MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Homegrown Pitcher in Each Team's History

Lewie PollisSenior Analyst IIIMarch 22, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Homegrown Pitcher in Each Team's History

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    There once was a time when players spent their entire careers with the same team.

    In most cases, the team a player was on was the one that originally scouted and drafted him. Unless a guy was traded or he wore out his welcome with his employers, he wasn't likely to ever don another uniform.

    Now, that's all changed.

    Teams have played the service clock game with their young players, manipulating the timing of their arbitration seasons to delay their walk years as long as possible. Once they hit the open market, all that matters is cash.

    In honor of the way things used to be, here is my list of the best homegrown starting pitcher in the history of each MLB team.


    Black-and-white headshots are public domain images, courtesy of

Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb

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    Not many choices for this young franchise, as the two best pitchers to ever come through Phoenix—Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson—were both imports.

    In his seven-year career, Brandon Webb has a 87-62 record with a 142 ERA+, a Cy Young and 29.2 WAR.

Atlanta Braves: Kid Nichols

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    The history of the Braves franchise is filled with great pitchers; picking just one was not easy.

    Nichols spent parts of 15 seasons in the big leagues, winning 361 games with a 140 ERA+ and 102.3 WAR.

Baltimore Orioles: Jim Palmer

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    When you think of Orioles pitchers, does anyone come to mind before Jim Palmer?

    In 19 seasons, Palmer went 268-152 with a 126 ERA+, three Cy Youngs and 63.5 WAR.

Boston Red Sox: Roger Clemens

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    Yes, he cheated, but Roger Clemens is still one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

    In 24 seasons, Clemens put together a spectacular statline: 354-184 with a 143 ERA+, seven Cy Youngs, an MVP and an astounding 128.4 WAR.

Chicago Cubs: Greg Maddux

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    While he did most of his damage with the Braves, Greg Maddux was a product of the Cubs' farm system.

    In 23 seasons, he won 355 games with a 132 ERA+, four consecutive Cy Youngs and 96.8 WAR.

Chicago White Sox: Ed Walsh

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    Don't let the relatively low win total (195) or WAR (54.8) fool you—Walsh would be remembered as one of the greatest players in baseball history if he'd had a longer peak.

    The most amazing part of Walsh's resumé? His 1.82 career ERA is the best in baseball history.

Cincinnati Reds: Noodles Hahn

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    For a team whose history is surprisingly devoid of great homegrown pitchers, Frank George "Noodles" Hahn is the best in his class.

    In his eight-year career, he went 130-94 with a 132 ERA+ and 39.6 WAR.

Cleveland Indians: Bob Feller

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    Come on, you had to have seen this coming—who else could this be but Bob Feller?

    In 18 seasons, all with the Indians, Rapid Robert went 266-162 with a 122 ERA+ and 66.0 WAR—and that's despite losing almost four of his prime years to the war.

Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez

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    A young franchise famed for its hitters, the Rockies' choice is basically by default.

    In parts of five MLB seasons, Jimenez is 50-36 with a 133 ERA+ and 15.6 WAR.

Detroit Tigers: Hal Newhouser

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    Justin Verlander may make a claim to this title one day, but for now this is all Hal Newhouser.

    The two-time MVP won 207 games with a 130 ERA+ and 56.3 WAR.

Florida Marlins: Josh Johnson

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    Josh Johnson is barely 27, but it's already safe to say he's the best pitcher the Marlins franchise has ever produced.

    In parts of six seasons, he's gone 45-22 with a 138 ERA+ and 16.3 WAR.

Houston Astros: Roy Oswalt

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    Roy Oswalt may be gone from Houston, but it will be a long time before he is forgotten.

    The Wizard of Os has a career record of 150-83 with a 135 ERA+ and 44.6 WAR.

Kansas City Royals: Bret Saberhagen

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    Zack Greinke may one day go on to become the best pitcher the Royals have ever produced, but for now that honor belongs to Bret Saberhagen.

    The two-time Cy Young winner went 167-117 with a 126 ERA+ and 54.7 WAR across 16 seasons.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Chuck Finley

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    There's no clear pick for the best pitcher to come out of the Halos' system, but with apologies to Frank Tanana, I'll take Chuck Finley.

