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Tim Lincecum shuts out Mets for 50th career victory

Jul 16, 2010, 2:45 PM EDT

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.

  1. TomTom - Jul 16, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    I find it interesting that Cholly Manuel held out Timmy from the all-star game and then he mows down the division rival Mets the first game after. Sneaky sneaky.

  2. scatterbrian - Jul 16, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    I like the way you think…

  3. t ball - Jul 16, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    A while ago Dave Pinto used a probabilistic model to predict wins based on game score. (as part of a post on Bert Blyleven). It was an interesting way to come up with a sort of “expected” win total based on that measure of starter performance. It showed Mulder and Pettite to be pretty lucky and Blyleven to be shorted. Link: http://baseballmusings.com/?p=29638
    In a later post, Pinto used the same model to examine Lincecum and Zito, both of whom have been unfortunate with run support. Using the win ratio he gave Lincecum in that post, he should have around 60 wins right now, just as you surmised. Link: http://baseballmusings.com/?p=50983

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