TORONTO – From the outer field to the inner field, we now come to the mound with a look at the best weapons in the history of the Blue Jays.
Although a number of the big players from the two aforementioned rosters arrived in Toronto through trade, the majority of the best pitchers the club has employed are of the local variety.
On the other side of the coin, the two best candidates for the worst pitcher in franchise history were once considered important pieces for two separate reconstructions, to show exactly why the exchanges are impossible to assess properly at the moment .
After sifting through 432 arms to record a Jays uniform outing, here are the best and worst pitchers in the history of the club.
The best and worst of the Blue Jays on TSN.ca:
Mon. April 6 – The five best and the worst signatures
Wed. April 8 – The top five and the worst outfielders
Fri April 10 – The five best and worst games
Mon. April 13 – The five best and worst jobs
Wed April 15 – The five best and worst infielders
Fri April 17 – The five best and worst seasons
Mon. April 20 – The top five and worst picks
Wed, April 22 – The five best and worst launchers
Fri April 24 – The five best and worst moments
The best launchers
5. (Tie) Tom Henke (1985-92) / Roger Clemens (1997-98)
We will call this a low volume tie.
While the next four names you will read on this list have a mandate and a ton of sleeves on their respective resumes, Tom Henke and Roger Clemens dominated short stays.
In Henke’s case, it was a one-run relay in the ninth, while Clemens had a dominant presence in a Blue Jays uniform during a two-year stint.
Chosen on the Texas Rangers junk heap in January 1985 as the free agent compensation choice, Henke is still the franchise leader with 217 and maintains the best ERA in club history at 2.48.
Clemens’ time in Toronto was short, but it was a thing of beauty when he took the mound every five days, hosting a two-year elite race that is the only one in the history of the Blue Jays.
The 18.9 fWAR The Rocket totaled only two seasons in 1997 and ’98 places it eighth in the team, just ahead of Henke’s 16.2 fWAR in ninth place.
Henke launched 563 images as Blue Jay, while Clemens launched 498.2.
All the other pitchers ahead of them in places 1 through 7 on the WAR list needed at least twice as many innings, and in most cases, the number of innings triple, to provide the same value.
4. Pat Hentgen (1991-1999, 2004)
Written and developed by the Blue Jays, Hentgen’s highlight is his 1996 Cy Young season.
Over a two-year period, Hentgen was a real workaholic, leading the majors in the heats with 265.2 in ’96 and again in ’97 with 264.
Hentgen’s 3.22 ERA score and 20 wins in 1996 helped him get ahead Andy Pettitte in the Cy Young race – Hentgen got 16 votes in first place but Pettitte was 11 and lost by just six points – and his 6.0 fWAR this season was by far the best in career.
Hentgen, who has maintained a presence with the organization since, is one of five pitchers to win more than 100 games as the Blue Jay, finishing with 107 wins and 1,636 innings in total.
The Detroit native was also a regular in the Midsummer Classic, representing the Jays in 93, 94 and 97.
3. Jimmy Key (1984-92)
A lefty of command and control who has rarely walked with anyone during his peak, Key has been quietly excellent for nine seasons in Toronto, as evidenced by the analytical side – his 28.1 fWAR is the third in club history among the pitchers – as well as his more traditional 116 wins, which is fourth just behind Jim Clancy’s 128.
Even though he was not dominant, Key’s biggest attribute was the consistency of the rotation he has brought in for almost a decade and his career ERA of 3.42 is actually on par with Dave Stieb for the best of Jays history among the starters, behind relievers Henke (2.48) and Duane Ward. (3.18).
Excellent return on investment from the third round of the 1982 draft, Key gave the Jays a starting gift before signing with the New York Yankees in the winter of 1992, pitching 7.2 innings at one point in a win in match 4 of the World Series.
2. Dave Stieb (1979-92, 1998)
We know everything about Stieb’s ability to delve deep into ball games, flirting with no hitting multiple times before he finally finished one in 1990, highlighted in our best games in the history of franchise.
But Stieb was also one of the best baseball pitchers for nearly a decade, finishing in the top seven of Cy Young by voting four times and being named seven games from the stars.
I also explained why he was the second draft pick in Blue Jays history, so it’s not a shock that the right-hander is at the top of this list.
1. Roy Halladay (1998-2009)
Halladay was the best draft pick in franchise history, and he is also the Jays’ best launcher of all time.
Even though the Baseball Reference WAR total gives Stieb a 56.9-48.4 advantage over Halladay, FanGraph numbers believe the opposite, giving Stieb 43.6 Doc 48.6 fWAR.
In addition to being the pitcher in fact at Cooperstown rather than being the one fighting for another look, Halladay also has this 2003 American League Cy Young and four other top-five to hang his hat on.
The team’s lack of success may have reduced its fanfare to the level of the league, but Halladay’s peak was as good as it could be.
The worst launchers
5. (To attach) John Frascatore (1999-01) / John Willis (1977-81)
These guys have both put together a season or two off the bullpen during their careers, so they don’t seem to be on this list.
But while career IBAs in the mid-4s don’t look terrible, the metrics tell a different story, one from Frascatore and Willis providing fWAR -1.0 worst franchise totals in their careers.
Neither pitcher had many strikeouts, both posting rates below 4.6 K / 9, while the 2000 Frascatore season outside the Jays’ paddocks saw him walk more hitters (33 ) that he withdrew (30).
4. Luke Prokopec (2002)
Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers with Chad Ricketts in exchange for two useful players in Paul Quantrill and Cesar Izturis, Prokopec was terrible in its only season in Toronto in 2002, recording an unmatched BPM of 6.78 in 71.2 innings.
The Australian-born right-hander made 22 appearances and granted 19 circuits.
The 6.78 ERA is the sixth worst for any pitcher who has pitched at least 50 innings in a Blue Jays uniform.
3. Brad Mills (2009-11, 2014)
The worst ERA of all time for a Jays pitcher who has pitched at least 50 innings?
It belongs to Mills, who somehow signed a score of 10.08 in 52.2 innings, surpassing the disorder of 8.20 by Giovanni Carrara in 1995 and 1996.
Surprisingly, Mills was able to see league time in four seasons at Toronto, even getting a second round in 2014, before allowing 13 earned runs in 4.1 innings that sealed his fate.
Mills’ BB / 9 of 5.98 and HR / 9 of 2.22 of Mills are also among the worst in club history.
2. Kyle Drabek (2010-14)
Once we set the threshold to a minimum of 150 images in a Jays uniform, we begin to see why a few blockbuster exchanges a decade apart didn’t work exactly for the Blue Jays.
Drabek was the main attraction in the Halladay affair, but his -0.3 fWAR in 172.1 innings in Toronto is tied for third in franchise history with the pitcher landing at No. 1.
Only 12 pitchers in Jays history have pitched at least 150 innings and posted a BPM greater than 5.00. Drabek is one of them at 5.27.
But the statistic that drives Drabek on this list is the lack of epic control he possessed, walking 5.8 strokes per nine innings, the worst mark in Jays history with more than 150 images.
In five seasons, Drabek had 111 hitters and only 118 strikes.
1. Robert Person (1997-1999)
There are 130 pitchers who have pitched at least 100 rounds for the Blue Jays.
Of all these names over 43 seasons, Robert Person, the centerpiece that came from the New York Mets in a trade that landed on my list of worst deals in franchise history, is the only pitcher to record an IBA above 6.00.
And at 6:18 a.m., the worst after, Justin miller5.89 ERA is not really close.
Frustrating for Jays fans, a year after Person and the club split, the right-hander continued to publish a campaign of 3.4 fWAR and a career record of 3.63 for the Phillies.