Tyler Carmont discussed the milestones some of the star hitters can reach in 2014 right here, but that does leave the pitching side of things. We may be years from anyone breaking any of the all-time records for wins, saves, strikeouts, saves and innings — if any of them are topped … ever. There isn’t anyone threatening 300 wins or 4,000 strikeouts, but there are plenty of candidates to reach 200 victories and 3,000 strikeouts, plus a slew of other benchmark numbers that can be achieved on the mound this season.
We make fun of the ‘win’ stat but it’s still quote amazing to see a pitcher get to and beyond 200 in a career these days. Tim Hudson and CC Sabathia reached that mark a year ago and two more have a great shot to get there in 2014.
Bartolo Colon, RHP
Colon is at 190 and despite turning 41 next month is a good bet to get 10 more victories and join the 200-win club. He’s been durable and has reinvented himself since his days as a power pitcher. The one concern is whether or not the New York Mets will support Colon enough offensively.
Mark Buerhle, LHP
Buehrle is 35 but is off to a strong start and needs just 12 victories in 2014 to reach 200. He’s been healthy his entire career, tallying 200 or more innings every season since 2001. If he gets the run support and the Blue Jays bullpen doesn’t crush his dreams, Buehrle has a shot at 200 by season’s end.
Sabathia, 33, has an outside shot at 300 wins, though his recent decline may derail the small chance that occurs. Justin Verlander is 31 and already at 138 wins and appears healthier and better set up for the long path to 300 than Sabathia, but he’s not even halfway there and if his early-2014 numbers happen to be any indication, Verlander is in stage 1 of his ultimate decline as his fastball is down to on average. After three straight years of 95 or better, Verlander’s velocity has dipped to 94.7, 94.0 and now 93.4 over his first three starts.
Felix Hernandez is by far the youngest active pitcher with more than 100 wins, sitting at 113 after turning 28 last week. The next-closest is Matt Cain, 29, who enters his next start with 93
wins. Clayton Kershaw has 78 in just 183 career starts.
Using the Baseball-Reference formula, Hudson, Buehrle and Sabathia all start the year with 50 or more Wins Above Replacement. Colon has 45, Cliff Lee 42.6 and Verlander 41.7. Remarkably, Hernandez has 39.4 bWAR and the 26-year-old Kershaw sits at 32.5.
Detroit Tigers closer Joe Nathan is eight saves from 350 and a sure-thing to get there barring injury. Jonathan Papelbon is 12 saves from 300 and Huston Street is 13 from 250. Yes, Huston Street.
J.J. Putz is 11 from 200 and Rafael Soriano is 23 saves from the same mark. Fernando Rodney has a good chance to get to 200, too, as he enters play Monday with 175 in his career.
Buehrle is just over 100 frames from 3,000 for his career and Hudson is 171 2/3 from 3,000. Sabathia need 205 2/3 innings to get there. Amazingly, Jamey Wright, 39, is just 28 innings from 2,000 and Aaron Harang is 42 away.
Jake Peavy (42 1/3), Josh Beckett (60 2/3) and Felix Hernandez (154) are likely to surpass 2,000, too.
Sabathia is 90 from 2,500 and is the active leader at age 33. Colon should get to 2,000 — he’s just 41 away — and Hudson has a shot to get to 2,000, he sits 93 shy.
Anibal Sanchez is 56 from 1,000, K-ROD is 57 away and Gio Gonzalez, 28, is just 79 from the mark.