Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Roy Oswalt Deserves Your Write-In Vote on Franchise Four

MLB is doing a promotion where each team gets to select their "Franchise Four" players. The four selected from each team will be honored at the All-Star Game. For the Astros, they have 8 nominees listed: Bagwell, Biggio, Berkman, Cruz, Wynn, Scott, Ryan and J.R. Richard. There was a major omission to this list, and he deserves your write-in vote.

Roy Oswalt was the best Astros pitcher in history. Nolan Ryan might have a better career overall, J.R. Richard and Mike Scott might have had better individual seasons, but no one matches Oswalt over his career in an Astros uniform.

His 143 wins are second only to Joe Niekro's 144 in a Astros uniform, and he did that with 34 fewer losses. He's second to Nolan Ryan in strikeouts, with 1573, while walking nearly 350 fewer batters. He's number two in ERA- and FIP-, which adjusts for era, behind only Clemens' three seasons with the team. By WAR, his 46.1 fWAR is a clear number one, 10 higher than Ryan.  Similar story on Baseball Reference, with number two going to Dierker.

Looking beyond his stats, I'd argue that Oswalt meant more to the franchise than any player outside of Biggio, Bagwell. Bill James recently ranked "big game pitchers" and, somewhat surprisingly ranked Oswalt number one all time. The numbers listed as eye popping; 36-14 in big games, with the team going 46-12, with a 2.63 ERA. And no game was bigger than Oswalt, with ice in his vein, erasing the Pujol's home run and sending the Astros to their first World Series. 7 Innings, 6 strikeouts, 1 earned run. That was a franchising defining moment, matched in history only by Mike Scott's no-hitter in 1986.

The best pitcher, arguably the most important, with a franchise defining moment. That's a "Franchise Four" player if ever I saw one.  

Let's stuff the Franchise Four ballot box with a very deserving write-in candidate.