Is Josh Satin for Real?

Josh Satin has officially become interesting. On a team notable for offensive futility over the last few seasons, Satin’s hot streak since being called up already counts as one of the better three-week stretches we’ve seen from a Mets hitter this year. So now the question is, what do the Mets have here?

The obvious answer is that, in a 28-year-old rookie with a bad defensive rep, they have exactly nothing, and the last three weeks are a fluke. This is a player who went unclaimed when removed from the 40-man roster last year, implying something of a consensus on Satin’s lack of value. Platoon righty first baseman at least need to be able to hit homers, right? Satin’s career high of 14 in 130 AAA games last year won’t cut it.

The less obvious answer, though, is that the Mets are the lucky owners of a hitter who’s still improving and may already be good enough to merit finding him a position. A tour through Satin’s minor league numbers:

Low Minors: 2008-2010
Satin played his first game of pro ball in 2008 at age 23. Unlike many older prospects, he was not rushed through the system, spending 2008 in Brooklyn and 2009 in Savannah. He opened 2010 in St. Lucie, and after a .406 OBP there, earned a mid-season promotion to AA. Satin’s numbers thus far reflected a patient, high-average hitter with doubles power and a lot of strikeouts:


High Minors: 2010-2012
Satin spent 173 games in AA, earning a promotion to AAA Buffalo for the final quarter of the 2011 season, and remaining there for the entirety of 2012. At both levels, he continued to be the exact same hitter he had been: a doubles machine who walked a lot, struck out a lot, and hit .300 with a dozen homers. The singles and doubles actually tailed off in 2012, perhaps showing a hitter who was no longer improving beyond the rate of the competition.


Las Vegas: 2013
One might expect a power surge from any hitter entering Las Vegas, and Satin’s 9 HRs in 59 games should be taken with a grain of salt. That .300 batting average doesn’t look too impressive either, given the conditions. Satin’s .305 / .420 / .491 line indicates he’s much the same hitter he’s always been. This pair of numbers did stand out to me though:

43 BB | 45 K

Look at the strikeouts. As good as his walk rate has always been, Satin’s strikeout rate has always been about 50% higher. Per 162 games, his K rates have been 152 in AA and 136 in AAA, which doesn’t bode well for MLB success. In 2013, however, he was striking out about as much as he was walking, at a pace of about 120 per 162 games.

The Future:
Satin mentioned some mechanical tweaks he made this past offseason. Could he have permanently improved his contact ability? That’s not something one generally expects from a 28-year-old, but Satin has an amount of professional experience more typical of a 24-year-old. Although he may not be as projectable as a toolsy teen, it’s not unreasonable to think that Satin is still on an upward trajectory, rather than having reached a performance plateau.

So far, he’s been able to take his performance at one level, and duplicate it at a higher level once he’s promoted. I don’t think it’s too late to hope that he can repeat that at the highest level. What would that look like in 162 games?

.303 / .398 / .465, 42 doubles in 153 games

Basically, he’d be what Mets fans hoped Daniel Murphy would be, before injuries and inconsistency at the plate lowered our expectations.

How much is that worth? Well, an .863 OPS ain’t what it used to be. It’s much, much better. From 2001-2008, that would have ranked 25th or 26th in the National League. In 2012, and so far this year, it’d rank 13th.

A guy who barely cracks double digits in homers and derives a lot of his value from walks is never going to wow anyone, and it may be hard to stomach a bad glove without some wow factor at the plate. But if Josh Satin really could post a top-15 OPS, that sounds to me like the kind of bad glove you make room for.

What do you think? Is it safe to assume that Satin’s upside is limited, and relegate him to a minor role in the team’s plans? Or is it worth it to take playing time away from other Mets, and give Josh a thorough chance (300+ ABs, playing every day) to see if he can become a solid part of the lineup for years to come? Please weigh in in the comments.

