Lynn with the St. Louis Cardinals
|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 31|
May 12, 1987 |
Marion County, Indiana
|June 2, 2011, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through 2015 season)
|Earned run average||3.37|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Representing United States|
|Pan American Games|
|2007 Rio de Janeiro||Team|
Michael Lance Lynn (born May 12, 1987) is an American professional baseball starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Cardinals selected him in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft from the University of Mississippi. He made his MLB debut on June 2, 2011, was a member of the Cardinals' World Series championship team that year, and a National League All-Star in 2012.
At Ole Miss, Lynn set the school's single-season (146) and career (332) pitching strikeout records. In 2009, he was named the Cardinals organizational Pitcher of the Year after playing in three levels and totaling a 2.85 earned run average and 124 strikeouts in 148 2⁄3 innings pitched. The Cardinals have made the playoffs in each of Lynn's major league seasons, and he has participated each time. On May 27, 2014, Lynn pitched his first career complete game and shutout, earned his 500th career strikeout three weeks later, and 50th career win April 15, 2015. Through 2015, he was the Cardinals' all-time franchise leader in career strikeouts per 9 innings pitched (SO/9), with 8.7.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Lynn is expected to miss the entire 2016 season. He is currently signed through 2017.
Early life and amateur career
Lynn was born on May 12, 1987, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Mike and Jenny Lynn. He was part of the Brownsburg Little League (Brownsburg, Indiana) that appeared in the 1999 Little League World Series, who won the Central Regional Championship in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He attended Brownsburg High School, where he was teammate of fellow future major league pitcher Drew Storen, and earned All-State honors in his sophomore and junior season.
As a junior, Lynn hit .509 (AVG) with 14 home runs (HR) and 46 runs batted in (RBI). On the mound, he posted a 1.26 earned run average (ERA) and 160 strikeouts (SO) in 100 innings pitched (IP), a 10–3 win–loss record (W–L), and three saves. His team went 36-0 his senior year as they won the 4A state championship. That year, he hit .400 with 14 HR; his ERA was 0.71 and record was 16–0.
At Brownsburg, Lynn's cumulative batting totals included a .473 AVG and 92 RBI. His career pitching totals were a 1.10 ERA in 288 IP, 39–4 W–L, seven saves and 455 SO. For the state of Indiana, Lynn was the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2005. He was also a Louisville Slugger and Electronic Arts All-America selection. When Lynn played at the Area Code Games, Nike named him an All-Star, and he was teammates with fellow future Ole Miss Rebels baseball signees Evan Button and Scott Van Slyke.
The Seattle Mariners selected Lynn in the 6th round of the June 2005 MLB Draft, but did not sign. He instead chose to attend and play at the University of Mississippi. In 2007, he set the Ole Miss single season (146) and career (332) strikeout records. He was named All-Southeastern Conference second-team pitcher in 2007 and 2008. His overall college record was 22–12 W–L with a 3.95 ERA.
Professional career (2008–present)
Draft and minor leagues (2008–11)
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Lynn in the first round (39th pick) of the June 2008 MLB amateur draft. In 2009, Lynn was named the Cardinals' organizational Pitcher of the Year after jumping three levels in his first full professional season. His final start for the year was for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). His season totals included a 2.85 ERA and 124 SO in 148 2⁄3 IP. He led all Cardinals minor league pitchers in SO from 2009–10 (141 in 2010).
Spending the entire 2010 season with Memphis, Lynn also led all Cardinals minor league pitchers in games started (29), was second with 164 IP and 13 wins, and ninth with 7.74 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched (K/9). In addition, he led the PCL in SO and games started and was second in wins in 2010. On September 10, 2010, Lynn broke the Redbirds' single-game franchise strikeout record, fanning 16 against the Oklahoma City RedHawks in a playoff game. It was also the highest strikeout performance that year in all the minor leagues.
St. Louis Cardinals (2011–present)
The club added Lynn to the 40 man roster and activated him on June 2, 2011. He made his major league debut that night at Busch Stadium against the San Francisco Giants. In 34 1⁄3 IP in the regular season with the Cardinals, Lynn notched 40 SO while allowing 25 H and 11 BB. A pulled flank muscle in August prevented him from appearing in a game until a surprise appearance in the postseason. On October 10, Lynn was awarded the win after throwing exactly one pitch in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) against the Milwaukee Brewers. In the World Series, Lynn gave up back-to-back HR in the top of the seventh to Adrián Beltré and Nelson Cruz. However, he won the World Series with the Cardinals, making a total of 10 appearances during the postseason after appearing in just 18 games during the 2011 regular season.
After arriving at Cardinals spring training (ST) in February 2012, Lynn announced he would begin wearing the number 31. When Chris Carpenter went on the disabled list (DL) early in the season, Lynn replaced him in the rotation. He started strong, winning his first six games with an ERA of .140. One of his best games came on June 13 against the Chicago White Sox. He completed 7 1⁄3 innings, struck out a career-high 12 batters, and gave up only three hits. That performance lowered his ERA to 2.42. He also became the second player that season to win 10 games behind R.A. Dickey.
