After looking at the Aces last week, we’ll move on to the guys that either played second fiddle to those aces, or were good on their own terms, just not quite good enough to fall in the top 6 list.
Jim Clancy (1977-1988)
The Blue Jays drafted Clancy with the 6th overall pick in the 1976 Expansion Draft, taking the then 20 year old from the Texas Rangers. And it was a good pick for the Jays, arguably their best one of the entire Expansion Draft. Clancy went 128-140 with a 4.10 ERA over 352 games for the early Jays.
Clancy earned the Opening Day Start twice for the Jays, taking the ball in both 1981 and 1984. He also earned an All Star nod in 1982. In total, he gave the Jays 24.7 bWAR and 28.0 fWAR over parts of 12 seasons.
Clancy only pitched 1 inning for the Jays in the playoffs, as he spent a good portion of the 1985 season injured, and he was gone by the time the Jays returned in 1989.
Doyle Alexander (1983-1986)
By the time the Jays traded for the 32 year old Alexander, he had already thrown nearly 2000 innings, predominantly for the Orioles and Rangers. He had been worth 15 WAR over those season, but his best days were still ahead of him.
In parts of 4 seasons with Toronto, Alexander went 46-26 with a 3.56 ERA. He threw 750 innings, collecting 13.5 bWAR over 106 games.
Alexander earned MVP votes in both 1984 and 1985, as well as a 6th place finish in the 1985 Cy Young Voting. But by the time the playoffs came around, Alexander began struggling. He made two starts against the Royals, allowing 5 runs in 5 innings in an eventual Game 3 loss, then taking the loss in Game 6 allowing 5 more runs in 5.1 innings.
David Wells (1987-1992, 1999-2000)
The Blue Jays drafted Wells with their second round pick in 1982 out of high school. Wells made it to the Majors by 1987, working predominantly out of the bullpen through 1989. He made 67 starts over 1990-1992, with varying results, spending some more time in the bullpen as well. He ended up pitching 13 innings out of the bullpen in the playoffs for the Jays as well.
That wasn’t good enough to keep him on the roster however, as the Jays released Wells at the end of Spring Training in 1993. He caught on with the Tigers from there, making the All Star game in 1995, and then really taking off with the Yankees in 1997 and 1998. He ended throwing up the 13th perfect game in baseball history while with the Yankees in 1998.
After that season, the Jays traded Roger Clemens to the Yankees for 3 players, one of them being Wells. Wells claims that day as the worst day of his career, but he did at least do quite well once back with the Jays. In those 2 seasons he went 37-18 with a 4.47 ERA in the heart of the steroid era. He had 16 complete games of his 69 starts, a ratio that is quite impressive.
A.J. Burnett (2006-2008)
The Blue Jays handed Burnett one of the biggest free agent contracts in history prior to the 2006 season, signing him for a 5 year, $55 million contract. He ended up exercising his opt out after 3 years, but he was a very solid pitcher for his 3 years in Toronto.
Over 81 games, he went 38-26 with a 3.94 ERA. He was worth 6.7 bWAR, but an even better 10.2 fWAR. Burnett struck out 231 batters in 2008, leading the American League in both strikeouts and strikeout rate.
Ricky Romero (2009-2013)
Romero was the Blue Jays’ first round draft pick of the Jays in 2005, the 6th overall pick ahead of several other players that had much better careers. But Romero had a great few years with the Blue Jays when he did finally make it to the Majors.
Romero had 4 seasons of very solid pitching, plus a few poor games in 2013 as he struggled with injury. Overall, he went 51-45, pitching to a 4.16 ERA. He gave the Jays 10.1 bWAR, including an incredible 6.4 bWAR in 2011.
Romero made it to the All Star game in 2011, and also placed 10th in the Cy Young voting as well. He also was the opening day starter on two occasions, in 2011 and 2012, both very well earned.
Marcus Stroman (2014-2019)
Stroman was a first round draft pick for the Blue Jays in the 2012 draft, and he quickly made it to the Majors, making his debut on May 4, 2014. He had a pretty great rookie season, throwing 130.2 innings, going 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA, and was worth 1.8 bWAR.
He was poised to really break out in 2015, but instead he was sideline with an ACL tear in spring training. He went back to Duke, got his degree, and worked exceptionally hard at coming back in time for the playoffs. He had one of the fastest ACL recoveries in the sports’ history, making it back in time to make 4 September starts before the playoffs. He went 4-0 in September, with a 1.67 ERA over 27 innings. He wasn’t quite as good in the playoffs that year, allowing 10 runs over 19.1 innings.
Over 135 games for the Jays’ Stroman went 47-45 with a 3.76 ERA, giving the Jays 13.2 bWAR over 789.2 innings. He was traded to the Mets nearly a year ago now, and in return we got Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson. But for the time he was here, he was a great pitcher, and a lot of fun to watch, whether it was pitching, fielding or batting.
Who was your favourite no. 2 pitcher?
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