Saturday, June 20, 2009

Roy Oswalt vs. Joe Mays

I about gagged Friday evening when I heard Dick Bremer seriously suggest that Roy Oswalt is a comparable pitcher to Joe Mays, formerly of the Twins.

Let's see: They're both "small" right-handers, and they use first names of three letters, the second being "o." Beyond that .. not so much.

Roy Oswalt, in his ninth season, has a lifetime record of 132-68 after Friday's loss to the Twins, a career ERA of 3.20 and two 20-win seasons. He's been in double digits in wins each of his first eight seasons. He's been on three All-Star teams, finished in the top four in the Cy Young voting four times. He's led the National League in wins, in ERA, in winning percentage, in starts.

Joe Mays' career ended after seven major league seasons, several of them partial seasons, with a won-loss record of 48-70 and an ERA of 5.05. His best year, 2001, isn't close to Oswalt's best three.

Reason No. 1 Roy Oswalt is a better pitcher than Joe Mays ever was: Oswalt misses bats. Oswalt has, over his career, struck out 7.4 men per nine innings; Mays, 4.6. Reason No. 2: Mays missed the plate. Mays averaged 3.0 walks per nine innings; Oswalt, 2.1.

Bert Blyleven's comp of Bret Saberhagen is more accurate — the difference between Oswalt and Sabes may well be that Oswalt's managers didn't abuse him during his early 20s, as Saberhagen's did.

Declaring Oswalt and Mays to be equivalent pitchers is an insult to Oswalt — or a sign of mindless blather.

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