The Lexington Legends are the 2018 South Atlantic League Champions. The Royals lowest full-season affiliate was one of the more balanced teams for most of the season, and really got some nice pitching help in the second half.
The Kansas City Royals stocked up on some of the more exciting arms in the 2018 MLB Draft. After snagging the Florida Gators dominant top-end pitchers of Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar, the Royals grabbed Daniel Lynch. All three were in the first round.
Not a bad day at the office.
Lynch recently pitched at Rome in the first round of the South Atlantic League playoffs. There was plenty to take away from his brief outing.
Lynch is a big lefty, listed at 6’6”, but also weighs just 190, giving him a lankier appearance on the mound. The 21-year-old lefty had a successful career at Virginia where he struck out 105 and walked just 24 in the finals 88.2 innings of his collegiate career.
As previously mentioned, the Royals went pitcher heavy with three first round picks. Lynch was the last of the trio, going 34th overall right after his now-Legends teammate Jackson Kowar. While Singer never threw a pitch in 2018, both Lynch and Kowar played pivotal roles in the Lexington rotation, helping to earn their title.
Lynch has a full four-pitch arsenal, but he throws both the two-seamer and four-seamer very well, giving him five pitches to use.
The fastball was reportedly a mid-90s offering, but Lynch was hitting 97 and 98 pretty easily early on in his Rome start. The two-seamer moves, and has some sink, giving him a ground ball inducing pitch. The slider is his best secondary offering, already a plus-pitch in my opinion, that is can be a true wipeout pitch. The change isn’t far behind, with some nice fade/ sink and sitting at 85, it gives him some added deception by taking so much off of his newfound velocity. The curve was a nice weapon, sitting 83-85, but may have been the most seldom used pitch.
He starts on the third base side of the mound, has a little toe tap, but doesn’t seem to have much trouble repeating his fluid delivery. Lynch is a very impressive pitcher and if he bulks up, while maintaining his control of the zone, he’s as exciting a pitching prospect as the Royals have.
The @LexingtonLegend starter Daniel Lynch is done for the day. Final line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.— Wayne Cavadi (@UofDWayne) September 8, 2018
Real interesting stuff. 4-seamer can fly, 2-seamer some nice sink. Slider was biting, best secondary tonight, but whole arsenal has me intrigued for 2019. #Royals
Lynch came out on his September 7 start and was very fastball heavy. It seemed that sometimes he will temporarily lose his command, and in doing so, recover by losing some velocity (one fastball was clocked at 89). But, again, they are temporary and he moves on rather quickly.
One thing that was possibly a negative was the way he fielded his position. It was one mere play, and he made a nice stretch to field it, but Lynch turned, double-hopped and under threw first base. Again, one play does not make a pitcher, but it was worth noting.
Lynch didn’t go more than five innings or 81 pitches when he joined the Legends rotation, and that was the case that Friday night in Rome. He went four innings, landed 61 percent of his 67 pitches for strikes, and induced eight ground outs to just one fly out, with very little hard contact in between. He maintained his velocity pretty well, sitting 93-94 in that fourth inning with the fastball, and hitting 87 with a slider.
The lefty can miss bats. He can make hitters look foolish chasing his slider and change up, and he can freeze batters at the plate, simply looking at his stuff fly by. He also doesn’t allow many runs, letting up just three earned since the start of August, including none in the postseason. That speaks a bit to his pitchability, especially that moxie in his first playoffs as a professional just months into his career.
He has all the makings of a middle-of-the-rotation arm, it’s just a matter of showing he can continue the velocity and go longer innings into games. Neither should be an issue based on his history, so Lynch should be on the radar for 2019.