Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who will be next to 300 wins?

Let me save you the suspense. There are only 2 legitimate candidates within the next 15 years: C.C. Sabathia and Roy Halladay. Sabathia has more margin for error because he is younger. The key question for Halladay, beyond injuries, is whether he is more Mike Mussina or Randy Johnson. Randy Johnson is 45 years old and was 70 wins short of 400 when he turned 40. Mussina retired after turning 40 and was only 40 wins short.

Most pitchers do not pitch deep into their 40's, and the ones that do are usually soft-tossers, such as Jamie Moyer. Halladay is a big, burly power pitcher and a workhorse. He logs a lot of innings, leading the league last year. If he is like Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson and can keep pitching until he is 45, I think he will get to 300. If he is like other mortals, then no. Right now, Halladay is at 140 wins and rolling. He is the best pitcher in the game right now.

C.C. Sabathia is at 122, but is only 28 and now wears a Yankee uniform. He is another big, make that really big, burly power pitcher. He might be able to rack up enough wins by the time he is 35 to make a run at it.

A lot of people say no one will get to 300 again. They said it after Clemens and Maddux and Glavine and now Johnson. They all did it in an era of relief specialization and 5 man rotations and even steroids! It can be done, especially now that home runs are down dramatically with steroid testing. It takes a freak of nature who is both very good and very lucky. Most pitchers get hurt and can't last until they're over 40. My guess is that Halladay is the type that would go for it if it was in sight, like Johnson did. There were rumblings that Andy Pettitte might retire soon, and he is the closest one who is not Jamie Moyer. He is at 220 and not even 37 yet, but it does not seem to be a possibility for him.

I do not believe anyone will reach 300 wins in the next decade, unless Tim Hudson really catches fire and he is at 146 wins and age 34. There is a decent chance that from the current generation of great pitchers will do it: Sabathia, Santana, Halladay, Oswalt. It won't happen for a while, so enjoy the Big Unit's accomplishment.

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