Exit Interview: Tyler Lyons

The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season.  This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason.  More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter.  Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.

This year’s Exit Interview series is brought to you by Cast.  Get instant feedback on whatever question you want to ask, whether it’s what’s going to happen in tonight’s game or which Muppet is the best.  Cast lets you ask anything that’s on your mind and quickly see what other folks are thinking as well.

Player: Tyler Lyons

Season stats: 0-4, 4.42 ERA, 11 games, 36.2 IP, 33 H, 11 BB, 36 K, 1.200 WHIP, 84 ERA+

Hero/Goat: Hero 2, Goat 1

Overall grade: B

Positives: Struck out a batter an inning at the major league level….toss out his disastrous start against the Cubs, where he gave up nine runs in four innings, and his ERA on the year is 2.48….had a solid start against the Braves, six innings of one-run ball….for the second straight season, his FIP was better than his ERA….didn’t change his number even with a bit more seniority, which is huge in this part of the Internet.

Negatives: Had a pretty nasty platoon split, as righties put up a .801 OPS against him (lefties: .280, though in significantly less plate appearances)….spent much of the season in Memphis, where he had a 4.43 ERA (though with an 8-2 record)….had a 6.55 ERA as a starter, though that is significantly skewed by the Cub game mentioned above.

Overview: The Patron Pitcher of the Blog.  Good old #70.  If there’s a Tyler Lyons Fan Club out there, we are at the head of the line.  When a guy has the good taste to keep 70 on his back, we’re going to look long and hard at reasons why he should get significant playing time.

Yet, even without that extra personal motivation, there are some good reasons why Lyons should be treated a bit better by those in charge.  Not that he’s been terribly neglected, but still, look at his September.  He pitched a whopping three times all month and only once after September 10, when he threw two-thirds of an inning.  He was also left off the postseason roster.

But who would you rather have as your long man that you don’t plan to use, him or Michael Wacha?  If nothing else, you could have thrown Lyons into the fire a number of times during the postseason instead of waiting until the last minute as what happened with Wacha.   I’m not saying that Lyons was the difference between winning or losing, but especially after dropping Sam Freeman off the roster, wouldn’t you think a guy that limited lefties to a .059 average might be useful?

Lyons can go short, go long, go with many days off, whatever you need.  (To be fair, we didn’t see him on back-to-back days this season, so that could be a limitation, but many of the bullpen arms might have been in the same boat.)  A Ferrari in the garage is wasteful.  An SUV in the garage isn’t nearly so.

Outlook: I don’t expect that Lyons is going to get a lot of looks at the Cardinal rotation, what with the number of arms ahead of him.  That said, he’s great for depth and insurance in that role–lots of teams will do much worse than him in the back of their rotation–and he could serve the bullpen well as either a long man or to get lefties out.  I’m hopefully he’ll get more time with the big league club next season and that he sticks to the good old seven-oh.

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