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June 3, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Cards Call on Lynn, Cleto

by R.J. Anderson

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

St. Louis Cardinals
Placed OF Matt Holliday on the 15-day disabled list. [6/2]
Placed SP Kyle McClellan on the 15-day disabled list. [6/2]
Purchased SP Lance Lynn’s contract from Triple-A Memphis. [6/2]
Recalled RP Maikel Cleto from Double-A Springfield. [6/2]

With Holliday and McClellan both suffering from lower body injuries (a quad strain and hip flexor strain, respectively) the Cards decided to add two interesting pitchers to the roster.

Kevin Goldstein ranked Lynn as the Cardinals fifth-best prospect this offseason with a three-star distinction. Lynn is a large fellow, at 6-foot-6 and around 250 pounds. Prior to last season, though, his menacing figure made him into a paper tiger on the mound since he lacked the traditional overpowering stuff that goes with that stature. Not anymore, as Lynn dumped his two-seamer for a four-seamer and increased his velocity (he now sits around 92-to-95 miles per hour).

Lynn has pitched over 120 innings at Triple-A since the start of the 2010 season and has shown some consistency year-to-year, averaging nearly eight strikeouts and three walks per nine innings pitched. On Thursday, he made his big league debut and went 5 1/3 innings, fanning five, not walking anybody, but allowing five earned runs on four hits (including a home run) against the Giants. Lynn is better than that start indicates, and could develop into a middle of the rotation innings eater sooner than later.

Cleto is a relatively new addition to the organization. The Cards acquired Cleto for Brendan Ryan (and Brendan Ryan’s Jaffe-esque lip sweater) over the offseason with the knowledge that he was a lottery ticket—a live arm who needed some work with a decent probability of burning out before reaching the majors.

Cleto also debuted on Tuesday night, putting an end to the fear he would never reach the show, and his final line included two walks, two home runs allowed, three strikeouts, and five earned runs in two innings pitched. Cleto can overpower hitters (he struck out more than a batter per inning in his first exposure to Double-A), but his fastball has the reputation for being straight and he has little else of quality to toss at batters. His future is in the bullpen and the Cardinals seem to know it.


R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Maikel Cleto,  Lance Lynn

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