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Cardinals Farm Report

Lance Lynn
Starting Pitcher
AAA-Memphis
23-years-old
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 250 lbs
Drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round (39th pick) of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft
Just like every Saturday here on i70baseball, the Cardinal Farm Report spotlights one of the prized Cardinal minor leaguers. This week, it is Lance Lynn, the struggling (yet promising) Cardinal prospect.

YEAR AGE TEAM W L ERA GS IP SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008 21 2 1 1 1.35 6 26.2 29 0.975 6.8 0.7 2.0 9.8 4.83
2008 21 BAT 1 0 0.96 4 18.2 22 0.857 5.8 0.0 1.9 10.6 5.50
2008 21 QC 0 1 2.25 2 8.0 7 1.250 9.0 2.2 2.2 7.9 3.50
2009 22 3 11 4 2.85 25 148.2 124 1.312 8.4 0.3 3.5 7.5 2.18
2009 22 PB 0 0 2.30 2 15.2 17 1.213 9.2 0.0 1.7 9.8 5.67
2009 22 SPR 11 4 2.92 22 126.1 98 1.330 8.3 0.4 3.6 7.0 1.92
2009 22 MEM 0 0 2.70 1 6.2 9 1.200 6.8 0.0 4.0 12.2 3.00
2010 23 MEM 10 8 5.17 24 134.0 110 1.418 9.4 1.1 3.4 7.4 2.20

As you can see, Lynn had great seasons in 2008 and 2009. Combining both years, he went 12-5 with a 2.61 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings. If you want to put that into perspective, Jaime Garcia is on pace to pitch 181 innings with St. Louis this season. So you can make of that what you wish.

2010 has obviously been a different story for Mr. Lynn. Inconsistent is the best word to use. Disappointing would be the next.

Why is he struggling? Nobody really knows. His coaches are saying his “stuff” is as good as ever, there are no real flaws in his mechanics, and his command has not gotten any worse.

Was he brought up too quickly? This is only his second full Minor League season, and he’s already in Triple-A. But then again, he’s 23 and he did pitch in college for three seasons. You can’t hardly blame the organization for not being afraid to promote him. After all, he did dominate every league he played in until this year.

When the Cardinals drafted him in the first round two years ago, everybody said the main thing he needed to improve on was his control. However, his BB/9 rates in 2010 aren’t horrible, and he’s actually walking less this year compared to last. The stat that really pops out to me is the HR/9 rate. In over 148 innings last season, he gave up only five home runs in 25 starts. So far this year, through 24 starts, Lynn has already given up 17 big flies. Something is obviously wrong there.

I suppose it could go back to control. Some pitchers focus so intently on throwing strikes, they forget to think about where exactly the ball is going to end up in the strike zone. This could very well be what’s happening in Lynn’s case.

The biggest problem though, is that every once in a while he goes out on the mound and gives up seven or eight runs. I was talking to a guy on twitter who watched Lynn throw seven innings of no-hit baseball against Oklahoma City. I on the other hand, was at the New Orleans game when he gave up eight runs in three innings. Again, inconsistency.

Four games in particular (he allowed eight runs once, seven runs twice, and six runs once) are killing his numbers. Taking those four games out, his ERA is hovering right around 3.40. That’s great and all, but never knowing which pitcher is going to show up is never good. Maybe he is suffering from Kyle Lohse - syndrome, who knows?

Nevertheless, we are dealing with a 23-year-old, 6’5″, first-round starting pitcher that is in Triple-A already. That has “top-prospect” written all over it.

Lynn’s still very young, and extremely raw. If he can figure out whatever is holding him back this year, expect him to be in the big leagues after a successful 2011 season in Memphis.

MiLB WEEKLY ROUNDUP
AAA-Memphis Redbirds
Record to date: 69-57, second place in the PCL American North, 3 games behind Iowa.This past week: 4-2, including two series wins (Colorado Springs and Salt Lake)Transactions: Matt Scherer was assigned to Palm Beach from Memphis (3-1, 4.58 ERA, 29 SO, 37.1 IP in AAA), Tyler Greene was optioned to Memphis from Palm Beach (.297, 55 R, 10 SB, 64 AB in AAA), Steven Hill was optioned to Memphis from St. Louis (.280, 22 HR, 86 RBI, 361 AB in AA), Bryan Anderson was optioned to St. Louis from Memphis (.270, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 270 AB in AAA), Fernando Salas was optioned to Memphis from St. Louis (18 SV, 3.89 ERA, 44 SO, 34.2 IP in AAA)Coming up: The Redbirds will start a four-game set in Omaha before heading home for a long five-game series with Round Rock.
AA-Springfield Cardinals
Record to date: 30-23 in the second half (68-55 overall), third place in the TEX North, 5 games behind NW Arkansas.This past week: 5-1, won the San Antonio series 2-1, and swept Corpus Christi (four-game win streak)Transactions: Jermaine Curtis was assigned to Springfield from Palm Beach (.267, 34 R, 24 RBI, 191 AB in A), Thomas Pham was placed on the 7-day disabled list.Coming up: The Cardinals will head down to San Antonio before coming home to host NW Arkansas.
A-Palm Beach
Record to date: 31-23 in the second half (70-54 overall), first place in the FSL South.This past week: 4-4, including a crucial 1-3 series loss to BradentonTransactions: C.J. Beatty was assigned to Palm Beach from Quad Cities (.259, 40 R, 37 RBI, 251 AB in A-), Jermaine Curtis was assigned to Springfield from Palm Beach (.267, 34 R, 24 RBI, 191 AB in A), Matt Scherer was assigned to Palm Beach from Memphis (3-1, 4.58 ERA, 29 SO, 37.1 IP in AAA),Coming up: The Baby Birds will take on Charlotte and Fort Myers in a three-game sets.
POSITION PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Amaury Cazana, OF, Memphis
.480 AVG (12-for-25), .567 OBP, 8 runs, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, 5 walks
Amaury Cazana… the most interesting man in the world. He has been raking ever since being brought to the United States. On the season, Amaury is hitting .330/.370/.537 with 25 runs, 10 home runs, and 47 RBI in 207 at bats.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Kevin Thomas, SP, Palm Beach
W, 7 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walks, 7 strikeouts
Thomas has had an amazing season and could have gotten this award several times, but this week he finally gets it. In 26 games this season, Thomas is 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 80 SO in 91 innings.

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for i70baseball.com and his blog, Cardinals Front Office, that is also dedicated to Cardinal baseball.You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

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