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Thursday, April 09, 2020

If 2020 season is canceled, which players would be hurt the most?

An example of the analysis offered:

Players chasing milestones, especially those towards the end of their careers, would be stymied by a lost season. Tigers DH and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is the first one that comes to mind. He is 23 home runs short of joining the 500 home run club. Though he hasn’t hit more than 16 in a year since 2016, he would likely have at least hit a few this year and would have had an easier time getting there in 2021. He turns 37 years old in 10 days. Cabrera may be under contract through 2023, but it is not clear that his age and his health would allow him to play regularly such that he would be able to reach 500 home runs if the 2020 season were to be canceled. (Cabrera is also 185 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.)

Mike Trout has 285 home runs for his career. It’s almost a given that he would get to 300 and beyond in 2020. He is currently one of only 13 players with at least 250 home runs through his age-27 season. The only players with more: Álex Rodríguez (345), Jimmie Foxx (302), Eddie Mathews (299), and Ken Griffey Jr. (294). Trout likely would have also reached 1,000 runs for his career, as he is currently at 903. Losing a full season could really make a difference where he winds up on the all-time leaderboards at the end of his career.

Veteran catcher Yadier Molina will be a free agent at season’s end, though he and the Cardinals have expressed interest in a contract extension. He turns 38 this summer and is 37 hits shy of 2,000 for his career. Even if this season never happens, Molina will likely join the 2,000 hit club in 2021 whether or not he signs a multi-year extension. Molina is also 84 RBI shy of 1,000 and 21 doubles shy of 400.

So, is there anyone you’d include who the article didn’t?

QLE Posted: April 09, 2020 at 01:26 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 2020 season, milestones, players

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   1. ajnrules Posted: April 09, 2020 at 03:26 AM (#5937768)
Justin Verlander and his chase for 300. He would have missed time with his strained latissimus dorsi, but if the season went on as normal he could still return in the middle of the season and pick up 5-10 wins. At age 37 he’s keeping pace with the fellows who reached 300 by age 43, but if he loses a whole season he could fall back towards the pace of the biggest outliers in Randy Johnson and Phil Niekro who were 45 and 46 respectively. As much as he says Verlander wants to pitch until he’s in his mid-40s, who knows if he can actually maintain his performance at a level where teams still want to pitch for them.
   2. JL72 Posted: April 09, 2020 at 09:48 AM (#5937799)
I am curious how much a lay off might help some players, at least in the short term. Are players who might otherwise push themselves to get back possible too soon going to be allowed to heal more thoroughly? I seem to recall that ARod benefited from his suspension year off, although that might have just been the dead cat bounce to end his career.
   3. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 09, 2020 at 09:54 AM (#5937801)
The guys that I think get screwed are the players who are or will be arb-eligible. Those guys don't get the chance to boost their numbers prior to reaching arb-level so the comps are going to be all messed up.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: April 09, 2020 at 10:00 AM (#5937802)
As much as he says Verlander wants to pitch until he’s in his mid-40s, who knows if he can actually maintain his performance at a level where teams still want to pitch for them.


I wonder if he'll still want to pitch after he inevitably declines to the point where he's considered a 4-5 inning semi-starter. I presume nobody would condemn Verlander to the ignominy of Rays-style "middler" usage, but they don't really give 3rd starters 6+ innings anymore.
   5. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 09, 2020 at 10:32 AM (#5937807)
Guys like Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols who are missing out on big paydays that they’ll never see in another contract.
   6. Blastin Posted: April 09, 2020 at 12:02 PM (#5937841)
As much as he says Verlander wants to pitch until he’s in his mid-40s, who knows if he can actually maintain his performance at a level where teams still want to pitch for them.


Johnson etc definitely didn't have any real injuries, so he's not on the right path already with this groin thing.



Everyone is going to get "corona credit" like war credit/strike credit at HOF time.
   7. Stevey Posted: April 09, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5937868)
The guys who get screwed are those who didn't play enough of a 2019 season to tick up to the full year of service time. Someone like James Karinchak, who looked like he locked down a spot in the Cleveland bullpen will get all of 17 days of service time in a lost 2020 season, and will enter free agency a year later than expected.
   8. ajnrules Posted: April 09, 2020 at 01:24 PM (#5937880)
Johnson etc definitely didn't have any real injuries, so he's not on the right path already with this groin thing.

Randy Johnson did have two back surgeries and a knee surgery after the age of 38 forcing him to miss half of the 2003 and the 2007 seasons. It wasn't anything related to his arm, but if anybody is going to be able to serve as a precedent for Verlander it would be the Big Unit.
   9. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2020 at 02:16 PM (#5937910)
I don't know. Probably the guys who would have had their one cup of coffee this year.
   10. Rally Posted: April 09, 2020 at 02:20 PM (#5937914)
At least Albert would succeed in keeping his career WAR above 100.
   11. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 09, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5937963)
From a financial point of view, anybody who is in the midst of their last big payday.

From a career milestone point of view, it's probably somebody like Trout, who is going to end up one of the all-time greats, but for whom missing an age-28 season will dampen his career stats (the way fighting in two wars hurt Ted Williams' career stats).

Honestly, it is very difficult to see any active pitcher who is going to get to 300 wins, including Verlander, but this won't help, obviously.
   12. bbmck Posted: April 09, 2020 at 04:45 PM (#5937998)
It is very difficult to see any active pitcher reaching 300 wins in the last 100 years.

