His 17 plate appearances last season for the Rays are far too few to write him off as being done. In 320 plate appearances split between the Dodgers and White Sox in 2010, he showed above average plate discipline, and made contact at a respectable rate. He hit line drives at a high rate, and his batting average troubles with the White Sox were primarily the result of a high pop out rate. If he is still able to square up a baseball like he did in 2010, he should be a positive contributor to batting average. His ability to draw walks at a high clip gives him a further boost in leagues that include OBP. Oakland's home ballpark is likely to stifle his power some, but it is much tougher on left-handed power than right-handed power. He should serve as the team's every day designated hitter, and I'd expect he'll hit clean-up. Hitting in the heart of the order will maximize Ramirez's RBI opportunities, making him even more intriguing to fantasy owners in need of some offensive help. If Ramirez hits well in his short stay with Sacramento, you can bet that interest in him will grow, and with that, his ownership will rise. Owners with some bench flexibility should consider taking a leap of faith and add him now before it's clear if he has anything left in the tank.
Oswalt is more of a known commodity, even if the team he'll be pitching for is a mystery. Lower back problems plagued him last year, and he spent two stints on the 15-day disabled list (DL). He first went on the 15-day DL on April 27 last year, and was activated in the middle of May. His second DL stint began on June 24, and lasted much longer, sidelining him until early August. When he was on the field, though, he was good.
Oswalt made 23 starts, and one relief appearance, that spanned 139 innings in total. His strikeout rate was down, but his control was outstanding, resulting in a 2.82 K/BB. His xFIP and FIP suggest that his 3.69 ERA was reasonable, and not particularly lucky or unlucky. His PITCHf/x data looks good, and he was at his best at the end of last season. If his stuff carries over to this year, it won't matter what team he signs with, and what league he pitches in, he'll be a valuable fantasy pitcher to own. There aren't many starting pitching prospects that offer Oswalt's upside in 2012, and none have the track record of success that he has. There is also no doubt that when Oswalt signs, he'll be joining a rotation as soon as he is ready, the same can't be said for a prospect. Oswalt should be stashed on benches in all large mixed leagues. Because he is a free agent, he isn't a stash option in only leagues.
I think you'd have to be in a super deep league and pretty dang desperate to pick up either of those guys at this point...
@CollegeWolf I saw that same Rosenthal report this AM and stashed him on my Blog Wars roster. It's a 15 team roto league with 27 player rosters...
@CollegeWolf The pickings get pretty slim in 12+ team mixed leagues that start 5 OFs and a Utility player. If Manny can hit .280+ (which I think is at least a possibility), he'll have a chance to drive in runs, and it's not like he'll have no pop in Oakland. It won't be flashy, but that would make him a solid 4/5 OF option. As for Oswalt, I like him even better. He was solid last year, and it was essentially a down year. They aren't shallow league options, but they are probably better gambles than some of the prospects people will be stashing.
@mattmcmillen365 Well yeah, makes more sense in that case. I'd think the typical fantasy player is like 10 or 12 teams though per league.
@JoshShepardson Fair enough. And thanks for the further elaboration... solid response.