Posted by Andy on July 16, 2010
Last night Tim Lincecum earned his 50th win in his 109th career game. Let's take a look at where that puts him in history.
I did a search, 1920-present, for most wins in a pitcher's first 109 career games. Here is an excerpt of the resulting chart:
|43||Dontrelle Willis||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||1.50||50||12||7||360.0||278||60||16||80||256||0.99|
|44||Jered Weaver||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||2.06||50||3||2||331.2||254||76||27||85||293||1.02|
|45||Mel Stottlemyre||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||1.63||50||37||13||430.1||325||78||18||138||231||1.08|
|46||Kevin Millwood||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||2.18||49||4||1||342.2||256||83||24||84||300||0.99|
|47||Denny McLain||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||1.95||49||36||8||420.0||271||91||43||146||336||0.99|
|48||Tim Lincecum||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||1.43||49||6||4||365.1||249||58||9||111||406||0.99|
|49||Larry Jansen||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||2.00||48||43||7||427.2||345||95||32||73||174||0.98|
|50||Bob Feller||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||1.84||47||45||6||421.0||274||86||12||219||396||1.17|
|51||Harry Brecheen||50||Ind. Games||50||0||1.000||1.49||41||35||11||386.1||309||64||10||77||171||1.00|
Keep in mind that these stats are for the 50 wins, not for all of the 109 games to start each career. The stats don't necessarily tell you all that much.
So, there are 42 players who won more than 50 games in their first 109 career games. Dwight Gooden tops the list.
But let's look up how each of the guys who equaled Lincecum's 50 wins did overall in their first 109 games.
Lincecum: 50-21 (.704), 2.91 ERA, 13.111 WPA
Willis: 50-34 (.532), 3.39 ERA, 8.084 WPA
Weaver: 50-27 (.649), 3.75 ERA, 6.511 WPA
Stottlemyre: 50-42 (.543), 3.00, ERA, 3.192 WPA
Millwood: 50-29 (.633), 3.74 ERA, 5.057 WPA
McLain: 50-33 (.602), 3.54 ERA, 2.921 WPA
Jansen: 50-28 (.641), 3.52 ERA
Feller: 50-28 (.641), 3.48 ERA
Brecheen: 50-26 (.658), 2.56 ERA
Sorry for the mostly-primitive stats but I can't get things like ERA+ from the game log summaries. Also, welcome to Jansen, Feller, and Brecheen, who show up in the search because the data 1940-1951 has been filled in! The WPA data isn't there yet, though, so we don't have their totals.
Anyway, we can see that at least among this group, Lincecum has pitched a lot better. He's got a great ERA even compared to his contemporaries, the most WPA, and the fewest losses.
Keep in mind that the comparison group is just the other guys to win exactly 50 in their first 109 games. There is a pack of guys to have pitched even better. The bottom line, though, is that Lincecum is looking really good so far.