- more or less. Albert Pujols began 2016 at 99.7 but found himself in a terrible early slump that he since has worked out of, with a .920 OPS, six homers and 23 RBIs in 26 games from May 12 through Wednesday. That put him at 99.9, though he has touched triple digits at least once before taking a tiny step back.
Unless the final years of his massive contract -- which runs through 2021 -- manage to drag him down, Pujols should finish his career on the high side of 100. He would be only the 32nd player to reach that mark, and his peers are baseball royalty.
Pitchers: Cy Young (168.4), Walter Johnson (165.6), Roger Clemens (140.3), Grover Cleveland (Pete) Alexander (120), Kid Nichols (116.4), Tom Seaver (110.5), Greg Maddux (106.8), Lefty Grove (103.6), Randy Johnson (102.1), Christy Mathewson (101.7), Warren Spahn (100.2).
Infielders: Honus Wagner (131), Rogers Hornsby (127), Eddie Collins (123.9), Alex Rodriguez (118.8), Lou Gehrig (112.4), Nap Lajoie (107.4), Mike Schmidt (106.5), Joe Morgan (100.3).
Outfielders: Babe Ruth (183.6), Barry Bonds (162.4), Willie Mays (156.2), Ty Cobb (151.1), Hank Aaron (142.6), Tris Speaker (133.7), Stan Musial (128.1), Ted Williams (123.2), Rickey Henderson (110.8), Mickey Mantle (109.7), Mel Ott (107.8), Frank Robinson (107.2).
Everyone on that list is in the Hall of Fame except for Bonds, Clemens and Rodriguez, for reasons unrelated to performance. But the 100-WAR mark is a solid step above what's needed to be a virtual lock for Cooperstown. Of the 72 players with even 76 career WAR, the only Hall-eligible ones not to make it -- besides Bonds and Clemens -- are recent ballot additions Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling and Jeff Bagwell, each of whom has a good chance to get there at some point.
In other words, 100 WAR is elite territory, requiring both a sky-high peak and great longevity.
In addition to Pujols, here are four more active players who could join the club, listed in order of their current WAR totals (through Wednesday).
Adrian Beltre, 86.0 WAR
That the Rangers third baseman left Wednesday's game with tightness in his left hamstring is concerning, though it's not yet clear if he will have to go on the disabled list. Beltre has the advantage of debuting at age 19 but actually getting better in his 30s, producing 15.1 WAR since the start of 2014. Now 37, he signed an extension through 2018, so if he can come close to replicating his recent production over the next two-plus seasons, he'll get to triple digits. At his age, however, that obviously is a huge "if." A slightly easier target would be 96.5, which would put Beltre behind only Schmidt among third basemen.
Miguel Cabrera, 66.6 WAR
Miggy is still a great hitter, but he's also 33, and his bat is his only means of production. That's likely to make the final one-third of the journey a steep, uphill climb. Cabrera's contract does run through 2023, not counting a pair of options that vest if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting. If he reaches 70 WAR this season, he then would need to average 3.75 WAR per year over the rest of the guaranteed portion of the deal.
Clayton Kershaw, 52.7 WAR
No other player younger than 30 is within 10 WAR of the 28-year-old Kershaw, who only seems to be getting better. His ridiculous start to 2016 (1.46 ERA, 109-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio) already has gotten him halfway to his career-high WAR for a single season, and this is a pitcher who easily could have five straight National League Cy Young Awards. Kershaw has jumped over Felix Hernandez (51) this season and soon could pass Zack Greinke (53.6) and CC Sabathia (57.6) for the lead among active pitchers. With four months remaining, Kershaw already has the 10th-best career pitcher WAR through an age-28 season (since 1901). So much can go wrong for the men on the mound, but Kershaw is the closest thing to a sure bet.
Mike Trout, 41.3 WAR
Some amazing-but-true Trout facts:
• He already ranks 29th among active players in WAR and is close to leaping past highly productive veterans such as Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Holliday, each of whom is at least 10 years older.
• By the end of this season, Trout could rank second in Angels history, behind only Chuck Finley (52).
• With another 5.5 WAR in 2016, Trout would pass Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson for the most WAR through an age-24 season since the beginning of the 20th century.
There's a long way to go, but it's nearly impossible to get off to a better start than Trout has.
There are some other young stars, such as Bryce Harper (21.8) and Manny Machado (20.8), who have the talent and the early production to also make a run at 100. But since they are not even a quarter of the way there yet, it's probably best to leave that speculation for another day.
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Andrew Simon is a Sports on Earth contributor and a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.