MLB.com vs A Sip of Sports (Right Handed Pitchers Edition)

MLB.com came out with their list of best Right Handed Starters for each franchise. We, at A Sip of Sports didn’t categorize by right/left, but judged pitcher simply as pitchers. We can easily adjust our list to make the comparisons. We agreed on 20 of the thirty choices (67%),  if we count Jake Peavy with the Padres. We think the best right handed pitcher in Padres’ history is Trevor Hoffman, but he was a closer. Peavy would be the choice if we’re ranking starting pitchers.

Toronto Blue Jays 

ASOS:   Dave Stieb

MLB.com: Roy Halladay

We understand the sentiment for Roy Halladay. His tragic death is still very much in our memories, and he was recently elected to the Hall of Fame. The DATA, however, does not support the selection. Halladay’s record in Toronto was 148-76, with a 3.43 ERA in 2,047 innings. Dave Stieb’s was 175-134, with a 3.44 ERA in 2,873 innings. Stieb was just as effective as Halladay in 800 more innings. That’s why Dave leads Roy 56.9-48.4 in WAR and 210-169 in Win Shares while they were in Canada. Stieb leads in every category we use except award results. Stieb had a 4th, 5th and two 7th place finishes in Cy Young Award voting, and seven All Star appearances. Halladay won a Cy Young Award for the Blue Jays in 2003, finished 2nd, 3rd, and 5th twice with six All Star selections. We think Halladay was very good, but he’s only the second best pitcher in franchise history.  

Baltimore Orioles

ASOS:      Jim Palmer

MLB.com: Jim Palmer

This one’s easy.

Tampa Bay Rays:

ASOS:     James Shields

MLB.com: James Shields

The Rays don’t hold on to their good pitchers for more than seven years. Shields won 87 games in his six seasons with the team.

Boston Red Sox

ASOS:      Roger Clemens

MLB.com: Pedro Martinez

Martinez over Clemens? It’s hard to figure this one out unless we disqualify Clemens for the substance abuse allegations against him. Roger won 192 games in Boston to Pedro’s 117, and he pitched twice as many innings in Beantown. WAR favors Clemens 80.6-53.8. Choosing Clemens over Martinez is a no-brainer, the controversy is Clemens vs Cy Young of who the greatest Red Sox pitcher is. That one is close, but we think we’ve got the right one there too.

New York Yankees

ASOS:      Red Ruffing

MLB.com: Red Ruffing

Another easy one.

Cleveland Indians

ASOS:      Bob Feller

MLB.com: Bob Feller

We’ve documented Feller’s career sacrifice to serve his country in other articles. Giving him no credit at all for his 3 ½  missing seasons, he’s still an easy selection.

Kansas City Royals

ASOS:      Bret Saberhagen

MLB.com: Bret Saberhagen

The choice between Saberhagen and Kevin Appier is very close. We both took the 2-time Cy Young Award winner.

Detroit Tigers

ASOS:      George Mullin

MLB.com: Justin Verlander

 As a pitcher only, Mullin’s WAR with Detroit was 34.8, but he was also a solid hitter, earning 11.5 WAR at the plate, for a total of 46.3. Verlander’s WAR in Detroit was 56.1. Mullin leads in Win Shares 238-194. The timeline is a big advantage for Verlander. We just think that Mullin’s 3,394 to 2,511 lead in innings pitched in Detroit makes him overall more valuable. We might be wrong. 

Minnesota Twins

ASOS:      Walter Johnson

MLB.com: Bert Blyleven

If they had considered players from the franchises time in Washington then Johnson would have been their choice. For some reason they didn’t.

Chicago White Sox

ASOS:      Ed Walsh

MLB.com: Ed Walsh

The greatest Spitball pitcher of all time? We think so.

Los Angeles Angels

ASOS:      Nolan Ryan

MLB.com: Nolan Ryan

We think Ryan is very overrated, but he is a legitimate Hall of Famer, and his best seasons were with the Angels.

Houston Astros

ASOS:      Roy Oswalt

MLB.com: Roy Oswalt

There’s a lot of worthy choices here (Joe Niekro, Larry Dierker, J.R. Richard, Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan), it’s a little surprising that we both picked the same one. 

Oakland Athletics

ASOS:      Catfish Hunter

MLB.com: Catfish Hunter

The Athletics’ best pitchers were all southpaws (Grove, Plank, Waddell). The timeline adjustment lifts Catfish above “Chief” Bender. 

Seattle Mariners

ASOS:      Felix Hernandez

MLB.com: Felix Hernandez

A no-brainer

Texas Rangers

ASOS:      Charlie Hough

MLB.com: Nolan Ryan

Wow, they took a pitcher who won 51 games with the franchise over someone who won 139. Hough also leads in WAR while in Texas, 32.6-15.2, Win Shares 146-56, and innings pitched, 2,308-840. How could anyone get this so wrong? The difference is one threw a 100 mph fastball and the other threw a fluttering knuckleball.  

Atlanta Braves

ASOS:      Kid Nichols

MLB.com: Greg Maddux

We covered this comparison in our National League All Time Greatest Team article. We agree that Maddux overall career value was greater than Nichols, but he only had 62% of his value in Atlanta, while Nichols had 92% of his value with the Beaneaters/Braves. Maddux is a deserving selection, but we still like Nichols. 

