by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Tyler Lyons – St. Louis Cardinals
With Joe Kelly on the DL the Cardinals opted to bring up Tyler Lyons from Triple-A as opposed to taking Carlos Martinez out of the bullpen. Lyons had 8 starts in the Majors last season, posting a 5.56 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, with poor luck (58.8% strand rate) being the biggest issue.
The southpaw has spent time at Triple-A each of the past three seasons, posting a 3.73 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. It’s hard to buy into the strikeout rate, especially having averaged just 89.8 mph on his fastball last season (including spending a little time in the bullpen) and posting an 8.8% SwStr%.
He also is a decent, yet unspectacular, inducer of groundballs with a minor league career mark of 44.5% (47.4% in the Majors last season). He does have strong control, but that may be the only thing really working for him.
Is there upside pitching for the Cardinals? Absolutely, and he has proven capable of generating strikeouts in the minor leagues (despite our skepticism). He certainly shouldn’t hurt your WHIP and also has the potential to get you some Ws while working in the rotation.
While I wouldn’t move mountains to acquire him, in deeper formats he’s worth rolling the dice on.
J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers
It feels like only yesterday when J.D. Martinez exploded onto the scene with the Astros, getting fantasy owners excited. Making the jump from Double-A he hit .274 with 6 HR in 208 AB in 2011, but since then had completely disappeared off the map.
At Triple-A this season he suddenly reemerged and is now back in the Majors with Detroit. All he did was hit .308 with 10 HR in 65 AB, eye-popping numbers that obviously get our attention. However, before anyone gets too excited there is little chance that he becomes fantasy relevant. It’s really that simple.
Martinez used his power to get our attention, with a HR/OFB of 41.7%. Obviously it’s a mark that is impossible to maintain for any length of time, especially moving into Comerica Park. When Martinez was impressing, he was doing so with a line drive stroke. I’m 2011 he posted a 27.6% line drive rate in the Majors and 27.5% at Double-A. His mark at Triple-A this season was an abysmal 8.3%.
You couple that with a valid concern with his ability to make contact (23.2% career strikeout rate in the Majors, 23.9% at Triple-A this season) and what do you get? A disaster waiting to happen.
While the numbers are impressive, they simply aren’t going to translate to the Majors. Move on to the next option.
Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference