Tony Massarotti, of the Boston Herald, reports Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling (shoulder) may miss the entire 2008 season because of a significant shoulder injury. The cause of the injury is not exactly known, but it is believed the injury is to the rotator cuff or the labrum and may require surgery. It is not known if the injury has lingered from last season or the injury occurred after his first injury healed. The Red Sox have inquired about voiding his one-year contract, but it is not known how far they have taken the idea. The threat of voiding his contract has created a conflict between Schilling and the team.
Schilling had similar shoulder problems last season, and they made him miss seven weeks of the season. He finished 2007 with a 9-8 record, a 3.87 earned run average and a 1.25 WHIP. He only appeared in 24 games because of the injuries, but he gave up 23 home runs in those appearances. The 24 appearances was his lowest total in the last four seasons. Schilling still had a tremendous strikeout-to-walk ration with 101 strikeouts and 23 walks in his 151 innings.
From a fantasy perspective, Schilling is currently in a holding pattern. There is no guarantee that he will undergo the surgery, but there is also no guarantee he will remain with the Red Sox this season. Early indications are that Schilling is being drafted as a No. 4 starting pitcher. Now, there is a chance that he will go undrafted in many fantasy leagues because his fantasy value is dropping like a rock. If he does come back to pitch this season, he might be a great pickup for any fantasy team to help during the season because he can still put up wins and strikeout numbers. In the meantime, though, it's probably best to leave him alone.
The guy whose fantasy value skyrockets is Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz. Buchholz was very successful in his short time in the majors last season. He went 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He also pitched a no-hitter late in the season, further teasing owners with his potential. Buchholz is a top prospect for a reason: From 2005-07, spanning stints from low Class A Lowell to Triple-A Pawtucket, he posted a composite 2.46 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 11.23 K/9 in the minors. His strikeout rate did drop to 8.74 in his short time at the big league level, though, when he made one start and four total appearances.
Buchholz was expected to battle starter Jon Lester for the Sox's final spot in the rotation, but Lester had to be considered the front-runner. With this news, Buchholz now seems destined to take over Schilling's rotation spot, and he will likely be a very intriguing pick for fantasy owners. He was already being drafted in the top 200 picks despite the high risk and uncertain immediate future. Now, fantasy owners can likely draft him with more confidence. There should be concern about too much confidence, though, because Buchholz has tantalizing talent but has yet to prove himself in the majors over a long period of time. Don't overvalue him.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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