For the fifth 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.
This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure. Our focus this time is Cubs Cards Cast. No doubt it’s been tough for Dan, a Cards fan in Chicago, to talk with John, a Cubs fan in St. Louis, this season but they always are able to discuss both teams with only good-natured ribbing. Find them on iTunes or check out their site!
Player: Tyler Lyons
Season stats: 2-0, 3.38 ERA, 30 games, 48 IP, 35 H, 14 BB, 46 K, 1.021 WHIP, 4.54 FIP, 0.8 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 3
Overall grade: B+
Positives: Remained the Patron Pitcher of the Blog by retaining his number 70 all season long….had the best ERA of his career….relieved Mike Leake in Seattle and went 4.2 innings allowing just a single hit and two walks….limited lefties to a .156 average….nobody hit him a lot anywhere, with a .204 average at home and a .205 average on the road….his ERA dropped every month….if batters took the first pitch they hit just .177 with a .578 OPS….batters had a .730 OPS when they led off an inning….was extremely effective with one out (.135/.193/.212)….had a .179 BAA when runners were in scoring position and a .088 mark in late and close situations….had a 1.50 ERA in three games against Chicago.
Negatives: Allowed nine home runs in his 48 innings….got off to a slow start, posting a 5.19 ERA in April….had a 12.00 ERA when he pitched on zero days’ rest, though that was only three games….three of his nine home runs came in those zero days’ rest starts….his FIP has been inversely proportional to his ERA over his career and he had the worst mark in that category ever….only had 27 high-leverage plate appearances (14% of his total PA)….had a 6.14 ERA when he pitched in the ninth inning.
Overview: You know, if you’ve read this blog long enough, that you may not get the most impartial look at #70. I’ve been on the Lyons bandwagon for a long time, ever since he was promoted and put that number on his back. However, he really has grown into being a valuable part of this team. This year, it seemed his command was stronger (which may account some for the home runs, though that’s always been an issue) and he was able to be an extremely effective weapon out of the pen. He didn’t sit around a whole lot until the second half, when he started dealing with the knee injury that cut short his season. His ability to go multiple innings and keep the team in the game was huge in a year when the Cardinal starters weren’t going nearly as deep as they once were. Losing him down the stretch was a big, if subtle, blow to St. Louis’s playoff chances.
Outlook: There’s not been a lot of talk about how Lyons is recovering from his knee problem, but recent comments from John Mozeliak seem to indicate it’s not improving like the club had hoped. I can’t find that he’s had the surgery, but if he hasn’t and goes under the knife this winter, that could keep him on the shelf for a lot, if not all, of the 2017 season. (Actually, after writing this, it came out Lyons will miss 5-6 months now with knee surgery.) That would be a shame, because the team is better when the Patron Pitcher is an option.