It seems like every time a pitcher reaches the magical mark of 300 wins, many fans and baseball people wonder aloud: “Is this the last time we’ll see someone reach 300 wins?”  That was a popular sentiment after Greg Maddux reached the mark in 2004, then Tom Glavine (2007), and most recently Randy Johnson (2009).

At the end of the 2011 season the closest active pitcher to 300 wins was Tim Wakefield, Boston’s 45-year old knuckleballer.  Wakefield notched career win number 200 on September 13.  Of course, the seemingly immortal Jamie Moyer has 267 career wins and is attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery, but Moyer turns 49 in four days (November 18).  It seems unlikely that either of these two veterans will reach 300 wins. Is the 300-game winner an extinct breed?

Not at all.

Each year, in the Bill James Handbook¸ Bill lists the players he thinks are the most likely to reach 300 wins based on a formula he devised to measure a pitcher’s chances for this sacred milestone. The key to the formula is the pitcher’s momentum (wins in recent seasons) matched up with his win total thus far in his career.

Here are the top-five 300 win candidates heading into 2012:

Player

2011 Age

Career
Wins

Chance at
300 Wins

Roy Halladay

34

188

49%

CC Sabathia

30

176

48%

Justin Verlander

28

107

31%

Cliff Lee

32

119

24%

Dan Haren

30

107

19%

Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia each have around a 50-50 shot at winning 300 games.  Justin Verlander only had a 10% chance at 300 wins entering the 2011 season, but after a 24-win season, his chances skyrocket to 31%.  The chance that one of these five gets 300 wins in his career is about 90%.

For the complete list of 300 win candidates, check out the Bill James Handbook 2012, in stores and available at ACTASports.com now.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail