Please note I began work on this post on June 3rd.
1. Pete Daly (Lou) 210W*-98L 3.47 ERA 2332 K’s* (* Denotes Hunter Record)
Awards: 5-time All-Star (S6-S10) & Pitcher Gold Glove (S6)
Daly in the number one spot is a bit of a surprise as he spent 10 seasons in the shadow of the best pitcher Hunter has ever seen. That said at 38 Daly is two years younger than his former teammate Feliepe Bournigal and has avoided the injury bug that bite Bournigal to the tune of a stint on the 60 day DL.
The Night Demons acquired Daly in a Season 2 trade with the Colorado Blasters. A deal no doubt that Leppy would like back. In return for a 240 inning a year horse Leppy got a 80 inning per year pony in TJ. Croushore. To be fair these were the early years of HBD so I think it is safe to assume that Leppy at the time didn’t fully understand the effect of the durability rating as Croushore’s other stats matched Daly and he was considerably younger.
Colorado hung on to Croushore for S2-6 during which he never pitched more than 90 innings, before shipping Croushore off to Arizona (now Scottsdale) for Jerry Romano who is still with the Blasters and boosts a career mark fo 27-22 with a 5.89 ERA.
In a late season blockbuster Pete Daly, Ron Rivers and a reliever prospect were sent to Louisville in exchange for Vernon Martin a prospect starter with a ceiling of being a multi-year time All-Star and Ted Tipton a future ML closer. It was a classic win-now for win-later trade. Given what Louisville gave up to rent Daly for 60 games plus playoffs anything short of a World Series appearance would have to be considered a disappointment. (EDIT: Wrote this before the playoffs.)
2. Felipe Bournigal (Col) 201W-70L 2.55* ERA 2254 K’s
Awards: 8-time All-Star & 6-time AL Cy Young
It’s a tad surprising that the most decorated SP in Hunter history is only number 2. As Bournigal holds the record for the most Cy Young (6), best ERA and most All-Star appearances by a SP (trails only Magglio Javier 10 appearances among all players).
Bournigal spent his entire career with the Night Demons until a trade to Colorado before last season. In addition to Bournigal the Blasters got B. Morris a power hitting C with slightly below average defensive stats, however based on the hitting ratings he will be a beast in Coors. Sent back the other way was Quinn Lary who already boosts a 28-21 record with a 3.71 ERA along with a A. Castillo a no power, average D SS that has been subsequently moved to Sante Fe.
At the time of the deal I joked that Leppy was trying to corner the market on Hunter Hall-of-Fame pitchers as he also acquired Kevin Coleman. Unfortunately, for the Blasters Bourignal’s first season was limited to 88 IP and a 4.19 ERA due to injury. Bournigal returned this season and has pitched 81 IP to the tune of a 4.74 ERA and a combined record of 10-6 with the Blasters. Some how I’m guessing those weren’t quite the numbers Leppy was looking for when he dealt a talent like Quinn Lary. In a few seasons the scales of this trade will definitely swing towards SF. I will admit I did like Leppy’s guts to pull the trigger and swing for a championship as most owners in this league are concerned with continuing their very good teams and very few take the chance that will hurt the team long term to win a championship. Leppy really only has till next season to see his risk pay-off as Bournigal is 40 year’s old and is signed through next year with a mutual option.
3. Mark Meng (Sco) 183W-79L 3.37 ERA 1726 K’s
Awards: 6-time All-Star
Meng began his career in St. Louis (now Augusta) and pitched there until the end of season 7 at which time he chose to test FA.
The resulting contract 79.5M over 5 years was the largest pitcher contract in Hunter history until it was surpassed in season 10 by Andrew Allen’s massive deal. Despite the massive contract Scottsdale has to be elated by the returns. Meng lead the Aces to the season 9 title and has lead the Aces to their first AL West title this season. In season 11 Oli flirted with the idea of trading Meng and had multiple suitors. In the end he stayed the course and decided to build around his ace. Meng has been a perennial Cy Young contender who have never been able to take the hardware home. Think of him as the Susan Lucci of Hunter Cy Youngs.
Due to very limited movement there aren’t very many active players intertwined with Mark Meng. The only two that are, would be the comp picks that St. Louis (Augusta) received as a result of Meng leaving as a Type A FA.
