Phillies top five career records that appear untouchable
Steve Carlton: 3031 strikeouts
Carlton enjoyed his finest season in his first with the Phillies in 1972. He struck out 310 to lead the league, in 346 1/3 innings. He topped all NL pitchers in strikeouts again in 1974 with 240 and went on to lead the league three more times (286 in 1980, 286 in 1982 and 275 in 1983).
Arguably the best pitcher in franchise history, Carlton fanned 3031 batters in 499 starts. His numbers are more impressive considering during most of his career; hitters struck out at a much lower rate than in today’s “all or nothing” approach at the plate.
Second on the franchise strikeout list is Robin Roberts with 1871 and Cole Hamels is third with 1844. With today’s pitchers racking up strikeouts at rates unheard of in the history of the game, one may think Carlton’s record is within reach. Let’s examine this using Aaron Nola‘s stats a reference.
Nola struck out more than a batter an inning last season, with a total of 224. This season he is averaging 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Suppose Nola averages 210 innings a season, striking out 240. With 593 strikeouts entering the season, Nola would need more than ten seasons at that pace to catch Carlton. Nola would be 36 years old at the time, and even the greatest pitcher in franchise history didn’t “average” 240 K’s a season.
The one thing against Nola and any other pitcher coming along isn’t their ability to strike out batters; it is the ability to pitch enough innings and have the career longevity to reach 3031 strikeouts. I say the odds are way against Carlton’s franchise record falling.