Second Half Prospect Help: Kansas City Royals’ Daniel Lynch
Royals starting pitching prospect Daniel Lynch was called up for his second debut this past weekend and boy did he impress! The first go-around in the show for him wasn’t pretty for him. He went 0-2 with a 15.75 ERA with 14 earned runs, seven strikeouts, and seven walks in eight innings pitched. He was quickly demoted back down to AAA where his struggles continued. What earned him the call back up was his last two starts in AAA. He compiled nine innings giving up three earned runs while striking out 12.
In his first 3 starts in the major leagues, Lynch relied heavily on his 4-seam fastball and slider. Throwing the fastball 49.4% of the time and his slider 28.2% of the time. He had a solid 43.5% Whiff rate on his slider, but overall, he was getting hit hard to the tune of an average exit velocity of 94.7 mph with the max exit velocity hitting 114.5 mph. He had a lot of inconsistencies in his pitching delivery that were giving opposing hitters an idea of what pitches he was about to throw.
This time around it was a complete 180. We saw Lynch 2.0. He went eight innings, gave up five hits, no runs with four strikeouts. That is the Daniel Lynch we all know and remember. Even though the strikeouts weren’t there, the stuff looked great all game, and the command and control were spectacular with zero walks. He started to get the feel back for his pitches and the velocity was where it needs to be. He was consistently sitting 94-97 mph all game and the adjustments he made to his delivery to make it more consistent helped him keep hitters more off balance. He lowered his average exit velocity to 90.7 mph. He relied heavily on the fastball again but had a better mix of his secondary offerings. He featured his slider the most but did a good job mixing in his changeup and even his curveball.
I still haven’t given up on Lynch being a solid Major League starter. He carries a solid pitch mix that includes an above-average slider and changeup as well as a curveball. The makings are there to become an SP3 or even SP2. He, like most other prospects, just needs to get his experience in the majors.
Excelling with his command and control will be the keys to his success this time around. With the recent trade of Danny Duffy and injury to Brady Singer, he will stick in the rotation for a while. Singer has already begun his rehab assignment though. He will have to keep progressing from this last start if he wants to maintain his spot in the rotation. If he does, he could help fantasy owners down the stretch by providing quality innings. The low strikeout rate can be worrisome, though I expect the strikeout numbers to go up given how good his pure stuff is. This start is a great step forward in Lynch’s progression and it will be exciting to see if he can keep it going.