Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who's the Next Mr. 300?

Since Randy Johnson’s recent retirement announcement that he is leaving the game second on the strikeout list and the most recent pitcher to crack the 300 win barrier, I have been wondering who will be the next Mr. 300?  At first, no one came to mind, and then I wonder if 250 would be the new 300, but after some research at baseballreference.com, I saw that there are a handful of pitchers who may one day surpass the mystical 300 wins threshold.

I pulled the active wins leaders and ended up with a mess of 100 starters and relievers.  Having whittled out the bullpen warriors, I was left with an even uglier bunch of starters that included way too many 3, 4, 5 men, and the likes of Dontrelle “The New Bird” Willis.  I quickly reduced that list by figuring how many wins a pitcher needed to average per season to reach 300 wins by the ripe old, yet reasonable, age of 42.  All those needing to average more than 17 wins per year were dismissed, as the league high hasn’t cracked 20 that often this decade, which left us with a respectable 24 pitchers out of the original 100.

A quick analysis of this bunch weeded out even more pitchers who are fading into twilight (Pedro!), have been bedeviled by injuries (Hudson, Myers, Bonderman, Willis), just don’t have enough gas (E. Santana, Lackey, Beckett, Haren) or cannot reasonably win enough games pitching from the 3, 4, 5 spots (O. Perez, , Vazquez).  That left me with 13 pitchers who have a reasonable, if not long shot, to reach the 300 plateau.  Allow me to rank them how I see it playing out…

13.  Barry Zito (133 Wins) – I couldn’t believe his numbers made the cut, but he had an awesome early career that has seemingly nosedived.  Using the 42 year cutoff, Barry has 11 years to win 167 games, but that makes an average of 15.2 wins a season.  Not likely, but doable if healthy, regains his composure and the Giants get some dang offense other than Aubrey Huff in the 4-hole.

12.    Jake Peavy (95 Wins) – Being a Friar Fanatic since my first game in 1977, I watched Jake play with awe.  Even caught him at a Double-A game when he was with the Mobile Bay Bears. I knew he was special then, but arm troubles could be his downfall.  He’ll do great in Chicago under Guillen and K. Williams awesome GM powers, but an average of 14.6 wins over 14 seasons may be a stretch.
11.    Carlos Zambrano (105 Wins) – My initial reaction to the Z-man is if he’s going to reach 300 wins, he better leave the Northside and have an attitude readjustment.  He needs an average of 13.9 wins over 14 seasons, and it is doable, but I feel that fiery temper and competitive edge will wreck his arm.  Sorry Cubs fans.

10.    Justin Verlander (65 Wins) – Two advantages for the Cav-man are he pitches in a cavernous ballpark and has averaged 13 wins per season for his first 5 years.  He needs an average of 14.7 wins over 16 years (gasp!), however, I imagine a powerhouse will swoop him up when his contract ends.

9.    Jamie Moyer (258 Wins) – He is closet to the 300 mark and probably the biggest dark horse.  Jamie needs 42 wins, but is already 46 and is coming off a groin injury.  I could see him squeaking out an average of 11 wins over the next 4 years with the powerhouse Phillies, but he’d be 50!  I fear Jamie will be this era’s Tommy John.

8.    Roy Halladay (148 Wins) – Roy is an absolute workhorse with few injury problems, who is now on a 2 time NL Championship team.  He needs an average of 15.2 wins over the next 10 seasons, but I see Roy pitching way past the age of 42, which would bump that 15.2 down to around 10 or 11.  Should be much higher on the list, but he hasn’t proven himself in the Senior Circuit, yet.

7.    Johan Santana (122 Wins) – Johan has had no problem making the switch from the AL to the NL, but the problem is he is on the Mets.  If he has a healthy defense/offense on the field and perhaps a new GM, he should have no difficulties averaging 14.8 wins over the next 12 seasons. 

6.    Jon Garland (117 Wins) – At first I didn’t know who this guy was, and then realized he was a Southsider that cut his teeth with Buerhle (what a combo).  An average of 14 wins over 13 years is plausible if he remains on a contending team.

5.  Felix Hernandez (58 Wins) – Felix has the fewest wins on the list, thus is not as high as he maybe should be.  Seattle’s ace with Cliff Lee behind him, a huge amount of potential and a resurging Mariner’s club gives Felix the chance to average 12.7 wins over the next 19 seasons!  I doubt Felix will be wearing Gold and Blue forever.  I foresee pinstripes, which increases his odds.

4.    Andy Pettitte (229 Wins) – Mr. HGH himself has a shot at 300, but that will likely not help his HOFer chances (ahem, McGwire).  Andy needs only 71 wins and could easily get the required average of 14.2 wins if he remains the 4 spot pitcher in the Bombers rotation.  Pettitte versus any other teams #4 starter is a scary matchup.

3.    Mark Buerhle (135 Wins) – What can be said about a man who has averaged 13.5 wins per season, and needs to average 13.75 wins over the next 12 seasons to reach 300?  Good manager, great GM and a waffling AL Central Division means he has a great shot.  I do not foresee Chicago ever letting him go, not after the perfect game…

2.    Roy Oswalt (137 Wins) – Does that name strike fear into you?  Maybe it should considering he has averaged 15.2 wins per season pitching in the Juice Box.  His accomplishments are truly amazing, and just imagine if he ends up in a pitcher friendly ballpark.  I think he will surpass Early Wynn.

1.  C.C. Sabathia (136 Wins) – C.C. or Carsten Charles is by far the biggest stud on this list, literally and statistically.  His first season in the Bronx netted him a league leading 19 wins last season, and I remember at one point they were saying he was having a down year.  With the Yankee payroll and his already average of 15.1 wins per season, he should easily average 11.7 wins over the next 14 summers.


BrerSkwerl said...

Of those whose first name begins with "J", I'm picking Verlander, even though he went to Old Dominion (ODU)... ;) That way, my Tobs bobblehead of him will be so valuable/collectible, it will pay for my retirement!

Any of the choices with a "Z" beginning their last name, IMO, blow too many leads to ever get there...

I think the two guys whose name starts with "R" have the best chance, at present, b/c if you don't already have 125+ wins, then I think the changes of the future won't give a pitcher enough quality starts, much less actual starts, to have a chance at the big .3K...

Hmm... Carbon Copy (CC...)will have a chance at 400, I'm guessing... If he plays until 45, maybe he can catch Cy!

BrerSkwerl said...

Oh, yeah... HGH-boy would have been my choice, b/c he's the closest, and he's the heir-apparent to Clemens' workout regimen (which I think will be necessary to getting to 300... Big workout legs!), but Pettitte has already retired once, hasn't he...? But, he did come back quickly, so he's probably got the bug, and since he's "just" my age, maybe he's spry enough to do it... And, I bet he'll get in the Hall, even!

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