Apr 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn (31) pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
As this is written, Lance Lynn is pitching against the Chicago Cubs in his fourth start of the year. He's not going to be a starter forever, but he's been surprisingly effective filling in for Chris Carpenter while the Cardinals' right-hander is out with shoulder issues.
Lynn doesn't have very much MLB experience, with just 53 innings under his belt before today's contest. The 25-year-old was effective in the minors as a starter, though, and in his five career starts in the majors (not counting today's effort), the righty features a 7.7 strikeouts per nine, .198/.257/.297 opponent showing, and an impressive 3.6 K/BB over 29 innings. His 24 frames out of the pen are even more impressive -- something to consider when he's moved out of the rotation at some point in 2012.
His four-seam fastball has been great at generating swings-and-misses, and has oddly been his most-effective pitch in that regard. Typically, fastballs generate the lowest rate of whiffs in a pitcher's repertoire, with something like a slider or a change-up holding the most-effective honor instead.
Instead, his secondary stuff -- primarily his sinker and his curveball -- are useful for inducing groundballs. In addition to the 9.6 K/9 Lynn has posted in his short time in the bigs, he also has forced grounders on 53 percent of balls in play. Throw in that he hasn't walked very many hitters at all during his time with the Cardinals, and that even his worst minor-league rates were more than acceptable -- and you've got yourself a fine pitcher.
Even though Lynn is likely in the rotation temporarily, he's a good bet to put up a performance worthy of even shallow mixed leagues. The one issue is that he is listed primarily as a relief pitcher right now, so it will be take one more start following today's for him to be eligible for a starting pitcher slot (assuming your league uses those designations). That hasn't stopped you from the likes of Neftali Feliz, Daniel Bard, or Chris Sale, though, so have at it with Lynn, too.
Pitch data courtesy of Brooks Baseball