Montreal Expos Drafting Record Part 2: The Pitchers

Wednesday June.27/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Drafted in 1985 by the Montreal Expos, Randy Johnson was erratic in his early days. After trading away Mark Langston to acquire the young fireballer, the Mariners worked him into the rotation and he developed into a Hall of Famer.

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  When looking back at some of the pitchers that the Montreal Expos have had in their organization, you don’t have go down the list very far to find Randy Johnson.  He is the ‘crown jewel’ of the draft history record for the club.  It is unfortunate the ‘The Big Unit’ was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to the Mariners for rental player Mark Langston and a player to be named later.  To be fair to the Montreal Expos, they were in serious contention for the pennant in 1989 and were trying to chase down the Chicago Cubs.  Langston was one of the top Left Handed Aces in the Majors and he was available.    Johnson was completely wild in the Minor Leagues and the Expos had a lot of veteran pitchers like Dennis Martinez and Bryn Smith that were on the back end of their careers.   The time to try and win was now and they could not wait for Johnson to come around.  The Expos did not succeed in capturing the pennant and Langston moved onto the California Angels as a free agent while Johnson blossomed into the premier left handed pitcher in his generation.   Speaking of Martinez and Smith, they won 100 and 81 games respectively for the club.  While they were not drafted by the Expos, they are 2nd and 3rd on the all-time win list.

Along with Smith and Dennis Martinez (who threw a perfect game as an Expo in 1991 and note:  Bill Stoneman also threw two no-hitters for the franchise), you have to factor in the career of Pedro Martinez as an Expo for guys that were great pitchers during their prime. Pedro was acquired prior to the 1994 season from the Dodgers in exchange for the Expos departed ALL-Star second baseman Delino DeShields.  Martinez went 11-5 in the strike shortened year and formed an impressive 1-2 ace combination with Ken Hill.  Pedro went onto a 55-33 record and a 3.06 ERA for his 4 year Expos career.   Pedro’s best year with the club was 1997 where he was the NL CY Young with a 17-8 record and a 1.90 ERA.  Martinez finished the year with 305 strikeouts and a ridiculous 13 complete games.  Pedro ended up signing with the  Boston Red Sox before the 1998 season and he ultimately won a World Series with the Beantowners in 2004.  In his post game celebration, Martinez mentioned the Expos franchise and their fans.  Pedro shared his triumph as a testament to them.  It was talent like this that Expos could never afford to resign and would lose outright- or have to trade for prospects based on their economic viability. I will get more into this in Part 3 of the Article Series on Friday. 

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Hitters: click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise:  click here

For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here

After finishing 2nd in ROY voting in 1972, Steve Rogers went 33-51 during the next 3 years. The Expos stuck with their 4th overall pick in the 1971 Amateur Draft(and the clubs all-time wins leader.) Rogers rewarded the Expos for their patience by going 107-70 between 1976-1983.

Expos All-Time Draft and Signings. Top Records/Pitchers/Year of draft or signing in parenthesis

*** Active Players

-a means they were drafted by the Expos, but never signed and re-entered another draft to be selected by a different team.

1.   Randy Johnson 303-166 (.646) 3.29 ERA (1985)

The ‘Big Unit’ sits 23rd on the All-Time MLB Win List and he struck out 4875 batters, which is 2nd to Nolan Ryan all-time.  Johnson threw both a perfect game and a no-hitter in his career.  He is a 5 time Cy Young Winner, a 10 time ALL-Star, led the league in strikeouts 9 times, ERA 4 times and won the triple crown for wins, ERA and Strikeouts with the Diamondbacks in 2002. Johnson was the CO-MVP of the 2001 World Series winning Diamondbacks.  He struck out 19 batters in a game twice.  His .646 winning percentage is good for 31st All-Time.  He will certainly be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he is available on the 2015 ballot.

2.   Javier Vazquez 165-160 (.508) 4.22 ERA (1994)***

Vazquez has struck out 200 batters or more on 5 different occasions and has 12 straight years of double digit wins.  Javier was in the top 10 for wins of the decade (2000-2009) with 138.  He was an ALL-Star in 2004 and finished in the top 5 of Cy Young voting in 2009 with Atlanta, where he was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA.  Vazquez has earned 99 Million dollars in player salary so far.

3.   Scott Sanderson 163-143 (.533) 3.84 ERA (1977)

Sanderson was 56-47 in his career with the Expos with a 3.33 ERA.  His best season came with the Oakland A’s, where he was 17-11 and was part of a rotation that led the team to a World Series.  Sanderson made his only appearance at the ALL-Star game in 1991 during a 16-10 campaign for the New York Yankees.

