Let’s check in with one the pitching prospects the Kansas City Royals selected with their first three picks in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.
It could be a few years from now we look back on the 2018 draft as when the Kansas City Royals addressed their pitching woes with “The Big Three”. All the pitchers had success with Division-I college teams and were highly prized arms. One of those was Daniel Lynch, a left-hander from the University of Virginia.
After a couple of mediocre years with the Cavaliers, Lynch really turned heads in the prestigious summer Cape Cod Baseball League in 2017. In six starts he went undefeated (4-0) and posted a minuscule 2.08 ERA. His WHIP was also an eye-pleasing 0.923.
He went back to Virginia and posted a career-best in ERA, obliterated his previous high in strikeouts by 60 and recorded his lowest BB/9 rate at the college level. After the Kansas City Royals drafted with the 34th pick in the first round he dominated the Rookie and South Atlantic Leagues with a combined 5-1 recorded, 1.58 ERA, 10.7 punchouts per nine innings and only allowed eight free passes in 51.1 frames.
Continued success followed him in the 2019 season, even as he battled an arm injury. He spent the majority of the season with the Advanced-A Wilmington Blue Rocks and was a key cog in the team winning a championship. While his walks ticked up a bit, he continued to strike out a batter per inning and only relinquished five home runs over 96.1 innings pitched.
An invitation to the Arizona Fall League was a reward and against highly touted prospects from other teams he struck out 19 batters in only 14 frames and recorded a respectable 3.86 ERA. Especially impressive was the smoke he was blowing past many hitters, with a fastball often recorded in the upper 90’s.
Although he has not pitched higher than Advanced-A yet, it may not be long before Lynch is delighting fans at Kauffman Stadium. Having just turned 23 years old, he is mature enough to make a large leap that a high school drafted hurler may not. Keep an eye on his Spring Training, he could turn a lot of heads.