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As the Rotoprofessor pointed out in his Gallardo post, this is not only the most frustrating time of the year because of pitchers being shut down due to innings limits. It’s also the most aggravating time of the season because of injuries to key components of a fantasy league title run.
While you never hope for injuries, you’d almost rather them occur in the middle of the season when you could at least peruse the waiver wire for potential stop-gaps. At this stage of the season though, you’re searching for that player to fill a hole for the last few weeks of the season.
There’s no more ifs ands or buts. If you’re in a playoff race, the time is now (and you better hope that player you choose doesn’t ruin your chances of a league victory).
With all that being said, let’s take a look at a few players whose seasons have ended.
Widely reported on Wednesday, Roy Oswalt’s underwhelming season has come to a conclusion because of recent bouts with back pain. He has been pitching with a degenerative disk in his back for at least his last four starts.
The first two starts since it was known he was dealing with the back issue, he allowed only four runs in 13.1 innings, and struckout 11. The latter two starts however, were much worse. He only tossed seven innings, allowed ten runs, and fanned eight.
Overall, Oswalt had a subpar season by his standards. He amassed a 4.12 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and an 8-6 record. It was his lowest win total and ERA of his career and the first time he hasn’t reached 200 innings since 2003.
If you're like me and traded for Oswalt to pad his pitching stats for the second half, you have to be disappointed. Over the past three seasons the Astros ace has a 2.53 ERA and a 25-and-6 record after the break, compared to a 3.73 ERA and a 21-9 record before it.
I’m sure we’ll analyze his prospects for next year during the offseason, but if Oswalt is able to cure his back woes, he should again reclaim a spot as a top number two starter. I don’t think he’s a fantasy ace any longer, but I do think the 32-year-old has the added motive of showing doubters that this season was a fluke.
As for this season, there’s nothing you can really do but play matchups. Look at starts for pitchers who have strung together a few quality starts in a row, but make sure they’re against the weaker offenses in the league.
Nolan Reimold, one of the Orioles’ promising young rookies, is another player who will be able to concentrate on football season earlier than most other baseball players. He is scheduled to have surgery on his injured Achilles tendon in his left heel and will be on the shelf for three-to-four months.
While it seems like a long layoff, if I’m doing my math correctly, he should be ready to resume physical activity by the middle of January, so he should be fine to start the season. Needless to say, it’s a very disappointing way to end a very encouraging rookie campaign.
With the Orioles, the 25-year-old Rookie of the Year contender, had a .279 AVG, 15 HR, 45 RBI, and eight SB in 358 games. Reimold has been dealing with the nagging Achilles tendon for most of the year, so it’s quite amazing he still produced at such a high level.
Since fellow outfielder Adam Jones’ season ended, Reimold had assumed the spot as the Orioles clean-up hitter. Most of all though, Reimold showed that his minor league numbers were no fluke. When he was healthy, he had seasons of 19 HR and 25 HR.
Next season should be a very productive one for Reimold. The Orioles’ younger hitters will be a year older and Reimold now has 103 games under his belt as a major leaguer.
Twenty-five HR and 90 RBI can’t be out of the realm of possibility for him next season. Those who had Reimold in their lineups can’t do too much, but play the hot hand. Find the streaking player and use him for as long as you can.
What do you guys think? Will Oswalt and Reimold have no problem bouncing back next year? Do you see either of them struggling?