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Washington Nationals (Expos) All-Time Strikeout Leaders
The Washington Nationals have been in Washington since 2005, and before that were known as the Montreal Expos, beginning play as a franchise in 1969. The team has only one playoff appearance in its history, in 1981 when they lost the NLCS to the Dodgers. And they have always seemed to serve as a farm team to other major league franchises, which also meant superior talent evaluators (and a lot of last place finishes). Anyway, here is the current Top 10 for the Nationals/Expos pitchers in strikeouts:
Steve Rogers (1621)—Steve Rogers played for the Expos his entire career, from 1973 to 1985, and though he was one of the game’s best pitchers over that span, he only had 158 wins to show for it, and never won 20 games. Rogers ranks first in franchise history with 1621 strikeouts and he had a career high 206 of them in 1977. But his best season was 1982, when Rogers went 19-8 (career best in wins) with a 2.40 ERA (led the NL) and 179 K’s.
Javier Vazquez (1076)—Javier Vazquez has been a journeyman so far in his career, but he began with Montreal where he pitched from 1998 to 2003. Vazquez ranks second in team history with 1076 strikeouts, and his best overall season was arguably 2003, when despite just a 13-12 record, Vazquez struck out a career high 241 batters and posted a 3.24 earned run average.
Dennis Martinez (973)—Dennis Martinez had a nice 23-year career and pitched in Montreal for 8 seasons, from 1986 to 1993, winning 100 games for the franchise. Martinez ranks third in Expos/Nationals’ history with 973 strikeouts, and he had a career high of 156 K’s with them in 1990. His best overall season with Montreal was 1989, when Martinez went 16-7 with a 3.18 ERA and 142 strikeouts.
Pedro Martinez (843)—Pedro Martinez blossomed into a great pitcher in Montreal, where he played from 1994 to 1997, winning his first Cy Young Award in 1997. Martinez only pitched in Montreal for four years, but in that short time racked up 843 strikeouts, which ranks fourth in franchise history. Martinez’ best season in Montreal, not surprisingly, was 1997, when he went 17-8 with a 1.90 earned run average, and 305 K’s. What might be most remarkable, though, and was likely factored into his Cy Young votes, is that the Expos were 78-84 that season.
Bryn Smith (838)—Bryn Smith pitched in Montreal from 1981 to 1989, and ranks fifth in the team’s history with 838 strikeouts. Smith had a career high 129 strikeouts in 1989, but his best season was 1985, when he went 18-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 127 K’s.
Bill Stoneman (831)—Bill Stoneman has a relatively short career, and pitched for the Expos for most of it, from 1969 to 1973. Stoneman ranks sixth in franchise history with 831 strikeouts, and his best season was 1971. That year, despite a 17-16 record, Stoneman posted a 3.15 earned run average and struck out a career high 251 batters. He also walked an NL high 146, which probably contributed to the 16 losses.
Steve Renko (810)—Steve Renko pitched in Montreal from 1969 to 1976, and ranks seventh in the team’s history with 810 strikeouts. Renko’s best season was 1973, when he had career best numbers in wins (15-11), ERA (2.81) and strikeouts (164).
Jeff Fassero (750)—Jeff Fassero was a journeyman pitcher who began his career in Montreal and pitched there from 1991 to 1996. Fassero ranks eighth in Expos/Nationals history with 750 strikeouts, and his best season for them (and arguably for his career) was in 1996, when Fassero went 15-11 with a 3.30 earned run average and career high 222 K’s.
Bill Gullickson (678)—Bill Gullickson began his career with the Expos and pitched in Montreal from 1979 to 1985. Gullickson ranks ninth in team history with 678 K’s, and he had a career high 155 of them in 1982. But Gullickson’s best season overall with Montreal was probably 1983, when he went 17-12 with a 3.75 ERA and 120 strikeouts.
Scott Sanderson (603)—Scott Sanderson was another journeyman who began his career in Montreal, where he pitched from 1978 to 1983. Sanderson ranks tenth in franchise history with 603 strikeouts, and he had a career high of 158 of them in 1982. But his best season in Montreal was arguably 1980, when Sanderson went 16-11 with a 3.11 earned run average and 125 K’s.