This season two pitchers won 20 games in major league baseball: Jake Arrieta with the Cubs and Dallas Keuchel of the Astros. Ironically both of these pitchers won their respective league’s Cy Young Award. The two 20-game winners in the majors this past season were the fewest since only one in 2013 and none in 2009.
If we plot out the numbers of 20-game winners in each of the preceding decades going back to 1960, we discover that there has been a slow decline in pitchers who reach this milestone. In the 60’s there were 73 20-game winners; in the 70’s there were 96. In the 80’s that number dropped drastically to only 37; in the last two decades, the 90’s and the 2000’s, both of those decades saw 34 pitchers reach the 20-win mark. So far in this decade there have been only 16 pitchers who won 20 games, a average of 2.7 per year. If those numbers remain constant and play out to the end of this decade it would be the fewest number of 20-game winners in a decade.