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Will 2010 See a 20-Game Winner?

by Patrick Newman (Jul 6, 2010)

It’s not year that we see a 20 game winner in NPB. The last pitcher to pull it off was Hisashi Iwakuma, with his remarkable 21-win season in 2008. The last time prior to that was 2003, when Kei Igawa and Kazumi Saito each won 20, and shared the Sawamura Award. Bonus points will be awarded to the reader who can name the last 20-game winner prior to Igawa and Saito.

At the halfway point this season, a number of pitchers have won enough to have a shot at 20:

PitcherTeamRecordStartsERA
Shun TohnoYomiuri11-2152.40
Tsuyoshi WadaSoftBank11-4153.24
Bobby KeppelNippon Ham10-1143.07
Toshiya SugichiSoftBank10-3153.82
Kenta MaedaHiroshima10-3161.56
Hideaki WakuiSeibu10-4162.90
Takayuki KishiSeibu9-5153.36

So will any of them do it? Assuming good health, each one of these guys should get 10-13 more starts this year, so, as always, winning 20 will require both effectiveness and luck.

If I were to place a bet on one of these pitchers winning 20, I think I’d reluctantly go with Tohno. The Giants will keep winning and he’s been very effective, but Tohno doesn’t go deep into games and will rely on his bullpen to lock down wins for him. The fact that Maeda, the only other Central Leaguer on this list, plays for the also-ran Hiroshima seems to work against him, but remember that Iwak

I could see one of the Pacific League pitchers making a run too, but the Pa-League is so balanced this year it’s hard to guess which one.


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