But...That Doesn't Help Prove Your Point At All...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

(posted by OMDQ)

As expected, tonight's ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast featured much talk about the future of 300 game winners. Most experts tend to agree - misguidedly, I believe - that Tom Glavine will be the last pitcher to reach that milestone, backing up their position with talk of pitch counts, increased specialization, and statistics (every pitcher currently within striking distance is either really old or two steps short of washed up).

Jon Miller and Joe Morgan tried the statistical route tonight, and I'm not sure how well it worked. Discussing the increased roles that relievers have taken on in recent years, ESPN flashed a graphic comparing the career complete game totals of Cy Young (749), Warren Spahn (382), Roger Clemens (118), Greg Maddux (109), and Glavine (57).

If you're debating specialization, then yeah, these are great numbers to show. Obviously pitchers today are throwing far, far fewer complete games than in Cy Young's day. But if you're using this as an argument that 300 game winners are becoming extinct - um, don't all five guys named above have 300 wins, despite significant changes from generation to generation? Yes, yes they do. Is this a bad statistic to use in this particular argument? Yes, yes it is.

This is just one example, but it helps illustrate exactly why the so-called experts are foolish to even suggest that Tom Glavine will be the last pitcher to win 300 games. No matter how much the game changes, the cream always rises to the top, at least one or two of the best pitchers always rise to the occasion and are long enough for good enough to get to 300. That's the way it works.

Who will win 300 games next? My money is on C.C. Sabathia, who is in terrific position for his age, but we'll have to wait and see how the next decade treats him. Even if Sabathia doesn't do it, however, somebody else will appear on the horizon, either from this generation or the next. Bet on it.

Posted by One More Dying Quail at 11:46 PM

9 Comments:

They should start keeping statistics on how much Joe Morgan talks about himself to illustrate his points, how many times he leaves Jon Miller hanging in awkward silence, and how many times his sentences become "I am right and there's no more discussion necessary" statements.

How many times tonight did we hear, "Well, you know...I batted against Warren Spahn..."? Ugh.

Fire that guy.

Congrats to Glavine! He was always in the shadows and deserved a big night like tonight for himself.

Anonymous said...
Aug 6, 2007, 12:54:00 AM  

anon, I don't think I could go on if they ever fired Joe Morgan. He's actually so bad that I enjoy tuning in to hear what he's going to say next.

Unless they pair him with Berman. That's not okay.

Aug 6, 2007, 1:04:00 AM  

Here's the only statistic they need:

How many hits did Glavine give up in the 1995 World Series when he had to pitch against:

Kenny Lofton
Carlos Baerga
Manny Ramirez
Albert Belle
Jim Thome
Sandy Alomar, Jr.

Answer: ONE.

Congratulations to Tom Glavine! Morgan is the grumpy old uncle you try to avoid at Thanksgiving...give the job to Hershiser!

Anonymous said...
Aug 6, 2007, 1:55:00 AM  

They did pair him with Berman for two of Giants-Dodgers games last week and my TV exploded.

During one game Kevin Frandsen got a pinch hit off of the Dodgers starter, Mark Hendrickson and as Grady Little came out to pull Hendrickson Morgan says "it seems he left him in for one pitch too many".

Berman, being a Red Sox fan, swallowed his tongue and need to be revived by the LA County Paramedics.

Steve said...
Aug 6, 2007, 10:42:00 AM  

Luis Castillllllllooo!!!

Phace said...
Aug 6, 2007, 10:56:00 AM  

OMDQ, you bring up the exact thing I was thinking last night. The Official Narrative (according to ESPN anyway) is that Glavine is the last of the 300-game winners. Funny, because I heard THE EXACT SAME THING from them and all the talking heads 4 years ago when Clemens did it, and 3 years ago when Maddux did it. Actually, it's not just ESPN, because I was flipping around on sports radio last night to hear the Glavine reaction, and it's like they got their talking points handed down from on high: Glavine, The Last Of The 300-Game Winners.

You know, I have enough faith in the game of baseball that someone of great skill will win 300 games. I'm not advocating any one of these guys (OK, maybe Roy O), but they are all under 30 years old and should at least be considered as possibilities if they stay healthy and on decent teams: Zito (110 wins), Oswalt (109), Sabathia (95), Garland (90), and Santana (28).

Bouj said...
Aug 6, 2007, 11:07:00 AM  

My favorite part of the night? When ESPN spelled his name "Glavin" on one of its thousands of graphics.

J.J. said...
Aug 6, 2007, 11:41:00 AM  

Don't forget Beckett 27 yrs old and 71 wins.

Steve said...
Aug 6, 2007, 12:31:00 PM  

If Pedro Martinez can come back and stay healthy for somewhere between five and seven more years, he's got a good shot (206 wins, 35 years old).

After him, though, I dunno. Pedro's winning percentage is the the highest for pitchers with over 200 career decisions ever at just under 70%. In a 162 game season with a five man rotation, you'll pitch probably 35 games at the high end. 70% of 35 is 24.5. So at 24.5 wins a season, you get #300 in your thirteenth season. You also have the highest winning percentage of all time for more than 200 career decisions, have never gotten hurt, were among the best from the minute you got called up from triple-A, and the bullpen very rarely blew it for you.

The age the pitchers mentioned, by the numbers, if they equal the most number of wins they've ever had in one season to date will hit 300:
Josh Beckett, 41 (16/season, which admittedly he'll almost certainly better this season)

Barry Zito, 37 (23/season)

Roy Oswalt, 39 (20/season)

C. C. Sabathia, 39 (17/season)

Jon Garland, 38 (18/season)

Johan Santana, 39 (20/season)

Of these guy, who's most likely to actually make it? (Probably Beckett, assuming he'll be more like he is this year than he has been previously) Least likely? (Probably Zito, by the same reasoning)

Things to keep in mind: Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer are 44, Nolan Ryan was 46 when he retired. By the same calculation as the other guys, Roy Halladay, whom I love to death, would hit it when he was 39 as well, with 22 wins in 2003 and 107 career wins; and does anyone really believe THAT will happen?

Mark said...
Aug 6, 2007, 2:51:00 PM  

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