Astros History: Wandy Rodriguez's First Opening Day Start

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 12: Starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez #51of the Houston Astros throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the home opener at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

From game 1 to 162 we will being doing an Astros history post that coincides with that days game numbers. For game 1 we will be focusing on Wandy Rodriguez's first Opening Day nod.

Wandy has been in the Astros system since 1999 when he was signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic. For an in-depth look at his minor league career I present John Sickels, who did a Prospect Retro before the 2010 season.

The one thing you can say about Wandy is that he's been consistent.

In 2005, at the age of 26, Wandy made his major league debut pitching in 25 games, 22 of those starts. Every year from 2005 to 2009 he improved his earned run average (ERA) and Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) numbers. 2009 is considered his best year when he posted a 3.02 ERA, 3.54 FIP in 205.2 innings. That amounts to four wins above replacement (WAR) via Fangraphs, which tied Rodriguez for 20th in the league among starting pitchers.

Wandy followed up his 2009 season with a similar 2010 season in terms of FIP and WAR. Last year was Wandy's worst year in terms of WAR since 2006, however, it appears at least according to the projection systems that he's due for a bounce back year.

In terms of Astros history Wandy is ranked 24th according to Baseball References WAR in single season WAR (5.1) and overall WAR (10.2); 12th in wins, with 73; sixth in strikeouts per nine inings; 12th in innings pitched; ninth in strikeouts (first for left-handed pitchers); 10th in games started; and sixth in batters hit. I mention that last one because Darryl Kile, Roy Oswalt, Larry Dierker, Don wilson and Nolan Ryan are all ahead of him in that order; Joe Niekro comes in seventh.

Wandy's better days are probably behind him, but that doesn't mean he hasn't earned his first Opening Day start.

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