After Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missing the entire 2016 season, Lance Lynn is locked down and ready to go for 2017. After the press conference with Lynn at the Winter Warm-Up, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind he was determined to come back strong.
Lynn has the sass that nobody could ever forget. At the presser, media members were reminded how determined he is.
“I’m going to be who I am — whether you like it or not.” Lynn said.
Lynn has one main goal in mind: win the World Series. Lynn is well aware of the capability and potential this ball club has — especially the pitching staff. He is also aware of the competition that comes along with being a part of the Cardinals’ pitching staff.
“They say there’s competition every year,” Lynn said. “It figures itself out.”
Photos: Cardinals starter Lance Lynn
Photos: Cardinals starter Lance Lynn
If the Cardinals have Lance Lynn with a determined mindset, then they have one of the final ingredients for a solid starting pitching rotation.
Lynn had a solid season in 2015 and he’s looking to better himself in 2017. In 2015, Lynn had a 3.03 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and struck out 167 batters in 175.1 innings. Once spring training comes around, Lynn is determined to put up better numbers and help this team win a championship. At the Warm-Up, Lynn said, “I’m going to try and be even better. That’s just who I am as a competitor. If I do that and try to compete with myself every day, then I have nothing to worry about.”
What impact will Lynn have on the pitching rotation in 2017? It’s quite simple.
Lynn’s pitching was clearly missed in 2016. Without Lynn on the mound, the Cardinals struggled with seeking the depth they needed in their pitching rotation. Any time one of the starting pitchers got an injury, the Cardinals had to turn to the younger players most of the time. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily.
For example, take a look at Luke Weaver. Weaver pitched in the major leagues nine times in 2016. In those nine games, Weaver put up a 5.70 ERA, 7.18 RA9(Runs allowed per 9 innings), and a 1.6 WHIP. Are these numbers exceptional? Of course not. Although, with Lynn not pitching in the rotation, guys like Weaver were able to get some major-league experience — even if the stats weren’t pretty. Although, now that Lynn is back, Weaver can have a lot more mound time in Memphis. Keep in mind, Weaver is only 23. He has plenty of time to develop himself and become a phenomenal pitcher. In the meantime, get Lynn back in the rotation and let the younger guys have more practice in the minors.
With Lynn back on the mound in 2017, the Cardinals will have a rotation with well-executed pitchers. Along with Lynn, the Cardinals have Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake and Alex Reyes in the picture, setting them up for success. Taking a look at this rotation, the Cardinals clearly have the perfect mix of young and old, veterans and newcomers.
Lynn will be a great guy to pitch behind Adam Wainwright. As the Cardinals head deeper into the offseason and get closer to Spring Training, Wainwright is looking like the best fit for the no. 3 spot in the rotation. The puzzle pieces are starting to come together and the rotation is starting to look more and more constructed.
The Cardinals should also have the comfort of potential depth in their pitching. With Michael Wacha fighting for a spot back in the rotation and Trevor Rosenthal determined to make the jump to starting pitcher, the urgency to put up a good showing is evident. So, when the Cardinals throw in a determined Lance Lynn that is hungry for success, they have a recipe to win 90-plus games.
There’s one thing to keep in mind: Don’t expect “Cy Young” stuff from Lynn. Lynn is going to struggle just like any other pitcher who missed a full season. However, what everybody should expect are solid performances from Lynn. He’s out there to win games and he’s going to try and help push the Cardinals towards the playoffs.
“I’m not exactly worried about numbers and all that,” Lynn said. “I’ll help the team win and everything else will take care of itself.”
Leave the Cy Young duties to Carlos Martinez. Expect a solid rotation with Lynn back in the mix.
Thank you for reading. As always, you can send me your thoughts on Twitter @Carly_Schaber.