Prospect Profile: Jacob Lindgren

2014 Stats:

Level: R-/A/A+/AA

19 G     25 IP     46% K%     13% BB%     0.0% HR%     81% GB%     2.16 ERA     1.26 FIP

Lindgren ranked #2 on my Yankees top 100 list.

 Background:

After struggling to get by as a starting pitcher at Mississippi State, left-handed pitcher Jacob Lindgren shifted to the bullpen and absolutely took off. His velocity leaped up by several MPH, and he quickly became one of the most dominant pitchers in all of college baseball, striking out 100 in 55 innings and posting the second highest ground ball rate of all of D-1 college pitchers. After putting up a sparkling 0.82 ERA in college, Lindgren was selected by the Yankees in the 2nd round last June — their first pick in the draft. Lindgren quickly signed for slot money on June 14th and reported to the Gulf Coast League Yankees.

What he did in 2014 (as a pro):

Lindgren wasted no time proving he was capable of getting out professional hitters. The 21-year-old rocketed through the minor league system — from Rookie ball to Low-A to High-A to Double-A — making a handful of dominant appearances at each stop along the way. All told, he struck out 48 of the 104 batters he faced. Striking out half of the batters you face is a great way to keep runs off the board, but Lindgren doesn’t stop there. He also induced grounders at a ridiculous 81% (!) ground ball rate in his 19 games as a pro. In 25 innings pitched last year, only eight opposing batters hit a ball in the air, and one of those was a popup. If that’s not dominance, I don’t know what is.

What Kiley says:

In the span of a year, he went from generic pitchability lefty in the SEC to completely untouchable in Double-A and arguably the best relief prospect in the game … Lindgren isn’t just a reliever, but a slam-dunk big league contributor in 2015 that could be closer-level by the end of the year … Maybe his value craters next year and future draft studies just see him as a bust that looked good for a minute, but there’s significant trade value here and that’s the definition of a good pick: creating value.

What KATOH says:

Lindgren

KATOH loves Lindgren, and its easy to see why. Statistically speaking, Lindgren’s 2014 was about as good as they come. His strikeout rate was through the roof, and he didn’t allow a single home run in his 25 innings of work. KATOH does ding Lindgren (a lot) for being a reliever, but his overall numbers were still good enough to earn him a pretty excellent projection.

Future Outlook:

Lindgren might be ready for the big leagues today, but is likely to break camp with Triple-A Scranton following the offseason acquisitions of fellow lefties Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, and Jose De Paula. Still, he’s a near lock to make his debut at some point in 2015. Lindgren has been nothing short of dominant so far, but his lack of command could limit his effectiveness in the big leagues — he did walk 13% of opposing batters in his small sample of games last year. Even so, his stuff should be good enough to get big league hitters out, even if he doesn’t always know where his pitches are going.  As a reliever, Lindgren’s upside is somewhat limited — even the best relievers in baseball rarely top the three WAR mark in any given season. But all indications are that Lindgren will be one of those rare 2+ WAR relievers at one point or another. And even if he’s not there yet, he’s at least ready to step in and help the Yankee bullpen right now.

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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