The 23rd pick in the draft was James Wang who will be a solid starter and is currently with Richmond as a Rule V pick. Thus far in the season he’s pitched 111 innings with a 3.63 ERA and 7-7 record
The 44th pick in the draft was Vic Neil a SS that still needs to develop but will become a great fielding SS with an above average bat. Unfortunately, for Augusta like Wang, Neil was also selected in the Rule V draft and is currently playing for TB. For the season he’s put together a line of .241 13HR and 37 RBI
Meng like Daly could be a FA at the end of the season, for what is shaping up to be the greatest FA crop of SP in the history of Hunter.
4. Charles Lawton (Lou) 178W-96L 3.86 ERA 1556 K’s
Awards: 3-time All-Star
If their were a nick-name to capture Lawton’s career it might be the “Tortorsie”. As in slow and steady wins the race. Of the five pitchers on this least he is surely the least decorated however year after year of 15-17 W has Lawton in the top 5 All-time.
He spent his first nine seasons with the St. Lou/Aug organization before leaving as a FA after season 9. As a result he signed with the Tucson Shockers. Augusta picked up two comp picks for the loss of Lawton. The 44th pick in the draft J. Gonzalez a completely average LF who looks to be a career minor leaguer and the 73rd pick F.P. Paronto who looks to be a solid 2b prospect likely to have a long ML career.
Tucson moved to Tacoma in season 10 at which point the franchise dealt Lawton to the Sante Fe Flyers for A. Benavente a very talented pitcher who has yet to put it all together consistently (40-48 4.68 ERA).
Lawton stayed with Sante Fe until part way through season 12 when he was dealt to the Louisville Sluggers. Louisville acquired Lawton to fill the SP5 role and gave up young pitchers C. Posada and A. Sosa to get the cagey vet. Unfortunately, for Louisville the returns were mixed, with a .500 record and an ERA north of 5 after the deal.
Sante Fe had better success on their end as Posada went 5-13 but sported a 4.04 ERA, so the losses could be attributed to lack of run support. A. Sosa is currently at AAA and has a minor league record of 25-21 with a 4.17 ERA
5. Elvis Ogea (Boi) 177W-81L 3.19 ERA 1638 K’s
Awards: 6-time All-Star & 2-time AL Cy Young
The final member of the list is Elvis Ogea another Hunter All-Time great. As a side note all five pitchers were members of the Hunter All-Decade team.
Ogea began his career way back in season 1 with the NB Choking Dogs. In season 2 he was traded to Washington, the team’s cap that he is most likely to wear into the Hall of Fame. For a 2-time Cy Young award winner erne6 got T. Grove whose ML career consisted of 157 IP 4-23 record and 11.52 ERA. Needless to say this would have to go down as one of the worst trades in Hunter history and might explain why erne6 only spent one season in Hunter and four in HBD total racking up a .400 win % along the way.
Ogea was a general from Season 2-Season 10 leaving as a FA before Season 11. At which point the emerging LA Baja Racers signed him. His stay in LA was short lived as he was dealt to Boise this season in part of a package for Carlos James. C. James represents an above-average starter who’s posted a career record of 120-74, 4.14 ERA. In addition to Ogea the Posse received S. Nichting a talented but perennial underachiever (88-108 5.45 ERA career) and Blanco a minor league CF who lacks range but does have the potential to be a top of the order bat with an exceptional batting eye.
Ogea is still a member of the Posse although he was waived during the season with no takers.
Typically I only do a top 5, however an interesting thing happened from the time I started to research the column to the time I finished, Lawton climbed into the top 5 knock Ogea down one spot and the next player off the list. Since I went through the trouble of researching his career I figured I might as well include his story. Without further ado.
6. Shawn Owen (AAA SF) 175W-89L 3.60 ERA 1746 K’s
Awards: 6-time All-Star, 2-time NL Cy Young & 2-time NL Silver Slugger P
Interesting to think that three members of this list represented the top of the rotation for the Augusta/St. Louis organization for the first 7 seasons of Hunter (Meng, Owen & Lawton).
Owen pitched for the St. Lou/Aug organization until being traded to Pittsburgh in season 9 for David Cradle. Cradle is a talented pitcher who’s stats should trend in a positive direction from 12-20 5.09 ERA where they currently stand .
Owen left Pittsburgh as a FA after season 10 and was signed by his old manager Jdkaput in Burlington for season 11. It was only fitting that his last season in the majors was for the manager who had him the majority of this career.
After the one-year stint with Burlington, SF signed him to a minor league contract, which is where he continues to play.