Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Can Blaine Prince win 300 games?

St. Louis Cardinals
Blaine Prince

The Jersey League's all time wins leader is Blaine Prince, with 212 wins, 38 more than the closest rival. Before last year, few thought that Price had a shot at 300, but his age 33 season changed expectations, as Prince put up a stellar 23-4 record and won his second AL Cy Young. Prince, a tall skinny lefty, also kept himself in great shape over the off-season, showing virtually no ratings drop off as he enters his age 34 season. This ratings maintenance, along with his top-notch health, indicates that Prince might have several more Cy Young caliber years in him.

Prince, who hails from Bath, Maine, has never hit the free agent market, signing two long-term extensions with the same team (but now on 4th owner). He was an original ML player at league creation and he's only spent 15 days on the DL.

Can he win 300? The odds are still against him. Here is a projection of what I see happening:

Season 13 (age 34, SP1): 19 wins, total 231. Prince is in top form but needs help from offense and relief pitching to hit 20 wins again.

Season 14 (age 35, SP1): 17 wins, total 248. Prince is still near peak effectiveness but his stamina starts to wane, so he leaves games a bit earlier, losing a couple wins.

Season 15 (age 36, SP3): 14 wins, total 262. Prince's effectiveness starts to fade, but he's still a very good pitcher.

Season 16 (age 37, SP5): 12 wins, total 276. Prince is still a good arm, but he's really a soft tosser now and doesn't stay in games past the 5th or 6th inning.

Season 17 (age 38, SP5): 10 wins, total 286. Prince has lost a lot in key ratings, but is still a solid arm.

Season 18 (age 39, LRA): 7 wins, total 293. The tank is running empty but he's making a contribution out of the pen. Low health rating is a worry.

Season 19 (age 40, LRB): 5 wins, total 298. Its the end of the line here, barely hanging on to a roster spot.

Season 20 (age 41, LRB): 2 wins, total 300. A kindly owner gives Prince a few starts at a cut-rate salary to get him up to 300.

Season 21 (age 42, Retired): Prince retires back home to a life of leisure in Maine.

Key Variables: #1 the training budget, key to maintenance of veteran player ratings, #2 injury luck, #3 team quality, can't get wins on your own

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