Coming in at number two on our all-time list is RHP Andy Benes.
The San Diego Padres found themselves with the number one overall pick in the 1988 MLB draft, which they used on RHP Andy Benes out of the University of Evansville. Benes wasted no time reaching the major leagues, making his MLB debut in August 1989.
Benes pitched seven seasons with the Padres, accumulating 69 wins, 75 losses, and a 3.57 earned run average. For his career, Benes struck out 2,000 batters, 1,036 of them coming as a Friar.
His best season came in 1991, his third season with the organization. Benes went 15-11 with a 3.03 ERA, struck out 167 hitters, and finished sixth in Cy Young voting. From 1991-1994, Benes recorded 167, 169, 179, and 189 strikeouts. He led the league in strikeouts with his 189 in 1994 (he also led the league in losses with 14).
Benes would go on to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, and Arizona Diamondbacks before retiring in 2002. He will forever have the distinction of throwing out the very first pitch in Arizona Diamondbacks’ team history.
Looking back on his career, one could say Andy Benes severely underperformed, being the number one overall pick of the 1988 draft. However, he put up a number of highly productive seasons for the Friars, pitching in well over 200 innings for three consecutive seasons and never posting higher than a 3.78 ERA between 1990-1993.
While those are impressive numbers in their own right, none of them compare to the franchise’s all-time leader in strikeouts and 2007 Cy Young Award winner.