Twenty-four pitchers in MLB history have won 300 games over the course of their careers. The last player to have reached the milestone was Randy Johnson, and it took him 21 years to get there.
But C.C. Sabathia could be the next pitcher to get to that illustrious number.
Currently in his 12th major league season, Sabathia has 181 wins in his career—an average of just over 15 wins per season. Since 2007, he has won 17 games or more, including a 21-win season in 2010.
So far this season, he has five wins in eight starts.
Let's assume that, barring a collapse by Sabathia and/or the Yankees, he records a 19-win season, as he has done three times in the past five seasons. So, add an extra 14 wins to his record, and he has 195 wins total.
His current contract allows him to continue pitching for the Yankees until 2016 or 2017, if he remains healthy. Taking the 2017 year into account, that would mean he would need to earn, on average, 17.5 wins each year to reach 300.
Of course, this also doesn't take into account what he does after his current contract ends. He'll be 36 or 37 years old (depending on what happens), which could warrant him another three to five more years left in his career (possibly more).
That would mean the average wins per season needed would be even lower.
So, the question is, can Sabathia do it?
Personally, I think so. Sabathia has been one of the most consistent and most durable pitchers of the last decade. He has started in 30 games or more every year of his career, except for 2006 (he started 28 games). He's posted double-digit wins every season, including 17 or more over the last five seasons. His ERA hasn't been over four since 2005, and has hung around the low to mid-threes in recent years.
But what has helped him earn so many wins in his career is the workload he carries.
Sabathia pitches 200-plus innings a year, and has—again in recent years—been pitching close or over the 250-inning mark. Often, you'll see his name at the top of the innings pitched category. Sabathia is a pitcher who can get through those later innings with ease. In fact, he's pitched 33 complete games over the course of his career, including 10 in 2008.
With Sabathia's pitching abilities and the always-potent Yankees offense, Sabathia certainly has a good chance of reaching 300 wins before his career is over.
My main concern about Sabathia, though, is his durability as he reaches his twilight years.
While the huge workload he carries has helped him earn wins over the years, I wonder how much this will affect him in the future. Throwing so many pitches each game, I sometimes get that feeling it's only a matter of time before he ends up on the disabled list.
And then what? Will he be the same C.C. Sabathia we all know and love (or hate) or will he be a shadow of his former self?
That's the key to whether or not Sabathia can reach that milestone: his durability in the future. If he can continue to remain healthy, as he has done so far in his career, there's little doubt in my mind that Sabathia will become the 25th (or 26th if you think Jamie Moyer can pitch beyond his 50s) player to earn 300 career wins.
So, do you think Sabathia can get to 300 wins? By the time his career ends, how many wins do you think he'll have? Post your thoughts below.