Exit Interview: Tyler Lyons

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.  Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Tyler Lyons

Season stats: 3-1, 3.75 ERA, 17 games, 60 IP, 59 H, 12 HR, 15 BB, 60 K, 1.233 WHIP, 4.53 FIP, 0.3 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 2

Overall grade: B

Positives: Tied his career high from 2012 with eight starts and set a career high with 17 appearances….had his best K/BB ratio of his career, in large part due to increased command….limited lefties to a .232 average, though OPS for each side were comparable….had a strong second half, limiting batters to a .209 average and putting up a 2.59 ERA….clinched the division by throwing seven scoreless innings against the Pirates….limited the first batter he faced to a .188/.235/.375 line….batters hit only .204 against him with runners in scoring position….remained the Patron Pitcher by continuing to wear #70.

Negatives: Scuffled in May with a 5.54 ERA and hitters posting a .907 OPS against him….allowed a .271/.322/.476 line and a 4.10 ERA as a starter….hitters hit .458 on the first pitch….three of his home runs allowed came leading off an inning….was 1-1 with a 4.68 ERA in day games….gave up more home runs than he had in his other two seasons combined….even though he had his best career ERA, he had his worst career FIP….only warmed up once in the postseason, in the ninth inning of Game 4, fulfilling the Shelby Miller Scholarship requirements.

Overview: He started off the year joining me on Conversations, so it’s not surprising that he had a good year, right? Don’t answer that.  Lyons seemed to come into his own in the second half of the season.  He went from an afterthought to a guy many fans wanted to see on the postseason roster.  The perception might have started to shift when he came into the August 13 game against Pittsburgh after Lance Lynn had melted down and threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing the club to at least attempt a rally.  Counting that outing, he had five outings of 11 where he didn’t allow a run and one of the others was an unearned tally.  Only two of those were starts (including that Pittsburgh clincher) which may mean his future is out of the bullpen.  As expected, once he had the ability to harness his stuff, it was quite potent.  He struck out a batter per inning on the season, a rate that was slightly higher than his second half stats (29 in 31.1 innings), but he only walked three batters over that span, compared to the 12 he walked in his first 28.2 innings.

Outlook: The Patron Pitcher is out of options, so he’s going to have to be on somebody’s big league roster next season.  It seems like he worked his way into the good graces of the Cardinals, who have already said that they may go away from the “specialist” type of bullpen in 2016.  I don’t think that Lyons profiles as a LOOGY, so it’s good to see they probably won’t ask him to go that route.  Sadly, it’s also possible that someone else could value a guy like our Ty Fighter, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that he’d wind up in another organization as part of a larger trade in the offseason.

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