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February 28, 2013 5:00 am
Updating the Glavine Line and looking for the next immortal.
It's spring and that means feral optimism is available in bulk. Soon a barrage of articles proclaiming any and every team a potential surprise contender will surface, and so will pieces predicting big seasons out of players young and old alike. There will be articles like this one, too, which deals with the next 300-game winner. There's no real science to it. Pick a youngish pitcher with a track record of success and build him up. By the time that pitcher fails to win 300 nobody will remember anyhow. Still, pieces discussing the next 300-game winner can be fun.
Take Mike Fast's debut article at Baseball Prospectus, from October 2010, in which he introduced the Glavine Line. Fast's creation was based on the idea that its namesake took the slacker's route to 300 wins by doing the minimum required and no more. The measure deals in simplicity instead of complexity and allows you to get a feel for a pitcher's pace relative to Glavine by comparing his actual wins with a crude projection (15.5 wins from his age-22 season onward). It's a clean, tidy, and ineffective way of identifying the next 300-game winner—as Fast admitted in the original piece.