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April 23, 2014

Deep Impact

Week Three

by Ben Carsley

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If you've ever wondered if you have a sickness when playing in a league, consider that I'm about to write about Bobby Abreu and Chris Young the pitcher, and it's entirely appropriate for me to do so.

Yes, you have a problem. And so do I.

Bobby Abreu, "OF," Mets
Yes, it is 2014 and we are talking about Bobby Abreu: Currently Employed Major Leaguer. In an attempt to infuse their bench with some offensive life, the Mets called up Abreu from Triple-A yesterday at the expense of Andrew Brown. The 40-year-old Abreu hit .395/.489/.579 in 45 PA in Las Vegas, driving out a homer and posting a stellar walk rate, per usual. The Mets plan to use him as a pinch hitter and occasional outfielder while he's with the big league club.

Though he's been out of the majors since 2012, it probably wouldn't surprise anyone if Abreu still proves to be a semi-competent presence at the plate. He did manage a .350 OBP when last we saw him, even if he was completely devoid of power. But Abreu truly does not belong in an outfield at this point, and his utter inability to defend, plus his modest offensive potential, should limit his playing time. Even in the deepest of leagues, I need to advocate passing on Abreu, despite how fun is resurgence is. He shouldn't get 100 PA this year, and if he does, the results might not be pretty anyway.

Tyler Lyons, SP, Cardinals
Apparently, it's damn near impossible for Carlos Martinez to earn a spot in the rotation. When news broke that Joe Kelly would hit the DL with a hamstring strain this week, many MiLB fans and fans of insane arm actions hoped that Martinez would finally move from the bullpen to the rotation, where his no. 2 starter potential could shine through. Instead, we get Tyler Lyons, and dynasty league and deep league owners are deprived a chance for some major excitement.

That being said, Lyons is likely to be somewhat serviceable in Kelly's absence, thanks in part to our lax requirements here, in part to Cardinals Voodoo Magic and in part due to his understated but effective skill set. Lyons doesn't strike many people out but he doesn't walk anyone either, and he'll obviously be playing in front of a great supporting cast. He's not a must-start by any stretch of the imagination, but if he finds himself in some semi-favorable matchups, I wouldn't have an issue rolling the dice with him and hoping for a cheap win. God, the deep league life is exciting.

Vidal Nuno, SP, Yankees
Deep league owners and Yankees fans alike experienced a major sads earlier this week when we learned that Ivan Nova partially tore his UCL and so is "recommended" (read: will have) to undergo Tommy John surgery shortly. New York doesn't have a pitcher in the organization capable of performing to Nova's level right now—at least not until we see more from Manny Banuelos—yet they must replace Nova all the same.

Adam Warren and David Phelps could get looks at some point, but it's Nuno who appears slated to start against the Angels on Saturday, in what would be Nova's usual slot. Described most often as a "crafty lefty"—aka, a lefty without great stuff—Nuno was effective nonetheless in his start against the Rays on Sunday, throwing five shutout innings with six strikeouts and two walks. The results won't be that good forever, of course, but if you need innings in a deeper league, Nuno has a shot of providing an ERA around 4.50 with decent win totals. Keep him in mind for favorable matchups.

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros
If your league is deep because it's a dynasty league, this will be of no help to you, and my apologies. But if you're in a redraft deep league and don't have a ton of roster spots to play with, there's a good chance Singleton is unowned. If you want to own him this season, you're going to need to pull the trigger rather quickly as Singleton is doing bad, bad things to Triple-A pitching right now.

Through 19 games and 77 at-bats, Singleton is hitting .325/.414/.735 with eight homers and six doubles, totaling 57 bases. The Astros are currently starting Jesus Guzman at first base on purpose, and have already dipped into the minor leagues once to call up George Springer—something you might have heard about once or twice on social media. That in and of itself isn't a guarantee that Singleton will see time soon, but it's looking like his ETA should be considered "early 2014," and I'd be surprised if he's still in Triple-A in a month. He'll have top-15 first baseman upside immediately upon his summation to the majors.

Deep League Streamer of the Week: Chris Young, Mariners
If you couldn't tell from this selection, it's a tough week for appealing deep league streamers. As such, I’ll go with an arm in a friendly ballpark against a bad offense, and hope that Young can log enough innings to qualify for a win on Wednesday night when he faces the Astros. Young's strikeout and walk ratios through 11 innings are truly terrifying, but it's conceivable that the fly balls hit against him will die in Safeco, and he should maybe be ok-ish if he limits his walks. This is clearly an "only if you really need the innings" situation, but you asked for this when you signed up when you agreed to play in deep leagues. Shame on you.

Twitter Question of the Week

I've received a whole bunch of Moustakas tweets lately, and in standard leagues, the answer here likely would've been "yes" back when this question was asked. That's because in leagues of a normal size, Moustakas would still be available on wavers once Kouzmanoff lost his everyday job to Beltre. This, of course, is because Moustakas has been pretty awful for the past season-plus.

In deep leagues, the answer is to hold on to Moustakas, no matter how frustrating he's been. Adrian Beltre should come off the DL at some point Friday or this weekend, and Kouzmanoff will either be back in the minors or become a bench piece. "Moose" has been unproductive to this point, but he at least figures to receive plate appearances moving forward. That's not something you'll get with Kouz, even if he's been much better to this point.

Player Namedrop of the Week: Adam Hyzdu
Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Tyler Thornburg, Brewers
Random Backup Who Will Homer: Shane Robinson, Cardinals
Xander Bogaerts Adjective of the Week: Unrefined

Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

7 comments have been left for this article.

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