Lefty Grove gets traded/sold to Boston and goes 8-8, 6.50 ERA in his Age 34 season and sits at 203 wins.
Early Wynn 28-33, 4.23 ERA at Age 37-38 and is 51 wins short.
Warren Spahn has 122 wins through Age 31, if it wasn't for his war service maybe he would have a chance at 300.
Gaylord Perry is traded/sold during his Age 36 season with only 204 wins.
Tom Seaver 5-13, 5.50 ERA at Age 37 and still needs 36 wins.

Phil Niekro wins 23 games at Age 30 to bring his career win total to 54.
Don Sutton 27-26, 3.68 ERA at Age 33-34 is a long shot to win 83 more games.
Steve Carlton has his 27 win season at Age 27 but the problem of playing for terrible teams is 148 wins through Age 30.
Nolan Ryan parlays an 8-3 start into what is surely his last all-star game at Age 38 and then wins 2 games the rest of the year to reach 241.

Roger Clemens is in the twilight of his career with 192 wins.
Tom Glavine signs for 3/35 with the Mets and goes 9-14, 4.52 ERA at Age 37 to reach 251 wins, silly Mets paying for past performance.
Greg Maddux goes 19-9 while his era jumps to 3.57 at Age 33 to reach 221 wins, maybe he can limp his way to 300 wins.
Randy Johnson gets his first Cy vote at Age 29 and only has 68 career wins.
   13. ajnrules Posted: April 09, 2020 at 04:53 PM (#5938001)
99 years ago a 34-year-old Grover Cleveland Alexander reached 250 career wins, but also saw his win totals and ERA drop from 27 and 1.91 to 15 and 3.39, barely better than the league average of 3.78. He's shell-shocked, alcoholic, and pitching for a mediocre Cubs team. Even though fans back then didn't care about the 300-win milestone, they probably didn't think he 50 wins left in him.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:00 PM (#5938005)
Yeah, but none of those guys had the added headwind of today's decision-suppressing usage patterns.
   15. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5938006)
13–did not check but Alexander finished with 373 wins. So if he was at 250 that would be 123 wins. Or am I misunderstanding?
   16. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:07 PM (#5938008)
Feel bad for Yelich who loses part of his peak.

And Braun might end his career no matter how the season plays out.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:12 PM (#5938010)
And Braun might end his career no matter how the season plays out.
Clearly the virus is anti-Semitic.
   18. ajnrules Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:32 PM (#5938015)
13–did not check but Alexander finished with 373 wins. So if he was at 250 that would be 123 wins. Or am I misunderstanding?

He needed 50 to get to the 300-win milestone. He got those 50 (in just three seasons) then added 73 more wins for good measure.
   19. bobm Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:41 PM (#5938019)
career 300 game winners, AL-era

through age 29:

                                                           
Rk              Player   W From   To   Age   G  GS   L W-L%
1    Christy Mathewson 263 1901 1910 20-29 421 379 118 .690
2       Walter Johnson 254 1907 1917 19-29 466 381 164 .608
3       Pete Alexander 160 1911 1916 24-29 284 233  75 .681
4        Roger Clemens 152 1984 1992 21-29 273 272  72 .679
5          Greg Maddux 150 1986 1995 20-29 301 297  93 .617
6           Tom Seaver 146 1967 1974 22-29 283 278  87 .627
7           Don Sutton 139 1966 1974 21-29 332 318 113 .552
8        Steve Carlton 133 1965 1974 20-29 310 292 105 .559
9          Tom Glavine 124 1987 1995 21-29 262 262  82 .602
10          Nolan Ryan 122 1966 1976 19-29 294 260 116 .513
11         Eddie Plank 110 1901 1905 25-29 197 188  73 .601
12         Lefty Grove  87 1925 1929 25-29 222 147  52 .626
13        Warren Spahn  86 1942 1950 21-29 183 165  58 .597
14          Early Wynn  83 1939 1949 19-29 217 191  94 .469
15       Gaylord Perry  76 1962 1968 23-29 249 166  70 .521
16       Randy Johnson  68 1988 1993 24-29 165 163  56 .548
17         Phil Niekro  31 1964 1968 25-29 162  55  27 .534


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/9/2020.

through age 34:

                                                           
Rk              Player   W From   To   Age   G  GS   L W-L%
1    Christy Mathewson 369 1901 1915 20-34 617 544 181 .671
2       Walter Johnson 337 1907 1922 19-34 641 517 231 .593
3       Pete Alexander 250 1911 1921 24-34 439 377 127 .663
4          Greg Maddux 240 1986 2000 20-34 471 467 135 .640
5           Tom Seaver 235 1967 1979 22-34 455 449 133 .639
6        Steve Carlton 225 1965 1979 20-34 487 469 160 .584
7           Don Sutton 217 1966 1979 21-34 502 486 170 .561
8        Roger Clemens 213 1984 1997 21-34 417 416 118 .644
9          Tom Glavine 208 1987 2000 21-34 434 434 125 .625
10         Lefty Grove 203 1925 1934 25-34 424 279  87 .700
11         Eddie Plank 202 1901 1910 25-34 372 346 131 .607
12          Nolan Ryan 189 1966 1981 19-34 452 418 174 .521
13          Early Wynn 184 1939 1954 19-34 404 356 150 .551
14        Warren Spahn 183 1942 1955 21-34 375 334 124 .596
15       Gaylord Perry 177 1962 1973 23-34 449 364 144 .551
16       Randy Johnson 143 1988 1998 24-34 296 287  79 .644
17         Phil Niekro 110 1964 1973 25-34 358 224  94 .539


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/9/2020.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:43 PM (#5938020)
13–did not check but Alexander finished with 373 wins. So if he was at 250 that would be 123 wins. Or am I misunderstanding?


