St. Louis, MO. – That old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has been taken to the extreme for Lance Lynn this Spring Training. With Chris Carpenter drawing an absentee ballot for the foreseeable future because of a bulging disc in his neck, Lynn is looking to step up into a the Cardinals starting rotation.
While attempting to fill the shoes of a former Cy Young winner may sound like a daunting task for a 24 year old pitcher, Lynn has proven himself worth of the opportunity that is presented at his feet.
Lynn has been groomed as a starter since he was drafted by St. Louis in the first round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. He stormed his way through the minor league system after starting out in low A ball. This power throwing right hander proved himself a valuable commodity to the World Series Champion Cardinals last season after starting twelve games in Memphis.
That time in Memphis was well spent for the young pitcher. In those twelve games that Lynn started, he went 7-3 with a 3.84 ERA, allowed only two homeruns and recorded 64 strikeouts. After a total of four seasons in the minors, including split time between AAA and the big league club last year, Lynn is 32-18 with a 3.69 ERA in 72 starts, 414.1 innings pitched, and has recorded 358 strikeouts while allowing only 30 homeruns in those four years.
The Indianapolis native made two Major League starts last season prior to settling down in the bullpen. In those two starts, Lynn allowed a total of 6 runs, 3 walks, and had 8 strikeouts in 10.1 innings pitched. He was on the losing end of a 12-7 score against the Giants on June 2nd and was victorious in a 9-2 decision against the Astros on June 9th. While he allowed two more hits than in his first start against San Francisco, Lynn only let one run cross the plate under his watch while taking on Houston.
Right handers appeared to gaze among the ball that left Lynn’s hand time and time again as if it were a space rock from the former planet Pluto as it darted by them in an extremely effective manner. He had a 5.75 strikeout to walk ratio against righties who hit a lowly .187 against this University of Mississippi alumni. Lefties did not fair too much better against Lynn, hitting .229 and recording a 2.43 strikeout to walk ratio.
Busch Stadium was owned by Lynn last season. In the 8 games and 65 batters he faced, Lynn managed to record 19 strikeouts and just 2 walks while marking opponents down to a .185 on base percentage and a .145 batting average.
This World Series Champion expanded his success well into the post season where he recorded two wins in ten relief appearances between the NLCS and Fall Classic.
While he may not be the next Chris Carpenter, Lynn is certainly a legitimate short-term replacement until the Cardinals ace is able to step back on the mound. Lynn has been groomed as a starter and he will succeed as a starter.