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Posted: Wednesday June 3, 2009 12:27PM; Updated: Thursday June 4, 2009 1:01PM
Ted Keith Ted Keith >
INSIDE BASEBALL

Who will follow Randy Johnson in the marathon race to 300 wins? (cont.)

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Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano is off to a great start in his career, but his temper and balky shoulder could give him problems.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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Mark Buehrle, White Sox, 30
Entering '09: 122 wins over nine years (13.6 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 178 wins over 14 years (12.7 W/Yr.)
'09: 6-1 in 10th season
He's not glamorous, but he is effective. Buehrle has made 30 or more starts in each of his nine full seasons, and his wins per year is right on target for 300. He has yet to break down or slow down, and without a single 20-win season to his credit, he could be the least-heralded pitcher ever to get to 300.

CC Sabathia, Yankees, 28
Entering' 09: 117 wins over eight years (14.6 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 183 over 15 years (12.2 W/Yr.)
'09: 5-3 in ninth season
Sabathia's well-noted girth has not kept him from making at least 28 starts in every season of his career, and other hefty lefties, such as David Wells, have managed to pitch for years despite battling weight issues. Sabathia's youth, and the Yankees' willingness to make sure he always has a competitive team around him, will aid his pursuit.

Johan Santana, Mets, 30
Entering '09: 109 wins over nine years (12.1 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 184 wins over 13 years (14.2 W/Yr.)
'09: 7-3 in 10th season
Santana won only 11 games in his first three seasons, but he has made up for it since then. He has arguably the best stuff in the game, but with only nine complete games in his career he'll need to rely on his bullpen to help get him to 300. The Mets' 'pen cost him seven wins last season, which might not seem like much but could be damaging over the long haul, and a lack of run support has again plagued him this season.

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs, 28
Entering '09: 96 wins over eight seasons (12 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 204 wins over 15 years (13.6 W/Yr.)
'09: 3-2 in ninth season
Zambrano's temper, and his sometimes-balky shoulder, are the biggest factors standing in the way of a serious run at 300. He's on pace so far.

Josh Beckett, Red Sox, 29
Entering '09: 89 wins over eight years (11.1 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 211 wins over 15 years (14.1 W/Yr.)
'09: 5-2 in ninth season
Didn't win 10 games in a season until his fifth year. Unless he can shake the injury woes that have plagued him (only one season with more than 30 starts), he is a long shot.

Jake Peavy, Padres, 28
Entering '09: 86 wins over seven years (12.3 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 214 wins over 16 years (13.4 W/Yr.)
'09: 5-6 in eighth season.
Peavy's on pace for now, but if he's traded, how will that factor in? Though his ERA has benefited from spacious PETCO Park (and before that, Qualcomm) -- it's more than 1.00 better than on the road -- Peavy has actually won more games away from San Diego than he has in his home ballpark.

Justin Verlander, Tigers, 26
Entering '09: 46 wins over four years (11.5 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 254 wins over 19 years (13.4 W/Yr.)
'09: 6-2 in fifth season
Won 35 games in his first two full seasons before taking a step backward last year. Seems to have fixed the problems that plagued him a year ago. Recent history has suggested that power pitchers (Seaver, Ryan, Clemens, Johnson) can get to 300 if they stay in shape, and Verlander falls into that category.

Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 23
Entering '09: 39 wins over four years (9.75 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 261 years over 19 years (13.7 W/Yr.)
'09: 5-3 in fifth season
King Felix debuted at 19, giving him a major headstart on the race to 300, but despite all his wondrous gifts he has had only one winning season in his career. Is he a colossal bust or a clone of Johnson, who was 29 before he had a breakout year? King Felix better not wait that long if he wants to get to 300.

Zack Greinke, Royals, 25
Entering '09: 34 wins over five years (6.8 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 266 wins over 18 years (14.8 W/Yr.)
'09: 8-1 in sixth season
Greinke is the story of the year so far, having a breakout season at age 26. Shades of Glavine, who had only 33 wins entering the season he turned 25?

Cole Hamels, Phillies, 25
Entering '09: 38 wins over three years (12.7 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 262 wins over 20 years (13.1 W/Yr.)
'09: 3-2 in fourth season
Joining Steve Carlton as lefties who won 300 with the Phillies isn't necessary to endear last year's NLCS and World Series MVP to Philadelphia fans. Hamels has never won more than 15 games in a season, which will need to change if he's to mount any kind of serious charge to make up for inevitable late-career falloff.

Tim Lincecum, Giants, 24
Entering '09: 25 wins over two years (12.5 W/Yr.)
Wins needed: 275 wins over 21 years (13.1 W/Yr.)
'09: 4-1 in third season
So young, so good, so far away. Lincecum's crazy windup and superb stuff have baffled hitters, but it's way too soon to know whether he has the staying power to make a serious run at 300.

It isn't yet known whether any of these pitchers will come anywhere close to 300. After all, Dwight Gooden had 154 wins by age 28 and finished with only 194. It may be that it is a pitcher not on this list, or not yet even in the major leagues, who gets to 300 next. The only certainty is, as Pettitte said Tuesday, "After Randy gets it, no one's going to have a shot for a long, long time."

 
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