I think you are misunderstanding, bbmck first sentence is very important.

It is very difficult to see any active pitcher reaching 300 wins in the last 100 years.


He's arguing (very well) that it has traditionally been difficult to think almost any active starting pitcher was going to reach 300 wins, at some point in time during their career.

Yeah, but none of those guys had the added headwind of today's decision-suppressing usage patterns.


I was going to argue against that point, but then I did a quick pi check to see how many pitchers got 25 decisions last year, and the number was staggeringly low (8)... and that trend is fairly new but an actual trend over the past 5 or 8 so years. I am not ready to subscribe to the argument that 300 wins is never going to happen, with bullpen usage, the ability to just go 5 innings and still get a win is higher than it has ever been in the past, but at the same time, pitchers just aren't getting the same number of decisions per start that they used to, which is a big factor. I've been arguing for years, that eventually we will see a time in the future, where your ace pitcher will get 30 starts a season, and have 15 relief appearances on his "throw" day, which might result in regaining some of those lost decisions if used strategically. (especially if MLB starts limiting the number of pitchers on a roster, and continues with their insistence of number of batters faced)
   21. bobm Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:51 PM (#5938024)
wins through age 34, AL-era

                                             
Rk                 Player   W From   To   Age
1       Christy Mathewson 369 1901 1915 20-34
2          Walter Johnson 337 1907 1922 19-34
3          Pete Alexander 250 1911 1921 24-34
4              Bob Feller 249 1936 1953 17-34
5              Jim Palmer 241 1965 1980 19-34
6             Greg Maddux 240 1986 2000 20-34
7              Tom Seaver 235 1967 1979 22-34
8           Robin Roberts 234 1948 1961 21-34
9           George Mullin 228 1902 1915 21-34
10          Juan Marichal 227 1960 1972 22-34
11          Steve Carlton 225 1965 1979 20-34
12         Catfish Hunter 224 1965 1979 19-33
13             Don Sutton 217 1966 1979 21-34
14          Wilbur Cooper 216 1912 1926 20-34
15             Waite Hoyt 215 1918 1934 18-34
16            CC Sabathia 214 2001 2015 20-34
17            Red Ruffing 214 1924 1939 19-34
18          Roger Clemens 213 1984 1997 21-34
19         Fergie Jenkins 213 1965 1977 22-34
20          Bert Blyleven 212 1970 1985 19-34
21           Chief Bender 212 1903 1917 19-33
22            Milt Pappas 209 1957 1973 18-34
23           Don Drysdale 209 1956 1969 19-32
24             Mel Harder 209 1928 1944 18-34
25            Tom Glavine 208 1987 2000 21-34
26          Mickey Lolich 207 1963 1975 22-34
27          Hal Newhouser 207 1939 1955 18-34
28        Burleigh Grimes 207 1916 1928 22-34
29         Pedro Martinez 206 1992 2006 20-34
30            Lefty Grove 203 1925 1934 25-34
31            Eddie Plank 202 1901 1910 25-34
32           Mike Mussina 199 1991 2003 22-34
33            Whitey Ford 199 1950 1963 21-34
34            George Uhle 198 1919 1933 20-34
35           Larry French 197 1929 1942 21-34
36            Hooks Dauss 195 1912 1924 22-34
37               Ed Walsh 195 1904 1915 23-34
38               Jim Kaat 194 1959 1973 20-34
39        Bullet Joe Bush 194 1912 1927 19-34
40              Carl Mays 194 1915 1926 23-34
41            Wes Ferrell 193 1927 1941 19-33
42            Lon Warneke 192 1930 1943 21-34
43           Carl Hubbell 192 1928 1937 25-34
44           Herb Pennock 192 1912 1928 18-34
45              Vida Blue 191 1969 1983 19-33
46             Bob Friend 191 1951 1965 20-34
47             Bob Gibson 190 1959 1970 23-34
48         Mordecai Brown 190 1903 1911 26-34
49             Nolan Ryan 189 1966 1981 19-34
50          Claude Osteen 189 1957 1974 17-34
51           Billy Pierce 189 1945 1961 18-34
52            Lefty Gomez 189 1930 1943 21-34
53              Doc White 189 1901 1913 22-34
54       Justin Verlander 188 2005 2017 22-34
55           Roy Halladay 188 1998 2011 21-34
56          Dwight Gooden 188 1984 1999 19-34
57              Bob Welch 188 1978 1991 21-34
58           Frank Tanana 188 1973 1988 19-34
59            Lee Meadows 188 1915 1929 20-34
60           Zack Greinke 187 2004 2018 20-34
61             Eppa Rixey 187 1912 1925 21-34
62             Vic Willis 187 1901 1910 25-34
63           Mark Buehrle 186 2000 2013 21-34
64          Andy Pettitte 186 1995 2006 23-34
65            Bob Shawkey 185 1913 1925 22-34
66              Rick Wise 184 1964 1980 18-34
67           Dave McNally 184 1962 1975 19-32
68             Early Wynn 184 1939 1954 19-34
69            Jack Morris 183 1977 1989 22-34
70           Warren Spahn 183 1942 1955 21-34
71            Ed Reulbach 182 1905 1917 22-34
72              Bob Lemon 181 1946 1955 25-34
