Fernando Valenzuela, 1986
Stats: 21-11, 3.14 ERA, 20 CG, 269 1⁄3 IP, 242 SO, 110 ERA+, 2.80 FIP, 1.15 WHIP
Awards: All-Star, Gold Glove, Cy Young (finished 2nd), MVP (finished 19th)
Baseball Reference WAR: 5.5
FanGraphs WAR: 6.2
Combined WAR: 5.85
Fernando Valenzuela was an All-Star for six seasons in a row while with the Dodgers. Today, we’ll be looking back at the final season he was an All-Star in Los Angeles, 1986.
He won a league-high 21 games that year and faced a league-high 1,102 batters. Valenzuela made 34 starts, with 20 of them being complete games. His 20 complete games led all of baseball that season. For the 25-year-old, he had a number of career-highs in 1986. His 242 strikeouts were the most he’d ever have in a season, along with his 20 complete games.
Valenzuela won N.L. Player of the Week twice during the month of May. He won the first on May 4, after throwing back-to-back complete games. In 18 innings, Valenzuela allowed only one run and struck out 17 while walking only two. He won again later in the month, getting the honor on May 25. Valenzuela had a week in which he threw back-to-back complete games for the second time. This time, he did it without allowing any runs. In 18 innings, he struck out 17 and allowed only four hits.
All season long, Valenzuela dominated at Dodger Stadium. 16 of his 34 starts came at home. He went 11-3 with a 2.27 ERA, while striking out 121 and walking only 30 batters. That’s a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better that four-to-one. Nearly 2⁄3 of his starts at home resulted in complete games.
Game of the year
May 24 vs. Phillies: 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 11 SO, 3 BB // Gamescore: 91
Here’s where his season ranks among Dodgers starters since the live-ball era:
- 242 strikeouts (11th)
- 20 complete games (15th)
- 21 wins (15th)