5. Roy Oswalt – 2002
Like Niekro, this wasn’t one of The Wizard’s 20-win seasons. The young Oswalt went 19-9 with a 3.01 ERA in 2002, fanning a career-best 208 batters in 233 innings. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting, one of his six top-six finishes, and totaled an even 7.0 WAR.
4. Justin Verlander – 2019
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Now we come to Verlander, who blazed a trail through the AL this past season. He led the majors in wins (21), innings (223), WHIP (0.803) and hits per nine (5.5), winning his second Cy Young award. He also led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio and compiled 7.4 WAR.
3. Roger Clemens – 2005
The Rocket won his seventh Cy Young in 2004, but his next season was actually better. He led the majors with a 1.87 ERA in 32 starts, but a pedestrian 13-8 record kept him from No. 8. He ended up finishing third in the Cy Young voting and compiling 7.8 WAR.
2. Mike Scott – 1986
One might have thought this would be No. 1, but alas. Still, Scott’s season was remarkable as he led the majors in ERA (2.22), innings (275.1), strikeouts (306), WHIP, hits per nine, strikeouts per nine and strikeout-to-walk ratio. He won the Cy Young award and capped off the regular season with a no-hitter to clinch the division title and was named NLCS MVP despite his team losing the series. His performance was worth 8.4 WAR.
1. Larry Dierker – 1969
What Dierker was able to do in 1969 was impressive as he compiled 8.7 WAR. He went 20-13 with a 2.33 ERA in 37 starts and two relief appearances, tossing 305.1 innings and striking out 232 batters. Of those 37 starts, 20 were complete games. Remarkably, he didn’t get any Cy Young consideration as Tom Seaver and his 25 wins nearly monopolized it. Regardless, at least by WAR standards, Dierker put up the best regular season by an Astros starting pitcher.