73         Paul Derringer 180 1931 1941 24-34
74           Bill Donovan 180 1901 1911 24-34
75           Hippo Vaughn 178 1908 1921 20-33
76           Rube Waddell 178 1901 1910 24-33
77             Jon Lester 177 2006 2018 22-34
78          Gaylord Perry 177 1962 1973 23-34
79           Jack Chesbro 177 1901 1908 27-34
80              Ted Lyons 176 1923 1935 22-34
81          Rube Marquard 176 1908 1921 21-34
82            Frank Viola 175 1982 1994 22-34
83            Jim Bunning 175 1955 1966 23-34
84             Dave Stieb 174 1979 1992 21-34
85           Ken Holtzman 174 1965 1979 19-33
86         Stan Coveleski 174 1912 1924 22-34
87            Jerry Reuss 173 1969 1983 20-34
88          Tommy Bridges 171 1930 1941 23-34
89           Eddie Rommel 171 1920 1932 22-34
90               Red Ames 171 1903 1917 20-34
91           Max Scherzer 170 2008 2019 23-34
92         Camilo Pascual 170 1954 1968 20-34
93        Felix Hernandez 169 2005 2019 19-33
94        Clayton Kershaw 169 2008 2019 20-31
95               Guy Bush 168 1923 1936 21-34
96    Freddie Fitzsimmons 168 1925 1936 23-34
97          Mark Langston 166 1984 1995 23-34
98         Javier Vazquez 165 1998 2011 21-34
99             Tim Hudson 165 1999 2010 23-34
100      Dennis Eckersley 165 1975 1989 20-34
101           Mike Torrez 165 1967 1981 20-34
102          Sandy Koufax 165 1955 1966 19-30
103          Bill Sherdel 165 1918 1931 21-34
104             Red Faber 165 1914 1923 25-34
105       John Candelaria 164 1975 1988 21-34
106       Mel Stottlemyre 164 1964 1974 22-32
107            Roy Oswalt 163 2001 2012 23-34
108          Lew Burdette 163 1950 1961 23-34
109              Art Nehf 163 1915 1927 22-34
110           Slim Sallee 162 1908 1919 23-34
111          Kevin Appier 161 1989 2002 21-34
112            Barry Zito 160 2000 2012 22-34
113           John Smoltz 160 1988 2001 21-34
114            Addie Joss 160 1902 1910 22-30
115          Howard Ehmke 159 1915 1928 21-34
116         Eddie Cicotte 159 1905 1918 21-34
117   Fernando Valenzuela 158 1980 1995 19-34
118       Bill Gullickson 158 1979 1993 20-34
119            Luis Tiant 158 1964 1975 23-34
120         Willis Hudlin 158 1926 1940 20-34
121           Kevin Brown 157 1986 1999 21-34
122           Cole Hamels 156 2006 2018 22-34
123       Livan Hernandez 156 1996 2009 21-34
124       Bret Saberhagen 156 1984 1998 20-34
125            Mike Moore 156 1982 1994 22-34
126          Steve Rogers 156 1973 1984 23-34
127          Curt Simmons 156 1947 1963 18-34
128        Kevin Millwood 155 1997 2009 22-34
129            Andy Benes 155 1989 2002 21-34
130        Earl Whitehill 155 1923 1933 24-34
131            Ron Guidry 154 1975 1985 24-34
132            Tommy John 154 1963 1977 20-34
133        Hal Schumacher 154 1931 1942 20-31
134             Bill Doak 154 1912 1924 21-33
135             Dan Haren 153 2003 2015 22-34
136         Larry Jackson 153 1955 1965 24-34
137           Bump Hadley 153 1926 1939 21-34
138             Jimmy Key 152 1984 1995 23-34
139          Jesse Barnes 152 1915 1927 22-34
140           David Price 150 2008 2019 22-33
141          Jered Weaver 150 2006 2017 23-34
142             Jim Perry 150 1959 1970 23-34
143              Bill Lee 150 1934 1944 24-34
144            Dizzy Dean 150 1930 1941 20-31
145         Urban Shocker 150 1916 1925 25-34
146           Jack Coombs 150 1906 1917 23-34
147            Earl Moore 150 1901 1912 23-34
148         Rick Porcello 149 2009 2019 20-30
149         Ervin Santana 149 2005 2017 22-34
150           Doug Drabek 149 1986 1997 23-34
151       Doyle Alexander 149 1971 1985 20-34
152          Don Newcombe 149 1949 1960 23-34
153            Brad Radke 148 1995 2006 22-33
154            David Cone 148 1986 1997 23-34
155            Jake Peavy 147 2002 2015 21-34
156           Wilbur Wood 147 1961 1976 19-34
157         Bucky Walters 147 1934 1943 25-34
158         Bartolo Colon 146 1997 2007 24-34
159           Burt Hooton 146 1971 1984 21-34
160           Bobo Newsom 146 1929 1942 21-34
161         Freddy Garcia 145 1999 2011 22-34
162        Claude Hendrix 144 1911 1920 22-31
163         Randy Johnson 143 1988 1998 24-34
164           Bruce Hurst 143 1980 1992 22-34
165         Johnny Podres 143 1953 1967 20-34
166             Red Lucas 143 1923 1936 21-34
167           Tom Zachary 143 1918 1930 22-34
168         Sad Sam Jones 143 1914 1927 21-34
169           Jack Powell 143 1901 1909 26-34
[...]
375          Tim Lincecum 110 2007 2016 23-32
376            Russ Ortiz 110 1998 2007 24-33
377         Danny Jackson 110 1983 1996 21-34
378           Bruce Kison 110 1971 1984 21-34
379            Gary Nolan 110 1967 1977 19-29
380           Phil Niekro 110 1964 1973 25-34
381             Bob Veale 110 1962 1970 26-34
382          Jack Sanford 110 1956 1963 27-34
383          Harry Howell 110 1901 1910 24-33
384            Chris Sale 109 2010 2019 21-30


