Blue Jays best pitching repertoire: Building the ultimate pitcher
The most common repertoire for pitchers would be fastball, change-up, slider, and likely a curveball, but there are plenty of other quality offerings out there too. The Blue Jays have enjoyed quite a few over the years as well, whether it was R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball, Tom Henke’s forkball, or several other less frequently used pitches at the big league level.
For all of the quality options, I can’t think of a better one than the splitter that Rogers Clemens used to terrorize hitters with throughout his career. I also have to give a hat tip to @richardbirfs for reminding me that this was (in my opinion) the obvious choice.
Clemens actually won my poll for the fastball, but I decided to use Halladay there, which allowed me to add the “Rocket’s” filthy splitter as the fifth pitch. It’s technically a fastball as well, so I suppose I could have put him in the first category, but it feels like an offering that’s worthy of it’s own place in the repertoire.
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The pitch became one of Clemens’ go-to offerings, and helped him become one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. He sits third on the all-time strikeout list behind just Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, and the splitter was frequently used as his out pitch. That’s because it was nearly untouchable most of the time.
As a Blue Jay, Clemens was ridiculously dominant, going 41-13 with a 2.33 ERA, a 1.061 WHIP, and 563 strikeouts across 498.2 innings. He won the Cy Young award in both 1997 and 1998 before he was traded to the New York Yankees at his request, which actually brought David Wells back to Toronto. Of course, he wasn’t just using that splitter as a Blue Jay and even a Yankee, as he ended up pitching in parts of 24 seasons, going 354-184 with 4672 career strikeouts.
That brings us to the end of the assembly of our ultimate Blue Jays pitcher, so let’s recap. We’ll have the fastball (both cutter and sinker) from Roy Halladay, Marco Estrada’s change-up, Dave Stieb’s slider, David Wells’ curveball, and Clemen’s splitter. If such a pitcher ever showed up in real life, I can’t even imagine how much they would dominate.