ST. LOUIS (BaseballStL) -- For the last calendar year Lance Lynn has done one thing better than anyone else in Major League baseball. He has successfully changed the minds of just about everyone in his organization with regards to what he can do and what his potential is. After being drafted in the supplemental 1st round back in 2008 the book on Lynn was simple. He's an innings eater who projects as nothing more than a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Wow. Were we all wrong on that one or what???
When Lynn came up for a spot start last summer he showed pretty much what everyone expected. He was okay. Nothing special. Got some people out. Did a serviceable job. Nothing more and nothing less. But when Lynn came back to the majors for the stretch run and went into the bullpen something changed in him.
He attacked hitters with everything he had.
See, as a starter you face a lineup 3 or even 4 times. As a reliever they only see you once. So as a starter you might save some of your pitches to show them later on in the game. As a reliever...you don't do that. You come at them with everything you've got because they won't see you again that day.
That's when Lynn just turned into more than a serviceable guy. He showed more than being an average pitcher who could get a few outs and nothing more. He started to dominate.
Lynn helped the Cardinals win the World Series by pitching to a 3.27 ERA in the playoffs. He pitched 11 crucial innings on the way to one of the most unlikely championships in sports history.
So then it was accepted that he probably was always better off as a reliever. He was a good starter but dominant out of the bullpen. It makes sense. There's a lot of guys out there who are like that.
But once Chris Carpenter went down in Spring Training and Lynn was summoned to start...he's continued that. He's actually been BETTER as a starter this year than he was as a setup reliever last season. It's incredible.
He's now 10-2 with a 2.42 ERA. Opponents are hitting barely over .200 against him and his WHIP is just a shade over one. He's likely going to be an All-Star in a month and he's been by far and away the best starter for the Cardinals this season. Better than Adam Wainwright, better than Kyle Lohse, better than Jaime Garcia. Better than everyone.
Lynn's worst start this year was May 18th against the Dodgers when he gave up 4 runs over 6 innings. That was his worst. That's called being consistent when you can go 13 starts over a 2 and a half month span and say that's your worst outing.
He provided a huge win for the Cardinals over the White Sox as it keeps the Redbirds over .500 for just a little bit longer. It was a "stopper" type of performance usually reserved for the ace of the pitching staff.
But you know what? Lance Lynn just might be the ace of this team right now.
Not bad for a guy who was supposed to be simply a back-of-the-rotation starter.