who CAN get hit 288 times?
Craig Biggio only needs to get hit 3 more times to get there, but if he doesn't, who can? Here's a look at the possible candidates using a (small) number of projection methods, in order of how soon they could possibly reach 288 plunks.
Jason Kendall - He's the next most obvious choice with 218 career HBPs to date. He's averaging a little over 18 plunks per season, so if he could keep up that pace he'd be there in 2011. Unfortunately his pace has been slowing - 18 HBPs per year for his career, but only 17 per season for the past 5 years, 13.7 per season for the past 3, and only 9 HBPs this season. If this years total becomes his average for the rest of his career he'd have to play until age 41 - 20 seasons - to reach 288.
Alex Rodriguez - He's only 7th on the active list, but if there is anyone in the league (not named Bonds) that the fans could really root for to get hit by a lot of pitches, he's the guy. He's got just 126, for a career average of just 8.2 per season, but he's got a career high of 20 this year. If he could keep getting hit at this year's pace, he could be in the 288 neighborhood in late 2015 or early 2016. He'll be over 40 then, but he is probably the sort of player who will still be playing then. Of course, projecting 9 years in the future based on one year isn't exactly science.
Carlos Delgado - He's third among actives, with 157, and if he were to continue at the pace of his last 5 seasons, he could be at 288 in 2017. Unfortunately he'll also turn 45 in 2017. Betting on Delgado to break the record would be optimistic on a number of levels.
Jose Guillen - Guillen has been hit 19 times this year bringing his three year average to 15, and his 5 year average is 14.8 plunks per season. Those averages would be plenty to reach 288 if he could keep them up over 20 seasons, but he's already played 11, at only 10.4 plunks per year. If he can continue getting hit 19 times a year like he has this year, though, he could break the record in 2017, but he too will have to play until he's 41 to do that.
David Eckstein - Along with Kendall and Reed Johnson, Eckstein is the only active player sporting a career plunks per season average that would get him to 288 in a 20 year career. He's been hit 16.6 times per season so far, and at that rate he could reach 288 in 2018. The downside there is that he'll be 43 in 2018, and his averages for the past 5 and the past 3 years are only around 13 a year. That won't get it done, but he could be the sort of player to roll off a few 20+ HBP seasons any time now. Then again he hasn't been the picture of health recently, and he's already 32.
Jason Giambi - He's 4th on the active list with 134, and he's been getting hit at about 14 plunks per season for the last 5 and the last 3 years, and he could reach 288 if he kept that up until 2018, but he'd also be 47 by then, and everyone knows that 87% of people who take human growth hormone have all their limbs fall off within the next ten years. I read that someplace. It might just be a rumor though.
Aaron Rowand - He's only been hit 81 times in 7 seasons, but in his last three he's been hit 21, 18, and 19 times this year. If he keeps up the pace of the last 3 years, he could reach 288 in 2018. He'll turn 41 at the end of August that year. It's not out of the question that he'll still be playing then, if he cuts down on his wall collisions a bit, and he could conceivably pick up his HBP pace a bit. Or he might end up like that guy in the bloopers real they show on the center field scoreboard in the Naked Gun where the outfielder crashes into a wall and his head falls off.
Derek Jeter - Jeter is 5th among actives right now, and if keeps going at his career high rate of 14 plunks per season (his total so far this year), he could reach 288 b 2019. He'll be 45 by then, but probably still be playing short stop with fans defending his every error and un-reached ground ball on the basis that he's even more intangible at age 45 then ever. He may be so intabgible by then he'll actually become invisible, which might make it hard to know when he had been hit by a pitch. Anyway, he's got 129 so far, but he's never broken 14 in a year, and it takes 14.4 a year for 20 years to get to 288.
David DeJesus - He's only in his 5th season but he's go 51 HBPs, and he's up to 20 this season. If he can get get hit another 20 times every season for the next 12, he could break the record in 2019, and do it before his 40th birthday. But he's only played 5 seasons, so it might be a little early to start his HBP blog now. Maybe wait and see if he feels like having another 20 plunk season. If you're wondering who David DeJesus is, he plays for the Royals. If you're wondering who the Royals are, they're the American League team in Kansas City. Remember them? George Brett used to play there.
Chase Utley - Utley is in his 5th season too, and he's been hit 52 times already, but he's leading the league with 21 this year and he's already got a plunk blog about him (though the author kind of seems like she's more interested in... him... then his HBP stats). If he can take 21 pitches per year for his team every year he could reach 288 in 2019. He'd be in his 17th season, and 40 years old, so he could even get hit less than 21 times a year if he wants to play 20 seasons, and keep going to 43.
Reed Johnson - Reed is the last of the 3 active players other than Biggio who's career average is high enough to make it to 288 in under 20 seasons. He's been hit 15.4 times per year in his 5 years so far, including just 8 this season, which he's missed most of due to injury. He's also been hit 3 times in a game three different times. He could get to 288 in his 19 season, which would be 2021, but he'll be 44 at that point.
So in summary, Craig Biggio really needs to break this record, because no one else is going to any time soon.