Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Tom Glavine of the Mets went for his 300th win last night against the Milwaukee Brewers. He didn't get the win though he pitched well. The Brewers Suppan surprised me by pitching nearly as well, and the 'Skis went on to win it in the 13th inning, 4-2.

"The thing that makes that number [300 wins] so great is that you think about guys winning 15-20 games a year, that's the top pitcher in baseball," former Yankee pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre says. "You have to win 15 games 20 times. My God. When you break it down like that, man alive, that would make anybody's arm hurt."
Winning 300 games is the big news, and Glavine is being spoken of as the latest (barring an injury) and perhaps LAST pitcher to reach this Hall of Fame goal. I happen to know he'll win his 300th game in his next start against the Cubs, but that isn't what I want to tell you about.

What is really interesting is speculation that he may be the last to reach 300. There is talk that the new wins bar is 250. Read this to get the in-depth scoop on why that is.

Why are modern day pitchers not likely to win 300 games in their careers?
The article cites these reasons:
  • Five man rotations, which take starts away from pitchers.
  • Large, specialized bullpens so that starters don't go as deeply into games as they once did.
  • Big salaries, which may dull the competitive edge. Mike Mussina, the great pitcher for the Yanks, thinks this has quite an impact.
  • The development of the disabled list. Some old timers observe that pitchers in the past would pitch through pain rather than getting benched.
  • You can't ignore the steroid era. Hitters are stronger, with better reflexes, etc. The causes of this are debatable, but only just.
My wife's cousin Danny Naulty, who pitched for the Twins and also won a World Series ring with the Yankees in the 90's, used to tell us just how impossibly hard it is being a pitcher in the modern era, particularly in the American League with its Designated Hitter. The hitters are just so very good: better equipped, better trained, with more resources (batting cages, video, stats and breakdowns of opposing pitchers' strengths, etc).

What active pitchers have a shot at 300 wins? Here is the list; tell me what you think their chances are:
  • Randy Johnson 284 wins
  • Pedro Martinez 206 wins
  • Andy Pettite 192 wins
  • Curt Schilling 213 wins
  • Mike Mussina 244 wins

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