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/9/2020.

   22. Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 09, 2020 at 05:59 PM (#5938028)
The fantasy players will be hurt the most.
   23. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 09, 2020 at 06:23 PM (#5938039)
#14 is highlighting the main point - usage patterns are the biggest headwind:

Gaylord Perry, after his age 36 season, had only 216 wins. Then, between ages 37 and 44, he won another 98 games...but that is only because he started so many games, and through so many innings, during those seasons. Here are his games started between age 37 and 44: 32, 34, 37, 32, 34, 23 (strike season!), 32, and 30. He threw an average of 218 innings those eight years...and that included a 1981 strike season where he threw "only" 150 innings! He also averaged 32 games started a year for those eight years. Only one pitcher in MLB in 2019 even threw more than 214 innings...Verlander (with 223).

Nolan Ryan is the greatest example of a pitching unicorn in major-league history. He is predictive of nobody else in MLB history (Randy Johnson, I guess, would be the closest example).

Don Sutton, in the eight seasons between age 35 and 42, averaged 32 games started, and 210 IP a year...with a 1981 strike season in the middle of it! Only two pitchers in 2019 threw 3 complete games. Sutton averaged 3 complete games from age 35 to 42.

Steve Carlton, in the 12 seasons between age 31 to 42, averaged 32 GS, 230 IP, and 9 CGs! And that includes a 1981 strike season, as well as an age 40 season where he threw only 92 innings with one win. He averaged 25 decisions per season over that 12 season stretch.

Phil Niekro, in the 17 seasons between age 31 and 47, averaged 35 GS, 12 CGs, and 257 IP a season! He averaged 28 decisions a year, and this again includes the strike season of 1981.

As for the Tom Glavine example...we can say that Glavine only had 251 wins through his age 37 season...but Verlander enters his age 37 season with only 225 wins. Glavine averaged 33 GS the next four years, which allowed him to be a league-average pitcher who could average 206 IP the next four years, and nose over the 300 win plateau. Verlander is behind Glavine's pace.

As for Maddux, he did have an off year (for him) at age 33, but he entered his age 34 season with 221 wins. He was four wins behind where Verlander is now...but three years younger, which is a pretty big deal. Also, Maddux then went on from his age 34 to 42 years to average 34 GS and 214 IP. By today's standards, this basically means Verlander has to lead MLB in GS and IP pretty much every year for the next four to five years to have a real chance at 300 wins. Otherwise, he just won't get enough decisions.

To be clear, none of this is a statement about whether or not Verlander is a great pitcher, a future HOF'er, among the best of his generation, etc. Verlander probably has the best chance of any pitcher currently active of getting to 300 wins, right? But usage patterns have made it almost impossible for even the best pitchers to get enough decisions annually to get to 300 wins. Obviously, if the 2020 season is shortened or eliminated, this would make it even more unlikely.

Generally speaking, the more recently the 300-game winner, the more starts they needed to get to 300 wins. Based on the numbers, it'd be tough to see Verlander getting to 300 wins unless he can start another, say, 175 games. That would be more than five seasons of leading the league in games started. Now, he has led the league in GS the last two seasons, and five times overall, so if there is somebody who might be able to pull it off, it's probably Verlander.

But the point is that the kind of pitchers who could win 300 games in the past often could not do so today. (If Mark Buehrle had pitched in the late 1960s through the early 1980s, he'd have been Don Sutton.)

Last point: The idea that there may be nobody who pitched in 2019 who will get 300 wins is not as exotic an idea as it may first appear. 24 pitchers have won 300+ games:
- Six of them debuted between 1962 and 1967 (plus people like Jenkins and Blyleven).
- Only four of them debuted since 1967 (Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, and Glavine)
- Only three pitchers got to 300+ who debuted between 1911 and 1962 (Grove and Wynn won exactly 300; Spahn won 363).

The real outliers in history since 1911 are that batch of 1960s horses, plus Spahn, Clemens, Maddux, and Randy Johnson. That's it. Increasingly, the right question to ask is not why more pitchers aren't going to get to 300 today...it's how did that unique batch of absolute workhorses emerge at once in the 1960s?






   24. Itchy Row Posted: April 09, 2020 at 06:23 PM (#5938040)
Somehow, Bob Horner, Joel Zumaya, and Nick Johnson will be hurt the most. Baseball is a game of tradition, and that will make the rest of us feel like everything is getting back to normal.
   25. The Mighty Quintana Posted: April 09, 2020 at 06:41 PM (#5938049)
Team-wise, I gotta think this hurts the Dodgers the most, they were primed on their revenge tour to lay waste to the NL. Helps the Astros, they don't have to get plunked daily...

