The pride of Weir, Mississippi, Roy Oswalt, turned 30 today and celebrated by shutting the resurgent Cardinals out on 4 hits over 7 innings, striking out nine. Exactly how good is old Roy?
Well, the list of pitchers who have finished in the top five in Cy Young voting six times during their first seven years in the league has exactly zero entries...until this November when Oswalt (14-6, 3.21) will start the list unless the wheels completely come off the cart. The only year he didn't crack Top 5 was 2003 when he went 10-5, 2.97 in an injury-plagued season.
He is tops in the majors with 112 wins since 2001, already top 15 on the career list in winning percentage and Adjusted ERA+ and has won 53.2% of his career starts. Throw in 19-1, 2.46 in 24 career games just against the Reds and you start to get a sense that he's pretty good.
So the guy whose career was saved by a loose spark plug has quietly amassed the most consistently dominant beginning of a starting pitcher's career in baseball history. Let's just hope that 8-10 years from now he doesn't end up like the pitcher whose career was most like his through age 28.