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Jordan Lyles & Josh Satin: Deep League Wire

Sometimes it’s a good thing to leave a draft with holes because then there is no need to think about who to drop when an attractive player appears on free agency. Of course, this is a situation I have never encountered, since all my fantasy teams are always perfect :-) But seriously, I literally dropped my starting middle infielder this week in my 12-team mixed league, with no healthy replacement to take his spot, because I simply had to add Hector Santiago for his start against the Astros this week.

I chose, perhaps foolishly, to take zeroes in the offensive categories from that slot for the week to ensure I secured Santiago for his string of good matchups over the coming weeks. It helps that my offensive points are tied for second in the league, so I could afford getting nothing for a week, but it just goes to show how sometimes it isn’t such a terrible thing to hold a spot for a rotating cast of characters.

Anyway, here are this week’s potential new participants in your player carousel.

Jordan Lyles | HOU SP | 10% Owned

An Astros starting pitcher? Blah. Well, 90% of CBS league fantasy owners clearly agree with you, which is why Lyles’ ownership percentage sits at just 10%. Lyles was always one of the better pitching prospects in the Astros system, though never a top prospect as he doesn’t dazzle you with serious gas or possess sizzling strikeout stuff. However, he does pretty much define league average ability and that has value in a deep league.

The best news is that Lyles’ fastball velocity has jumped for a second straight season after it failed to average even 90 mph back in 2011. Now sitting at a hair above 92 mph, his velocity is now about average for a right-hander, which is a nice rebound given where he had been. I couldn’t find any explanation for the down velocity during his first season, such as an injury or mechanical issue. Of course, the increased velocity hasn’t actually helped increase his SwStk%. In fact, it has oddly gone in the opposite direction of his velocity.

So while we cannot expect even a league average strikeout rate, especially now pitching in the American League, he has always displayed good control and typically kept his walk rate below 3.0. Then again, both his F-Strike% and Zone% are down and below the league average, so it’s possible that sub-3.0 walk rate doesn’t last. Perhaps his best skill is his ability to keep the ball on the ground, which is that much more important pitching in a home park that boosts home runs. Don’t expect miracles or any sort of breakout, but he shouldn’t kill your ratios and sometimes that’s all you’re looking for when your free agent pool is barren.

Josh Satin | NYM 1B | 1% Owned

It finally happened. After weeks of speculation, the Mets decided they had seen enough and demoted Ike Davis to the minors. Although Josh Satin would have looked better on the field alongside Angel Pagan, he should get a chance to start some games at first base for the Metropolitans. It sounds like initially he will be sharing time with the likes of Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner, as the Mets experiment with Jordan Valdespin at second base. This would likely limit his opportunities to facing just left-handers and really cap his potential fantasy value.

We obviously cannot be sure how long the Valdespin to second test will last or even how long Davis will remain down on the farm, but Satin has the chance to hit enough to make things interesting. Already 28 years old, Satin has shown fantastic walk rates in the minors and he has improved his strikeout rate to a career best mark. In fact, he has struck out just two more times than he has walked. That will be a welcome change from Davis who whiffed quite often.

Unfortunately, Satin doesn’t have nearly the power that Davis possesses. There had to be a rub of course, because if a hitter with Satin’s patience also had Davis’ power, then he wouldn’t have remained in the minors this long to begin with! Aside from the improved contact, he has also consistently posted strong BABIP marks. Although BABIP marks are notoriously higher in the minors, they do seem to translate well, albeit at a lower rate, to the Majors. If he gets enough playing time, he should definitely earn positive value in OBP leagues and maintain a respectable enough batting average to also be worth an add in leagues with standard categories.