David Berg has been following the Mets since 1990, and counts himself as a "die hard fan" -- the agonies have been numerous and arduous, but he's still watching every game he can, determined to "earn" the satisfaction when the Mets eventually win it all. In his non-spare time, David is a designer of graphics, web sites, and games. See his work at Shrike Design
  1. MikeT July 8, 2013 at 10:45 am
    For one thing, #HAIL

    With that out of the way, I think it is worth finding out. What else do we have to lose? I’m down on Murphy, and of the two between Ike and Murphy I think Ike has a better shot at contributing to the future of the Mets so I say platoon Satin with Murphy (at the very least) instead of Satin with Ike. At least for now. Theoretically you could platoon Satin/Murphy (with some Ike thrown in) so you give Ike a shot. Then, in September, put Wilmer Flores at 2B and platoon Satin with Davis if Ike is still struggling against lefties. Which we all know he will. I still think Satin could be thrown in LF one day a week and be okay. Make him into our Mark DeRosa or Don Money as Joe suggested the other day in my comment.

    • Joe July 8, 2013 at 11:15 am
      Did Murphy in effect take three months two years in a row to truly get into hitting shape? That answer being “no,” I’m not quite as “down” with the guy who learned a position, plays it reasonably well & streaky or not, still has shown more hitting over time than Ike the last two years.

      A few weeks ago, Murphy was one of the two or three people actually hitting. What have you done for me lately.

      • MikeT July 8, 2013 at 11:44 am
        Aside from a very good 2011, Murphy has been a hacktastic mediocre hitter. Not sure what you use to measure success but Murphy has been average at best the past two seasons as a 2nd baseman. If he could recreate the 100 games of 2011 then he would be an all star at 2nd. With his limited OPS, he needs to hit .320 again if he wants to be given a starting job with security. He is just not that good, and it looks like 2011 was an aberration.

        I honestly like the guy and wanted him to be very good this year and next. I just don’t see it anymore. Plus, he is just not producing against lefties, which is what this topic was originally about. Satin should platoon with Murphy against lefties.

  2. blastingzone July 8, 2013 at 10:47 am
    Satin has always hit and he’s proving it in the majors! As you said he has less power than you would like but if he’s a leget 300 plus hitter than you make room for him!
    Play him in LF because Ike is your first baseman(at least for now) and Flores is going to ither be traded or be your 2nd baseman for the next ten years and murphy will be traded!! Satin is a doubles machine and will drive in runs!
  3. Paul July 8, 2013 at 11:09 am
    The two questions to ask about Josh Satin right now:

    Can he play left field at all?

    Is he more intriguing than Juan Lagares or Eric Young Jr. to justify taking at bats from them?

    I don’t think the Mets can afford to tell other teams that they view Daniel Murphy as a platoon player when they are going to have to try to trade him at the deadline or this off-season to open up room for Wilmer Flores, and they’ve got to figure out if Ike Davis is going to be worth the money he will (still) be able to get through arbitration.

  4. Steve S. July 8, 2013 at 11:34 am
    Trading Murphy now is what should be done. If Turner was healthy, I would trade him too. At the very least, Satin could replace Turner on the bench. At best, he could be the fallback guy at 2B, if Flores couldn’t hack it at 2B.
  5. azulnaranja July 8, 2013 at 11:43 am
    I am intrigued by Satin, as I mentioned in a comment last week. But two things –
    1) Has anybody actually seen him play 2B or LF? Maybe he is even worse than Murphy at those positions.
    2) Are there comparable “success stories” in recent MLB history? By that I mean college players who get promoted slowly through the minors (more like a HS player does), and then turn out to be solid major leaguers when they hit the big time in their late 20’s? I’d love to see some examples.
    • MikeT July 8, 2013 at 11:46 am
      Honestly, Mark DeRosa and Ben Zobrist. Late bloomers with versatility who get the job done.
      • azulnaranja July 8, 2013 at 11:57 am
        Not bad comparisons, although both had more ML experience at an earlier age than Satin, and progressed more quickly through the minors. But it does hold out some hope.
      • Micalpalyn July 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm
        I 2nd this idea: I actually too have faith that Satin can be a late blooming .300 hitter …and why not? And I think he is a great foil for Ike who some think is the return of Dave king an….
        But seriously, I see a spot if he can get reps at 2nd and (gasp) at 3rd, as well as 1st base.
  6. Quinn July 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm
    Whats with all this love for Ike? He is horrible just cuz he had a good 1/2 season with no pressure on him doesnt mean anything, he is a liabilty not only at the plate but also in the field, I dont understand how you can compare Murphy who has been a streaky hitter yes but his yearly numbers are fairly consistent. Also talking about LF what happens when Duda gets back, has he really performed worse than Ike the last two years? Trades need to happen and personnally id love to see Ike go, the braves love players who strike out alot let them have him. Shoving a “bad glove in LF havent we done that twice recently with no succeess ( murphy duda)? If the guy can hit put him at a position he is comfortable with so you dont give him the duda complex to where he is so uncomfortable in the field it translates into the batters box. You say Flores is the future 2B, why? Because he is highly touted? So have other prospects let the guy who is performing play, plus Flores doesnt even “project” to be a 2B so let him learn a corner IF pos in the minors before rushing him up and half way through his carrer making him change positions. The Mets suck and half the problem is the managment hangs onto bad players that they were high on for too long.
  7. Walnutz15 July 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm
    Aside from wondering what the rush was, in getting Ike Davis back here – pre-ASB……no one should be all that surprised about the “Sitting Satin” situation.

