There Will Never Be Another 300 Game Winner
After entering this debate with my dad yesterday, I felt I had to put this on the site. Outside of Tom Glavine who will win his 300th game at some point this season, and Randy Johnson who could reach the same mark at some point next season, there will never again be another 300 game winner. None, never, not again. Out to suffer the same fate as the dodo bird, Hideki Irabu, Shinjo, and LA Gears.
It’s just impossible with today’s game. Pitchers hardly ever go past seven innings — even the top ones. Run support is necessary, as is a stable bullpen that can both protect and close out a lead. There are so many external factors that prevent pitchers from getting the win at the end of the day. Back in the days, starters would throw all nine and receive a decision in 95% of their starts. Now, you’re lucky to take a decision in two thirds of your starts.
Take last year for instance, Brandon Webb won the NL Cy Young with a 16-8 record. 16 wins. That’s it. That’s all it took to grab the most prestigious pitching award in the world. Even looking at the American League, the uber-stud Johan Santana won his second Cy, this time with only 19 wins. Considering Santana is BY FAR the best pitcher in baseball, my dad suggested that Santana could reach the barrier. I told him no way. Then we looked it up.
The same guy who has been the most dominant starter in baseball for the past three and a half seasons only has won 80 games in his career. At age 28, Santana is in the middle of his prime, but it’s hard to argue he’ll be nearly as effective 10 years from now — and he’d need to win 20 for the next 10 years to come close.
What about the fate of the National League’s top starter the past three seasons? He just hit the 15-day DL with an arm injury, not an unfamiliar story for Chris Carpenter.
Not convinced? How about this — remember the Oakland A’s and their vaunted Big 3? Well, Mark Mulder (103 wins, 29 y/o) is nowhere to be heard from, and hasn’t been good since he left Oakland. Tim Hudson (119 wins, 31 y/o) hasn’t produced for Atlanta, while Barry Zito (102, 29 y/o) is 0-2 in the first year of his $126 million contract.
OK fine, Roy Halladay, he’s a pretty good pitcher, probably the second best in the American League. Seems like he’s been at it for a while, right? Yeah, guess again, 96 career wins for Doc, and he’s turning 30 this year.
How about Roy Oswalt, probably the second best and one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League? He’s won 20 games twice, which is like, unheard of these days. Yeah, he’s got just 99 wins, and he’s turning 30 this year.
What about some of those emerging youngsters huh? Francisco Liriano could’ve been interesting, but he’s having his entire arm rebuilt. Scott Kazmir hit the DL last year.
Let’s try Pedro Martinez — seems like a blast from the past. I mean Pedro’s had ERA’s skinnier than his stick figure. That badass has won three Cy Young Awards, you know? Well, amidst his injury recovery, the 35 year old pitcher has just 206 career wins. There are questions as to whether or not Pedro will be ready by August. To think he’ll be able to muster 94 more wins is just plain dumb. Even his previous Red Sox cohort Curt Schilling, who completely embodies the grizzled veteran, has just 208 wins — so you can kiss him good bye.
In today’s game, wins are not had easily. For that reason, I am convinced there will never be another 300 game winner with the rules remaining as they are. Chop 50 off that total, I still can’t see any of our current day studs reaching the mark. They’ll pull a growing, require Tommy John, or just simply flame out beforehand. I’d even go as far as to say 225 wins could be the new 300 for this era of pitcher. Even in that case, it’s hard for me to think one of these up and comers will even surpass that total.
Disagree? Let me know why, because I just explained to you why it won’t happen.
Also check out all my baseball predictions for the 2007 season.