Results tagged ‘ Lance Lynn ’

NLCS stirs college memory

Not from my own college experience, mind you, but that of one of the players on a postseason roster.

It was 2008 and I was covering the SEC tournament in Alabama. It’s something I’ve done a few times over the years for pre-Draft coverage. It’s such a loaded conference that you can find a whole bunch of potential first-round picks in one place.

In that conference that year, in fact, was Pedro Alvarez, Gordon Beckham, Justin Smoak, Josh Fields and Reese Havens, all of whom were taken in the first round of that 2008 Draft. But the guy I’m thinking of was a supplemental pick that year, taken No. 39 overall by the Cardinals.

At the time, Lance Lynn was the ace of the Ole Miss staff, though he was coming off a so-so junior year. But he had a terrific tournament, helping his school make it to the finals (losing to LSU) and being named to the all-tournament team.

I remember having a conversation with someone at the tournament, someone who followed the team closely. That year, Ole Miss had more than just Lynn who was attracting scouts. There was another starter in the rotation, who went a little later in that draft. That pitcher, by all accounts, had better pure stuff than Lynn. By a lot. But he didn’t have a good year, either.

The biggest difference was how they performed under pressure. Lynn stepped up and was fantastic in the tournament. This other guy, not so much. In fact, we were watching this other guy pitch during this conversation. This unnamed pitcher was under the weather and, if memory serves, came out of the game fairly early as a result. I’m not saying this guy wasn’t sick, but it was what this Ole Miss observer said that really stuck with me.

We were talking about Lynn and how competitive he was on the mound. This conversation-mate said that if it was Lynn who was sick and it was his turn to pitch, he’d simply walk off behind the mound, throw up, then get back on the mound and keep pitching.

Disgusting? Maybe. A little too graphic? Perhaps. But you get the point. There was a certain amount of — to borrow a phrase from old colleague Billy Sample — intestinal fortitude with Lynn. So it’s not a surprise at all to me that he’s thrown three shutout innings across three appearances in the NLCS, even getting a win in Game 2. This after not having pitched since Aug. 9 and being left off the NLDS roster (oblique injury).

The setting wasn’t going to faze him. Success or failure, after seeing him in that SEC tournament, after having that conversation about his toughness on the mound, I knew Lynn would face that kind of challenge without fear.

I don’t know if Lynn is now permanently a reliever. His success in relief might point to that. He certainly has the right mindset.

Oh, and that other guy? He’s had some injury problems… and has yet to make it above Double-A.


Quick update on the postseason review front… You can now read the Houston Astros prospect review. Mariners review should be running later today and I’ll pass that link along when it’s live.





Monday mayhem: Promotions aplenty

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Me and Mrs. B3 caught Duplicity over the weekend. Fun flick, nothing earth-shattering, but entertaining…

On to the task at hand, today’s Game of the Day:

West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx at Birmingham Barons, 6 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Steven Hensley vs. Aaron Poreda
Gameday Audio: West Tenn |Birmingham

This is the first game of a doubleheader between the Southern League teams, so we’re talking a seven-inning affair here, but this could be a dandy. Both of these pitchers have been highlighted here in my recent Game of the Day efforts. Last time I mentioned Poreda, it was to preview a great matchup in which the 2007 first-rounder beat Bryan Augenstein in a 2-0 pitchers duel. Hensley came up in my discussion about guys who had yet to give up an earned run.  (Don’t you love bloggers who link to their own previous posts?).

Hensley was the Mariners’ fourth-round pick in the 2008 draft out of Elon University in North Carolina. He made his first four outings this year with Clinton in the Midwest League, where he threw 17 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run (he’s given up four unearned runs). Tonight’s start is a double-jump for the right-hander, going from A ball up to Double-A without a stop in the California League. We’ll see how he fares in his Double-A debut.

It got me thinking about other guys who have been promoted thus far in the 2009 season. I know it’s early, but there have been some interesting prospects who have already been bumped up. Here’s a selection and, as always, feel free to chime in with other candidates:

Jarrod Parker, RHP, Diamondbacks: Our No. 18 prospect made the California League look easy, allowing just two earned runs over 19 innings, so the D-backs moved him up. His first Double-A start on Saturday in Jacksonville, was a little rougher as the 20-year-old gave up 8 hits and three earned runs (four total) over 4 1/3 IP. He did only walk one while striking out five.

Lance Lynn, RHP, Cardinals: The Cardinals’ supplemental first-round pick out of University of Mississippi last June has kind of flown under the radar, but maybe he shouldn’t. After five outings in the Florida State League, the right-hander just made his Double-A debut on Monday morning and the Texas League didn’t seem to bother him, as he fired five shutout innings.

Adrian Cardenas, SS/2B, A’s:
  After hitting .372 over 19 games with Double-A Midland, the infielder who came to the A’s late last year in the Joe Blanton trade with the Phillies got bumped up to Triple-A Sacramento as the A’s made a number of roster moves across a few levels. He made his PCL debut on Friday and has played in two games. While he’s gone just 1-for-7 thus far, he has driven in three runs. He’s playing both middle infield positions, so he’s ready whenever there’s a need in either spot in Oakland.

Peter Kozma, SS, Cardinals: Kozma was the Cards’ top pick in the 2007 draft and he had a solid, but unspectalar, first full season. He broke out of the gates well in the pitching-friendly FSL this year, hitting .315 over 18 games, to earn a bump up to Double-A Springfield with Lynn. He’s gone 1-for-6 over his first two games.

Hector Ambriz, RHP, Diamondbacks: Arizona’s fifth-rounder in 2006 out of UCLA, Ambriz had an up-and-down 2008 with Double-A Mobile. But he pitched well, in a relief role, in the Arizona Fall League (he even blogged for us) and it’s carried over so far this season. He went back to Mobile and quickly showed he was ready for a new challenge, with a 2.17 ERA over five starts. In 29 IP, he gave up just 18 hits (.180 BAA) and struck out 32 vs. only 6 walks. He got the promotion to Triple-A Reno after his Friday start (seven innings of shutout ball), so he should make his PCL debut some time later this week.

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