Blue Jays Top 100 Players (#61-#65)
There is still time to kill until we get to the start of Spring Training, so I thought it would be good to look at a list of Top 100 Blue Jays in franchise history. In the first instalments so far, I looked at players ranked 66-100 and today I’ll look at the next five on the list. This is opinion based off of career stats with the club and accomplishments.
Top 100 (61-65)
65 – David Cone (1992 and 1995)
Self admittedly I may have David Cone ranked a little too high on this list, especially for a player that pitched in just 25 games in a Blue Jays uniform. Nonetheless he is where he is as he was the final piece that Toronto needed for their 1992 run to their first World Series victory.
The Blue Jays acquired Cone at the end of August that season in exchange for a prospect Ryan Thompson and some guy named Jeff Kent who went on to be a four time Silver Slugger and NL MVP. Cone started seven games down the stretch and came in relief for one game. It did not start out well for Cone as he allowed 12 runs over just 12.2 innings pitched in his first two appearances. However, he could not have been much better in the remaining games as in the final six appearances he combined to throw 40.1 innings pitched to an ERA of 0.89. His win-loss record with the Blue Jays finished at 4-3, however two of those losses he pitched eight innings, allowing one and two runs in those starts.
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That post season, Cone started the famous Game 6 that saw the club win their first World Series. Cone threw six innings, allowing just one run on four hits and six strikeouts. Cone would leave in free agency that season, however the team reacquired him in 1995 to start the season with him. Unfortunately this time, the Blue Jays were well out of the playoffs by the trade deadline and he was traded to the New York Yankees.
In his 24 career starts with the club, he finished with a 13-9 and a 3.14 ERA.
64 – Brett Lawrie (2011-2014)
After the 2010 season, Toronto traded starter Shaun Marcum at his absolute peak for a young promising Canadian prospect in Brett Lawrie. Lawrie was a top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization when the Blue Jays acquired him and it didn’t take long for him to jump up to Toronto. After having a slash line of .347/.414/.647 with 48 extra base hits through 73 games in the Blue Jays minor league system he was called up and played his first game in August 2011.
Lawrie would finish the season and the next three years on the Blue Jays. There are many things you can say about Lawrie and the number one thing was that he played with a lot of intensity. At times exposing his body to injuries by jumping into the seats or having heated discussions with umpires. In his last season with the club he surpassed his career high in home runs by June, however two injuries cost him the remaining of the season.
Following the 2014 season, Alex Anthopoulos completed arguably his greatest trade when he acquired Josh Donaldson from the Oakland Athletics. One of the pieces that the A’s wouldn’t get away from wanting was Lawrie. Anthopoulos would later say he tried doing whatever he could to keep Lawrie as he wanted to move him back to second base but couldn’t make the trade work without him.
Lawrie finished his four year career with a slash line of .265/.323/.426 with 114 extra base hits in 345 games. In that short amount of time, Lawrie finished with a 12.7 WAR with is 22nd among positional players.
63. Ed Sprague (1991-1998)
If there is one home run in team history that does not get enough accolades it was by former first round pick Ed Sprague in Game 2 of the 1992 World Series. After playing the majority of his 1991 season with the Blue Jays, Sprague played almost the entire 1992 season in the minor leagues and had just 50 plate appearances during the regular season, yet the club put him on the postseason roster. In that Game 2, the Blue Jays trailed the series 1-0 and were on the verge of losing a second, when Ed Sprague came up with one out, one on and down by one the top of the ninth against closer Jeff Reardon. Sprague would put the first pitch he saw into the left field bleachers giving the team the 5-4 lead which they held to win the game.
The team had such confidence in Sprague that they moved on from long time Blue Jay and former All-Star Kelly Gruber at third base. Sprague would be the starting third baseman for the club for the next six seasons, which included the 1993 World Serie team. Sprague shined most in 1996 when he hit 35 doubles, 36 home runs and 101 RBI.
Sprague was traded at the 1998 deadline and finished his Blue Jays career with 113 home runs, which currently sits 17th on the All-Time list.
62 – R.A. Dickey (2013-2016)
While it will go down as one of the not so good trades that Alex Anthopoulos completed while in Toronto, he did acquire a useful starting pitcher in R.A. Dickey, he just did it for a pair of high end prospects. Dickey was acquired when he was coming off of a Cy Young Award season with the New York Mets in 2012. The problem was he was going to be a 38-year old knuckleball pitcher who only had a couple good seasons to his name.
What the Blue Jays had in Dickey was a durable pitcher that led the league in starts for his first two seasons and also won a Gold Glove in 2013. Dickey combined to start 130 games over four seasons and was part of two teams that made the postseason. He was only used in the 2015 postseason and he pitched quite well in the ALDS in his one start as he allowed just one run over 4.2 innings. However, he spotted the Royals to a 5-0 lead in Game 4 of the series the team ended up losing.
Over four seasons, Dickey finished with a 49-52 record with a 4.05 ERA and 1.25 ERA. He would leave after the 2016 season in free agency to rejoin Anthopoulos in Atlanta.
61 – Lyle Overbay (2006-2010)
The Blue Jays stole Lyle Overbay from the Milwaukee Brewers to be their first basemen going into the 2006 season and for the next five years. I often compared Overbay to a lesser version of John Olerud.
Over was great at hitting the ball into the gap which had him collect 30 doubles in every season which included 2006 when he hit 46. That same season was the best of his career as he also hit 22 home runs and 92 RBI while having a slash line of .312/.372/.508. While he was a steady hitter, he was more known for his defensive play at first base and never finished in double digits in errors in any year in Toronto.
When Overbay left in free agency after the 2010 season he had collected 150 doubles which sits 15th on the doubles list for the Blue Jays.