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Lance Lynn: Know Your St. Louis Cardinals Emergency Starter

With Kyle McClellan headed to the disabled list, Lance Lynn is the St. Louis Cardinals' starter for Thursday night's series closer at Busch Stadium, up the Major Leagues to make his first career start on three-days' rest. In case you haven't been following him since the Cardinals made him a supplemental first-round pick in 2008, a brief history: 

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Lance Lynn began his prospect career as a would-be fast-mover, a 21-year-old with a sinking fastball that wasn't as fast as could be inferred from his thick 6'5" frame—a Dave Duncan special, in other words, born to put up underwhelming strikeout rates but win games with his command and control. He put down the minor leagues as expected, ascending all the way to AAA Memphis by the end of his second season in the organization, but in 2010 he changed his approach in a way that will make for more exciting baseball, if not necessarily more effective.

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Out went the sinker; in went a four-seam fastball that's been clocked as high as 96 miles per hour. Lynn's first full year in Memphis was promising but problematic; his strikeout rate stayed solid, and his walk rate held steady, but without the sinker his home run rate ballooned; he allowed 21 in 164 innings. In 2011 he's only allowed one home run in 10 starts, while holding his other peripherals steady, so the 24-year-old isn't exactly being rushed. 

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As for the wisdom of giving a kid his first career MLB start on short rest—well, I'm not Tony La Russa, so I'm not sure I get that one.