    ………..considering we’ve seen the same exact script – recycled over dozens of different “temporarily hot” call-ups, literally for years now.

    Right now, given Ike’s call-up: the most “realistic” course of action (for the decision makers looking for clarity, anyway) is to play both, Murph and Ike at their everyday positions.

    – Murph, to figure out if he’ll be able to get hot — so they can either “sell high” or possibly package him off before the off-season —- he’ll need to, considering he’s really showing nothing in the box for over a month now; and

    – Ike, to get a sense of whether or not anything’s “taking hold”, in term of adjustments.

    ……………for the record, I never saw a reason for Ike to be called back up before the team reported for the 2nd half of action. EVEN LESS, with Satin producing.

    Unfortunately for those interested in Josh Satin: 2013, it’ll just be “hope and pray” that some divine intervention sets in with regard to finding a spot for Satin to “emerge” in. And what that really means is: hope he isn’t as bad as Duda playing anywhere in the outfield.

    In other words, he’s yet another of the guys who come up here with no real plan to play them. (It’s a real shame when guys come up hot – and this happens, ain’t it? The Mets never like riding hot bats….and it shows in their futility over the past handful of seasons.)

    This is why —- with Satin hitting —- you should have just let him play for another week, and see what does or doesn’t happen w/him.

    Why that didn’t happen? Anyone’s guess.

  8. Eric Schwartz July 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm
    I am really high on Josh Satin and am intrigued by the possibility of platooning him with Daniel Murphy. What a disappointment Murphy has been this year! (And Tejada, and Davis, and Duda …) Satin actually started life as a second baseman in the minors, I believe, and has a fair amount of experience there. Perhaps play him every day, trade Murphy, and reevaluate when Flores comes up>
  9. BklynCowpoke July 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    Well my take on the Satin situation is that if The Mets are insistent on keeping Davis in the lineup consistently; then they can ill afford to keep Duda in left field both because of his lack of defensive ability and his anemic batting average. Put Satin in left (he can’t be any worse than Duda is), at least we might see some RBI’s out of him, instead of an occasional solo homer.
  10. Andy July 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm
    It almost doesn’t matter at this point of the season. Satin has shown enough that he deserves to start at 2B on this team. If Murph can be packaged with Parnell and/or Byrd to get any kind of a decent return in trade, the Mets should do it, and start Satin at 2B for the rest of the season.

    In Spring 2014, Satin and Flores can battle it out for the starting job going forward.

  11. dennis July 9, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I believe IKE is DONE in NY.
    As Yogi stated “90% of the game is half mental” ……………and NY has taken its toll on him.

  12. Anthony July 9, 2013 at 10:46 am
    Satin deserves a shot, it’s not like Murph has been consistent or even much of a boost to the offense since the first 2 weeks of this year and it’s not like he’s been fantastic in the field. Why not give Satin a shot for a few weeks at 2nd as well as at 1st? There’s nothing to lose unless the Mets brass mistakenly believe they somehow have a shot at the playoffs (ain’t going to happen – Mets can’t hit consistently enough to make the 8-10 game run it would take to even get close).

    Murph is who he is, let’s see what Satin can do.

    P.S. I don’t think Ike is done yet. He’s always had power and he’s starting to have more patience after the Vegas demotion, I think the power will return if he keeps the patience and presses forward. Plus, the dude is a solid fielder at first as evidenced by his first few games back after his return.