CC Sabathia's odds of winning 300 

September, 7, 2010

Today's winners in Stats & Information:

CC Sabathia, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas

Today's losers:

Felix Hernandez, Andy Pettitte, Johan Santana

When I took a statistical look at which MLB players are most likely to hit 500 and 600 career home runs next, readers asked for more projections to other significant targets. So today I'll examine the chances for active pitchers to win 300 games. Unexpectedly, my research turned into a lovefest for a man who will try to become this season's first 20-game winner Tuesday night.

Of course, it has become conventional wisdom that nobody will win 300 games again. Right? Pitchers are supposedly babied these days, bullpens are hyperspecialized, complete games and shutouts have disappeared, Jamie Moyer is no Greg Maddux and Tim Wakefield sure isn't Randy Johnson. ... And if none of those old-school complaints suits you, there's always the mysterious rise of injuries to young arms to worry about.

But great pitchers are rare enough that they don't show up at a steady rate; baseball history has seen several long gaps between 300-game winners. It's also seen eras during which there were hardly any pitchers at all with impressive stats -- I mean, Bobo Newsom was the game's leader in career wins for a couple of seasons in the 1940s -- but those proved to be temporary stretches. The proportion of victories going to starters ebbs and flows with run scoring and pitch counts, but somebody's got to win 50 percent of MLB games every year. There are reasons to think we'll see big-time career totals again.

So who's going to post them?