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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Oswalt trade analysis

If you're a Roy Oswalt owner, this is the reprieve for which you've been waiting.

If you're a bitter Indians fan, this is almost as bad as the guy who showed up at Progressive Field on Wednesday night wearing a LeBron James Heat jersey.

Oswalt has been traded to the Phillies, and the Astros received 27-year-old pitcher J.A. Happ -- the 2009 runner-up for the National League Rookie of the Year -- and two prospects. What that says about the Indians' haul in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade to Philly, we'll leave to Indians beat writer Jim Ingraham (a guess: It makes the Lee deal look much worse than trading Jhonny Peralta for a lineup card and a large container of sunflower seeds).

From a fantasy perspective, this is a big boost to Oswalt's value.

The 32-year-old righty is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Both his ERA and WHIP are slightly better than his numbers from 2008 (3.54 and 1.18, respectively), when he was 17-10 with the Astros.

Oswalt, though, has lost twice as much as he's won this season because the Astros have been shut out in five of his 20 starts and scored a total of 17 runs in his 12 defeats.

In May, he had a 2.82 ERA and was 1-4. This month, his ERA is 2.88, and his record is 1-2.

Now, he'll be pitching for the Phillies, who enter Thursday night's game against the Diamondbacks at 55-46 and riding a seven-game winning streak.

Philly ranks third in the National League with 478 runs scored in 101 games. Houston, meanwhile, is 15th in the 16-team league with 364 runs in 101 games, and the Astros have the worst batting average in the league at .240.

If Oswalt continues to pitch as he has this season, he could be among the top 10 starters in the next two months.

The same certainly can't be said for Happ, who was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA with the Phillies last year.

This season, the lefty started twice, then missed more than three months because of an elbow injury. He returned Sunday and received a no-decision for Philly, allowing three runs in five innings.

He'll spend the rest of the season pitching for the 42-59 Astros, reducing his value strictly to NL-only and very deep mixed leagues.

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