CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Blazing the O'Malley T... (04/24)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Offensive... (04/19)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Envel... (05/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Missing Contender (04/24)

April 24, 2008

Can Of Corn

Pitching Milestones in Reach

by Dayn Perry

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

As you recall, the last time out I gave the once-over to a few individual offensive milestones that might be reached in 2008. This time around, as promised, it's the pitchers' turn. And massive props to John Smoltz for hurrying along and giving me one fewer milestone to write about. With that, onward...

Greg Maddux
Milestone: 350 wins
Current Total: 349
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 6

Baseball's greatest dork (and I don't say that pejoratively) is close to becoming just the ninth pitcher ever to reach 350 wins; only something truly disastrous--like untimely death or being traded to the Giants--can keep Maddux from getting there. Of course, his Hall of Fame invitation was assured long ago, so consider this a mere flourish.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 99%

Randy Johnson
Milestone: 300 wins
Current Total: 284
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 5

Johnson wasn't a rotation mainstay in the majors until the age of 25, so it's fairly impressive that he's got a shot at 300 at all. With that said, he's probably not going to get there this season; we're almost into May, and he's yet to record a win. He's playing for a very good team, so that's in his favor. However, Johnson's 44 year old and coming off major back surgery, so it's doubtful that he's going to pitch well enough and pitch deeply enough into games to pick up 16 wins in five months. Johnson's velocity has been down in his first two starts, and his mechanics have also looked a bit on the funky side. So don't bet on it happening this year.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 15%

Randy Johnson
Milestone: No. 2 on all-time strikeout list
Current Total: 4,629, needs 4,673
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 79

PECOTA's low projection is mostly a function of the fact that it's tabbed Johnson to pitch just 77 innings this season, and considering his age and injury history, that's certainly possible. Of course, he needs only 44 whiffs to pass Roger Clemens and move into second place on the all-time strikeout list. For Johnson to come up short, he'd have to come perilously close to his 10th-percentile PECOTA forecast, and that's unlikely. He'll never catch Nolan Ryan atop the list, but second place is damned impressive.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 80%

Billy Wagner
Milestone: 400 saves
Current Total: 362
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 31

Wagner is presently seventh on the career saves ledger, and needs just 38 more to become fifth pitcher in history to reach 400. PECOTA doesn't think he'll pull it off, and to its credit, he's on pace for PECOTA's exact projected total of 31. Still, Wagner's pitching for a team that will provide him with plenty of save opportunities, and he's still performing at a high level. So he's certainly got a shot. Also worth noting ... Although it won't happen this season, Wagner is just 62 saves from tying John Franco for the all-time lead in saves by a lefty.

How about the Hall of Fame? Wagner's name isn't one that comes to mind when thinking of enshrinement, and we've yet to establish clear standards for relievers (assist: Sutter, Bruce). Still, here's how Wagner stacks up with the crop of current, soon-to-be and maybe-soon-to-be Hall-of-Fame relievers in terms of PRAR adjusted for all-time (we're leaving out Dennis Eckersley, since he's more of a hybrid induction):

Rich Gossage*         847
Mariano Rivera        825
Lee Smith             784
Trevor Hoffman        751
Rollie Fingers        726
Billy Wagner          628
Bruce Sutter          555
* Also made 37 starts in his career

As you can see, Wagner lags all save for the party-crashing Sutter. He's got a puncher's chance at overtaking Fingers and perhaps Hoffman before he's done, but Smith, Rivera, and Gossage will almost certainly elude him. Wagner's case probably won't be especially strong. As an aside, given the guys who are already in, it's hard to figure why Smith hasn't gotten more traction with voters.
Chance of Reaching Milestone (400 saves): 50%

Curt Schilling
Milestone: All-time highest strikeout-to-walk ratio
Current Total: 4.38
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 3.33 (90 K, 27 BB)

Schilling has never lacked for command, as his career K/BB lags only that of Tommy Bond, who pitched way back yonder in the "primordial soup" days of organized baseball. Bond's mark of 4.44, however, is vaguely attainable. Working against Schilling, however, is the fact that he won't pitch until midseason at the earliest. Given a realistic number of innings this season, Schilling would have to, for instance, fan 60 while walking only four in order to set the mark. Needless to say, such a run isn't likely.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 5%

Greg Maddux
Milestone: 5,000 innings
Current Total: 4,839 1/3
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 101

If Maddux can exceed 160 frames this season, then he'll become just the 13th pitcher ever to reach 5,000 innings and the first since Nolan Ryan in 1991. The last time he failed to log that many innings in a season? He was a 21-year-old rookie, and WrestleMania was still a fledgling enterprise. In other words, Maddux will probably notch this one in 2008.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 75%

Jamie Moyer
Milestone: Most home runs allowed by a left-hander
Current Total: 446, needs 449
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 16

Presently, Frank Tanana holds this dishonor, but Moyer will get there in a hurry. He'll get the innings, and he's pitching roughly half his games in a ridiculously good park for homers. In fact, it could very easily happen his next time out. Certainly, this won't be Moyer's proudest moment, but considering the top four guys on the homers-allowed list--Robin Roberts, Ferguson Jenkins, Phil Niekro, and Don Sutton--are all in Cooperstown, there are worse fates than sticking around long enough to give up a sherpa's load of bombs.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 97%

Mike Timlin
Milestone: All-time leader in games pitched by a right-hander
Current Total: 1,018, needs 1,071
PECOTA's Projected Total for 2008: 36

This record is currently held by Eckersley and his raven tresses, but Timlin is closing fast. PECOTA thinks he won't get there, tabbing him for just 36 appearances, but Timlin is on pace for 56 games this season, which would be enough to break the record. On the other hand, unless Timlin, age 42, pitches much better than he has thus far, he's not going to called on nearly so often. So pick 'em.
Chance of Reaching Milestone: 50%

Dayn Perry is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Blazing the O'Malley T... (04/24)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Offensive... (04/19)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Envel... (05/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Missing Contender (04/24)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Cueto's Quirks
Premium Article Moonshot: Detecting the Best Medicine
Fantasy Article Interleague Report: Week 26
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: DFS and the State of Fant...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: September 22, 2014
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Circling Back to The Holy...
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: The Season's Most D...

MORE FROM APRIL 24, 2008
Premium Article The Missing Contender
Premium Article Blazing the O'Malley Trail
Premium Article Under The Knife: Rehab Heroics
Prospectus Preview: Thursday's Games to Watc...

MORE BY DAYN PERRY
2008-05-24 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Mock Blockbuster, Part II
2008-05-10 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The 2008 Cardinals
2008-05-01 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Envelope, Please
2008-04-24 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Pitching Milestones in Reach
2008-04-19 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Offensive Milestones in Reach
2008-04-11 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Surging Snakes
2008-04-04 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Mock Blockbuster
More...

MORE CAN OF CORN
2008-05-24 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Mock Blockbuster, Part II
2008-05-10 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The 2008 Cardinals
2008-05-01 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Envelope, Please
2008-04-24 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Pitching Milestones in Reach
2008-04-19 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Offensive Milestones in Reach
2008-04-11 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Surging Snakes
2008-04-04 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Mock Blockbuster
More...