Chris Jaffe at THT provided an interesting list yesterday, highlighting the 25 winningest liveball-era pitchers prior to turning 31. Here is the top 10, click through to see the entire list:
202 (224) Catfish Hunter
192 (266) Bob Feller
191 (207) Hal Newhouser
190 (193) Wes Ferrell
189 (286) Robin Roberts
185 (209) Don Drysdale
174 (268) Jim Palmer
173 (237) Waite Hoyt
171 (???) CC Sabathia
171 (223) Mel Harder
As you can see, CC Sabathia is in the top 10 all-time for wins at his age, coming in at 9th with 171 victories before the age of 31. While his odds for actually reaching 300 wins are still not that high, as you can tell by the fact that no one else in the top 10 (and only 4 of the top 25) got there, this does suggest that he is set up nicely to take a run at that milestone. In fact, it seems fairly likely that he will be the next pitcher to take aim at the number, as a look at the active wins leaders illustrates:
1. Tim Wakefield (44) 199 R 2. Roy Halladay (34) 181 R 3. Tim Hudson (35) 174 R 4. CC Sabathia (30) 172 L 5. Livan Hernandez (36) 171 R 6. Derek Lowe (38) 163 R 7. Bartolo Colon (38) 160 R 8. Kevin Millwood (36) 159 R Javier Vazquez (34) 159 R 10. Mark Buehrle (32) 156 L 11. Roy Oswalt (33) 154 R 12. Barry Zito (33) 145 L 13. Freddy Garcia (34) 142 R 14. Chris Carpenter (36) 139 R 15. Jeff Suppan (36) 138 R 16. Johan Santana (32) 133 L 17. Jon Garland (31) 132 R 18. John Lackey (32) 125 R 19. Carlos Zambrano (30) 123 R 20. Josh Beckett (31) 121 R
The only other likely contender to approach 300 wins is Roy Halladay, and that would require him to play another 6-8 years while notching 16-20 wins a season. While Halladay seems to be more machine than man and I would not put anything past him, it is fair to say that the odds do not favor him reaching 300. Which leaves CC as the only real contender, excluding the inevitable surprise candidate or two who make mid-career surges up the leaderboard.
While this potential chase is a long way away, I wonder whether the Yankees might raise it during CC’s contract negotiations this offseason. Being a Yankee is likely to give CC his best chance to climb the 300 win mountain, as he is certain to be on a regular contender that will provide him with plenty of run support. I doubt that this would be a major factor in any decision, but it cannot hurt to raise it as another point in the Yankees’ favor.
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