Have you heard all these Roy Oswalt to Philly rumors? Well, finally, after days of speculation and waiting for Oswalt to waive his no-trade clause, the Phillies and Astros have finalized a deal that will send the former Astro ace to Philadelphia for J.A. Happ and Prospects.
Oswalt stays in the National League and moves from hitter's park to hitter's park, so there is not much plus or minus in value there. The big lift should come in run support. Without even looking at the numbers, it is crystal clear that the Phillies (even the slumping Phillies) have a much better offense than the Astros. Currently, the Phillies rank 12th in OPS while the Astros rank 29th, only above the "hitless in" Seattle Mariners.
This season, Oswalt has made some major adjustments that have led to major improvements to his peripheral numbers. His strikeout rate (8.37 K/9 ) would be his highest since 2001 and his whiff rate (21.7 percent) would be his best since 2004. Understanding that he could no longer simply blow his fastball by hitters anymore, Oswalt has gone to his changeup and slider more so than ever before.
Another factor is his upcoming schedule, which Fan Graphs' Eno Saris has already pointed out.
Should the schedule line up correctly with Oswalt starting tomorrow, this is what he is looking at: @WAS, @FLA, LAD, SF, WAS, @SD, @LAD, FLA, @NYM, WAS, NYM, @WAS.
It's not as if Oswalt had been getting by facing weak competition to this point either. As far as his quality of opponents faced, Oswalt has faced the 18th highest combined VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) in the National League.
J.A. Happ now has the pleasure of pitching for a team that gave Roy Oswalt an average of 3.14 runs per game of support. Despite a strong showing in 166 innings last season, Happ is more of a middle-to-back-end type. He is a fly ball pitcher, which is not good in either Philadelphia or Houston and his K/BB rate even last season was just above average.
The two prospects sent the other way were Anthony Gose (who was flipped to Toronto for Brett Wallace) and Jonathan Villar. Both are 19-years-old and very much speed valued prospects. Gose stole 76 bags in the "Sally" league last season and has 36 through 103 games this season. He is a very athletic looking player, but plate discipline will need to be worked out if he wants to become anything more than Rajai Davis (not that that's all that bad in real and fantasy baseball). The same goes for Villar. However, Villar is described as a excellent defensive shortstop.