Sunday, April 26, 2009

Have we seen the last 300 win Pitcher?

As Randy Johnson struggles to the finish line of 300 wins for his career (he's currently got 296 wins and 3 of his 4 starts this year have been abhorrent http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/4288 for his yahoo game-by-game stats), the question is, will he be the last 300 game winner ever?

With the modern game's pitch count limitations, 5-man rotations, middle relief corps, lefty-specialists, setup men and closers, today's starting pitchers just don't get enough starts or wins these days.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/W_active.shtml is a link to the active wins leaders. Johnson sits at 296 and may not get his 300th til july based on his performance. Here's the top 20 active.

1.Greg Maddux (43)355R
2.Tom Glavine (43)305L
3.Randy Johnson (45)296L
4.Mike Mussina (40)270R
5.Jamie Moyer (46)248L
6.Kenny Rogers (44)219L
7.Andy Pettitte (37)217L
8.Curt Schilling (42)216R
9.Pedro Martinez (37)214R
10.John Smoltz (42)210R
11.Tim Wakefield (42)180R
12.Bartolo Colon (36)151R
13.Livan Hernandez (34)148R
Aaron Sele (39)148R
15.Tim Hudson (33)146R
16.Kevin Millwood (34)143R
Steve Trachsel (38)143R
18.Mike Hampton (36)142L
19.Tom Gordon (41)138R
20.Roy Halladay (32)134R


Of the 10 guys who even have 200 wins, there's 3 retired (Mussina, Schilling, Rogers), 1 being forced into retirement by lack of FA interest (Pedro), and one who seems lucky to have regained his job this season (Pettitte).

So the question for discussion is, after looking at the active leaders and their ages, who do you think has the best shot of getting to 300 wins? I took the active leaders and calculated average wins per season in their career to determine the best candidates. In order:

- CC Sabathia: 118 wins at 28, 14.75 avg wins/year: you'd think he has the best chance, but moving to the brutal AL east and his blatant weight issues will most likely curtail his career. Would need to produce at his current average for 12 more seasons and would hit 300 at age 40. Sabathia is the best candidate.

- Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez: both in teh same boat: both are 37, have 217 and 214 wins respectively, and would both need to produce at career averages (about 12 wins per year) for another 6 years to reach 300 wins at age 43. Both seem like longshots: Pettitte would probably retire ala Mussina before he ever gets to 43, and Pedro might be forced into retirement.

- Buehrle and Zambrano; they both have about the same shot; both have about 12 wins average per season and are on pace to get to the mid 200s in wins by the time they're 40. However, both would have to pitch well into their 40s and continue to be successful to have a shot.

Other candidates you'd think have a decent shot:
- Tim Hudson: 146 wins at 33: chances seem ok, he's in the NL, doesn't have to face the DH or the AL East monsters but does play in a tougher NL east division. Solid; injured in 08 but has consistently gotten starts. He probably has to play well into his 40s though to have a shot. He'll need to produce 13-14wins per year til he's 46. That's asking an awful lot.

- Livan Hernandez: 148 wins at 34: no chance. IN reality he's probably 37 and faked his birth certificate. He seems to be clinging to 5th starter spots at this point, and its just a matter of time before he loses his job and career to a coming prospect. He'd have to get his typical production (10-11 wins) until hes 48.

- Roy Halladay: 134 wins at 32: Solid pitcher, in the same boat as Hudson; will need to switch to an NL team and get out of the AL east and pitch into his 40s. Needs 166 wins and he's averaged only about 17 wins the last 3 seasons.

- Roy Oswalt: 129 wins at 31: hasn't missed a start in 5 years, but his team keeps losing games for him. I think he needs to get onto a better team in order to have a shot. He'll need a solid 14-15 wins per year for 10years to have a shot by the time he's 42.

- Johan Santana: 112 wins at 30; amazingly baseballs "Best Pitcher" probably has zero chance at 300 wins. A late start to his career as a starting pitcher has cost him years of eligible wins that he probably can't get back.

- Peavy and Beckett: 28 and 29 respectively, 88 and 91 wins each, both in the prime of their careers. Both need to average 18 wins a year for 10 seasons to get themselves close by the age of 40. Not impossible, but they're only averaging 10-11 wins a season right now.

- Dontrelle Willis: the youngest guy in the top 100 active wins leaders (65 wins at age 27). Frankly he may not ever get another win the way he is going... what a shame.

- 3 Other guys in their low-to-mid 20s with 50-60 career wins that baseball-reference doesn't show. The 2 best bets for a young pitcher is probably Ervin Santana, who has 51 wins at 25, or Felix Hernandez 42 wins already and he's only 23. Lastly Scott Kazmir 50wins at 25.

Other young pitchers: Lincecum has 26 wins at 25, Hamels 38wins at 25, Billingsly 39wins at 24, Volquez 22wins at 25, Nolasco 28wins at 26, Lester 28wins at 25, Floyd 27wins at 26, Greike 38wins at 25.

Conclusion: I think the guys that are in the 200 win section now are already too late. The three best bets are probably the three young guys. Santana's hurt now but coming back, Hernandez seems like a horse, and Kazmir is on a winning team.

man, this was long winded. :-)

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