Rick Rhoden: June 21, 1986 through August 19, 1986
Rick Rhoden was a talented pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates from his first season in 1980 through 1986 (technically, Rhoden pitched with the Pirates in 1979 but started just a single game with five innings). Rhoden worked to the tune of a 3.50 ERA, 3.30 FIP, and 1.31 WHIP throughout 1443 innings of work. In terms of league-adjusted numbers, he was about 5-10% better than the average pitcher for that era with a 95 ERA-, 90 FIP-, and 106 ERA+.
Rhoden’s best season was arguably his 1986 campaign. He put up career bests in ERA (2.84), strikeout rate (15.7%), WHIP (1.13), held opponents to a .225 average, and racked up 4.6 fWAR. His 3.31 FIP may not have been a career-best, however, it was still well above average with an 87 FIP- (13% better than the average in 1986).
Rhoden’s stretch from June 21 through August 19 saw him put up a 1.85 ERA and 2.35 FIP in 92.2 innings. Rhoden’s 3.0 fWAR ranks 162nd on FanGraphs’ leaderboard for 60-game spans. Rhoden’s ERA ranks 96th all-time for 60-game spans. While this is far from the best stretch of 60-games for a pitcher ever, this is still an outstanding 12 starts. Only 174 pitchers have thrown 90+ innings in a 60-game period, so having that much durability and that good of results is two positives on their own.
Rhoden may not be one of the first names when you think of some of the greatest Pittsburgh Pirates of all-time, but he had some high-quality seasons with the Pirates in the 80s. Rhoden capped off his impressive 1986 season with an all-star game appearance, finishing 5th in National League Cy Young voting (the first and only time in his MLB career he received Cy Young votes), and winning the pitcher silver slugger after posting a .278 average, .709 OPS, and 93 OPS+ when he stepped to the plate.