When it comes to wins, is 200 the new 300?

Shorter outings, fewer opportunities might make it the Cooperstown benchmark

When it comes to wins, is 200 the new 300?

Remember 300 wins?

A pitcher got to that lofty, round number and was guaranteed placement in the Hall of Fame. Cases in point: Tommy John won 288 and was a pioneer of baseball medicine and didn't get in. Bert Blyleven was right behind him at 287 and barely got in in his final year of eligibility. Jim Kaat won 283 games and 16 Gold Gloves in a 25-year career. That wasn't enough.

The last Major Leaguer to win 300 games was Randy Johnson. The lefty did it in 2009, just as his elite contemporaries, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, had done in the years leading up to the Big Unit's landmark feat.

Since then? Not only crickets, but serious doubts that anyone will ever approach 300 again. But more on that later.

For now, let's focus more on 200 wins, which is probably the new 300 in an era in which 100 pitches in a game is a night's work and 200 innings in a season is a major accomplishment.

The win itself, as a statistic and certainly as a barometer for starting pitcher qualification for Cooperstown, is under fire from the sabermetric crowd as being virtually meaningless because it is often dependent on the performance of the rest of the club. But old-schoolers still have plenty of Hall votes, so victories still matter.

Enter Tim Hudson. Why? Because he's the latest Major Leaguer to reach the 200-win plateau, having done so on May 1 and having done so in style, hitting a home run in the process.

"It's a great accomplishment for anybody," Hudson said. "But honestly, I feel like it's something along the way, and I hope I can accomplish a lot more in this game. I feel like I can play for a while. I feel like I haven't missed a beat from 17 or 18 years ago. I'm just a little more crafty nowadays, and I definitely have more pop."

Hudson's career ERA of 3.45 is good -- likely good enough to warrant Hall consideration, even if he doesn't get another 100 wins under his belt.

Hudson's current winning percentage -- he's 201-107 after his no-decision on Tuesday night -- stands at .653. The only modern-day 200-game winners with a better career winning percentage are Whitey Ford (.690), Pedro Martinez (.687), Lefty Grove (.680), Christy Mathewson (.665), Roy Halladay (.663) and Clemens (.658).

"I still don't consider myself really worthy of being in those kinds of conversations," Hudson said. "But talk to me in five years, if I'm not in a wheelchair."

So Hudson has an argument. Martinez (219 wins, 2.93 ERA, three Cy Young Awards, 3,154 strikeouts in 2,827 1/3 innings) is a shoo-in for Cooperstown. Halladay has a good chance. Mike Mussina has a great case for the Hall of Fame because he won 270 games to go along with a 3.68 career ERA. Andy Pettitte, who's still pitching, has 249 career wins and was a key member of five World Series championship teams. And Curt Schilling (216 wins, 3.46 ERA, 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason) had a promising first go-around in Hall voting in 2013, garnering 38.8 percent.

The thinking is evolving along with the game, just in time for CC Sabathia.

Sabathia, the Yankees left-hander, will likely become the 111th pitcher in Major League history to notch career win No. 200. He has 195 right now. His 33rd birthday isn't until July, and he's averaged 15.9 wins a season prior to this year (he's 4-3 so far). That means he's got an outside shot at 300.

Mark Buehrle of the Toronto Blue Jays is 34 years old and has 175 career wins, so 200 is a good possibility. Derek Lowe has 176, but he's primarily a reliever now, he's 40 years old and he was designated for assignment by Texas on Monday.

The pitcher with the next-best chance for 300, let alone 200, might be the Tigers' Justin Verlander, who already has 128 wins at the age of 30.

Verlander has said he wants to reach the number, and the right-hander has proven over the course of his already stellar, maturing career that it's usually unwise to doubt him when he sets his mind to something.

There's Seattle's Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, who's 27 and has 103 victories. And there's the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, who turned 25 in March and already has 66 wins.

So take it from Hudson -- 200 might not be 300, but it's pretty good, and in this day and age, it's getting better and better. It might even be good enough for Cooperstown.

That's why when Hernandez got his 100th win, after four tries, he immediately started thinking about, well, the next hundred.

"One hundred wins in the big leagues," he said. "Hopefully I can get more and more."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.