Oswalt’s Incomplete Year May End Tenure with Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, November 19, 2011 10:30 AM | Comments: 20
2011 Player Review, Analysis, Posts

(Photo: AP)

Roy Oswalt was one of the most under-appreciated pitchers on not only the Phillies, but in baseball in 2010. In 12 starts with the Phils, Oswalt posted a 1.74 ERA in 82.2 innings and struck-out 3.5 times the batters he walked. His 2011 season was a little different.

Little Roy left the team in April to tend to his family in tornado-ravaged Mississippi and was put out of action for nearly two months with a debilitating back injury in June.  Oswalt would make 23 starts for the Phils, posting an ERA (3.69) almost a half of a run over his career average (3.21). Oswalt’s peripherals remained steady as his 2.14 BB/9 in 2011 was close to his career average of 2.09 and his BABIP of .316 against a career average of .296 indicates that he was about as “lucky” as he always was.

Throughout the season, however, Oswalt experienced a noticeable drop in velocity on his fastball and became more hittable. His K/9 was more than a full K less than his career average and he saw a nose dive in K%. Oswalt BAA (.275) and WHIP (1.34) were both noticeable increases against his career averages (.249 and 1.19) as well.

Down the stretch, Roy was gaining velocity back on his fastball but suffered through rough outings against Florida, Houston, and Washington. Not exactly teams at the top of the standings. Oswalt took an exciting no-hitter into the 6th inning versus Atlanta into September but it looked like Oswalt’s best days as a Phillie were firmly behind him. Oswalt’s last outing of the season, and perhaps last of his time in Phillies pinstripes, came against the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS where David Freese nearly single-handedly ran Oswalt out of the game.

Grade: 7/10: On any other team, a full season of 3.69 ERA with 3 K/BB and a 1.338 WHIP, Oswalt would have been at worst a number 3 starter. Unfortunately, Oswalt could not reach his career average of 196 IP per season and didn’t deliver down the stretch or in the playoffs. Oswalt pitched well enough to keep the Phillies in most of his outings but I expect Oswalt to price himself out of the Phillies payroll for 2012.

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About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 826 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I would like to see him back but i doubt it. He will command a contract thats too high. I doubt he will take a cut in salary though.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Remember Oswalt was going to retire after his deal expired as an Astro, now apparently he’s looking for multiple years. The thing this year was he failed the eye test, for a guy making near half what some teams payroll was this year he didn’t have that edge that made him a legitimate top tier pitcher, he managed good numbers but when it came down to it you could just see 3rd/4th time through the line-up he wasn’t going to fool anyone unless the opponent was chasing the game.

  • Posts: 5273 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I realize for these postings you have to give a grade, and 7/10 is reasonable. But my grade would be the same as a teacher might give- Incomplete. Can’t pass the class if you don’t do all the assignments. I realize that is harsh for baseball, but I can’t help but feel that way. It’s just hard to judge what may have happened if he had returned/ gained his velocity back sooner in the season, results may have been completely different.

    @Publius- if you’re around, I no longer stand corrected. I was right, the new CBA will change the status of some of this years FA’s.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Oswalt has a chronic back condition. His future employers will see frequent trips to the disabled list. He can still crank up a fine game but he is NOT worth anywhere near $10 Plus million a year. He is on the downward slide and unreliable due to his back.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @Lefty – (and I apologize for not containing this all under your post, phone doesn’t allow for that) I toyed with incomplete but he did start over 20 games. I gave incompletes to guys like DeFratus and Savery who saw really limited action but not to guys like Baez who missed some time with injury/were released. For any other team, Oswalt’s season in a vaccuum would have been a tremendous success. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Phillies have incredible depth and needed a little bit more from Oswalt.

    • Posts: 5273 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      If I remember correctly your Baez grade was the best ever given on this site!

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Well…..he’s not a Phillie. He doesn’t wanna pitch anymore. I don’t care what he says.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    All of the deadline trades are iffy.
    They are dependant on the team doing well in the playoffs. When the team flops in the playoffs the trades look bad in hindsight.

    Dipsy is right though. I dont really care where he goes as long as its not here. And if its to a team not a threat to the Phillies I wish him the best of luck.

    I have to grade him and the trade as a C at best.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I just ask why is K to BB a key stat?
    Ill just guess that its because the phillies right now have pitchers that dominate this stat.
    Lots of great hall of fame pitchers werent strikeout pitchers.
    But I guess Ks like homers are sexy to some.

    I havent ranted on the stat geeks for awhile.
    Maybe its time again.

    An out is an out whether its a strikeout or an outfielder steals a home run.
    Its an out.

