You would be hard pressed to find a rotation better than what the Phillies have assembled for 2011. Arguably one of the best rotations, on paper, in baseball history. Only time will tell what this pitching staff is fully capable of. When you mention the best athletes in Philadelphia your first thought will most likely drift to the Phillies. This roster is loaded with talent, and that is where we go for #14 on our Best Athlete in Philly countdown. This honor goes to Phillies Ace Roy Oswalt.
Oswalt was a mid-season acquisition in 2010 when the Phillies acquired him from Houston for J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villar. A deal that was needed to bolster the Phillies rotation for the stretch. A lot of phans looked at this deal as Ruben Amaro attempting to make up for dealing Cliff Lee away in the off-season. Even Houston’s Ace couldn’t settle that quarrel, but Country Roy quickly made a name for himself in no time.
Roy Oswalt a lifetime 3.23 ERA spent his entire 8 ½ season career in Houston establishing himself among the elite pitchers in baseball. A down-home country boy born in Mississippi who loves trucks, country music, and fast balls. His country twang may seem out of place in Philadelphia but make no mistake about it Oswalt has fit in perfectly with the City of Brotherly Love. His wholesome, like-able character was evident in Game 3 of the NLDS when his goofy grin was caught on camera behind Rich Dubee during a dugout interview.
In 2010 Oswalt lost his first start in a Phillies uniform but proceeded to go 7-0 in his next 10 outings as the Phillies were unbeaten. In his 13 appearances after the trade Country Roy was 7-1 with a 1.32 ERA! He can pitch, hit, and even ignite a 7th inning NLCS rally by tearing through a Sam Perlozzo stop sign to score. It was evident that Oswalt was rejuvenated by his trade to Philly. Oh yea, and the man can even play left field when called upon! That right there solidified him with the Philly phaithful.
"The game became fun again," Oswalt said. "Any time you're in a pennant race, that's what it is all about. A lot of times when you're out of it by August, it feels like a job. When you're in a pennant race, it's like playing in a summer league when you're a kid. You just have fun playing the game."
Oswalt has built himself quite a resume in his 9-year career in the Majors. He is a three time All-Star, has won 20 games twice in his career, his 143 wins for the Houston Astros is second in franchise history, has finished in the top 5 in Cy Young Voting five times, and also won NLCS MVP honors in 2005. Oh yeah and he also has the 5th highest winning percentage of any right-handed pitcher in the live-ball era.
A 6’0 righty Oswalt is consistently among the league leaders in innings pitched and is known for one of the more nasty fastballs in the game. Last year his fastball was the 19th hardest among starters, the hardest fastball on the Phillies rotation. His curveball was also ranked as the 6th best last year in all of baseball. He works all over the plate and is constantly in attack mode. At age 32 his fastball velocity has remained strong. He has four effective pitches; the fastball, curve, slider, and change-up. The plus side for Oswalt is that he continues to throw his slider and change-up more the later into his career making him a more effective pitcher.
The plus side of Roy Oswalt is that he is still out to prove that he belongs as one of the elite pitchers in the game and we believe that he is. A 23rd round draft pick he has always pitched with a chip on his shoulder and in 2010 the word on the street was that he was washed up. His rebirth in Philly proved otherwise! This loaded rotation of aces will only push Oswalt to have the best season of his career.
He is a proven winner and a proven playoff tested starter. He has pitched over 60 playoff innings with an ERA of 3.39 and a WHIP of 1.36 with a 5-1 career playoff record. He is the kind of veteran, deep-inning pitcher that teams rely heavily on come September and October. There is no doubt that he will be vital to the Phillies World Series Championship run in 2011. That is why Roy “Country” Oswalt is at #14 on our Best Athlete in Philly Countdown.