Blue Jays: All Time Drafted and Developed Starting Pitchers

DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Pitcher Roy Halladay
DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Pitcher Roy Halladay /
3 of 5
Blue Jays
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

#3 Jimmy Key

In 1982 the Blue Jays were starting to build a real foundation in their organization and had a lot of top-end prospects climbing the system.  That draft, in the third round they chose from Clemson University Jimmy Key.

Key had been previously drafted three years earlier out of High School after posting a perfect 10-0 season with a 0.30 ERA however decided to go to school and that worked out well for the Blue Jays.  Key was coming into the draft after being named an All-Star for both pitching and as a designated hitter.

Unlike Hentgen who was 17 years old during his first season in the Blue Jays organization, Key was older at 21 when he was drafted and did not need as much time in the minors.  Key would pitch in both Rookie Ball and Single-A in his post-draft season and in 1983 which was his first full season of minor league baseball, Key would jump all the way to AAA in Syracuse.  Key would pitch in 16 games with the Chiefs to finish out the season and would jump right to the majors the following season.

During his rookie season in 1984, Key would come out of the bullpen for all 63 appearances, however, he would become a starter the following season and the remainder of his career in Toronto.  He is commonly referred to as the most underrated Blue Jays pitcher in team history and was arguably robbed of one, maybe two Cy Youngs over his career.  Key would win at least 12 games every season as a starter for the Blue Jays and 1987 had his best season that saw him win 17 games.  That season he would lead the league in ERA (2.76), WHIP (1.06), and hits per 9 innings (7.2) and finish second in Cy Young voting.

Key finished his Toronto career with a 116-81 record, which has him fourth in All-Time in wins by a Blue Jay and was named an All-Star twice.  Key is tied with Dave Stieb for best career ERA (3.42) of any starter and third-best WAR of any pitcher in team history.  After winning the World Series in 1992, Key left to the New York Yankees as a free agent.