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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    WASHINGTON - AUGUST 10:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Florida Marlins at Nationals Park on August 10, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    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 Baseball-Reference.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb

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    PHOENIX - APRIL 06:  Starting pitcher Brandon Webb #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the MLB openning day game at Chase Field on April 6, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 9-8.  (Pho
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    COOPERSTOWN, NY - AUGUST 3: (L) Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer attends the 1997 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Clark Sports Center on August 3.1997 in Cooperstown, New York. ( Photo by: Tomasso Derosa/Getty Images)
    Tomasso Derosa/Getty Images

    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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    27 Aug 1995: Pitcher Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox looks on during a game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Red Sox won the game 4-1.
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - JULY 24:  Greg Maddux #31 of the Chicago Cubs deals against the New York Mets on July 24, 2006 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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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    CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 12:  Hall of Fame Cleveland Indian pitcher Bob Feller tips his cap to fans prior to the Cleveland Indians playing the Texas Rangers duirng Opening Day on April 12, 2010 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Sham
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    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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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Starter Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Rockies 1-0 in 11 innings.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Get
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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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    VIERA, FL - MARCH 02:  Josh Johnson #55  of the Florida Marlins pitches during a Spring Training game against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium on March 2, 2011 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    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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    HOUSTON - MAY 31:  Pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on May 31, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    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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    1990:  KANSAS CITY ROYALS PITCHER BRET SABERHAGEN STEPS TO THROW DURING A ROYALS GAME AT ROYALS STADIUM IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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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    5 Aug 1999: Chuck Finley #31of the Anaheim Angels pitches the ball during a game against the Boston Red Sox  at the Edison Field in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Red Sox 8-0Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    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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    COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 26:  Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax waves to the crowd as he is introduced at Clark Sports Center during the 2009  Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 26, 2009 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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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    SAN DIEGO - MARCH 16:(L-R) Mexican Bench Coach Fernando Valenzuela stands in the dugout with Jorge Cantu #3, Karim Garcia #10, Manager Vinny Castilla and pitching coach Teddy Higuera after losing to Cuba 7-4 during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round 2
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - APRIL 13:  Former Mets pitcher Tom Seaver throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the San Diego Padres against the New York Mets during opening day at Citi Field on April 13, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New Y
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Jake Peavy #44 of the San Diego Padres throws a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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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    PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 15:  Pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners throws during a MLB spring training practice at Peoria Stadium on February 15, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    ST. LOUIS - JULY 5:  Former baseball player Bob Gibson throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on July 5, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals defeated the Red
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 06:  Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game 1 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field on October 6, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    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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    TEXAS RANGERS PITCHER KEVIN BROWN DELIVERS A PITCH DURING THE 1992 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SEASON AT COMISKEY PARK IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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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    ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 14: American League All-Star Roy Halladay #32 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game against the National League at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image
    Pool/Getty Images

    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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    AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13:  Former MLB pitcher Randy Johnson speaks at a press conference during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2010 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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.

    For more of Lewie's work, visit WahooBlues.com. Follow him on Twitter  @LewsOnFirst or @WahooBlues.

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