No. 1 starter – Ron Guidry (1978)
I never had the chance to watch Guidry play live, but growing up watching Yankees Classics on the YES Network helped me understand how great of a player Guidry was. He was a lights-out starting pitcher, agile as a fielder and a clutch performer.
Without a doubt, Ron Guidry’s 1978 season was the most dominating year for a Yankees’ starting pitcher. He was nicknamed ‘Louisiana Lightning’ for a good reason.
In ’78, Guidry went 25-3, with these eye-popping numbers: an ERA of 1.74, FIP of 2.19. WHIP of 0.946 and 248 strikeouts in 273.2 innings pitched.
No. 2 – Allie Reynolds (1952)
After the Yankees acquired Allie Reynolds from the Cleveland Indians, the right-handed pitcher flourished in pinstripes. His career year was in 1952 when he pitched 244.1 innings, went 20-8, struck out a league-high 160 batters, had the lowest ERA in the league at 2.06, a 1.191 WHIP and a FIP of 2.89
No. 3 – Andy Pettitte (1997)
One would have to consider Andy Pettitte to take the mound for the Yankees’ all-season team. He may not have the hardware (Cy Young Awards) or legendary statistical seasons to back-up his importance to the franchise, but Pettitte has five World Series rings. Also, he is ranked thirteenth in individual WAR (51.6 WAR) for the Yankees’ franchise.
While he came close to winning the Cy Young Award in his second big league season, the following season was his best. In 1997, Pettitte, at the age of 25, had a record of 18-7, with a 2.88 ERA, a 1.240 WHIP and 2.96 FIP.
No. 4 – Whitey Ford (1961)
Ford was always a great pitcher for the Yankees who could go the distance while limiting damage. I considered his 1964 season almost his best because of his career low FIP of 2.45, but he had crazier numbers at the age of 32 in 1961.
‘The Chairman of the Board’ threw an outstanding 283 innings, went 25-4 with an ERA of 3.21, a WHIP of 1.180 and led the league with a low FIP of 3.14.
No. 5 – Roger Clemens (2001)
One of my favorite players growing up was Pettitte’s buddy, Roger Clemens; and his 2001 Cy Young season was worth considering. During “The Rocket’s” Cy Young campaign with the Yankees, he pitched 220.1 innings, struck out 213 batters, went 20-3 with a 3.51 ERA, a 1.257 WHIP and 3.29 FIP. He also finished eighth in MVP votes.
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LHP – Lefty Gomez (1934)
At the age of 25 in 1934, Gomez arguably had his best season. Gomez went 26-5 that year, with a league-low 2.33 ERA and 1.133 WHIP, and a 3.57 FIP. He also tossed a league-high 281.2 innings (an astronomical number compared to today’s game) while striking out a league-high 158 batters.
LHP – C.C. Sabathia (2009)
Lastly, the big dog, C.C. Sabathia deserves consideration for nearly a decade of being a valuable pitcher for the franchise. Immediately after signing with the Yankees, Sabathia had his best season when he brought a World Series championship back home in 2009.
At the age of 28, while surprisingly missing the All-Star Game, Sabathia went 19-8 in 230 innings with an ERA of 3.37, WHIP of 1.148 and a FIP of 3.39.