Lynn finished his first half with a 3.41 ERA and 11–4 record in 17 starts. Subsequently, he was named to his first All-Star Game. However, he scuffled with a 5.23 ERA in his next eight starts, and was removed from the rotation. Joe Kelly replaced him in the rotation. Through his first 25 starts, he was 13–5 with a 3.93 ERA. His August ERA ballooned to 6.66 and his second-half ERA overall was 4.32. Lynn attributed the high weight and poor conditioning that to the inconsistency. He finished the regular season with an 18–7 record and 180 SO, 3.78 ERA in 35 games, 29 starts and 176 IP. His 9.2 SO/9 placed fourth in franchise history. He placed second in the NL in wins, seventh in winning percentage, and fourth in SO/9. Lynn was added back to the rotation in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals after the team shifted Jaime García to the DL due to a rotator cuff injury. He was the Game 5 starter in the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, in which the Cardinals held a 3–1 series lead. However, he gave up four runs in 3 2⁄3 IP as the Cardinals eventually lost the series.
The right-hander made a conscious effort to change his eating and conditioning habits to reach 200 IP in 2013. He showed to ST weighing 239 pounds, about 41 pounds lighter than his last start in the 2012 NLCS. As a result, his teammates needled him with jokes, such as "Where's your other half?" from Adam Wainwright and "Who's the new guy?" from two others. He reached his season goal of 200 IP, with 201 2⁄3, and was 15–10 with 198 SO and 3.97 ERA. His ERA remained steady: 4.00 in the first half, 3.93 in the second of the season. He improved his ERA in September to 2.12. His win total was sixth in the NL, strikeouts ninth, and 33 starts placed second.
On the recommendation of the team chef Simon Lusky, Lynn decreased the amount of refined carbohydrates and fats in his diet. He showed up to 2014 ST with an even slimmer look. In a ST game on March 14, Lynn struck out 10 Atlanta Braves in four innings, including the final eight hitters he faced. On April 14, the Cardinals stopped the Milwaukee Brewers' nine-game winning streak behind Lynn's seven scoreless innings. Lynn, who had entered the game with a 6.55 ERA for the season, won his third decision behind 11 SO and just three hits allowed as St. Louis prevailed 4–0. Against the Washington Nationals on April 19, he stroked his first career extra base hit – an RBI double – while picking up the decision for the win in a 4–3 victory.
On May 27, Lynn pitched his first career complete game against the New York Yankees, a shutout. Making his 100th career MLB appearance and another start against the Nationals on Friday, June 13, Lynn pitched five perfect innings on his way to two hits through eight IP in a 1–0 victory over Jordan Zimmermann. In a 3–2 loss to the New York Mets five days later, he notched his 500th career strikeout, through 503 career IP. Baffling the Colorado Rockies on the corners of the strike zone on June 23, Lynn pitched another eight shutout innings in an 8–0 victory at Coors Field while allowing just three hits. The Cardinals made the playoffs again in 2014, and Lynn started one game each in the NLDS against the Dodgers and in the NLCS against the Giants. He finished with a 3.08 combined ERA and 11 SO in 11 2⁄3 IP.
Arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career, Lynn and the Cardinals agreed to a three-year, $22 million contract on January 15, 2015. It bought out his three remaining years before free agency and included up to an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses. Only Wainwright (53) and Clayton Kershaw (51) surpassed his win total (48) in the National League over the previous three seasons. In that time, Lynn allowed a 3.48 ERA and 1.300 WHIP over 95 starts.
Making his 99th career start on April 15, 2015, Lynn earned his 50th career win in a 4–2 victory over Milwaukee. It was his 13th win in the month of April since 2012, the highest total in MLB. Through his first 12 starts of the season, he was 4–4 with a 3.07 ERA. However, after his June 7 start against the Dodgers, he suffered a right forearm strain. The Cardinals placed him on the DL on June 12. Lynn returned from the DL on June 24. He returned to action the next day against the Miami Marlins, pitching six scoreless innings in a 5–1 victory.
In a 10–5 loss to the Pirates on August 13, 2015, Lynn recorded just two outs while allowing seven runs total, three earned, a home run and six hits while throwing 41 pitches. It was the shortest outing of his career as a starter, and the quickest exit for a Cardinals starter since Anthony Reyes on October 1, 2006, by reason other than injury. After returning from the DL in June, Lynn started 19 games with an 8–7 record, 3.00 ERA and completed 102 IP, but made it through seven innings just once in his last six starts of the season. He finished the season with a 12–11 record and 3.03 ERA in 175 1⁄3 IP. Through that point in his major league career, he allowed a .248 batting average against, and was the Cardinals all-time franchise leader with 8.7 SO/9 among all players with at least 500 IP for the club.
