MLB Power Rankings: All 30 MLB Teams' Worst Pitcher of All Time
Over the years, Major League Baseball executives have made plenty of questionable decisions regarding their starting rotations.
This could be in the form of an albatross contract handed to an undeserving pitcher; more commonly, it could be a decision to keep a pitiful arm in the rotation.
Before jumping into my research, I had to come up with some basic criteria to make a player eligible for consideration.
The most important factor I decided upon was that the pitcher had to toss a minimum of 500 innings with the particular team. Any pitcher can have a poor season, but I wanted to find the players who were consistently bad.
In most cases, having a 500-inning marker means the pitcher would have had to be in the rotation for three seasons and would have made 100 starts, seeing as many times bad pitchers don't pitch as many innings.
Finally, I didn't care whether the player was in his first couple of years or in the twilight of his career. If he was considered good enough to send to the mound for at least 500 innings—whether 20 years old or 40 years old—then he was most certainly fair game for this list.
Here are All 30 MLB Teams' Worst Pitcher of All Time.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Brian Anderson
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
With Team: 1998-2002
Key Stats: 840.2 IP, 4.52 ERA, 101 ERA+
In all fairness to Brian Anderson, who was a member of the Diamondbacks' inaugural rotation in 1998, there wasn't really much to compare him to.
Anderson was only slightly below average as a starting pitcher, but his downfall was giving up home runs. In 1998 and 2000 combined, Anderson gave up a whopping 77 long balls.
Atlanta Braves: Socks Seibold
With Team: 1929-33
Key Stats: 836.1 IP, 4.48 ERA, 1.486 WHIP
I really wanted to give this distinction to Derek Lowe, but the numbers Socks Seibold put up during a more pitcher-friendly era could not be overlooked.
Seibold spent five seasons with the Boston Braves, averaging 17 losses per season through his first three years before losing his permanent spot in the rotation.
Surprisingly, the Braves franchise doesn't have too many horrible pitchers that actually spent a significant amount of time with the team.
Baltimore Orioles: Sidney Ponson
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
With Team: 1998-2003, 2004-05
Key Stats: 1,375.1 IP, 4.86 ERA, 1.450 WHIP
I had actually thought Sidney Ponson strung together a few good seasons with the Baltimore Orioles back in the late '90s and early 2000s, but clearly I was mistaken.
Ponson had one good season, when in 2003 he went 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA for the Orioles. Other than that, he was pretty horrible, to say the least.
Boston Red Sox: Jack Russell
With Team: 1926-36
Key Stats: 1,215 IP, 4.58 ERA, 202 K
The Boston Red Sox may as well have renamed the "Curse of the Bambino" to the "Curse of Jack Russell."
How did Russell manage to stay in Boston's rotation for 11 seasons? It was long enough for Russell to rank 23rd all-time in innings pitched for the Red Sox.
Chicago Cubs: Johnny Klippstein
With Team: 1950-54
Key Stats: 746.2 IP, 4.79 ERA, 1.578 WHIP
It was a close call between Kevin Tapani and Johnny Klippstein, but I had to give the slight edge to the Klipper. Understandably, Cubs fans may feel differently.
Klippstein, who had a tendency to throw wild pitches, ended his five-year stint on the north side with an 87 ERA+.
Chicago White Sox: Jaime Navarro
David Seelig/Getty Images
With Team: 1997-99
Key Stats: 542 IP, 6.06 ERA, 1.692 WHIP, 76 ERA+
Jaime Navarro was the league leader in a handful of categories during his three-year stint with the Chicago White Sox.
He led the league in hits allowed (267) and wild pitches (14) in 1997, along with losses (16) and wild pitches (18) in 1998.
If the White Sox hadn't realized their blunder midway through the 1999 season, you can bet Navarro would have made a three-peat in some categories.