HOF-wise, it hurts consistent aggregators like Freddie Freeman, he might really need those 185 hits and 100 RBI in 10 years.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2020 at 08:13 PM (#5938076)
#23 ... the point in your post should really be about innings. Healthy starters still get 32-33 starts a year, there's been no change in that usage other than possibly teams begin more aggressive about skipping the occasional start or using the DL to give an older guy some mid-season rest. What has changed is IP/start. And for the top guys, it's still not completely clear that has changed. For the last 4 years, Verlander has averaged 34 starts and 218 IP. Greinke for the last 3 is 33 starts and 206 IP. It's a guy like CC who's "hurt" by current usage (27-28 starts, 150 IP over his last 5 seasons) but that's a mix of minor injuries due to aging and likely aftereffects of 2014's injury plus just not being particularly good (104 ERA+). And if he was trotted out there for 30+ starts a year, maybe he doesn't last as long in terms of seasons.

Anyway, a healthy starter still gets 32-34 starts a year and, while there is some evidence that innings are dropping even at the top end, will still get around 200 innings. The drop in innings will generally reduce the number of decisions -- a question then is whether bullpens help increase the winning percentage (probably not but it's worth a look).

Anyway, Verlander averaged 25 decisions over the last 4 years; Greinke 24 over the last 3 and CC just 17 over his last 5. Glavine averaged 25 decisions and 214 innings for ages 33-41. Maddux was at 27 decisions and 218 innings for 33-41. Sutton was at 24 decisions and about 217 innings.

As noted, few individual pitchers were good bets at age 33 or 36 but the field was big enough we could count on somebody making it over every now and then. It's not clear yet that the individual star pitcher's chances are any worse and especially unclear that they are much worse at age 33 than they were but it's quite possible that the field will be thinner. That might have as much to do with lower usage at young ages than with greater restrictions at older ages. Scherzer didn't have a full season until 24; he wasn't "allowed" over 200 innings until 28. Since 27, he's averaged 23.5 decisions and 212 innings. (22.5 and 187 for 24-27.)

Bumgarner is the other guy that springs to mind because he did get such a young start (204 IP at 21) but the 2017-18 injuries took away some of that advantage. In his healthy seasons, he's been averaging 24.5 decisions.

Of course there's also team quality to consider. Glavine was a fine pitcher but he wasn't so much a "300 win" pitcher as he was a "270 win" pitcher who frequently pitched for teams that won 100 games a year. Bumgarner has 3 rings but has yet to pitch on a team with more than 94 wins and the Giants were only 24 games over 500 in his time there. Glavine was on some real stinker teams but also on 8 Braves teams and 1 Mets team that won more than 94. The Braves were +261 in his years (and Mets +1).
   27. Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2020 at 08:29 PM (#5938084)
If there's no 2020 season, the most screwed guys are the prospects who would have started their clocks and gotten a nice paycheck for at least part of the season. Also any players who debuted for less than half a season last year but would have had a full season this year as they still won't have a full year of service time at 2020's end. Obviously in the alternate universe where all the games were played there are guys who had their only cup of coffee ever, some with enough service days to qualify for the pension. But those are essentially "random" players, we'll never know who they would have been and nearly all of them will have the same probability of it happening in 2021. But we also know they exist and they got screwed.

Pending FAs who had subpar 2019s are potentially screwed (if they were about to have a good 2020). If the trade stands, the Dodgers are screwed. I don't know if the DBacks gave up anything of value but they only get Marte for 2021. And yes, Pujols' BA sits on .2996 and his WAR at 100.8 but he's still under contract for 2021 ... maybe something can be worked out. (Of course his WAR could change due to updates anyway.)
   28. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: April 09, 2020 at 09:01 PM (#5938090)
And yes, Pujols' BA sits on .2996 and his WAR at 100.8 but he's still under contract for 2021 ... maybe something can be worked out. (Of course his WAR could change due to updates anyway.)


I was going to say something about how we should cancel the 2019 season too, just to be safe, but then I noticed that he was (barely) above replacement last year. So, snark fail. The only year he was actually below replacement was 2017. If you want to protect his batting average though it's probably best to forget his time with the halos. He hit 328 (!) during his time with the Cardinals. That was pretty incredible, he was Wade Boggs with power.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: April 09, 2020 at 09:07 PM (#5938092)
Team-wise, I gotta think this hurts the Dodgers the most, they were primed on their revenge tour to lay waste to the NL. Helps the Astros, they don't have to get plunked daily..


Agree about the Dodgers.... the post season is always an issue of course, but I have to think the Dodgers had pretty much everything laid out perfectly to make it a real run.

I just wanted to say I like Walt's post in 26/27 and Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer in post 23... I'll still state I don't think the 300 win pitcher is dead and I don't even think Verlander is out of the discussion either way...
   30. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: April 09, 2020 at 09:22 PM (#5938098)
Anyway, Verlander averaged 25 decisions over the last 4 years; Greinke 24 over the last 3 and CC just 17 over his last 5. Glavine averaged 25 decisions and 214 innings for ages 33-41. Maddux was at 27 decisions and 218 innings for 33-41. Sutton was at 24 decisions and about 217 innings.


