Saturday, April 12, 2008

Astros Oswalt In For Change

Since making his major league debut in 2001, Oswalt has compiled a 112-56 record, making him the winningest pitcher of the 21st century. Not only that, but he has pitched on three All Star teams, and has pitched in the World Series. At one point, there was not another pitcher you would want on Fantasy team than him. Oswalt is known as a power pitcher, with a devastating curveball and pretty nasty changeup. However, Oswalt's first three outings along with looking at his previous stats show that he is starting to slow down. Oswalt has barely touched 90 mph on the radar gun with his fastball and has failed to find his release point with his curveball. This has caused increased hits and less strikeouts. Gennaro Filice of breaks down his stats since 2001 basically since his career has begun:

Roy's Recession
Year K/9 AVG SLG
2001 9.15 .235 .361
2002 8.03 .247 .369
2003 7.63 .246 .375
2004 7.82 .260 .385
2005 6.85 .262 .389
2006 6.77 .263 .403
2007 6.54 .265 .389
2008* 6.75 .400 .720
*Through Oswalt's first two starts of the season

Slowly but surely, his K/9 has gone down and the average and slugging percentage of batters has gone up. Oswalt won fourteen games last year, but did not fair in several decisions because of his bullpen. He could probably put up fourteen wins again this season, but expect a higher ERA and more losses. This is probably the last year for Oswalt as the dominating pitcher he has been, unless this season and over the next off season he can learn to become a finesse pitcher.

Just because he cannot overpower his opponent, doesn't mean he cannot be a successful pitcher. Several pitchers have made a successful transition from power pitcher to finesse, and there is no reason that Oswalt should not be able to as well. Because the Astros rotation heavily relies on Oswalt, it is very important that they help him move away from power and move towards finesse. If he continues to try and overpower hitters and rack up pitch counts and innings, it could lead to nagging arm problems.

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