Cole Hamels (Rancho Bernardo High School)
Hamels has had a borderline Hall of Fame career. His 54.0 career WAR exceeds that of the likes of David Wells and Dwight Gooden, and is approaching guys like Orel Hershiser and Whitey Ford. That just shows you what kind of career Hamels has had. And he isn’t done yet. He led the Philadelphia Phillies to the 2008 World Series title by winning both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards that postseason.
Hamels has a career ERA of 3.37 and a solid 124 ERA+. He has twice finished under 2.80 in ERA with more than 30 starts. He also has eight seasons of 200+ innings pitched. He has been a workhorse for the Phillies, and now the Texas Rangers. He is a four-time MLB All-Star, as well. He is the ace of this all-San Diegan staff.
Rancho Bernardo has a rich history of baseball talent. Not on this all-time list is Hank Blalock (153 home runs in nine seasons). Highly touted prospect Alex Jackson was a first round pick in 2014 and is in the Braves organization. The Broncos have won two straight Palomar League titles and won the CIF-San Diego championship in 2015.
David Wells (Point Loma High School)
Wells was drafted out of Point Loma High in 1982 by the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched his first six seasons with Toronto before his career really took off as a member of the Yankees. In 1998, he won 18 games and was an All-Star as he pitched five shutouts that season. He threw a perfect game on May 17th that season against the Twins. He was the ALCS MVP and then helped the Yankees break San Diegans’ hearts as the Yankees won the 1998 World Series against the Padres. He briefly returned to Toronto, and in 2000, set a career-high with 20 wins and nine complete games. Both led the league.
He ended up pitching for 21 seasons. He even had a year with the Padres in which he ended up throwing the first pitch in Petco Park history in 2004. It was a cool honor for a local guy to be the one to do it. Despite being 41 years old, Wells won 12 games with a 3.73 ERA for the Friars that season. He then went to the Red Sox, and then back to San Diego for a brief time. Between 2006 and 2007 he made 27 starts for the Padres.
Wells is now the head coach for his alma mater Point Loma Pointers. They are coming off of an Eastern League championship and lost in the CIF-San Diego Division II semifinals to Ramona.
Barry Zito (University of San Diego High School)
Zito was drafted 9th overall out of USC by the Oakland Athletics in 1999. He made quite an impression in his rookie season of 2000 when he won seven games with a 2.72 ERA and an ERA+ of 173. He pitched seven solid seasons for Oakland, which included three all-star appearances and the 2002 Cy Young award. He won 23 games that season with a 2.75 ERA in almost 230 innings. He also went six straight seasons making at least 34 starts.
In 2007, he went across the bay to the Giants. He helped them win their 2010 and 2012 championships. He actually made ten career starts in the postseason with a 2.83 ERA and six wins. Zito was the definition of the “crafty lefty.” He last played in 2015 when he attempted a comeback with the A’s that was short-lived. When Zito was in his prime, he was maddeningly efficient and tough to beat.
University of San Diego High School boasted some very strong baseball teams in the past. Zito was on the same USDHS baseball team as Mark Prior. The school has been moved and is now Cathedral Catholic High School.
Stephen Strasburg (West Hills High School, San Diego State)
Very soon, Strasburg could be on top of this list. He certainly made a jump this past season when he won 15 games for the third time in his career and had a career-low 2.52 ERA with 204 strikeouts. He finished third in the recent Cy Young voting. He earned his third MLB All-Star bid this past season as well. Strasburg played for Tony Gwynn when he was head coach of the SDSU baseball team. “Stras” came into the big leagues with much fanfare. He was drafted #1 overall by the Nationals in 2009.
He exploded onto the scene in 2010 when in 12 starts he had a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings. He has struck out 200+ twice and reaching a lofty 242 punch outs in 2014. This past postseason also helped build his resume. He made two starts and did not allow a single earned run in 14 innings with 22 strikeouts and three walks. He deserved a win in that Division Series Game 1 and kept the Nats alive with another dominant performance in Game 4.
Esteban Loaiza (Mar Vista High School)
Perhaps a bit unexpected on this list, but make no mistake, Loaiza had a solid career which lasted 14 years. He was a two-time All-Star with the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and 2004. He won 23 games in ’03 with a 2.90 ERA. He also led the American League that season with 207 strikeouts.
Loaiza ended up playing for eight teams. He bounced around a lot, but was a workhorse wherever he went. He made over 30 starts six times for five teams. The Mexican right-hander was a part of three postseason runs with three different teams (Rangers, Yankees, and Athletics). He last pitched in 2008 with the Dodgers and White Sox. Loaiza is Mar Vista’s only pro baseball player. The MVHS Mariners usually hover around .500 and have a respectable baseball program in the Metro South Bay League in Imperial Beach.
Addison Reed (San Diego State)
This squad needs a closer and we have the perfect one for you. With apologies to Heath Bell, who did not qualify for this list, Reed is arguably the best closer to come out of the San Diego area. Heath Bell was born in Oceanside, but went to school up north in Orange County, and that is why he did not make the cut.
The right-handed pitcher, Reed, has recorded 125 career saves since being selected in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft out of SDSU. In his seven years of major league service time, he has a 18-21 record with a 3.40 ERA. Reed is a free agent this winter and could be an interesting pickup for the Padres if they are looking for bullpen help in 2018.
Royce Ring (Monte Vista High School, San Diego State)
The local product had a very successful career as a closer for the Aztecs. He was selected in the 2002 draft by the Chicago White Sox and was packaged in a trade to the New York Mets for Roberto Alomar. He made his debut with the Mets in 2005, throwing 10 innings.
Ring pitched five seasons in the majors for the Mets, Padres, Braves, and Yankees. He ended his career with a 3-3 record and a 5.29 ERA
Brian Matusz (University of San Diego)
This left-handed pitcher was selected in the first round (4th overall) of the 2008 draft out of USD. He was an excellent collegiate starter, but was placed in the bullpen late in his career. Matusz was 10-12 in 2010 for the Orioles in 32 starts. He recorded a 4.30 ERA that season, but it went all downhill from there.
Matusz is still pitching in the Diamondback system. He spent the entire 2017 season at Reno (Triple-A) and did not have great numbers. He has a career 27-41 record with a 4.92 ERA in 528 innings pitched. He has thrown for the Orioles and Cubs in the majors.
Vidal Nuno (Sweetwater High School)
Drafted in the 48th round of the 2009 draft out of Baker University, this Sweetwater High alum has certainly done well for himself. He spent 2017 in Baltimore, where he was roughed up a bit to the tune of a 10.43 ERA in 12 games. He is currently looking for work.
The left-handed pitcher has a 5-21 career record in 344 innings pitched. He has recorded a 4.29 ERA in that time and has proven to be a useful bullpen piece in his time with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Mariners, and Orioles.
Nick Vincent (Palomar College, Ramona High School)
The former Padre has very solid numbers. He has gone 16-13 in his career with a 3.00 ERA in 275 innings pitched. He spent 2017 in Seattle where he was 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 64 innings pitched and 69 games.
Matt Bush (Mission Bay High School)
I know. I know. He was selected by the Padres with the first overall selection in the 2004 draft, but was a miserable fail. He emerged in the last few seasons with the Rangers and has gone 10-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 114 innings pitched and 11 saves.
Mike Leake (Fallbrook High School), Mark Prior (University of San Diego High School), Aaron Harang (Patrick Henry High School), Justin Masterson (San Diego State), A.J. Griffin (Grossmont High, University of San Diego), Jose Silva (Hilltop High School), Sammy Solis (University of San Diego),