    In 17 MLB seasons, Finley won an even 200 games with a 115 ERA+ and 55.0 WAR.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Sandy Koufax

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    Who else would this be if not Sandy Koufax?

    In just 12 seasons, "The Left Arm of God" won 165 games with a 131 ERA+, three Cy Youngs, an MVP award and 54.5 WAR.

Milwaukee Brewers: Teddy Higuera

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    Like Jimenez for the Rockies, Higuera is merely the best of an underwhelming batch of choices.

    In nine seasons, he went 94-64 with a 117 ERA+ and 28.3 WAR.

Minnesota Twins: Walter Johnson

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    Walter Johnson is quite possibly the best pitcher of all time, so it's no surprise to see him on this list.

    His 417 wins are second in baseball history, his 147 ERA+ is fifth, and his 127.7 WAR put him at third on the all-time list.

New York Mets: Tom Seaver

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    Sorry, Nolan Ryan—the easy choice here is Tom Seaver.

    In 20 seasons, Tom Terrific went 311-205 with a 128 ERA+, three Cy Youngs and 105.3 WAR.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera

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    Mariano Rivera is the only reliever on this list, but that certainly doesn't mean he's out of place.

    In 16 MLB seasons, he's notched 559 saves and earned 52.9 WAR—insane for a guy who pitches out of the bullpen.

    His 205 ERA+ is the best of all time.

Oakland Athletics: Lefty Grove

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    Long before Billy Beane changed the way the team developed prospects, a homegrown Athletics pitcher named Lefty Grove was taking the league by storm.

    In 17 MLB seasons, Grove went 300-141 with a 148 ERA+, an MVP award and 98.3 WAR.

Philadelphia Phillies: Grover Cleveland Alexander

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    No arm the Phillies have developed has ever been better than the woefully underappreciated Grover Cleveland Alexander's.

    In 20 seasons, the No. 2 pitcher on my Presidents Day All-Star team won 373 games (third in MLB history) with a 136 ERA+ and 104.9 WAR.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Bob Friend

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    For a franchise as storied as the Pirates, it's surprising that the best pitcher they've ever produced is Bob Friend.

    In 16 seasons, he went 197-230 with a 107 ERA+ and 48.9 WAR.

San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy

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    Given his struggles over the last couple years, it's easy to forget just how good Jake Peavy was.

    In his nine-year career (he's still only 29), he has an 102-72 record with a 118 ERA+ and 26.4 WAR.

San Francisco Giants: Christy Mathewson

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    Please. Like you even had to think about this one.

    Mathewson went 373-188 with a 136 ERA+ and 87.7 WAR in 17 seasons, 16 of which were with the Giants.

Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez

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    Surprised to see Felix Hernandez on top already? Well, ask yourself this: what Mariners pitcher has been better (remember, Randy Johnson doesn't count)?

    At 24, King Felix already has 71 wins, a 133 ERA+, a Cy Young and 24.2 WAR.

St. Louis Cardinals: Bob Gibson

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    If you needed this slideshow to tell you that Bob Gibson is the best pitcher the Cardinals ever produced, you've got some catching up to do.

    With 251 wins, a 128 ERA+ and 85.6 WAR, he's definitely a living legend.

Tampa Bay Rays: David Price

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    Okay, David Price hasn't done much yet (besides finishing second in the Cy Young race last year and helping the Rays to the pennant in 2008), but who else has Tampa Bay produced?

    In his very short career, Price has gone 29-13 with a 124 ERA+ and 6.7 WAR.

Texas Rangers: Kevin Brown

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    A franchise that's had few big-name pitchers in its history, the Rangers can take credit for one of the most underappreciated hurlers of the last 20 years: Kevin Brown.

    In 19 seasons, Brown won 211 games with a 127 ERA+ and 64.8 WAR.

Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Halladay

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    With apologies to Dave Steib, this one isn't even close.

    In 13 MLB seasons, Roy Halladay has gone 169-86 with a 136 ERA+, two Cy Youngs and 54.3 WAR. He's a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Washington Nationals: Randy Johnson

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    Randy Johnson played for many teams in his illustrious 22-year career, and a lot of people forget that he started out with the Montreal Expos.

    In his career, he went 303-166 with a 136 ERA+, five Cy Youngs and 91.8 WAR.


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