Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
3. John Lamb
As recently as Spring Training this season, John Lamb’s career appeared to be on life support. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, Lamb had bombed out in his attempt to come back. His fastball had lost approximately ten MPH, and Lamb was gettign shelled at every stop in the minor leagues. Through the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he posted a 5-15 record with a 5.92 ERA. Formerly a top prospect, Lamb appeared to be on the verge of becoming a case of what could have been.
Fortunately, someone forgot to tell Lamb how the script was supposed to end. Although he struggled at the start of the season for the Storm Chasers, Lamb still showed signs of promise. Since then, he has been able to carry over those early successes, no matter how few there were, to turn in a solid season. Even though Lamb’s 7-9 record does not jump out, he has managed to post a 3.62 ERA, striking out 123 batters in 126.1 innings of work.
John Lamb’s overall numbers may also be hurt by the fact that he is an extreme fly ball pitcher in a hitter’s league. For the season, Lamb has given up a fly ball to the outfield 38.5% of the time, far above the league average of 27.6%. However, that pitching style could work out in Kauffman Stadium, with its spacious outfield and the Royals spectacular outfield defense. If need be, Lamb could step in as a starter late in the year, and could end up pitching better than one would expect.
He may no longer profile as a top of the rotation starter, but Lamb could still be effective in the majors. That chance could come as soon as this season.