Not disagreeing in any way, but just to add more to this... While not 300-game winners, Pettitte and Mussina were both very good (or better) pitchers with long, largely injury-free careers who usually played for good (or better) teams. In Pettitte's last 4 seasons, he averaged 16 decisions and 146 IP, Mussina 23 decisions and 182 IP. The homestretch to 300 is hard. There's a big gulf between really freaking good and able to reach 300 wins. Or, as Pete Rose said after Jeter got his 3,000th hit, "the first 3,000 hits are easy."
   31. ajnrules Posted: April 09, 2020 at 10:12 PM (#5938107)
Starts, innings pitched, and decisions for the 300-game winners in the AL era at the time of their 300th win, in chronological order

Pitcher            GS    IP       Dec (Win-Loss)
Christy Mathewson  433   3738.0   439 (300-139)
Eddie Plank        485   4080.1   471 (300-171)
Walter Johnson     444   4135.2   494 (300-194)
Pete Alexander     463   4078.0   457 (300-157)
Lefty Grove        451   3914.1   438 (300-138)
Warren Spahn       532   4262.1   494 (300-194)
Early Wynn         611   4536.2   543 (300-243)
Gaylord Perry      634   4994.2   541 (300-241)
Steve Carlton      605   4551.2   499 (300-199)
Tom Seaver         609   4540.2   489 (300-189)
Phil Niekro        658   5055.0   550 (300-250)
Don Sutton         685   4873.1   533 (300-233)
Nolan Ryan         695   4905.1   567 (300-267)
Roger Clemens      587   4156.1   455 (300-155)
Greg Maddux        594   4115.1   470 (300-170)
Tom Glavine        659   4293.2   497 (300-197)
Randy Johnson      597   4097.1   464 (300-164


Starts, innings pitched, and decisions for the pitchers that retired with 251-299 wins in the AL era, in descending order by win totals

Pitcher            GS    IP       Dec (Win-Loss)
Tommy John         700   4710.1   519 (288-231)
Bert Blyleven      685   4970.0   537 (287-250)
Robin Roberts      609   4688.2   531 (286-245)
Fergie Jenkins     594   4500.2   510 (284-226)
Jim Kaat           625   4530.1   520 (283-237)
Red Ruffing        538   4344.0   498 (273-225)
Burleigh Grimes    497   4180.0   482 (270-212)
Mike Mussina       536   3562.2   423 (270-153)
Jamie Moyer        638   4074.0   478 (269-209)
Jim Palmer         521   3948.0   420 (268-152)
Eppa Rixey         554   4494.2   517 (266-251)
Bob Feller         484   3827.0   428 (266-162)
Ted Lyons          484   4161.0   490 (260-230)
Andy Pettitte      521   3316.0   409 (256-153)
Red Faber          483   4086.2   467 (254-213)
Jack Morris        527   3824.0   440 (254-186)
Carl Hubbell       433   3590.1   407 (253-154)
Bob Gibson         482   3884.1   425 (251-174)
CC Sabathia        560   3577.1   412 (251-161


A cursory glance that these numbers suggest that a pitcher is pretty much going to have to pass 4,000 innings pitched to have a shot at getting to 300 wins. The fellows that retired with at least 280 wins certainly blew past the 4500-innings mark, but the decisions didn't go their way quite enough. The more crippling thing is that most of the more recent pitchers just don't get 4,000 innings. Jamie Moyer only got there by pitching until he was 47. With CC's retirement, nobody is even at 3,000 innings anymore.

Starts, innings pitched, and decisions for active pitchers with at least 100 wins, in descending order by win totals

Pitcher            GS    IP       Dec (Win-Loss)
Justin Verlander   453   2982.0   354 (225-129)
Zack Greinke       447   2872.0   328 (205-123)
Jon Lester         411   2537.2   298 (190-108)
Max Scherzer       356   2290.0   159 (170-89)
Felix Hernandez    418   2729.2   305 (169-136)
Clayton Kershaw    344   2274.2   243 (169-74)
Cole Hamels        421   2694.2   284 (163-121)
Adam Wainwright    316   2103.2   257 (162-95)
David Price        311   2029.2   230 (150-80)
Rick Porcello      339   2037.1   267 (149-118)
Gio Gonzalez       324   1901.1   229 (130-99)
Johnny Cueto       296   1856.1   213 (126-87)
J.AHapp          289   1692.0   211 (121-90)
Madison Bumgarner  286   1846.0   211 (119-92)
Ubaldo Jimenez     315   1870.0   231 (114-117)
Francisco Liriano  300   1813.2   226 (112-114)
Stephen Strasburg  239   1438.2   170 (112-58)
Chris Sale         232   1629.2   182 (109-73)
Anibal Sanchez     316   1895.1   216 (108-108)
Edwin Jackson      318   1960.0   240 (107-133)
Jake Arrieta       252   1469.1   181 (106-75)
Mike Leake         296   1829.0   203 (105-98


Verlander is 1018 innings from 4,000. He can get there with five more seasons of 200 innings pitched. He's averaged around 75 wins every 1,000 innings pitched. If he does that it would put him at exactly 300. Of course, if the 2020 season is canceled, those last 1018 innings would have to come in his age 38-42 seasons. Our most recent 300-game winner Randy Johnson threw 1050.1 innings in his age 38-42 seasons. As much as it would be cool to say I got to see the last time somebody reached 300 wins, I'm still holding out hope that Verlander does it.
   32. flournoy Posted: April 09, 2020 at 11:07 PM (#5938122)
Of course there's also team quality to consider. Glavine was a fine pitcher but he wasn't so much a "300 win" pitcher as he was a "270 win" pitcher who frequently pitched for teams that won 100 games a year. [...] The Braves were +261 in his years.


