The 39th overall pick in 2008, Lance Lynn followed in the steps of the previous seasons supplemental pick and rapidly ascended through the system. Weighing in at a hefty 250lbs and a tall 6’5″ frame, Lynn got a taste of Memphis on the 4th of September. What follows are my impressions of both Lynn and his start that night.
Conditioning: Let’s start with the part that’s likely to make me unpopular. Lynn is out of shape. Plain and simple. Does this inhibit his ability to pitch? Probably not but it’s in Lynn’s best interest for avoiding injury to get himself in shape. There’s an easy 15-20 lbs that need to be shed before 2010.
Delivery: Lynn has some funk to his delivery. He comes to a set balance point before starting his momentum forward. His throwing motion is what I would describe as almost pushing the ball forward. He ends his delivery well leaving him able to reasonably field balls nearby. What is particularly unusual about his motion is that he doesn’t look at the catcher and homeplate until his forward momentum is already initiated. He’s about halfway through his delivery before he picks up his target. It leaves me wondering if he won’t be prone to the stolen base but that’s little more than speculation. The landing leg comes forward abruptly as he plants and delivers to the plate. All told, the motion is just a bit different enough that it may disturb a hitter’s timing.
Command: Lynn features average or better command of his pitches. He locates the ball well in the zone though I’d prefer to see fewer fastballs elevated in the zone given the paucity of raw velocity. His success is going to be largely dependent on his continued ability to throw the pitches where he wants when he wants.
Fastball: You’ll see two distinct varieties of fastballs from Lynn. He’s got a harder fastball that sits around 89-90 and with touch 92. It’s a pretty straight pitch but his height allows him to drive the ball down in the zone. It’s a pitch that would seem to be a candidate for a lot of long homeruns if major league hitters get a hold of it. Nonetheless it is a viable offering. The second fastball drops a mile or two in average velocity and has considerably more movement on it. He’ll work it in on hitter’s hands and watch them swing over the top of it.
Changeup: Believe it or not, he does have a changeup. It’s a tumbling changeup that falls out of the bottom of the zone. He didn’t throw it often (fewer than a dozen times in the game) but the delivery is good and similar to the fastball leaving hitters out in front of the pitch.
Curveball: Curve or slider depending on your preference. It’s a very good breaking pitch in my estimation and he snapped off several that made batters look silly. Given the vertical movement of the pitch, it’s an offering that should be viable against lefties as well as righties. He’ll need to move it off the plate more when pitching to lefties but there’s a reasonable chance it could become a backdoor breaking ball catching the outside edge to a left handed hitter.
Summary: After watching the video, I came away a little disappointed. There’s nothing in his repetoire that stands out as a swing and miss offering. The fastballs are a tick above average. The breaking ball is an above average pitch and the changeup is a functional average third pitch. He’s got different looks to him and what he throws and he’ll need that to survive because the raw stuff was very underwhelming. I don’t see a lot that needs improvement beyond tightening up the breaking pitch and throwing the changeup with consistency. Can he be a command pitcher with good stuff and a nice mix of pitchs? Yes, absolutely. I’d be inclined to believe that he could do that as early as mid next year. What I didn’t see was anything more than a back of the rotation pitcher.