Cincinnati Reds: Herm Wehmeier
With Team: 1945, 1947-54
Key Stats: 1,087 IP, 5.25 ERA, 1.598 WHIP, 78 ERA+
While he dramatically improved over the remainder of his career after leaving the Reds midway through the 1954 season, Herm Wehmeier was awful during his nine-year stay in Cincy.
Wehmeier had horrible control on the mound. While with the Reds, he led the National League in walks three times and wild pitches two times.
Cleveland Indians: Jaret Wright
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
With Team: 1997-2002
Key Stats: 515.2 IP, 5.50 ERA, 1.590 WHIP
Jaret Wright surely benefited from a high-octane offense in Cleveland during his six-year tenure with the Indians, represented by his 87 ERA+ over the time span.
Although Wright was dealing with some injuries during the latter part of his stay in Cleveland, it's part of the game, and he was still horrible on the mound.
Colorado Rockies: Jamey Wright
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
With Team: 1996-99, 2004-05
Key Stats: 791.2 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.665 WHIP
This was a tough choice, seeing as not many pitchers have found long-term success pitching for the Rockies, while many don't stick around long enough to find out.
It was really a toss-up between Jamey Wright and Shawn Chacon. Rockies fans can pick their poison, but I went with Wright after seeing his lowest WHIP for a season as a member of the Rockies sat at 1.599.
Detroit Tigers: Mike Maroth
Harry How/Getty Images
With Team: 2002-07
Key Stats: 4.81 ERA, 1.423 WHIP, 87 ERA+
While Nate Robertson was considered, it was impossible to go against former big-time prospect Mike Maroth.
I almost felt bad that the Tigers kept throwing Maroth out there every fifth day in 2003, a season in which he lost a modern-day record 21 games for the worst team in baseball.
While he did show slight improvement over the next few seasons, it's pretty clear that he could never escape the shadow of his 2003 campaign.
Florida Marlins: Scott Olsen
Doug Benc/Getty Images
With Team: 2005-2008
Key Stats: 579.1 IP, 4.63 ERA, 1.479 WHIP
Scott Olsen probably doesn't deserve to be mentioned on a "worst pitcher" list, but it was between him, Chris Volstad and Ryan Dempster. Olsen seemed liked the logical choice.
Olsen seemed to get worse with every passing season, bottoming out in 2007 with a 5.81 ERA and 1.760 WHIP in over 176 innings.
Houston Astros: Jose Lima
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
With Team: 1997-2001
Key Stats: 804 IP, 4.77 ERA, 94 ERA+
Jose Lima proved to be somewhat of a mystery during his five-year stay with the Houston Astros.
In 1999, "Lima Time" went 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA, making an All-Star bid while placing fourth in Cy Young votes.
The following season, Lima went 7-16 with a 6.65 ERA while allowing an MLB-record 48 home runs. From 1998-2000, Lima gave up an eye-popping 112 long balls.
Kansas City Royals: Kyle Davies
With Team: 2007-Present
Key Stats: 531 IP, 5.34 ERA, 80 ERA+
Kyle Davies gets the nod over Luke Hochevar for the Kansas City Royals.
After three very unpleasant seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Davies was shipped to Kansas City in hopes that he'd be an anchor in the Royals' rebuilding project.
Davies has yet to show up on the mound, just as the Royals have yet to rebuild into a respectable ballclub.
Los Angeles Angels: Tom Murphy
With Team: 1968-72
Key Stats: 795.1 IP, 3.85 ERA, 87 ERA+
Fans of the Los Angeles Angels may argue that Scott Schoeneweis or Ramon Ortiz should get the nod as the worst starting pitcher in franchise history, but Tom Murphy was much worse than some of his basic stats may indicate.
While his 3.85 ERA and 1.272 WHIP with the club seem great on paper, his ERA+ will show you that for the era in which he played, Murphy was well below average.
