Houston Astros Trade Pitcher Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia Phillies: Fantasy Impact

In one of the most anticipated deals of the summer, the Houston Astros traded pitcher Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday in exchange for J.A. Happ and two minor league prospects.

Oswalt will make his Phillies debut Friday night against the Washington Nationals.

From a fantasy perspective, Roy Oswalt’s value should receive a slight boost. Despite a 3.42 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 129 innings with Houston this season, Oswalt owns a 6-12 record. With the N.L.’s third best offense in terms of runs-scored (opposed to the 15th) behind him, Oswalt has a great chance to double his win total in the last two months of the season with Philly.

On the surface, it may seem as though Oswalt’s new home ballpark may hinder his fantasy value. A closer look, however, says otherwise.

In four career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Oswalt is 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA. In 77 1/3 innings (12 starts) this year at Minute Maid Park, he’s just 2-9 with a 3.96 ERA (2.61 ERA on road this season).

If that’s not enough to sell you on Oswalt in Philly, consider this: the 32-year-old is one of the best second-half pitchers in baseball, sporting a career ERA of 3.08 following the All-Star Break.

Oswalt’s fastball remains in the low-to-mid-90’s, and his hammer curve has been very effective this season. Though his strikeout rate has been uncharacteristically high (8.37 this year, 7.42 career), his walk rate remains low (2.37) and his xFIP (3.45) suggests similar success in the near future.

J.A. Happ breezed through the Philadelphia farm system, posting a 3.52 ERA and 9.2 K/9 in 565 2/3 innings (six seasons).

His 89 mph fastball has been no match for big league hitters, however, as Happ’s K/9 fell to 6.45 during his 2009 rookie campaign. While his 3.11 ERA in 217 major league innings tells one story, his career 4.65 xFIP suggests another.

Happ is an extreme fly ball southpaw, a combo which screams disaster in Houston. The 27-year-old may be a key piece in the eyes of Astros’ management, but his fantasy value is very limited.

Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar are the two minor league players heading from Philadelphia to Houston.

Gose is a 19-year-old outfielder who grades as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale for his arm, his defense in center field, and his speed. Baseball America ranked Gose as the Phillies’ sixth best prospect before the season, noting that some scouts compare his offensive upside to that of Carl Crawford. His bat pales in comparison to his other tools however, suggesting Michael Bourn is a more realistic comparison.

In a separate deal, the Astros traded Gose to the Blue Jays in exchange for 23-year-old Brett Wallace. The former St. Louis, Oakland and Toronto farm hand is batting .301/359/.509 with 18 homers and 61 RBI in 385 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas this season. His arrival opens the door for a possible Lance Berkman trade, meaning Wallace could be playing first base with the Astros by this weekend.

Villar is a 19-year-old infield prospect with good upside. His natural position in shortstop, though some scouts believe he’ll eventually end up at second base. The switch-hitter has good speed (38 steals at High-A this season), though his power potential is limited. Villar is likely three years away from the majors.


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