If you have been searching for a Tyler to add to your Tylerless fantasy roster, you’ve come to the right place! Today, I share two Tylers with you, each of whom could very well fit all your Tyler needs.
Tyler Wade | 2B/SS NYY | CBS 6% Owned
As usual, it’s an injury that has vaulted a prospect from the minors into a starting gig. This time, it’s starting Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro who hit the disabled list yesterday with a hamstring strain. While the injury is said to be relatively minor, with Castro potentially back when his 10 days are up, there’s a chance Wade does stick around, especially with Chase Headley not hitting much since the first month of the season.
The 22-year-old possesses limited power, but his calling card is his speed. He had already swiped 24 bases in 28 tries over 324 plate appearances, which is a 44 steal pace over 600 times to the plate. Aside from his speed, he has also exhibited solid plate discipline, walking more than 10% of the time over the past two seasons, while striking out just 17% to 18% of the time.
Last, he has generally shown strong BABIP skills and has posted a .370 mark so far this year. BABIP marks are higher in the minors and there could very well be some good fortune driving that number, but there is most certainly a correlation, so a high minor league BABIP bodes well for his MLB BABIP potential.
Heading into the season, he was ranked as the 13th best prospect in the Yankees system, with his future expected to be that of a valuable utility man. That’s definitely not exciting or what you want your potential pickup to be labeled, but his speed potential makes him the perfect short-term injury replacement stopgap.
Tyler Austin | 1B NYY | 8% Owned
Austin is another beneficiary of Yankees injuries, though this was more the direct result of Chris Carter playing himself off the team. Gregory Bird was supposed to be the starting first baseman, but he can’t seem to get healthy, which is ironic since that is an issue Austin himself has dealt with as well. So here comes Austin, who returned from a fractured foot and hit well at Triple-A.
Austin was ranked as just the 26th best prospect in the system, but much of that is because he’s already 25 and has had trouble staying healthy. For as long as Bird remains on the DL, Austin should get a shot at near every day playing time. The biggest question is how much contact he’ll make. He posted an absurd 18.85 SwStk% over 82 at-bats in his debut last year, and struck out 28.6% at Triple-A this season. The power spike that came upon his move to Triple-A last year has mostly been maintained, which is a good sign, and he’s more than willing to take a walk.
His profile doesn’t look all that different from Bird’s, but with fewer fly balls, which will help his BABIP, but ensure he’ll be less dangerous from a power perspective. Surprisingly, Austin has posted strong BABIP marks throughout his minor league career. He was sitting at a lofty .400 when he got recalled this season, and was at that same .400 during his time at Triple-A last year. It’s a real good sign, because he’ll need every bit of that BABIP to post a respectable average given his penchant for swinging and missing.
With Bird’s timetable completely up in the air, Austin has a chance to provide some power and make up for much of what Bird owners expected.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.