Originally Posted by RedsBaron
I was thinking about this exact subject earlier this week. There is a decent chance that sometime in the next couple of seasons Glavine, who has 290 career wins, and Johnson, who has 280 career wins, will each notch his 300th career victory. I thought, if and when the second of this pair wins 300, some sportswriter will opine that no one else will ever win 300.
I will be very surprised if Glavine and Johnson are the last of the 300 game winners. Yes, with the era of the five man rotation and the six inning starting pitcher, 20 wins in a season are becoming more and more rare (none in 2006). However, a lot of pitchers who having extraordinarily long careers and winning a lot of games, perhaps because the five man rotation helps them avoid injury.
Good stuff, RB.
This is sort of my take too, and I think the most accurate take for that sportswriter to opine is that nobody else will ever win 300 games ... for at least a short period of time after Mussina gives it his best shot.
With 239 wins right now, I do think Mussina has some chance at reaching 300 wins, especially since he just extended his contract with the Yankees through the end of the 2008 season. If he can win 30 games over the next two seasons, which I think is possible given the high-powered offense the Yankees carry, he'll be knocking on the door of 270 wins. If his health and effectiveness holds up, he may be close enough to be willing to play another one or two seasons to see if he can reach that magical 300 win plateau.
After Mussina, it starts to get tough. The current active 200 plus game winners are David Wells, Jamie Moyer, Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martinez. Except for Wells' 230 wins, the highest win total for the rest of that group is Moyer's 216 wins. Pedro Martinez is also the only guy under the age of 40, and he just turned 35 and only has 204 wins. Pedro's peak was nothing short of incredible, and he'll probably go down as one of the 10 greatest pitchers ever, but I think the more accurate question is will he reach 250 wins rather than will he reach 300 wins.
John Smoltz is 39-years-old with 193 wins. He should reach 200 wins next season, but 300 wins looks impossible.
Andy Pettitte is only 34-years-old, and he has 186 career wins as a beneficiary of some excellent New York Yankee teams. I think Pettitte has a realistic shot at 250 wins, but not quite for 300 wins. I somewhat expect him to be a controversial Hall of Fame topic as to whether he belongs as he nears retirement.
Beyond Pettitte's 186 wins, I don't see any active pitcher currently with 125-185 wins that can reach 300. We have to drop down to guys such as Tim Hudson (119 wins), Barry Zito (102 wins), Roy Oswalt (98 wins), Roy Halladay (95 wins), C.C. Sabathia (81 wins), and Johan Santana (78 wins) to see who among that crop is on the horizon. Some absolutely excellent young pitchers are on that list, and if they can maintain/improve their excellent for several more seasons and last quite a long time, then they might have a shot.
Whether or not any of those pitchers can reach 300 wins is a big time unknown, and whether or not any current pitcher beyond Glavine, Johnson, and Mussina can reach 300 wins is also unknown. What we do know is that the game is constantly evolving, constantly changing, and eventually at some point is likely to turn back and favor the pitcher instead of the hitter. When that happens, I'd say the chances of finding another 300-game winner improves again somewhat.