Chicago Cubs: Each era of Cubs baseball had its group of very good pitchers.
Five-man starting rotation:
Only Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins started more games as a Cub than Reuschel (343). The righty from Quincy, Illinois spent 12 of his 19 MLB seasons with the North Siders and pitched to a 3.50 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 1.3 WHIP and 1,367 strikeouts 2,290 innings as a Cub. He is fifth in franchise history in strikeouts.
Known for giving up Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot” in the 1932 World Series, Root had himself a heck of a career. Nobody has appeared in more games as a pitcher in a Cubs uniform than Root (605) and is the only pitcher to win more than 200 games as a Cub. In those 605 appearances, he pitched to a 3.55 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.3 WHIP and 1,432 strikeouts in 3,137 1/3 innings.
A player one could make a case for the Hall of Fame, the southpaw Vaughn had himself an incredible run as a pitcher with the Cubs. He boasts the sixth-best ERA in franchise history among qualifiers (2.33), and is eighth in strikeouts (1,138) and innings pitched (2,216.1). In addition, he posted a 2.57 FIP and 1.2 WHIP as a Cub. In 1918 he was the Triple Crown winner and would help lead his team to the National League pennant.
A guy who had all the talent in the world, but unfortunately got in his own way, Zambrano was one of the core players in the 2000s. Despite the fall from grace around age 30, “Big Z” still is remembered fondly by Cubs fans. Believe it or not, Zambrano is second on the all-time Cubs strikeout list (1,542) behind Jenkins and has started the eighth-most games in team history (282). In 11 seasons with the Cubs, he was a three-time All-Star, finished top-five in Cy Young voting three times and won three Silver Slugger awards. He pitched to a 3.60 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 1.3 WHIP.
Coming over from the Indians during the historic 1984 season, Sutcliffe made an immediate impact. Winning the Cy Young in ’84 and making the All-Star team in 1987 and 1989, he was one of the key core players of the 1980s. Sutcliffe pitched to a 3.74 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.3 WHIP and 909 strikeouts (17th in franchise history) in 1,267.1 innings as a Cub.
Relief pitchers. Four relievers and a closer.
Closer: Randy Myers
Myers had a very successful career as a reliever, racking up 347 saves in 14 years. One hundred twelve of those came in a Cubs uniform, which is fourth on the franchise save list. He was a Cub from 1993 through 1995 and was an All-Star in each of his final two seasons in Chicago. Along with his 112 saves he pitched to a 3.52 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 1.3 WHIP and struck out 177 hitters in 168 games.
RL: Kerry Wood
Had to include “Kid K” on this list. Despite injuries taking a toll on him over his playing years, he still had himself a very solid career as both a starter and reliever. He is third on the all-time Cubs list in strikeouts (1,470) and 15th in games appeared in. As a Cub, he was a two-time All-Star and pitched to a 3.67 ERA, 1.3 WHIP, 3.80 FIP and 10.3 K/9. Who could forget his 20 strikeout performance on May 6, 1998?
RL: Ryan Dempster
Like Wood, Dempster was effective as both a reliever and a starter. He finished his nine-year Cubs tenure with a 3.74 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.3 WHIP and is fifth on the all-time team save list (87). He was better as a starter, but it was worth including him on this list as a reliever.
RL: Pedro Strop
Despite some of the ugly meltdowns, Strop was one of the best relievers in Cubs history. He is sixth in games appeared in as a pitcher in franchise history (413) and pitched to a 2.88 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 1.1 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 in 375 innings pitched.
It was hard to keep some others names off this list. Have to at least include honorable mentions to guys like Don Kessinger, Phil Cavarretta, Jimmy Ryan, Stan Hack, Bill Buckner, Derrek Lee, Randy Hundley, Ken Holtzman, and Rod Beck.