Top 5 starting pitchers in Blue Jays franchise history by WAR

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4. Pat Hentgen (26.8 WAR)

There are few names more synonymous with the Toronto Blue Jays franchise than Pat Hentgen. Not only did he have an outstanding run for the team on the mound in the 1990s, but since his retirement, Hentgen has remained in and around the organization in a variety of roles, from part-time pitching coach to ambassador, to special assistant.

Make no mistake though, for a brief stretch in the ‘90s, Hentgen was truly outstanding.

It started in 1993, when injuries pushed the then-24-year-old into the starting rotation for the defending World Series champs. He responded by going 19-9 with a 3.87 ERA, making the All-Star team and finishing sixth in Cy Young voting, then picking up the win in Game 3 of the World Series behind six innings of one-run ball. Hentgen was so good that he was famously scheduled to start the winner-take-all Game 7 before Joe Carter’s Game 6 heroics brought the title back to Toronto.

In ’94, he was an All-Star again, putting up a 3.40 ERA across 24 starts in a strike-shortened season. Though he inexplicably struggled in 1995, pitching to a 5.11 ERA, he would bounce back with his best year in 1996, winning 20 games while leading the league in innings pitched (265.2), complete games (10), shutouts (3), and pitcher WAR (8.6), and finishing second in ERA (3.22) to teammate Juan Guzmán. For his performance, he would earn the first Cy Young in franchise history.

Hentgen would have one final great season in 1997, again making the All-Star team and again leading the league in innings, complete games, and shutouts, before injuries began to get the better of him and his performance fell off a cliff. In the final years of his career, he bounced around from St. Louis to Baltimore, before fittingly returning to the Jays in 2004, where he would retire mid-season in the place it all began.

While Hentgen may not have sat atop the game for long, for a five-year stretch, there were few pitchers more successful, earning him a spot firmly among the top five pitchers in Blue Jays history according to WAR.