Murphy had control issues, which eventually turned him into a reliever. He hit a league-high 21 batters while also throwing a league-high 16 wild pitches in 1969.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Hal Gregg
With Team: 1943-47
Key Stats: 692.1 IP, 4.48 ERA, 82 ERA+
Hal Gregg was a very mediocre pitcher who in many ways benefited from playing on some great Brooklyn Dodgers teams in the mid 1940s.
Gregg, like many of the pitchers on this list, struggled with control during his career.
In 1944, Gregg was the league leader in earned runs (120), walks (137), hit by pitches (nine) and wild pitches (10).
Milwaukee Brewers: Jeff Suppan
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
With Team: 2007-10
Key Stats: 577 IP, 5.08 ERA, 1.596 WHIP
Jeff Suppan is a great guy, but he was absolutely horrible during his four years with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Back in 2007, it took a $40 million contract to get Suppan into a Brewers uniform. He earned the equivalent of about $1.6 million per victory and/or $500 for every time he was booed off the field.
Minnesota Twins: Russ Kemmerer
With Team: 1957-60
Key Stats: 620 IP, 4.76 ERA, 81 ERA+
Some Minnesota Twins pitchers have had worse individual seasons than Russ Kemmerer, but he was consistent with his futility.
Kemmerer was one of the worst starting pitchers of his era, but it wasn't due to a lack of control. While he didn't have extremely high walk rates and didn't throw a lot of wild pitches, Kemmerer really just had no movement or "stuff" on his pitches. He was very hittable.
New York Mets: Oliver Perez
Marc Serota/Getty Images
With Team: 2006-10
Key Stats: 520 IP, 4.71 ERA, 1.482 WHIP
Oliver Perez earned his place on this list, and I think most New York Mets fans will agree.
Perez had a decent start to his career with the Mets in 2007, tossing the ball to a 3.56 ERA over 177 innings.
Apparently his league-leading 105 walks in 2008 didn't set off the red flags for the organization, which gave him a $36 million extension for what ended up being 112 innings of 6.81 ERA ball.
New York Yankees: A.J. Burnett
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
With Team: 2009-Present
Key Stats: 560 IP, 4.81 ERA, 1.448 WHIP
For all of you Yankees fans who believe a postseason rotation including Burnett will be OK, I have only one thing to say: Good luck.
In typical A.J. Burnett fashion, the pitcher had a good walk year with the Blue Jays in 2008 that led the Yanks to give him an $83 million contract.
Since joining the team in 2009, Burnett has thrown 53 wild pitches while hitting 36 batters. At this point, he appears to be a lost cause.
Oakland Athletics: Carl Scheib
With Team: 1943-54
Key Stats: 1,066 IP, 4.85 ERA, 1.512 WHIP
Carl Scheib was consistently bad. He gave the Athletics above-average production during only two of his 11 seasons with the team.
Scheib threw nearly two walks for every strikeout while allowing almost 10 hits per nine innings during his time with the team.
Philadelphia Phillies: Les Sweetland
With Team: 1927-30
Key Stats: 610.1 IP, 6.33 ERA, 1.856 WHIP, 77 ERA+
Les Sweetland had no business playing in Major League Baseball.
Sweetland allowed hits at an uncontrollable rate, he walked a lot of batters and he had a tendency to hit batters as well.
It was almost as if Sweetland was pitching with a softball every time he stepped to the mound.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jimmy Anderson
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
With Team: 1999-2002
Key Stats: 520.1 IP, 5.17 ERA, 1.562 WHIP
Jimmy Anderson played on some dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates squads, but that's still no excuse for his consistent futility on the mound.
During his four seasons in Pittsburgh, Anderson's ERA never got below 5.10, and opposing hitters pounded him like it was batting practice.
Not surprisingly, Anderson washed out of the league by 2004.
San Diego Padres: Bill Greif
With Team: 1971-76
Key Stats: 645 IP, 4.42 ERA, 79 ERA+
Bill Greif was never able to put his skill set together in the major leagues.
