Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Flapjacks Trade - Jim Thome and Clay Buchholz for Roy Oswalt and Oliver Perez

Let's take a look at the latest trade in my Yahoo H2H keeper league.

1. Dinos (Jonathan) trade Roy Oswalt and Oliver Perez to Dissect Yourself (Micah) for Jim Thome and Clay Buchholz.

The Dinos received Roy Oswalt two weeks ago in a 7-player trade with Naterade. Since then, Oswalt has gone 0-3 with an ERA of 9.00 in three starts. There hasn't been any news of injury regarding Oswalt, but has not been the same pitcher that had back-to-back 20-win seasons just a few years ago. Though his control is still elite, with only two walks issued in 16 innings, he's been more prone this year to giving up home runs and his K/9 rate is still little better than average.

Oliver Perez has always given fantasy owners fits with his inconsistency, but at least you know he'll give you lots of strikeouts to accompany a high WHIP. He's pitched well to start the season, but he's probably due for a letdown, as his percentage of runners stranded has been quite high for his normal range. He should be good for double-digit wins and 170 strikeouts with the Mets.

Jim Thome has long been a fantasy beast with nine seasons of 35 HR or more, including 77 HR in his last two seasons. Thome has started the season slow this year, hitting .176 with a .573 OPS through twelve games. He's had trouble hitting lefties the past couple of years, but this year it's the right-handers that have been giving him problems. I think he'll recover once he starts to hit righties again. One hopeful stat is his poor Batting Average on Balls In Play; his BABIP should rise to its historical levels over the course of the season. He has been hitting a greater percentage of groundballs than normal, so he might just need to make some corrections at the plate. I still think he's good for 25 more home runs during the season.

Clay Buchholz has been tantalizing fantasy owners since his no-hitter during his rookie season last year. He has the talent the succeed, but the Red Sox are in no hurry to push him too hard, and it appears that they will be carefull with his pitch count during games. Buchholz has labored in his first two starts, and he might not see that many wins if he can't pitch past the sixth inning. The more he builds his arm strength during the season, the more innings he'll pitch, but he needs to cut down on his walks (4.09 BB/9). Buchholz will struggle some, but his K/9 rate is good enough to give him value even if he has control problems.

On paper, I think Micah's team got the better end of the deal, even though I'm not a Roy Oswalt fan. Micah strengthens his pitching staff by adding Oswalt and Perez; they step in right behind C.C. Sabathia and Brad Penny, giving the rotation some much-needed depth. Oswalt doesn't strike out enough players anymore to be considered an elite pitcher, but he's got more talent than what he's shown so far and he should rebound, as long as his problems are with his mechanics and not injury related. Micah will probably miss Thome's bat later on in the season, but Thome wasn't contributing much of anything to begin with.

I'm not certain that this move helps Jonathan's team very much; his offense was already one of the best in the league and the subtractions of Oswalt and Perez thins out a rotation that has some question marks. I think it's good that he got rid of Oswalt, but I think he might have gotten better value due to Oswalt's reputation as an elite pitcher. If Ben Sheets and John Smoltz get injured and Buchholz struggles, Jonathan will miss Oswalt and Perez. Buchholz could be good all year, but he hasn't shown dominance as a pitcher yet, despite only giving up four runs in two starts. The most favorable projections give him 9 Wins, 124 K's, a 3.53 ERA, and a 1.23 WHIP. Good numbers, but Perez should match the wins and better the strikeouts by quite a few. If Jonathan's looking to buy low on Thome and trade him away later on during the season when he starts hitting, then more power to him, but I don't see how this trade makes his team better.

I'll have a poll up in a couple of days; let me know which team you think got the better end of the deal, or if they both came out looking good.

1 comment:

Jonathan B said...

i would rather have thomes chin than all of roy oswalt