The Rays have moved James Loney to the disabled list for the next two weeks for an oblique strain suffered in spring training. In turn, they have promoted a journeyman first base prospect to fill the void.
James Loney's thoughts on his injury, courtesy of Sports Talk Florida:
Allow me to introduce you to Allan Dykstra.
No relation to the infamous Lenny, this former Mets prospect signed with the Rays this season on a minor league contract. Here's his write up from when he signed with Tampa Bay:
27-year old Allan Dykstra played his first full season at Triple-A last season for the Mets before finding free agency. Prior to last season, New York deployed Dykstra on the Double-A squad three seasons in a row, following an acquisition from the Padres.
Dykstra was the Padres' first round draft choice out of Wake Forest in 2008, and was advertised to have plus-plus power, though that has yet to materialized more than 21 home runs in a season. His power may have been a bit sapped with his promotion to Triple-A last season due to a broken ankle suffered in winterball. The injury caused him to miss Spring Training with the club, and led to a slow start with the Mets affiliate in Las Vegas.
More of a designated hitter at this point in his career, Dykstra put together a career best .283/428/.507 slash line last year, and wOBA of .418 and .398 in 2013 and 2014, good for a 165 and 145 wRC+ respectively.
Dykstra also has an incredible eye, with just a 9.1% swing rate on pitches outside the zone, and has averaged a 20% BB-rate since 2012. In fact, he had the same number of hits as walks in 2013. That's some patience! Should he ever reach the show, Dykstra could mash right handed pitching, but his role is limited to the batter's box.
It's for that reason I would wager his best chance at big league action is on a National League bench, so his decision to join the Rays makes me wonder how limited his options may have been, though he signed early in the off-season. Could we think of him as a poor man's Ike Davis?
Dykstra was co-winner of the Mets' Minor League Player of the Year and the Eastern League MVP in 2013. He was also nominated for MiLB Offensive Player of the Year, a great achievement though he did not win the award.
When looking at his standing during Spring Training, when Dykstra was a non-roster invitee, he projected to fourth on the depth chart, behind the slugging Juan Francisco who opted out of his deal with the Rays on Sunday -- Read: prior to the John Jaso and James Loney injuries.
Here's Andrew Felper's take on Dykstra:
In his seven-year minor league career, he has been adept at hitting for power (career .195 ISO, including plus .220 each of the last two seasons) and drawing walks (career .406 OBP and 102 walks at Double-A Binghamton in 2013).
Dykstra has been used exclusively at first base and designated hitter. As a left-handed batter, he could face a log-jam with James Loney, John Jaso, and fellow non-roster invitee Juan Francisco.
As far as emergency call-ups go, I'm sure the Rays wish they had Juan Francisco mulling around Port Charlotte for a quick promotion, but that is not an option.
If anything, Dykstra's left handed bat should show up replacement level with a penchant to take a walk.
As a two-week band-aid that's not horrible, but the Rays certainly have their work cut out for themselves in April.
2014 season (AAA-Mets): 117 games, .280/.426/.504, 19.1% BB-rate, 22.1% K-rate, .224 ISO, 145 wRC+
2015 Steamer Projections: .209/.323/.357, 13.5% BB-rate, 26.3% K-rate, .148 ISO, 100 wRC+