Is Roy Oswalt's declined K rate a concern? 

June, 6, 2011
6/06/11
11:34
AM ET
Most fantasy owners have a pretty good idea which starting pitchers are strikeout options, and which are not. Tim Lincecum and Jon Lester miss a lot of bats, while Bronson Arroyo and Joel Pineiro do not. However, some starting pitchers might be living a bit on reputation in the strikeout category, because the stats don't lie. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies have four aces living up to their name, and three of them are among baseball's top 10 whiff artists. The fourth? Well, he's averaging a career-low 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Right-hander Roy Oswalt has overcome a DL stint for lower-back woes, and I can't imagine having to deal with his issues off the field (the storms at his home in Mississippi), but it could be tough for him to keep his ERA at a solid 2.70 if he doesn't overcome his Pineiro-like strikeout rate. I'm not saying Oswalt has been lucky; he has thrown 2,000-plus innings in his career and is wise enough to find other ways to retire hitters. Nor do I presume he's reinventing himself, despite having failed to strike out as many as four hitters in any of his past five starts. Oswalt has missed a few starts, but that only partially explains why 19 relief pitchers have more strikeouts than he does.

[+] EnlargeRoy Oswalt
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireRoy Oswalt struck out four or more batters in 26 of his 32 starts last season; in 2011, he has struck out four or more in just three of nine starts.