4.   Bill Gullickson 162-136 (.544) 3.93 ERA (1979)

Gullickson was noted for having Diabetes and overcoming it in is career.  He was 72-61 for the Expos with a 3.44 ERA, including finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year Voting in 1980.  After signing in the Japanese league for a rich 2 Million Dollar Contract for the 1988 and 1989 seasons, he returned to the MLB in 1990 with the Astros.  Gullickson went on to win 20 games for the 1991 Detroit Tigers.  Gullickson also finished 8th in CY Young voting that year.

5.   Steve Rogers 158-152 (.510) 3.17 ERA (1971)

Rogers is the all-time leader in wins, losses and strikeouts for the franchise.  In 1973, he finished in 2nd for Rookie of the Year voting.  in 1982 Rogers led the league in ERA.  Over his career, the Missouri native threw 129 CG and 37 shutouts.  He lead the NL in shutouts 2 times and Complete Games once.  Rogers was a 5 time ALL-Star and finished in the top 5 CY Young voting 3 times.  He had a 3-1 record with a 0.97 ERA despite giving up the Rick Monday HR in the 9th inning of the Game #5 NLCS on 2 days rest.

6.   Mike Boddicker 132-116 (.532) 3.82 ERA (1975) -a

Boddicker was drafted by the Expos but went back into the draft.  He led the league in shutouts in his rookie year with the Orioles and finished up 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1983.  Boddicker was 2-0 in the post season en route to a Baltimore World Series trophy.  The next year, Boddicker led the league in wins with 20 and a 2.79 ERA.  He finished 4th in Cy Young voting that year, 25th in MVP voting and made his only ALL-Star team.

7.   Kirk Reuter 130-93 (.586) 4.27 ERA (1991)

Rueter won his 1st 8 games in 1993 as a rookie for the Expos.  He finished 7th in Rookie of the Year voting.  He ended up 25-12 .(676) for the Expos, which is their career winning percentage leader with a minimum of 25 wins.  He is 3rd on the SF Giants (if not counting the NY Giants) all-time win list with 105.  Rueter had a 8-6 record in the post season with a 3.79 ERA.

8.   Cliff Lee 119-73 (.620) 3.65 ERA (2000)***

Cliff Lee was the key piece coming back to the Cleveland Indians in the Bartolo Colon trade.  Great trade for the Indians as it also netted them Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips.  Lee is a 3 time ALL-Star, a one time CY Young Winner, has led the league in wins one time, winning percentage twice, shutouts twice, complete games twice and ERA once.  In addition to his Cy Young Award in 2008, he has 3 other top 10 CY Young finishes in other years.  At .620 for a career win percentage, he ranks right up there in this category amongst active and retired pitchers.

9.   Ugueth Urbina 44-49 (.473) 3.45 ERA 237 Saves

Ugueth Urbina was a 2 time ALL-Star and led the league in saves for the Expos in 1999.  He saved 40 games twice and 30 games twice.  He saved 125 games for the Expos in his time with them, this is good for 3rd all-time on the club.  In a weird end to his career, Urbina is now serving 14 years in prison for attempted murder of some farm workers on his property.  He was only 31 when this happened.  He is the only person in MLB history with the initials UU.

10. Mark Gardner 99-93 (.516) 4.56 ERA (1985)

Gardner was 58-45 with the San Francisco Giants.  His best year was 1998, where he was 13-6 (.684) and topped 200 innings pitched for the only time in his career.

11. Jeff Reardon 73-77 (.487) 3.16 ERA 367 Saves (1973)

Jeff Reardon is the ALL-Time Saves leader for the Montreal Expos with 152 of them.  Reardon was a 4 time ALL-star.  Reardon sits 7th on MLB’s All-Time Saves List.  ‘The Terminator’  had 3-40 save seasons and 4-30 save seasons.  Jeff led the league in saves for the 1985 Expos team.  Reardon won a World Series with the 1987 Twins. He also finished 18 games in the post season for the Expos, Red Sox, Twins and Braves during his post season career.

12. Joe Hesketh 60-47 (.561) 3.78 ERA 21 Saves (1980)

Hesketh was 10-5 with a 2.49 ERA during his 1985 rookie year with the Expos.  He would go onto finish 8th in Rookie of the Year voting.  Hesketh was 29-19 (.604) for his career with the Montreal club.  In 1991, Hesketh led the AL in win percentage with a 12-4 record for the Boston Red Sox.

