Where were they then – Billy Koch – 2002

"You call that a soul patch?"

Armed with a triple digits fastball and facial hair that looked like it belonged somewhere that rhymes with his last name, Billy Koch had an unbelievable season in 2002.  Get this, Koch had a whopping 44 saves, 11 wins, 3.27 era, 1.27 whip, and 93 k’s in 93.2 innings pitched, making him a very rare 5-category pitcher.

At 27 years old, one would think his career was just getting ready to take off.  But after being abused by manager Art Howe for a league high 84 games that season, Billy Beane flipped him to the White Sox for closer Keith Foulke.  Koch went on to be the closer for the South Siders and promptly rewarded his real and fantasy teams with a 5.77 era, 1.64 whip, and a whopping 11 saves.

He pitched only one more season after that and his career ended at the tender age of 29.  Turns out he was suffering from a weird disease that caused him to retire, which I didn’t find that out until I was almost writing this post.  Talk about a total buzz kill.  Hopefully everything turns out for the man who had one of the best fantasy seasons and soul patches ever.

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