Keith Law has another article up (prolific lately, no?) regarding prospects that could impact teams in 2010 but aren’t in the top 100. He bypasses the Cardinal prospect (Jaime Garcia) that I believe is better in the long run due to injury related inning limitations in favor of Lance Lynn. There’s nothing earth-shattering in his evaluation but I wanted to compare his comments to my own scouting report very briefly.
Lynn has a four-pitch mix, all pitches average but nothing plus, led by a solid-average fastball with good tailing sink that generates some ground balls and helps him keep the ball in the park, and two breaking balls to change hitters’ eye levels and move the ball around the zone.
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.
It would seem that there’s two discrepancies here: 1) the existence of a changeup and 2) the perception of his breaking ball. The changeup was definitive when I watched video and Law doesn’t explicitly say he doesn’t throw a change instead naming two breaking pitches and a fastball by name. What I referred to as more of a tailing fastball could well be one of those breaking pitches to with a slurvy-curveball. The second point I’ll readily concede to Law’s experience that the breaking pitch may be better described as ‘average’ than ‘above average’.
Lynn’s also a strong competitor who pitches very aggressively, and I think he’ll go after big league hitters like a veteran when he gets the opportunity.
This is an oft cited feature of Lynn and while I don’t disagree with the assessment, I’d liken demeanor to team chemistry. There’s little proof that it matters (within reason) but equally little way to measure it. So while you’ll hear his demeanor quoted, I’m more concerned about the lack of an out pitch.
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.
Lynn’s a solid bet to make an impact in the near future. I wouldn’t pin hopes on him to be more than a 4.50 ERA (in a context neutral environment and team – necessary caveats for ERA) but he could be that very shortly. It warms my circuits when FR perspectives match outside perspectives closely.