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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Roy Oswalt

Eligible in 2019

DL from MN Posted: January 16, 2018 at 10:11 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Carl Goetz Posted: January 16, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5607198)
Really good pitcher for a few years, but his peak was nowhere near high enough to make up for the shortness of his career. There will be several pitchers ranked higher than him on my 2019 ballot. I don't see him being top 20 on my pitcher list.
   2. Jaack Posted: January 16, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5607304)
I think an interesting comp is Bret Saberhagen. Saberhagen obviously has a better peak, but Oswalt has the advantage in All-Star type seasons.

The inning total is light, but he'll be in consideration for the bottom of my ballot.
   3. OCF Posted: January 16, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5607337)
RA-based equivalent record 154-95, big years bonus 21. Best seasons 17-8, 18-9, 17-9, 16-8, 15-8.

Fairly high number of decisions for his IP with 8.47 innings per decision. Equivalent record is close to his actual record of 162-102, except for the number of decisions.

Some comparisons:

Oswalt 154-95 [21] (number in brackets is big years bonus)

Santana 146-79 [38]
Appier 172-116 [27]
Key 171-117 [17]
Hershiser 191-157 [18]
Saberhagen 174-111 [27]
Cone 190-132 [19]

I'd have Oswalt ahead of Hershiser but clearly behind Saberhagen and Cone. The category here is high-peak short-career recent pitcher, and we've already got one of those on the ballot: Santana. I would have Santana ahead of Oswalt. But I'd still at least think about Oswalt for lower down on the ballot. (Also, Oswalt's "peak" - the years I list above - was not consecutive.)
   4. OCF Posted: January 16, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5607407)
Carl G: this is something I've been figuring for myself, since the early days of the HoM. I've explained it in several other places.

Since the context is high-peak short-career I'll mention that I have Koufax at 163-95 [63]. Try subtracting some records.

Oswalt - Santana: 8-16. Advantage Santana

Koufax - Santana: 17-16. Advantage Koufax

Saberhagen - Santana: 28-32. Small advantage Saberhagen
Saberhagen - Oswalt: 30-32. Advantage Saberhagen

Hershiser - Santana: 45-78. Advantage Santana
Hershiser - Oswalt: 37-62. Advantage Oswalt

Martinez - Koufax: 55-1. Yeah, we already dealt with that.
   5. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 16, 2018 at 03:05 PM (#5607487)
Saberhagen strikes me as a pretty good comp, albeit a few hundred fewer innings. I'm a little surprised that he has a few more WAA than Petitte, particularly given the mediocre end to his career. If he had a few more seasons at the end of his career like 2011, he'd have a much stronger case. But he was totally toast after his age 33 season.

It's a real question in my mind where he ranks relative to Petitte. Basically peak versus career. Oswalt didn't have as many postseason appearances, but he was solid in most of them (obvious exception being his lone WS start).
   6. cookiedabookie Posted: January 16, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5607602)
Among pitchers with 50+ bWAR and 2000+ IP, Oswalt is 19th in bWAR per 200 IP. If you look at pitchers in the group of 50-60 bWAR and less than 3000 IP, he's in the top ten with a bunch of recent higher peak pitchers:

Name WAR/200IP
Clayton Kershaw 6.14
Johan Santana 5.07
Bret Saberhagen 4.62
Cole Hamels 4.57
Roy Oswalt 4.47
Justin Verlander 4.45
Urban Shocker 4.38
Kevin Appier 4.23
Felix Hernandez 4.19
Al Spalding HOF 4.09
Dazzy Vance HOF 4.04
Rube Waddell HOF 3.96
Dave Stieb 3.95
Eddie Rommel 3.92

Not sure that makes him a HoFer, but an impressive peak.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:03 AM (#5608595)
Bill James wrote an article about the greatest "big-game" pitchers ever, which was reprinted in one of his recent collections of articles from BJOnline. He came up with a method for scoring each game based upon how relatively "big" it was, in terms of impact on pennant race, postseason, and the like. The article was in relation to Jack Morris, who did not score particularly well.

The #1 pitcher on James' big-game list was Roy Oswalt. #2 was Bob Gibson.

(And in case anyone cares, Mike Mussina also made the top #10.)

-- MWE
   8. . . . . . . Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM (#5608802)
What I remember about Oswalt is that he was short, and he came into the league throwing right over the top, probably to get more downward plane on his pitches. But to do that he always yanked his body to the left in his motion, and it looked like it a put a ton of strain on his shoulder, and he lost velocity steadily and pretty quickly through his career while his arm slot drifted lower and lower. Till by the end, he was throwing closer to regular 3/4s and the plane was flat and he could still miss bats but when they made contact, they would just rip the #### out of the ball.
   9. tallgirl Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5608812)
What I remember about Oswalt is that it took him about a year of listening to the SportsCenter announcers mispronounce his name before he finally worked up the nerve to politely inform them that it was OWES-walt, not OZ-walt.

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