Consider that Glavine was a big part of the reason the Braves were so good. Throughout the '90s, the Braves paired a roughly league-average offense with the greatest rotation of all time. And Glavine didn't draw any in-game benefit from the Braves having Greg Maddux and John Smoltz around, either.
   33. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: April 10, 2020 at 08:22 AM (#5938180)
Max Scherzer will lose what might well be his last truly elite year.

It sucks for the nats, who brought back most of a very old team for another shot, although they would still have Soto and Robles and Turner, and Strasburg and Corbin should still be effective.
   34. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 10, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5938260)
Joey Votto is probably a long-shot for the HOF, but to get there, he definitely needs another few seasons of average to above-average production. He needs two full seasons to get to around 2000 games, which would be slightly more than McGwire (1874), and fewer than Bagwell (2150), who has the fewest games of any modern HOF first-baseman.
   35. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 10, 2020 at 01:06 PM (#5938283)
I love the list generated by bobm in #21. It really says it all:

11 of the 31 pitchers who won 200+ games through age 34 ended up winning 300+

4 of the 52 pitchers who won 175-199 games through age 34 ended up winning 300+

Only two pitchers in history had fewer than Gaylord Perry's 177 wins through age 34 and ended up winning 300+: Randy Johnson (143) and Phil Niekro (110).

Among pitchers who are active in 2020, most wins through age 34 (or younger):

Verlander 188
Greinke 187
Lester 177
Scherzer 170
Kershaw 169
Hamels 156
Price 150
Porcello 149
Sale 109




   36. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: April 10, 2020 at 01:08 PM (#5938286)
What are the thoughts on Scherzer's hall of fame case? He sure feels like one, and he's at 60 WAR already, but his conventional numbers are quite light, and he's already in his mid-30s. There's a real possibility (IDK: 30%?) that he doesn't make it to 200 wins. It's hard to put together a hall of fame argument if you don't really start building it until you're 28. I mean, it's possible, but the two names that really spring to mind of guys who did it both threw knuckleballs.

Roy Halladay, minus the early death, is probably Scherzer's best hope. Halladay had 500 more innings than Scherzer, but a career ERA+ only one point lower. Given that he's about to miss his age 35 season, I have to think that ERA+ is going to come down quite a bit over the next 500 innings. The other guy he reminds me of is Brett Saberhagen. Sabes had 300 more innings than Scherzer has now, but fewer wins and an ERA+ five points lower. Halladay was first ballot, Saberhagen was one and done. Can Scherzer come in closer to the former than the latter?
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: April 10, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5938288)
What are the thoughts on Scherzer's hall of fame case?


I think this past season erased any doubt.
   38. Jaack Posted: April 10, 2020 at 02:04 PM (#5938310)
Scherzer has three Cy Youngs which is going to be hard for voters to overlook.

I also don't think voters will 'feel' his career as being short as Saberhagen - Scherzer's been durable and consistent since he emerged, while Saberhagen was 18 years removed from his last big year when he hit the ballot. Scherzer's career numbers may be a bit light, but his reign has been long enough that he'll avoid looking like a shooting star a la Denny McClain or Tim Lincecum.

---
Zack Greinke is losing some padding that would really help his HoF chances. His road to 250 wins is rough and that would really help make his case to voters that might not see his excellence. He lacks the same sex appeal of Verlander, Kershaw, and Scherzer and may get lost among them.

The aformentioned Votto is in a rough spot here too. He could really use some padding. Buster Posey is another one.
   39. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 10, 2020 at 03:50 PM (#5938379)
I was amazed Zack Greinke only has 205 wins. He's almost at the end of his career and he started at age 20.

How much is this related to his era?

Greinke: 447 starts, 2872 innings, 125 ERA+, 205 wins

Paul Derringer (retired 1945): 445 starts, 3645 innings, 108 ERA+, 223 wins (206 wins as a starter)
Jim Perry (retired 1975): 447 starts, 3285 innings, 106 ERA+, 215 wins
Rick Wise (retired 1982): 455 starts, 3127 innings, 101 ERA+, 188 wins
Mike Torrez (retired 1984): 458 starts, 3043 innnings, 98 ERA+, 185 wins

What about someone as good as Greinke?

Juan Marichal (retired 1975): 457 starts, 3507 innings, 123 ERA+, 243 wins

More recently:

Justin Verlander: 453 starts, 2982 innings, 129 ERA+, 225 wins
John Lackey: 446 starts, 2840 innings, 110 ERA+, 188 wins
Kevin Millwood: 451 starts, 2720 innings, 106 ERA+, 169 wins
   40. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 10, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5938389)
The guys who get screwed are those who didn't play enough of a 2019 season to tick up to the full year of service time. Someone like James Karinchak, who looked like he locked down a spot in the Cleveland bullpen will get all of 17 days of service time in a lost 2020 season, and will enter free agency a year later than expected.
That’s true, especially for any late bloomers who didn’t get called up until ~ age-25 or older. Not that many prime years left to make up for the late start and lost 2020 service time. The arbitration rules should be tweaked to give those guys, and others, a break by considering age as well as service time, but I doubt MLB will agree.

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