13. Charlie Lea 62-48(.564) 3.54 ERA (1978)

Charlie Lea was 55-41 (.573) for the Expos with a 3.32 ERA.  During his only ALL-Star season in 1984, he was 15-10 with a 2.89 ERA.  Lea threw a no hitter in 1981 for the Expos.  Charlie suffered from elbow and shoulder injuries, so he didn’t pitch in either 1985 or 1986 before trying in 1987 and 1988.  He was 7-7 with a 4.85 ERA with the Twins in his last season in the Major Leagues.

14. Erik Hanson 89-94 (.486) 4.15  ERA (1983) -a

Erik Hanson was one of the better pitchers for the Seattle Mariners in the early 90′s.  For his best year, he was 18-9 with a 3.24 ERA in 1990.  In his only ALL-Star season, the New Jersey native was 15-5 with a 4.24 ERA.  He was traded by the Mariners in 1993 for eventual 10 year Mariner (Dan Wilson).

15. Norm Charlton 51-54 (.486) 3.78 ERA 97  Saves (1984)-a

Norm Charlton never played for the Montreal Expos.  This former ‘Nasty Boy’ was part of a trio of relievers who helped take down the power house Oakland A’s in the 1990 World Series by a sweep.  Charlton’s bullpen running mates in Cincinnati were Randy Myers and Rob Dibble.  Charlton made the ALL-Star team in 1992 with Cincinnati in a year he had 26 saves.

16. Jeff Brantley 43-45 (.489) 3.35 ERA 172 Saves ( (1984)-a

Jeff Brantley was drafted by the Expos and never signed, but made the ALL-Star team in 1990 for the SF Giants with a sub 1.00 ERA at the break.   His best days resided in Cincinnati, where he led the NL in saves for 1996 with 44.  Brantley’s ERA for his 4 years with the Reds was 2.64, where he struck out 217 hitters in 218 innings.

17 Mel Rojas 34-31 (.523) 3.82 ERA 126 Saves

Rojas was 29-23 (.558) with a 3.11 ERA and 109 Saves for the Expos which ranks 5th on their All-Time Saves List.  His best season was in 1992, when he posted a 7-1 record in 68 relief appearances. Rojas had an amazing 1.43 ERA in 100 innings.

18. Chad Cordero 20-15 (.571) 2.89 ERA 128 Saves (2003) 

Cordero is 2nd all time in franchise saves with 128, he also sports a 20-14 record and a 2.79 ERA with the club.  In 2005, he led the NL with 47 saves, was an ALL-Star, finished 5th in Cy Young voting and 14th in MVP voting.  He became the 2nd youngest pitcher to reach 100 saves to Francisco Rodriguez.  Cordero was a member of the 2006 USA team in the World Baseball Classic.

The Draft and Signing Record of the Montreal Expos was far superior to any other team. Maybe the Dodgers could challenge them with their 9 Rookie of the Year Candidates, but the overall talent was not as great.  It is no coincidence that as soon as the Expos were given back to MLB,  the entire Expos baseball operation all flocked down to Florida with Departed Expos owner Jeffrey Loria.  The Expos were originally going to be contracted with Minnesota Twins, however the fans rallied around the Minnesota club and salvaged the franchise and foiled the MLB efforts.  MLB could not contract just the Expos.  John Henry sold the Marlins to Loria after buying the Boston Red Sox.  Since 2002, the Marlins baseball operation(comprised of a lot of Expos talent scouts) has drafted: Josh Johnson, Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Chris Volstad and Giancarlo Stanton.  The scouting staff also had a major influence in acquiring  Hanley Ramirez in a trade for Mike Lowell. The staff also picked off Dan Uggla in the rule 5 draft in 2005.   In some ways, the baseball department has had to operate the same way the Expos had with the Marlins, with always trading away veterans for young talent when the players were eligible to leave.  With the revenues generated from the new Marlins ballpark, the Marlins finally spent some money in this past off season.  The scouts will still be hard at work to keep up with their proven track record in the future.

So when the Expos turned into the Nationals, there were many skeptics who worried that a new scouting regime for the franchise would not have as much success as Montreal had.  The Zimmermans, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen and Stephen Strasburg can have a lot to say about this.  Strasburg has a chance to be the best all-time pitcher for the Expos/Nationals franchise.  Will he remain a National long enough to challenge Steve Rogers 158 wins?

Stephen Strasburg is 15-6 (.714) with a 2.57 ERA in his career so far with  237 Strikeouts in 182 Innings. He is leading the NL in strikeouts in this year with 118 as of today. Will he go down as the franchise’s best pitcher?

    ***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on June 27, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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