Projecting KC Royals prospects: No. 3, Daniel Lynch

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

As the KC Royals’ crop of impressive young pitching talent works its way through the minor leagues, one player in particular may stand out.

You’ve probably heard about the “Fab Four” before but in case you didn’t, it’s the KC Royals’ haul from early in the 2018 MLB Draft. Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic have quickly made names for themselves in the minor leagues. Even Austin Cox and Jonathan Bowlan are making great strides. Two years in, the draft looks great from a pitching standpoint.

Lynch, who was drafted 34th overall, has turned a lot of heads. In 147.2 minor league innings to date, he’s posted an 11-3 record with a 2.50 ERA and a 9.6 SO9. His fastball is electric, capable of touching the upper 90s. His slider works well with it and a developing changeup/curveball combo makes for a solid rotation of pitches.

Keith Law of The Athletic (subscription required) ranked Lynch as his 13th-best prospect in all of the minors less than two months ago. MLB Pipeline has ranked him as the KC Royals. No. 3 prospect in back-to-back seasons. The hype is becoming too hard to not by into. With that said, what’s Lynch’s floor? What about his ceiling? Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios.

Best outcome:

Lynch continues to be an overpowering pitcher regardless of what level he’s at. In addition to having an electric fastball and plus slider, one of his tertiary pitches improves. He develops an MLB-ready pitch mix and receives the opportunity to show it off by the end of the 2020 season. He works alongside Singer in headlining the rotation for years to come.

Worst outcome:

Lynch’s ceiling is higher than Singer’s, although his floor is lower. His ability to pump pitches into the strike zone is impressive but as the hitters he faces get better, they may begin making more contact. Strikeouts don’t come as often and instead of being a top-two pitcher in the MLB rotation, he barely hangs onto a starting spot and serves as a cautionary tale for holding young pitchers to such high expectations.

Most likely outcome:

Lynch is the real deal. While some may put some scary expectations on him (such as being the Royals’ ace), his doubters also have another thing coming. He throws strikes, is mature for his age and has the pure stuff to be a productive major league starter for the next decade. Alongside Singer, Kowar and the already-entrenched Brad Keller, Lynch makes up one of the better young rotations in baseball as the KC Royals accelerate their rebuilding efforts.

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Daniel Lynch is a good pitcher. It’s time to believe it. We may even have the chance to see him firsthand at Kauffman Stadium later in the year.