- Reference for this list
- Major leagues
- Minor leagues
- Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Postseason: 2010
- Cardinals organization Pitcher of the Month: May 2010
- 2x The Cardinal Nation (TCN)/Scout.com Cardinals Top Prospect (2010, #3; 2009 #18)
- Cardinals organization Pitcher of the Year: 2009
- TCN/Scout.com Springfield Starting Pitcher of the Year: 2009
- TCN/Scout.com System Starting Pitcher of the Year: 2009
- 2x Texas League All-Star (2009 mid-season and post-season)
- Scout.com Cards MiLB Player of the Month: May 2009
- Cardinals MiLB Player of the Month: May 2009
- Brooks Wallace Award Watch List by the Collegiate Baseball Foundation, 2008
- All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association, 2008
- NCAA Oxford Regional All-Tournament Team, 2007
- NCAA Oxford Regional Most Valuable Player, 2007
- High school
- Gatorade Player of the Year for Indiana, 2005
- Louisville Slugger and EA All-America selection, 2005
Lynn has four pitches in his arsenal: a four-seam fastball that typically travels between 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) (miles per hour) and 95 miles per hour (153 km/h), and tops out at 97 miles per hour (156 km/h); a two-seam fastball [92 miles per hour (148 km/h)–93]; a cut fastball [87 miles per hour (140 km/h)–88 miles per hour (142 km/h)]; and a curveball [79 miles per hour (127 km/h)–80 miles per hour (130 km/h)]. He uses his cutter mostly against right-handed hitters. Besides his four-seam fastball, his curve is his most commonly thrown pitch with two strikes. His four-seamer had one of the highest K/9 among fastballs thrown by relief pitchers in 2012. In 2012, Lynn finished third in the National League in 2012 in K/9, at 9.205. He finished ninth in 2013 with a 8.836 rate. His 33 wins between 2012–13 led all NL starting pitchers over that span.
Lynn stands 6' 5" and weighs 240 lbs. In November 2010, he married Lauren (Grill) Lynn, who was a softball player at Ole Miss. Their home is near Wilsonville, Oregon. On MLB's Now You Know he stated that if he were not a professional baseball player he would work for UPS.
Throughout his career, Lynn has battled weight problems which have affected his conditioning. The better shape he has been in, the longer he can go in workouts, and thus, the longer he can effectively pitch in single games and throughout the entire season. To improve his weight and conditioning, he conferred with fellow Cardinals starters Chris Carpenter, Wainwright and Jake Westbrook about their in-season and off-season preparations methods in the 2012–13 off-season. He obtained team strength and conditioning coach Pete Prinzi's help in formulating an offseason training regimen to address his lapses and stimulate weight loss. The Cardinals also sent team chef Lusky to spend a week with Lynn and his wife Lauren in their home, where he showed them better methods to select and prepare healthy food. Lynn also replaced favorites pizza and beer with more water and vodka.
A change in how he processes adversity has also yielded visible results. In 2014, Lynn verbally acknowledged how not handling his emotions during difficult innings affected his ability to limit damage from the opposition and finish off hitters with runners on base. He also has chafed at defensive gaffes and positional shifts with which he did not agree. He had trouble trusting his catchers to call pitches, especially those of Yadier Molina's, who is highly regarded in his game-calling skills. However, teammates and Cardinals officials have noticed that he has started to become more receptive to changing his strategy, and therefore, outcomes.
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- Associated Press (June 18, 2014). "Lynn takes heat after Cardinals lose 3–2 to Mets". USA Today. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
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- Goold, Derrick (January 15, 2015). "Cards, Lynn agree to 3-year deal for $22 million". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
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- Wilaj, Steve (June 24, 2015). "Lynn to return from DL for Miami series finale: Righty sidelined since June 8 with forearm strain". MLB.com. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
- Frisaro, Joe; Wilaj, Steve (June 25, 2015). "Cardinals' bats back Lynn in sweep of Marlins". MLB.com. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
- Nesbitt, Stephen (August 13, 2015). "Pirates score early, late to beat Cardinals, 10–5". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
- Goold, Derrick (August 13, 2014). "Lousy night for Lynn, Cardinals". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
- Goold, Derrick (November 13, 2015). "Lynn on elbow injury: 'I decided to keep pitching'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- SI Wire (November 10, 2015). "Cardinals' Lance Lynn out for season following Tommy John surgery". Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Langosch, Jenifer (November 10, 2015). "Lynn has Tommy John surgery, will miss 2016". MLB.com. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- "Player card: Lance Lynn". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- "PitchFX leaderboards". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- The Star-Ledger. Section 5. Pg. 5. March 2, 2014.
- Lance Lynn bio, MLB.com
- Strauss, Joe (June 16, 2014). "Lynn has changed his approach". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 16, 2014.