Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus believes that we should look beyond the usual candidates when trying to predict the next 300-game winner. Sheehan points out that Randy Johnson only had 10 wins at the end of his age-25 season and only 104 wins at age 32, patterns similar to future 300-game winners such as Early Wynn, Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro.
Sheehan identifies six "off-pace" candidates that, if things broke right, could have the "late, long kick" to win 300 games.
The first name on his list is Oliver Perez.
Sheehan says Ollie compares to Johnson at a similar age, when the Big Unit was "wildly inconsistent" but had an "electric arm." But Ollie is "vastly more accomplished" than Randy was at this point in his career, though Sheehan concedes that Ollie's career has been "more scattered." Sheehan believes that Ollie has the "raw talent" to be one of the best starting pitchers in baseball for a long time and have a "fantastic career."
Sheehan's argument is similar to Scott Boras' offseason Ollie sales pitch:
In the chapter "Perez Turns Corner in 2006," charts are used to argue that the pitching statistics for Perez, who is now 27, are similar to those of Randy Johnson and the Hall-of-Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax at the same age.
Yesterday, one of our readers compared me to Eeyore, but you don't have to be Eeyore to be pessimistic about Bad Ollie's chances of morphing into Hall-of-Fame Ollie. I'd settle for an appearance by Good Ollie!
By the way, Squawker Lisa, another name on Sheehan's list is Chien-Ming Wang.