Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Wizard of Os

How good was Roy Oswalt?

Wait -- don't answer that yet.  First, read this (unless you have a subscription to Bill James Online, which case click here).

In any event, I can't say that the answer was what I expected.

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It strikes me that if I gave you the hypothetical scenario of "baseball player posts incredibly great years in 2001-2007, and then suddenly falls off the map," we would consider performance-enhancing drugs to be a possibility.

But I don't mean to tar Oswalt's name.  The fact of the matter is: remove Roy Oswalt's performance from his era and you'll find a lot of players like him throughout baseball history -- tremendous in their 20s and early 30s before falling off in their mid-30s.  This is the expected career decline, and there's nothing wrong with it.

It was the PEDs of the 1990s and 2000s and their great effects on late-30s/early-40s renaissances (Hello, Mr. Bonds and Mr. Clemens) that made us think a mid-30s dropoff is unexpected rather than precedented.

Roy Oswalt had a normal, albeit outstanding, career trajectory.  He's not a Hall of Famer, but the Astros are right to be proud of him.


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