Top 10 Blue Jays Relievers of All Time
In 1979, Mark Eichhorn was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 2nd round. He was developed as a starter and made his Major League debut in 1982. He made seven starts. He then suffered a shoulder injury and didn’t resurface with the big league club until 1986. Those years were a struggle for Eichhorn and the injury eventually forced him to adopt his (now) signature sidearm delivery. He never regained the fastball velocity but made up for it with accuracy and the deceptive delivery.
His comeback in 1986 was to be more impressive than anyone could have imagined. He burst back on the scene with one of the best ever seasons by a reliever—certainly the best ever by a Blue Jay. He appeared in 69 games but often pitched 3 or more innings each time he came in. Mark Eichhorn was there to bridge the gap from where the starter left off to where Tom Henke picked things up. It didn’t seem to matter how long that gap was—Mark Eichhorn pitched it. As a result, he threw 157 innings that year. His line for 1986 looks like a starter’s. He had 14 wins, 6 losses, a puny 1.72 ERA, 2.31 FIP, 0.955 WHIP and 166 strikeouts. If he had thrown just 5 more innings, he would have qualified for and won the ERA title that year.
He would never reach such lofty heights again but he put together a few more solid campaigns. In 1987 the Jays used him for fewer innings each time but more appearances in total. He led the league in games that year. Eichhorn struggled in 1988 and was traded to the Braves for cash. He turned his career back around again in California and in 1992, Pat Gillick had a need for middle relief. He gave the Angels a call, sent them a few spare parts and brought Mark back to where it all began. Eichhorn helped the Jays win both World Series. He bounced around for a few years after and played his last game in 1996. He attempted an unsuccessful comeback with the Jays in 2000.
Eichhorn had a 2.83 ERA and 3.27 FIP in 272 games with the Blue Jays. 7.04 K/9, 3.03 BB/9 and a 0.57 HR/9.
Eichhorn is 3rd in WAR, 7th in WARIP, 8th in games, 4th in IP, 3rd in HR/9, 3rd in ERA, 5th in FIP.