Starting pitcher Roy Oswalt has retired from the Major Leagues at age 36, after 13 seasons. The three-time All Star last pitched for the Colorado Rockies in 2013.
The Wier, Mississippi native was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 23rd round of the 1996 amateur draft. Oswalt impressed many in the 2000 season, going a combined 15-7 with a 2.21 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP in 175 innings between the Astros' High Single-A and Double-A affiliates. After just five starts in Triple-A the following season, Oswalt broke into the Major Leagues.
His first season in the Major Leagues was a success. The then 23-year-old Oswalt went 14-3 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.059 WHIP in 141.2 innings (170 ERA+), finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols. From 2002 to 2008, Oswalt was excellent, going 115-61 (average season record was 16-9) with a 3.17 ERA and a 1.211 WHIP (137 ERA+), all with the Houston Astros. His three All Star appearances all came from the 2002 season to the 2008 season.
Oswalt was not as great in 2009, but did come back and post a very strong 2010 season, finishing second in the Cy Young award voting for 2010. Also during the 2010 season, Oswalt was traded. For the first time in his career, he would not be with the Astros. On July 29, 2010, Roy Oswalt was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he would be thrown onto a contending team. They lost the NLCS that season. Oswalt, however, enjoyed great success in Philadelphia in 2010, going 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA with the Phillies.
From 2011 to 2013, Oswalt has never been the same. Between the Phillies, Rangers, and Rockies, Oswalt went 13-19 with a 4.92 ERA (83 ERA+). In his final season with the Rockies, Oswalt's pitching was becoming ugly, as he went 0-6 with a 8.63 ERA and a 1.794 WHIP (52 ERA+) in 32.1 innings with Colorado in 2013. His final appearance came against the Dodgers, recording a hold while pitching a scoreless sixth inning in a 2-1 victory.
Roy Oswalt was a fantastic pitcher for the Houston Astros, doing a good job of limiting hits (career 8.8 H/9), while racking up the strikeouts (3.56 K/BB ratio). However, as he got older, Oswalt just could not keep batters off of the base paths (11.0 H/9 ratio from 2011 to 2013), which led to his decline. Personally, I enjoyed watching Oswalt pitch during his stay in Philadelphia and wish him the best in his retirement.