Time with Angels: 1989-1992
Stats: 33-24, 3.92 ERA, 80 GS, 508 IP, 270 SO, 98 ERA+, 3.59 FIP, 1.252 WHIP
Baseball Reference WAR: 6.1
FanGraphs WAR: 8.4
Combined WAR: 7.25
After a Hall of Fame career, Bert Blyleven came to the Angels in 1989 to finish off his career. He played in 1989 and 1990, while missing all of 1991 with an injury. He came back in 1992, which would be the last season he’d ever pitch in the big leagues.
Blyleven was fantastic for the Angels during his first season. At the age of 38, he had one of the best seasons of his 22-year career. He finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting, the second highest he’d ever finish, along with finishing 13th in MVP voting, by far the highest he’d ever finish.
He went 17-5 with a 2.73 ERA. Those 17 wins were tied for the third most he’d ever have in a season, and his earned run average would be tied for the fourth best of his career. Had it not been for a rocky month to close out his season, Blyleven very well could have taken home his first ever Cy Young. Through his first 26 starts, Blyleven was 14-2 with a 2.35 ERA. He was easily one of the more dominant pitchers in the American League. Over his next six starts he went 2-3 with an ERA just under 5.50.
Injuries really hurt Blyleven the following season. He made only 23 starts, but wasn’t all that good when he was on the mound. He won eight games, posting an ERA of 5.24. He was averaging the fewest strikeouts of his career, along with allowing the most hits of his career. Injuries carried into the following year, as Blyleven missed the entire 1991 season after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
He came back in 1992, but still struggled. He had the third worst winning percentage of his career (.400) and had an ERA of just under five. Injuries cost him time yet again, as he made only 23 starts. Following the 1992 season, Blyleven announced his retirement from baseball.