Ah, the simpler days of baseball.
I remember a time when the number of runs a batter drove in was actually considered a decent measurement of his worth. Just thinking about it makes me feel like an old man sitting on a porch rambling incoherently about the good old days when an RBI meant something, and candy bars cost a nickel.
Of course, the time that I now remember so fondly was also an era in which this was considered a legitimate fashion statement. But hey, no era is perfect right?
In recent years however, a growing community of sabermetricians and advanced statisticians has caused a dramatic change in the way numbers are perceived in baseball.
These days RBI are seen as more of an indicator of lineup depth, rather than individual offensive potency. “Old school” stats like hits and runs have given way to more complex measurements like WAR and BABIP.
But the 20-win mark is a remarkably simple yardstick that has not tarnished with time. It is an oldie but a goodie. A 20-win season means the same thing today that it did 20 years ago—that a pitcher has been really, really good.
It seems almost too simple an explanation that 20 wins equals good pitcher, but that is what's so great about the 20-win mark—it's simplicity is timeless.
Seeing a pitcher win 20 games is like turning the radio dial and randomly coming across Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang or any other old-school jam that rocked your world years ago. It is still so good that even by its 100th listen, coming across it in the midst of newer, more complex developments still seems refreshing.
The following is a list of 13 seriously talented individuals who are either already in this select class of 20 game winners or could make the leap this season.