There are 24 pitchers in the entire history of baseball to win 300 games, every one of the pitchers who has come up for vote into the Hall of Fame has been enshrined. The 4 pitchers in the 300 club who are not, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine, and Roger Clemens are modern day pitching icons and will all probably be enshrined. (Clemens may not, we will see what the voters think about his steroid use, the rest are all no doubters.) The requirements to get to 300 seem to be pitching a lot of innings on a team with a good offense while resisting injury throughout the entirety of your career or pitch in the deadball era. If we take a look at the today’s players only 1 truly stands out as a good bet to get to 300. That man is CC Sabathia, the New York Yankee ace.
CC Sabathia has 176 wins in his major league career so far and he has the type of repertoire and throwing motion that are built to last for the next 124. CC throws a smooth and easy fastball that tends to sit between 91-94, with the ability to dial it up to 97 when needed, a plus slider, plus changeup, and a seldom used sinking fastball. His big 6’9”, 290 pound frame allow him to maintain a consistent, smooth delivery that seems to be injury resistant. He never moves too quickly through his windup, and it almost looks effortless watching him hurl a ball at 94 mph.
As Jonah Keri pointed out earlier today, Sabathia is the only pitcher in baseball to pitch at least 230 innings in the last 5 years. CC easy delivery, the Yankees training staff, plain old luck, or some combination of the three have giving the hefty lefty superb injury resistance and allow him to pile up innings and wins. This sort of durability is necessary for any pitcher looking to join the 300 club.
The longer a pitcher stays in a game the greater the chance he has of picking up the win. CC averages about 7 innings per outing meaning that there is less chance for the bullpen to implode, and more chance for his own team and their terrifying lineup to come back. The powerful Yankee lineup, which has finished in the top two each of the last 3 seasons in runs scored, is a massive advantage for Sabathia in his quest for 300. Since joining the Yankees he has been able to win no fewer than 19 games, topping out at 21 in 2010. Only one other time in his previous 8 seasons had CC reached 19 wins and that was in his Cy Young season of 2008, and even though some of his Cleveland teams could hit well, they weren’t the Yankees of the past 3 seasons. The Yankees have surrounded him with the ideally opportunity to chase greatness and he will have a chance for another 6 years to continue to pile up wins. If he averages 19 a year that would give the big lefty an even 290 career wins with his contract at its completion. He would be age 36 and more than likely a shoo-in to the 300 club at that point.
Other pitchers like Justin Verlander could get to 300 but right now he is only at 107. Roy Halladay could also make a run as well but he is 4 years older than Sabathia and only has 12 more wins. Each of the pitchers are true aces and probably Hall of Famers, but CC Sabathia looks to be the most likely to be a 300 game winner.