Stat of the Day: Wins
Abbreviation: W. All Time Leader: Cy Young (511). Single Season Leader: Charles Radbourn (59 in 1884). Active Leader: Jamie Moyer (269). 2012 Leader: Gio Gonzalez (21).
The win has changed has not changed one bit since its inception at the game's birth. It has always been given absolute respect, and has always been given to the pitcher who is pitching when the final outcome is decided. However, its frequency for pitchers has plummeted because pitchers don't go nearly as deep into games as they used to. In 1884, while playing for the Providence Grays of the National League, Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn managed to have one of the greatest seasons ever. Over 73 starts (every single one of which he completed), he went 59-12 with a 1.38 ERA. The 59 wins remain a record to this day, 128 years later, and will certainly never be matched. In fact, only two players have won 40 games in a season since 1900: Jack Chesbro in 1904, when he was 41-12 with a 1.82 ERA, and Ed Walsh, when he was 40-15 with a 1.42 ERA in 1908. Denny McLain, who was 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA in 1968, is the last player to win 30 games in a season, and even he broke a 48 year drought, himself becoming the first player to win 30 since Jim Bagby in 1920, who was 31-12 with a 2.89 ERA. No pitcher may ever reach the 30 win mark again, but who knows. With healthy pitchers making 30-35 starts per year, one may come out with a sensational season. Of course, we can't have a discussion on wins without the great Cy Young. Young, who's record 511 wins will never be matched, posted nine straight seasons of at least 21 wins and reached 36 in 1892. Five times in his career did he reach the 30 win plateau, and he won at least 20 games 15 times. Walter Johnson comes in a not so close second place to Young, winning 417 games over his 21 year career and topping out at 36 in 1913. Only 24 active pitchers have reached even 20 wins, and Justin Verlanders' 24 win 2011 is the most among active pitchers. Barry Zito is the only other pitcher to win more than 22, garnering 23 victories in 2002. Nowadays, the win is losing credibility as pitchers pitching for big offensive teams such as C.C. Sabathia, Kyle Lohse, and Jered Weaver garner more victories than players for low offensive teams such as Felix Hernandez, David Price, and Chris Sale struggle for wins. Back in 2010, King Felix was just 13-12 despite a glittering 2.27 ERA.
The Hall of Fame ballot was released, including such players as returnees Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, and Larry Walker, and newcomers like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, and Mike Piazza. In my opinion, there are two Hall of Famers on the ballot: the core of the B-Hive, Biggio and Bagwell.
Free Agent Signings
Braves signed B.J. Upton (28 HR, 78 RBI, .246 AVG, 31 SB, 2013 age: 28) to a five year, $75.25 million deal ($15.05 million per season).
Angels signed Ryan Madson (missed 2012 season, 52 career saves, 3.59 ERA, 2013 age: 32) to a one year, $3.5 million deal (plus up to $3.5 million in incentives).
Red resigned Jonathan Broxton (4-5, 2.48 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 27 saves, 2013 age: 29) to a three year, $21 million deal ($7 million per season).
Yankees resigned Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2013 age: 41) to a one year, $12 million deal.
Rays signed Mike Fontenot (1 HR, 5 RBI, .289 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 33) to a minor league deal.
A's signed Scott Moore (9 HR, 26 RBI, .259 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 29) to a minor league deal.
Padres signed Travis Buck (0 HR, 6 RBI, .216 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 29) to a minor league deal.
The biggest deal of the offseason so far has been completed. B.J. Upton will join the Braves for five years after spending his entire ten year professional career with the Tampa Bay organization. In my opinion, $75.25 million is grossly overpaying a slacker outfielder who can play well if he wants to. The Virginia native has had numerous issues with lack of hustle, and he has not pushed his average over .250 since 2008. However, he comes with big time pop and speed, having five straight years of over 30 stolen bases and seeing home run totals increase every year since 2008. Last year, he set career highs in at bats (573), total bases (260), and home runs (28), while also setting a career full-season low with just six caught stealings. He turned on the power during the final third of the season, knocking 19 home runs over the schedule's final two months. Upton had a solid career in Tampa Bay, and leaves the club second to Carl Crawford in franchise history in virtually every offensive category, including games, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, and stolen bases. He does have the recognition in being the club's all time strikeout leader at 1020, whiffing more times than any player in a Rays or Devil Rays uniform. Upton will join Jayson Heyward and Martin Prado in the Atlanta outfield, replacing a departed Michael Bourn.
When the Reds signed Ryan Madson to a one year deal last year, they didn't envision that he would not pitch a single game for them. Tommy John surgery caused the 32 year old to miss the whole 2012 season, and he will now join the Angels on another one year deal. Los Angeles is hoping they get Ryan from 2011, who saved 32 games and posted a 2.37 ERA, to join Jordan Walden, Ernesto Frieri, and Scott Downs in the back end of the bullpen. The 6'6" Madson has saved 52 games over his big league career, and made 491 appearances.
Twins traded Denard Span (4 HR, 41 RBI, .283 AVG, 17 SB, 2013 age: 29) to the Nationals for minor leaguer Alex Meyer (10-6, 2.86 ERA, .211 BAA at Class A and High Class A, 2013 age: 23).
The Nationals did it. They got the leadoff man that they have been looking for ever since Nyjer Morgan left. For an added bonus, Keiunta Denard Span was born in D.C. He loves to get on base, holding a .357 career on base percentage, and even posted a .392 mark in 2009. The left handed center fielder had his best year that year, as he hit eight home runs and batted .311 with 23 stolen bases. The next year, he set a career high with 26 swipes. Speed has also enabled him to become a triple artist, as he knocked ten triples both in 2009 and 2010, leading the AL during the former campaign. Last year, he added a new dimension to his game, doubling 38 times, 14 more than his previous career high of 24 back in 2010. Unlike many left handed batters, Span can hit southpaws just as well as he can hit righties, batting .301 off of lefties last year and overall posting similar stats on either end of the split.To acquire Span, the Nationals had to give up top prospect Alex Meyer, a 6'9" righty out of the University of Kentucky who was 10-6 with a 2.86 ERA in his first professional season. At 22 years old, he split his season between Class A Hagerstown and High Class A Potomac, and in fact was better at the higher level. In seven starts for the P-Nats, he went 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA, and if it weren't for one bad start (4 innings, 6 earned runs against Salem), he would have been 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage