What is going on with Lance Lynn? As you can see, there were no speed bumps in 2008-2009, as he cruised through Springfield and into Memphis.
Was he brought up too quickly? This is only his second full Minor League season, and he’s already in Triple-A… but then again, he’s 23 and he did go to college. You can’t hardly blame the organization for not being afraid to promote him. I mean, he did dominate in every league he played in until this year.
When the Cardinals drafted him in the first round two years ago, everybody said the main thing he needed to improve on was his control. His BB/9 rates aren’t horrible, and he’s actually walking less this year compared to last. The stat that really pops out to me is the HR/9 rate. In over 148 innings last season, he gave up only five home runs in 25 starts. So far in 2010, through 24 starts, Lynn has already given up 17 big flies. Something is obviously wrong there.
I suppose it could go back to control. Some pitchers focus so intently on throwing strikes, they forget to think about where exactly the ball is going to end up in the strike zone. This could very well be what’s happening in Lynn’s case.
The biggest problem though, is that every once in a while he goes out on the mound and gives up seven or eight runs. I was talking to a guy on twitter tonight who watched Lynn throw seven innings of no-hit baseball against Oklahoma City. I, however, was at the New Orleans game when he gave up eight runs in three innings. So… yeah…
Four games in particular (allowed eight runs once, seven runs twice, and six runs once) are killing his numbers. Taking those four games out, his ERA is hovering right around 3.40. That’s great and all, but never knowing which pitcher is going to show up is never good. Maybe he is suffering from Kyle Lohse - syndrome, who knows.
Nevertheless, we are dealing with a 23-year-old, 6’5″, first-round starting pitcher in Triple-A already. That has “top-prospect” written all over it.
Lynn’s still very young, and extremely raw. If he can figure out whatever is holding him back this year, expect him to be in the big leagues after a successful 2011 season in Memphis.