Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 4, 2009
BASEBALL: Big Unit Lands

Congratulations to Randy Johnson on winning his 300th game. I've previously pooh-poohed the perennial "this is the last 300 game winner" prediction, which after all was made by people in the media even as Johnson and Tom Glavine were closing in on the milestone (as well as Mike Mussina, who likely would have made it if he'd wanted to). But this time there really should be something of a drought: I have to collect my prior posts and run the numbers again, but look at the active leaders: the only guy within 80 wins of the goal is Jamie Moyer, who's 46 and allowing 2.4 home runs per 9 innings this season. Pedro Martinez, ahead of the pace 2-3 years ago, will need a serious resurgence to get another 86 wins and is presently unemployed. John Smoltz is 42 and not close. That leaves only Andy Pettitte. Pettitte shouldn't be counted out, but even if he notches another 10 wins this season he enters his age 38 season needing 70 more wins, and like Mussina his desire to pitch into his 40s is questionable at best.

If Pettitte doesn't make a run, probably we'll be waiting on guys who aren't halfway there yet, like Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay (I don't take Mark Buehrle's chances too seriously), or maybe Santana (Sabathia's ahead of Santana's pace but seems likely to break down by age 35). The 300 game winner may not be extinct, but we should probably expect some period of hibernation.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:09 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Don't tease me like that with Pettitte. Damn, I hope he pitches for another four years. But I just can't see it happening.

I don't think it's extinct either, I just would probably agree with Kurkjian that the next 300 win pitcher isn't currently in the majors, whoever he is.

Posted by: Ben at June 4, 2009 8:38 PM

Return to the four-man rotation and 300-game winners will no longer be listed as an endangered species. (Keith Woolner pointed out in BP's "Baseball Between the Numbers" that, if workloads are carefully controlled, a four-man rotation ought to work effectively.)

Posted by: JE at June 4, 2009 10:43 PM

Jon Garland has won 110 games and is 29 years old at the moment. He would be a candidate, if only one could ignore that he isn't very good.

Posted by: DD at June 5, 2009 7:31 AM

Carl Pavano had 5 wins in May. At that pace, he's a lock.

Posted by: wd at June 6, 2009 10:34 AM

When Kurkjian was talking about this, he mentioned that Santana had 7 wins blown for him last year, otherwise he'd be the kind of guy that could do it. In how many of those starts would leaving Santana in to fix his own mess have resulted in a win, rather than the bullpen furthering the meltdown? With a guy of his caliber, don't you have to think at least 1 or 2?

Posted by: Linus at June 6, 2009 11:41 AM

Given he's the one guy currently pitching who might have a good chance at ripping off a few 21-24 win seasons in the next few years, I think the math isn't too bad for Roy Halladay. He'd need to stay healthy and pitch until his early-to-mid forties, but he just fits the profile of the kind of guy who makes it.

Posted by: Jerry at June 8, 2009 1:22 PM

300 Games will be difficult if not impossible for the foreseeable future, because od the style of play currently practiced by all teams. With a five man rotation, a number one who never misses a turn gets 33 starts a year. 600 Games requires a long career with an average of 15 wins per year for 20 years. A number one should win at least that many in a season, but every season for 20 years? Because complete games have become almost extinct, the starter is dependent on others to get his wins. The offense has to get ahead for good by the sixth inning, and the bullpen has to hold the lead, without allowing the opponent to even tie, for the remainder of the game. The obsession with power pitching means more arm troubles, and fewer quality pitchers able to have a long enough career to get 300 wins.

Posted by: Cameron King at June 8, 2009 2:59 PM

On that list, if I had to bet, I would go

Halladay (work horse, not injury prone, excellent pitcher, right body to pitch into his 40s)

Santana (can see a segue as he gets older to a harder throwing Jamie Moyer where he can pitch until he's 43-44)

Beckett (right body type, very good, if he stays with the Red Sox or equivalent he'll have a good team to play for)

I don't know that I would WANT to bet on any of them doing it but if I had to I don't know that I would pick any one else although maybe Moyer will pitch until he gets there. Can't see Pettitte doing that though. Hell, maybe Wakefield will win 12 games/year until he's 52.

Posted by: jim at June 10, 2009 6:32 PM
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