Greif wasn't able to make batters miss the way the Padres had hoped, instead losing his command and control before ultimately losing his career.
He did manage one good season with the Padres in 1973, but it was sandwiched between the two worst seasons of his career.
San Francisco Giants: Barry Zito
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
With Team: 2007-Present
Key Stats: 817.2 IP, 4.52 ERA, 1.403 WHIP
Regardless of the Giants' long and storied history, Barry Zito was an easy choice to represent them on this list.
Of course, this is partially due to his albatross contract, but I don't know if there has been a bigger disappointment in Major League Baseball history.
However, Zito did show many warning signs during his last couple years in Oakland, so the Giants have no one to blame but themselves.
Seattle Mariners: Glenn Abbott
With Team: 1977-83
Key Stats: 904 IP, 4.54 ERA, 90 ERA+
Glenn Abbott was plucked from a small group of Seattle Mariners pitchers who have reached the 500-inning plateau.
Abbott was a control pitcher who didn't strike out many batters, but he didn't walk many either. His issue proved to be giving up base hits by the truckload, which ultimately led to Abbott being out of the league by 1984.
St. Louis Cardinals: Ken Hill
With Team: 1988-91, 1995
Key Stats: 581 IP, 4.23 ERA, 89 ERA+
Most of the pitchers who have worn a Cardinals jersey long enough to qualify as a "worst pitcher" have actually had pretty decent careers.
Ken Hill's control problems are what landed him on this list. He was routinely among the league leaders in walks, and he led baseball with 15 losses in 1989.
In his defense, Hill played for St. Louis during his first four seasons in the league and would later become a respectable pitcher. For the Cards, however, he was not.
Tampa Bay Rays: Andy Sonnanstine
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
With Team: 2007-Present
Key Stats: 539.1 IP, 5.27 ERA, 82 ERA+
Andy Sonnanstine takes the cake as the Tampa Bay Rays' worst pitcher of all time, although he was selected from the shortest list of qualifying players.
No matter—Sonnanstine appears to be one of the few Rays pitching prospects who didn't pan out.
Sonnanstine seemed to be improving as a starter during his first two seasons, but after getting lost in the shadows of the many other big-time prospects who came up over the last five years, he's struggled mightily on the mound.
Texas Rangers: John Burkett
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
With Team: 1996-99
Key Stats: 600.1 IP, 5.13 ERA, 1.444 WHIP
Whatever magic helped John Burkett win 22 games with the Giants in 1993 quickly disappeared when he joined the Texas Rangers midway through the 1996 season.
Granted, Arlington Ballpark was never an easy place to pitch, but Burkett kept his K/BB rate in line with his career average.
The major difference came in the form of hits. Burkett's hits per nine innings rose from 9.2 with the Giants to 10.9 with the Rangers.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jesse Jefferson
With Team: 1977-80
Key Stats: 666.1 IP, 4.75 ERA, 88 ERA+
How does a guy with a handful of wins and double-digit losses manage to keep a rotation spot for four seasons?
Jesse Jefferson wasn't a victim of bad luck either. He gave up a ton of hits and a ton of walks, and he didn't have an overpowering fastball to strike out opposing batters.
Let's face it, though—a .282 winning percentage over 78 decisions is brutal.
Washington Nationals: Ernie McAnally
With Team: 1971-74
Key Stats: 623.1 IP, 4.03 ERA, 91 ERA+
Ernie McAnally pitched so poorly during his first four seasons in the league that no team wanted his services after the Montreal Expos released him following the 1974 season.
For the life of him, McAnally could not control the baseball. Not only did he walk a lot of batters, but he also led the league in wild pitches at one point and hit plenty of batters to boot.
Jeffrey Beckmann is a MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Jeffrey on his new Twitter account for all of his latest work. You can also hear him each Friday at 1 pm EST on B/R Baseball Roundtable.