    • Posts: 1004 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      Ok for one there is a differance between a K and an outfielder robbing a HR especiallly if you give up three walks before he robs the home run. It is called keeping guys off base. And i am ;not even a sabermetric believer but I do know that if you do not walk guys it is better than if you do, and like most of you inane arguments you only look at half what is said. And if you K someone it means there can not be an error or an advanced runner. And yes I think K rate is more importent for a releiver but it is a stat that can help decide how dominant a pitcher is or not

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @Andrew – it actually has more to do with the walk than strikeout portion and limiting baserunners. If a pitcher averages only 6 K per 9 IP but averages 1 walk, 6:1 is very impressive. It’s the definitive outcome stuff. Not so coincidently, most very good good non-strikeout pitchers have low walk rates and thus a very high/good K/BB despite not getting a lot of Ks. Just another way to measure things we’ve already seen. I do like it because as a stat, it doesn’t discriminate. It also helps eliminate high strikeout guys who have major control issues who issue a lot of walks from the “elite” discussion in a very easy to digest format.

    • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      That’s why you look at BB per 9 IP. You don’t need to compare it to K/9IP. Who cares what the ratio is. The more important stat is low walks. If a pitcher gets 1 k, and only gives up 1 walk, in a complete game shutout, according to this “metric” he sucks. I still believe these stupid sabermetric is a bunch of made up junk to try to “prove” someone’s arguements one way or another trying to dive deeper into good ole fashion STATISTICS. Andrew is correct. There are plenty of HOFer’s who had very low strikeouts, but also had very low walks. Low walks is more important. Cliff Lee (who ironically had high strikeouts this season) said himself, he does not pitch to strikeout because it drives up pitch counts. He pitches to get guys out.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    There are a few teams courting him, he’ll land somewhere i bet for 14 Mill a year. I dont think he is worth more than that giving his back problems.

    • Posts: 0 George

      $14 million is a bit high, I think. Teams will look at his age, health and inconsistent velocity this year, and bid accordingly. I think he’ll get maybe two years at $11 million, maybe $12 million.

      Of course, with the market for starters being so poor this year, and also considering the “spend anything” stupidity of some GMs, he might even get $15 million!

  • Posts: 2071 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I have always like Roy Oswalt and would be interested to hear exactly what he is looking for in lenght and amount of contract. His velocity was up at the end of the season but his timing and location was off, typical coming off a layoff due to injury.

    I would love to see Roy accept a ‘reasonable’ offer from the Phils (nowhere near his 2011 numbers) for a 1 year deal. One year, say 8 or 10 mil, with incentives to go further based on health and performance (Bedard’s career was extended with similar stipulations). Fantasy, probably but, if he were to accept or even seriously consider signing with the Phils with those figures in mind, it would go a long way with this fan.

    Consider, Roy Oswalt, pitching at 85 to 90% of his past capacity would be a terrific #4 starter in this lineup. Of course, we could be looking at the fact there is nothing left in the tank – then I stand corrected.

  • Posts: 1004 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I think that any team courting him has to realize that he is probably only going to start 20-25 games, even if not due to injury just letting him miss a couple of starts throughout the season. So if he is paid accordingly I would not mind him signing with the phils but I think some team will give him two years with a third option or something like that at more then he is worth

    • Posts: 0 brooks

      I agree Bsig – someone will overpay, they always do.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @Brian Sr. – it really is no coincidence that every pitcher who pitched in the live ball era except for Bob Lemom has at least a 2:1 K/BB ratio including every reliever. This isn’t a made up statistic; infact it is a statistic that was found when consistently examining the careers of great pitchers and also happens to be very low for the careers of not so great pitchers. With over 80 years of live ball era data, that surely all can’t be a coincidence.

    K’ing people keeps men off base and is a defininitive outcome and thus is infact more valuable than the variance if the ball is put in play. Bill James says this, Jonah Keri says this, Peter Gammons says this. K/BB rate shows over a large sample how dominant a pitcher is/was by showing that they can take defense out of the equation and not give up any free base runners. The best pitchers, whether or not they are “strikeout” pitchers, will have high K/BB regardless.

    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      To nitpick a bit, K/BB ratio doesn’t say much about taking the batted ball variance out of the game, since it’s not really telling you how often a guy is striking out batters. It’s more useful when looking at tendency to allow and strand baserunners. Some hypothetical pitcher could strike out 40 guys over 200 innings but only walk 10 for a 4:1 K/BB ratio, but that pitcher’s not really taking the defense out of the game, since it’s obvious he’s a high contact, low K type guy.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    * that 2:1 statistic with Bob Lemon is talking about Hall of Fame pitchers. My typo.

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