Last night Tim Lincecum shut out the Carlos Beltran-led Mets for his 50th career victory, which certainly seems like an impressive total for a fourth-year pitcher with 109 career games. But exactly how impressive?
According to Baseball-Reference.com Lincecum is the 51st pitcher in baseball history with at least 50 wins in his first 109 games (unfortunately there’s no way to filter “starts” instead of “games” so some guys get overlooked).
Here are the highest win totals of all time through 109 career games:
Dwight Gooden 65 Roger Clemens 63 Tiny Bonham 62 Mike Mussina 61 Mark Mulder 60 Vic Rasci 60 Tom Seaver 58 Dave Ferriss 58 Hank Borowy 58 Dazzy Vance 57
And here are the highest win totals through 109 career games for active pitchers:
Andy Pettitte 56 Tim Hudson 56 Barry Zito 55 Chien-Ming Wang 55 Roy Oswalt 55 Freddy Garcia 55 Joe Saunders 53 Justin Verlander 52 Jon Lester 52 Dontrelle Willis 50 Jered Weaver 50 Kevin Millwood 50
On one hand, 50 wins through 109 games probably isn’t as impressive as it first appears. On the other hand, evaluating Lincecum based on his win total is sort of silly to begin with given that, for instance, he tossed 225 innings with a 2.48 ERA last season and got the run and bullpen support to win just 15 games. Based on his pitching alone, he’s performed well enough to have 60 wins by now.