#5: Mark Langston: 1987 w/5.9 WAR. Also, 1988 w/5.6
Langston was a wild pitcher who struck out a lot of hitters. He led the league in walks his Rookie year, and averaged 225 innings and 111 BBs each season, for a 4.5 BB/9 rate. He also led the league in K’s three different times, but was only above 8.7 K/9 once. He threw a ton of innings, which is why the strikeout numbers looked strong.
1987 and 1988 were his best seasons with the team, and probably his 3rd and 4th best seasons of his career. I’m giving the nod to 1987 though as his top season. More strikeouts, better FIP, an insane 272 innings, and 14 complete games.
The fact that he was able to go back to back with such strong reasons was a great sign for the Mariners. I’m not old enough to remember what things were like for the fan base when he was traded away in 1989, but all reports were that people, fans and the team alike, weren’t happy.
It seemed like it had to be done, as Langston wasn’t going to re-sign with the team. Although it was rough at the time, it led to the acquisition of one of the greatest Mariners in team history.