The Houston Astros drafted a starting pitcher named Jordan Lyles with the 38th overall pick in the 2008 draft. The pick itself was a bit of a reach, but at the time, Lyles was thought of as having a high ceiling.
Lyles, a commit to the University of South Carolina, looked to have a very bright future with whichever route he took. He ended up taking the sure thing and signed a contract with the Astros. Lyles rushed through the minor leagues without a problem, and ultimately had his contract purchased by the Astros on May 28, 2011.
He was rushed to the big leagues, that is no question. Lyles made his debut as a 19-year-old kid, and in fact, he pretty much dominated the Chicago Cubs in his debut.
But after his debut, things took a turn for the worst. Lyles just wasn’t ready for the majors, but he was kept up there and gained valuable experience and actually kept improving his game. He continued to struggle well into the 2012 season, but picked up steam in September.
After a terrible Spring Training, the Astros optioned the youngster down to Triple-A, and so far, that looks like it was his last trip to the minors for quite sometime.
The righty was recalled to take a rotation spot on the big league club. When he was recalled, I heard rumblings of the fact that he wasn’t ready. Things like “get ready to see the same old Jordan Lyles.” What people don’t understand is that he is still a young pitcher. He is the second-youngest starting pitcher in all of the American League, but that hasn’t stopped him yet.
Lyles came up, and since then, he has repeatedly worked on his game and has improved with each start. He is 2-1 this season and has only had one bad start. That bad start was rough, but it was against one of the best teams in all of baseball — the Texas Rangers.
After that start, there were a lot of people calling for Lyles’ head, but he didn’t let that bother him. He continued to improve on almost every aspect of the game, and did a really good job of shutting down the potent lineup of the Colorado Rockies. He has really learned how to work out of trouble, something he hasn’t done in the past.
Is this the Jordan Lyles the Houston Astros drafted? Possibly.
He looks extremely good this season, but it could just be the new, awesome uniforms, I don’t know. He’s still in the zone a little to much, but that hasn’t really gotten him into trouble. I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but if Lyles keeps going at this pace, he is most certainly the pitcher the Astros drafted and could be an anchor in the team’s rotation for years to come.