I can already hear some of you saying that I should have Halladay here, and you wouldn’t be wrong to feel that way. However, I made the “one pitch per pitcher” rule earlier, so I’m going to stick to it. Plus, we’ve already talked about Halladay.
I considered some recent examples, such as Brett Cecil, or Aaron Sanchez, both of whom had an excellent ‘”hook” at times in their Blue Jay careers. Thinking back to the Halladay era, I was reminded of how good A.J. Burnett‘s curveball was when he was healthy, which unfortunately wasn’t often enough. I also considered a former Cy Young Award winner in Pat Hentgen, who had a pretty good curveball of his own.
In the end, I decided to go against my Twitter poll (although Halladay did get the nod there) and I’m going with the “Uncle Charlie” from David Wells. The southpaw started his career with the Blue Jays and was there from 1987-92, and returned again later on for two seasons from 1999-2000. Despite the fact that he was an imposing physical figure on the mound, Wells was more reliant on his movement and his control, especially his big overhand curveball.
He was a valuable pitcher for the Blue Jays early in his career, but he was at his best in 2000 when he finished 3rd in AL Cy Young award voting. That season he was 20-8 with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.293 WHIP across 229.2 innings, also earning one of his three All-Star selections, and even a few MVP votes.
As you’ll see in the video above, Wells was probably at his best in a Yankee uniform, even if he had more than a few productive seasons with the Blue Jays as well. He was often underrated, and for the purposes of this exercise, his curveball would definitely help build this fictional pitcher we’re working on here.