Friday, June 8, 2012

Lance Lynn Should be an All Star


Where would the Cardinals be this year without Lance Lynn? They might be below .500 right now without him. Lynn is off to a 9-2 start with a 2.66 ERA. Lynn is also 8th in the National League with 74 strikeouts. So far, Lynn has been the Cardinals best pitcher. Adam Wainwright is still finding his way back from Tommy John surgery. Jaime Garcia has hit a rough patch and was recently put on the DL. Jake Westbrook has struggled in the last month. Kyle Lohse has still been pretty solid, but not as good as Lynn.

Lynn has an explosive fastball that reaches 95 mph. Lynn throw five different pitches, a four seam fastball, a two seamer, a cutter, curveball, and a changeup. Lynn is a durable pitcher, and shouldn't run into the problems Kyle McClellan did adjusting to a starting role. Lynn went to Ole Miss and set college records for most strikeouts in a season and a career. The Cardinals drafted Lynn in the first round in 2008 as a compensation pick. Mostly a starter in the minors, Lynn did an excellent job pitching out of the bullpen last season and earned a win in two postseason games.

Entering the season, Lynn was just the fill-in for injured Chris Carpenter. Some fill-in Lynn has turned out to be. Earlier in the year it was assumed that Lynn would return to the bullpen when Carp came back. Well, there is no way the Cardinals are going to send their most successful starter to the bullpen now. Carpenter has taken longer than expected to come back, and probably won't be back until July. Garcia now has a shoulder strain and will miss at least 3 starts, possibly more if doctors say he needs more rest. Brandon Dickson or Joe Kelly will fill in until Carp or Garcia is ready. Kelly has been the Memphis Redbird's best starter this year, but is not on the 40 man roster. Top prospect Shelby Miller has struggled in Triple A so far, and isn't ready for the big leagues just yet.

Yesterday I said that my next post was "Lynn has earned a permanent rotation spot". Well, I'm going to go farther than that. Lynn has earned consideration for the All Star team. There are alot of pitchers in the National League who deserve to be All Stars this year. RA Dickey, Johan Santana, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, James McDonald, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Brandon Beachy, Cole Hamels, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Dave Miley, Zack Grienke, and Johnny Cueto have all put up All Star worthy seasons as well. Tony La Russa will be picking the reserves, but he should not feel guilty if he picks Lynn over one of these other guys. Lynn has earned a spot on the All Star roster.

The Cardinals should be set on starting pitching for years to come. Wainwright has been showing signs of being his old self again. Garcia is in the fold until 2016. Carp will likely retire when his deal runs out, Lohse and Westbrook will likely sign elsewhere when their deals run out after this season. Lynn looks like a future ace so far. After that, there is Shelby Miller; who has struggled so far this year. However, Miller dominated Double A last year and is only 21 years old. He was ranked # 8 prospect in all of baseball before the year and it will be a matter of time until he turns it around.

Deeper in the minors, there is more pitching depth. Trevor Rosenthal impressed Cardinals management and Chris Carpenter in spring training this year. So far he has a 2.90 ERA in Double A Springfield and has a explosive fastball himself. Left handed John Gast was promoted from Double A to Triple A this season. Carlos Martinez was ranked #27 prospect before the season, and is currently in High A Palm Beach. Tyrell Jenkins was ranked #94 prospect, and is currently on the DL. Jenkins is only 19 and in A ball right now. Earlier this week, the Cardinals used their first pick in the draft on college pitcher Michael Wacha from Texas A&M. The Cardinals have alot of pitching prospects, which is good because some of them could end up being busts or getting injured.

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