- Full name Michael Lance Lynn
- Born 05/12/1987 in Marion County, IN
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 270 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Mississippi
- Debut 06/02/2011
Drafted in the C-A round (39th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008 (signed for $938,000).
View Draft ReportLynn is somewhat the opposite of his Ole Miss teammate Cody Satterwhite. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Lynn is described as a big-bodied and durable starter who consistently produces quality starts game in and game out. None of the pitches in his repertoire are overwhelming, but he possesses three average to fringe-average offerings. His fastball is typically between 90-92 mph, and his slider comes in around 81 mph. He also throws a curveball and changeup, both of which are fringe-average at best. Lynn mixes all four pitches with command and pitchability, making him a safe bet to be a fourth or fifth starter and an innings-eater in the major leagues within a few years. Lynn was drafted by the Mariners in the sixth round of the 2005 draft and should improve on that this year. Lynn pitched for the U.S. National Team last summer, striking out 26 batters in 25 innings and compiling a 2-1,1.80 mark in four starts. While never stellar, scouts are impressed with his undeniable track record of success.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Lynn made his name as a workhorse who never missed a scheduled start after signing for $938,000 as a 2008 sandwich pick, but he was a revelation as a reliever in the majors. His performance was reminiscent, in short bursts, of his 16-strikeout start in the Triple-A playoffs in 2010. After straining his oblique in early August, he returned to earn victories in the National League Championship Series and World Series. As a minor league starter, Lynn mixed a darting 88-92 mph sinker, a curveball that could get loopy and a so-so changeup. As a reliever, he became more aggressive with a four-seam fastball that sits around 93 mph and zooms as high as 98 with late life. He also developed a harder, sharper curve that gave him a true second weapon. He also has created more downhill plane with less rotation on his delivery, an adjustment that has improved his command. The Cardinals have five starters returning in 2012, earmarking Lynn for set-up duty.
A sandwich pick in 2008 and St. Louis' minor league pitcher of the year in 2009, Lynn lacked his usual consistency last season. He punctuated his up-and-down year by striking out 16 batters in a Pacific Coast League playoff game, setting a Memphis franchise record for any contest. He got the 16 whiffs in a 20-batter stretch, overpowering most with a fastball that routinely hit 95 mph. Lynn remains the prototypical Cardinals draft pick--a durable and predictable college pitcher who can be relied on to gobble innings at the back of a big league rotation. His velocity markedly increased in 2010, as he went from using a 90-92 mph sinker to a mid-90s four-seamer. He took to working high in the strike zone, an approach that won't play well in the majors. To shift his crosshairs down, St. Louis is working with his mechanics so that he's throwing downhill more. His curveball also improved last year, though he continues to work on his changeup. Lynn did his best pitching at the end of 2010, setting the stage for him to compete for a big league job this spring. He has a ceiling of a No. 3 starter.
The Cardinals favor college pitchers with a track record of production and durability. Lynn aced those traits, and his sinker clinched St. Louis' decision to draft him 39th overall and sign him for $938,000 in 2008. In his first full season of pro ball, he was a Double-A Texas League all-star and the Cardinals' minor league pitcher of the year. Lynn throws a 90-92 mph fastball with sink, and he complements it with control of three other pitches. The rest of his arsenal consists of a sharp slider, workable curveball and improved changeup. Consistency is the bedrock of his game, and he relies on his defense with about half of the balls put in play against him going on the ground. Being able to rely on his breaking pitches and developing a second pitch that will miss bats will be crucial as Lynn nears the majors. He can't overpower batters with velocity, which makes command all the more important and limits his ceiling. He's viewed less as a dominant starter than an innings-gobbler. Lynn will continue a steady climb with a move to Triple-A. He should slide into the back of St. Louis' rotation by mid-2011, if not sooner.
In many ways, Lynn is the prototype pick for a franchise that favors college pitchers, particularly college pitchers with a tangible, steady line of production and a sinking fastball. Lynn fits the Cardinals' mold. He's hulking and has proved his durability in college, and he throws a 90-92 mph fastball that has heavy sink to it. Lynn was drafted in the sixth round in 2005 by the Mariners, but he elected to improve his draft spot and did so with an All-America turn at Mississippi. He has command of four pitches, including a slick slider and a fringy changeup and curve. But he wasn't billed as a first-round pick because his ceiling seems to be as a rotation's innings-eater. The Cardinals put a high value on that and believe he's a safe bet to reach that ceiling, which is why they drafted him 39th overall last June and signed him for $938,000. They expect a bankable prospect whose climb to the majors can almost be plotted by the start. Lynn made eight appearances in his pro debut before missing time with forearm stiffness, but it's not a long-term concern. He pitched as expected in his first pro turns and will likely return to the low Class A Quad Cities rotation to start the year. It will be a short visit.
Minor League Top Prospects
In his first full pro season, Lynn jumped to Double-A in May and proved to be Springfield's best starter. He finished among the TL leaders in most pitching categories, including third in ERA (2.92) and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (7.0). Yet there are contradicting reports about just how dominant Lynn can be. He certainly has the build and the mound presence to be an innings-eater. Those who saw him at his best reported a 90-93 mph fastball that explodes as it approaches the plate. Others saw him more at 85-91 mph and said his stuff wasn't overpowering. Lynn throws both a curveball and slider, again creating split opinion on which is better. He throws the curve more at this point and must improve his command of both pitches. His changeup has potential but he rarely throws it and needs more confidence in it. "For him to start in the big leagues his pitches will have to get sharper," Warner said, "and I think they will."
Background: Lynn made his name as a workhorse who never missed a scheduled start after signing for $938,000 as a 2008 sandwich pick, but he was a revelation as a reliever in the majors. His performance was reminiscent, in short bursts, of his 16-strikeout start in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League playoffs in 2010, an outing he describes as the day "everything finally came together at once." After missing the rest of the regular season after straining his oblique in early August, he returned to earn victories in the National League Championship Series and World Series. Scouting Report: As a starter, Lynn mixed a darting 88-92 mph sinker, a curveball that could get loopy and a so-so changeup. As a reliever, he became more aggressive with a four-seam fastball that sits around 93 mph and zooms as high as 98 with late life. He also developed a harder, sharper curve that gave him a true second weapon. He has created more downhill plane with less rotation on his delivery, an adjustment that improved his command. The Future: Long thought of as a back-of-the-rotation innings eater, he has rewritten his future with the stuff he showed when not encumbered by multiple innings. The Cardinals have five starting pitchers returning in 2012, earmarking Lynn for set-up duty.
- United States activated RHP Lance Lynn.