Miami Marlins

ASOS:      Josh Johnson

MLB.com: Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez was great when he pitched, but only started 76 games in his four seasons before his untimely death. Josh Johnson had 160 starts with the Marlins before injuries put a premature end to his career. It’s not really close, Johnson’s WAR was 25.8 to Fernandez’ 13.0. 

New York Mets

ASOS:      Tom Seaver

MLB.com: Tom Seaver

Could Jacob deGrom eventually take this spot? Not likely.

Washington Nationals

ASOS:      Steve Rogers

MLB.com: Stephen Strasburg

Strasburg just came off his best season, culminating by being named World Series MVP. He just signed a new long term deal with the Nationals, so there’s a good chance he’s going to stay in town long enough to justify MLB.com’s pick. He’s not there yet.

Philadelphia Phillies

ASOS:      Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander

MLB.com: Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts was a great pitcher, one of the top 25 of all time. He spent 14 of his 19 Major League seasons, and all his best ones, in Philadelphia. He leads Alexander in wins while in Philly, 234-190, WAR 69.7-60.1, and Win Shares 277-238. Roberts is a very defensible pick. We’ll still go with “The Great Alex”. In Alexander’s seven seasons with the Phillies he averaged  over 27 wins a season, and won three pitching triple crowns, and led the league 13 times in triple crown categories. Roberts “only” led the league in 6 triple crown categories in his 14 seasons with the franchise. You can make a pretty good case that Alexander’s seven year run in Philadelphia was the best seven year run in Major League baseball history. 

Milwaukee Brewers

ASOS:      Ben Sheets

MLB.com: Ben Sheets

Not a lot of good candidates here. We both settled on the same one.

St. Louis Cardinals

ASOS:      Bob Gibson

MLB.com: Bob Gibson

They don’t make ‘em like Bob Gibson anymore.

Chicago Cubs

ASOS:      Three Finger Brown

MLB.com: Fergie Jenkins

Brown’s record while in Chicago was 188-86 with a 1.80 ERA in 2,390 innings. Compare that to Jenkins’ 167-132 record with a 3.20 ERA in 2,674 innings. WAR favors Jenkins 53.0-48.0, but Win Shares favors Brown 237-203. We get it, Brown played 60 years before Jenkins. We just think WAR got this one wrong. Brown was the best player on the Cubs’ best teams (1906-1910). Jenkins was the third best player (Ron Santo, Billy Williams) on Cub teams that won nothing. We stand by our pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates

ASOS:      Babe Adams

MLB.com: Babe Adams

Hero of the 1909 World Series

Cincinnati Reds

ASOS:      Bucky Walters

MLB.com: Bucky Walters

Says something about the Reds’ franchise that we both took a converted infielder. 

Arizona Diamondbacks

ASOS:      Brandon Webb

MLB.com: Brandon Webb

If Zack Greinke had stayed around a few more years he might have challenged Webb. He didn’t.

Los Angeles Dodgers

ASOS:      Don Drysdale

MLB.com: Don Drysdale

A lot of worthy candidates for this spot (Don Sutton, Dazzy Vance, Don Newcombe, Brickyard Kennedy, etc.). We both took “Big D”.

San Francisco Giants

ASOS:      Christy Mathewson

MLB.com: Christy Mathewson

“The Great Matty” over the hot-headed Juan Marichal.

San Diego Padres

ASOS:      Jake Peavy

MLB.com: Jake Peavy

Closer Trevor Hoffman is the best right handed pitcher in franchise history, but Peavy gets the nod here because he was a starter.

Colorado Rockies

ASOS:      Ubaldo Jimenez

MLB.com: Ubaldo Jimenez

Not much to choose from. 

This concludes our series comparing A Sip of Sports and MLB.com’s selections of the greatest players at each position for every Major League franchise. We agreed on 70% of the selections. Most of those disagreements were on the margins, with MLB.com’s choices being very reasonable. We have just a few that A Sip of Sports found outrageous. 

With the Minnesota Twins MLB.com didn’t include players from their Washington Senator days for their team. Not sure why they chose to do that. They used the complete franchise history for the Giants, Dodgers, Braves, Orioles/Yankees, Browns/Orioles, Expos/Nationals, and Athletics. Not sure whether they included the expansion Washington Senators in their Texas Ranger picks. The exclusion of Frank Howard indicates that they didn’t. 

Besides the exclusion of Howard on the Senators/Ranger teams, we only had ten selections made by MLB.com that were not reasonably supportable. They were:

Anthony Rizzo over Cap Anson at first base for the Cubs

Nellie Fox over Eddie Collins at second base for the White Sox

Cliff Floyd over Miguel Cabera in left field for the Marlins

Steve Finley over Dave Winfield in center field for the Padres

Chipper Jones over Eddie Mathews at third base for the Braves

Pedro Martinez over Roger Clemens at RHP for the Red Sox

Nolan Ryan over Charlie Hough at RHP for the Rangers

C.J. Wilson over Kenny Rogers at LHP for the Rangers

Tom Glavine over Warren Spahn at LHP for the Braves

In all nine of those selections there’s no objective defense of MLB.com’s choice.

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