Pitching coach Mike Maddux #31 and catcher Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers call for a trainer for relief pitcher Dave Bush #47 of the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of their game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Warning: Below, "we" refers to people who worship at the altar of fielding-independent pitching statistics. If you don't self-identify with the group, please just humor "us" for the duration. This will last only a few minutes. We promise.
We thought David Bush might become a star pitcher.
Six years ago, Roy Oswalt was a star pitcher. Six years ago, Roy Oswalt led the National League by striking out 4.368 times more batters than he walked.
Except Oswalt wasn't alone. In a quirk of statistical fate, he was tied by David Bush, who also struck out 4.368 times more batters than he walked; both pitchers struck out 166 batters and walked 38.
Even then, I don't recall that we thought David Bush was the new Roy Oswalt. But he was 26, he had a 3.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio for his career, and he seemed like a real comer.
Instead, everything just sort of ... went away. Over the next five seasons, Bush compiled a 4.97 ERA while striking out 2.3 times more batters than he walked. And what really hurt were the home runs: 1.4 per nine innings, essentially year in and year out. Even while his strikeout rate was gradually falling and his walk rate rising, Bush couldn't keep the ball on the ground. Which, more than anything else, spelled his undoing. To the point where this is happening:
When Roy Halladay went down last week, there was some speculation that Bush would be summoned from triple-A Lehigh Valley and take Halladay's place in the rotation. But with Cliff Lee and Vance Worley both coming off the DL and Kyle Kendrick not being terrible, the Phillies didn't need anyone at all from triple-A Lehigh Valley. Not even the veteran major leaguer with a 4.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio against AAA hitters this season.
Korea's not the major leagues. But apparently it pays better than the International League. And Dave Bush will always have that bold ink from 2006, when he pitched like Roy Oswalt and we thought he might become a star. Which he still might, on the other side of the ocean.