Since the Toronto Blue Jays came to existence in1977, 433 different pitchers took to the mound for the franchise.
The Toronto Blue Jays have had their fair share of pitchers. While there are familiar names that fans can remember, it’s interesting to think which pitchers led the franchise in strikeouts. With that in mind, here are the top 10 players in franchise history who lead the way in strikeouts.
10. Duane Ward, 671 strikeouts
Duane Ward was a first-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in the 1982 MLB Amateur Draft. After limited success in Atlanta, the hard-throwing pitcher was traded to Toronto in 1986. From there, Ward became one of the Blue Jays’ most consistent relief pitchers, a role he kept from 1988 to 1992. He reached over 100 strikeouts in four of five seasons, including a career-high 132 strikeouts in 1991. Ward’s 45 saves in 1993 remains a franchise record waiting to be broken.
9. J.A. Happ, 691 strikeouts
J.A. Happ first came to the Blue Jays in 2012 where the team acquired the left-handed pitcher from the Houston Astros. Happ’s first stint in Toronto wasn’t a memorable time in his career, especially when he suffered an injury after getting hit by a line drive. Nevertheless, when he agreed to return to Toronto on a three-year contract in 2016, Happ rejuvenated himself. He became the first pitcher since Roy Halladay to earn 11 wins prior to the All-Star break. Happ would become the sixth pitcher to win 20 games or more in a single season for the Blue Jays.
8. Kelvim Escobar, 744 strikeouts
The Blue Jays first signed Kelvim Escobar as an amateur free agent in 1992. Making his major league debut in 1997, Escobar would spend time in and out of the bullpen for the next five seasons. During that time, he had a record of 42-40 with 40 saves. In 2001, Escobar would finish the season with 38 saves, the second-most all-time in Blue Jays franchise history.