Toronto Blue Jays Poll: Best Pitchers of All Time, Round 1

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Credit: S Doyle

Matchup 2: Dave Stieb vs Kelvim Escobar

This matchup might seem like a bit of a no brainer. I mean, on the one hand, we have one of the most iconic pitchers in team history and on the other, we have a pitcher who some have forgotten about. But, is it that much of a slam dunk for Mr Stieb?

Stieb is the winningest pitcher in Blue Jays history with 175. He’s also thrown the most innings in a Blue Jays uniform at 2873. Oh, and he has the most strike outs ever with 1658. Now, perhaps that is helped out by the fact that he’s made 63 more starts than anyone else. That said, we should not diminish Stieb’s accomplishments.

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He pitched 14 seasons for Toronto, was an All Star 7 times and finished in the top 10 of Cy Young voting 3 times, as high as 4th in 1982. For his career, he’s thrown 103 complete games including 5 straight seasons of 10 or more. He tossed 19 of them in 1982. He was a work horse who put up crazy innings totals, too: 1980- 242, 1982- 288, 1983- 278, 1984- 267, 1985- 265! Oh, and he’s thrown the franchise’s only no hitter in 1990. He’s also come close several times.

After all of that, you’d think Escobar doesn’t really stand a chance. And, he may not, but let’s take a look anyway. In 1992, the Blue Jays signed him as an amateur free agent and he’d go on to pitch in 7 seasons for them. He’d always kind of battled his control as evidenced by the fact that in all but his last season with the club he put up a BB rate of over 10%. Despite that, he’s tied for 14th on the all time list for games started with 101.

He put up a 58-55 record with an ERA of 4.58. He also picked up 58 saves, including 38 in 2002, which is the 2nd most in a single season for any Blue Jays reliever. This kind of highlights the difficulty the club had with deciding upon which role he’d serve. He’s a career 28 WAR player who had seasons of 2.3 (1999), 2.7 (2001) and 3.4 (2003). He departed via free agency when the Angels scooped him up for 3yrs/$18.75M.

Next: Matchup 3: Remember These Guys?