Blue Jays: Top-five greatest starting pitchers in franchise history

Evan Gignac
Jul 11, 2008; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Roy Halladay (32) delivers a
Jul 11, 2008; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Roy Halladay (32) delivers a / Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 5 Pat Hentgen

A pitcher with some hardware, Hentgen was drafted in the fifth round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1986 draft. Born just across the border in Windsor, Ontario, Hentgen made his major league debut in 1991. Hentgen became a full time starter in 1993, a season that would see an All-Star selection and him finishing sixth in Cy Young voting. Hentgen was a standout pitcher for his time, as he was relied upon to throw at least 200 innings and routinely fill the strike zone.

The best years of Hentgen’s career came during 1996 and 1997. He threw 265.2 and 264 innings respectively, both of those numbers leading MLB. Those years also saw him lead MLB in complete games, batters faced, games started, complete games, and shutouts. Hentgen was one of the best starting pitchers in the late-90s, winning the Cy Young in that 1996 season.

Hentgen’s career took a bit of a slide after his period of dominance. His 1998 season saw his ERA balloon to 5.17, with a better yet still unremarkable performance the next season. Hentgen would find himself traded to the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2000 season, the beginning of a four season absence from Toronto. He would return for his second and final stint with the Jays in 2004. It would be an ineffective one at that, as Hentgen pitched to an ERA of 6.95 over 18 games, 16 of them starts.

Hentgen’s 26.8 bWAR places him fourth all time amongst starting pitchers in franchise history, however it was his dramatic highs and lows that keep him in the five spot on this list.

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