Exit Interview 2017: Tyler Lyons

For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season.  Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong.  The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year.  Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter.  As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.

Player: Tyler Lyons

Season stats: 4-1, 3 SV, 2.83 ERA, 50 games, 54 IP, 39 H, 20 BB, 68 K, 1.093 WHIP, 2.86 FIP, 1.2 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 1

Overall grade: A

Positives: Became one of if not the most trusted arms out of the bullpen….had a career high in appearances….his K/9 was over two strikeouts higher than his previous career high….had the lowest HR/9 rate of his career….threw 18.2 scoreless innings from July 7 to September 1, limiting hitters to a .055 average in that streak….lefties hit .178 on the year against him…allowed just three home runs total….had a 2.54 ERA away from home….batters had a .484 OPS in the second half….hitters tallied a .509 OPS with two strikes….batters hit .164 with two outs….limited hitters to a .143 average with runners in scoring position….batters had a .379 OPS in night games….continued to lead the way with strong uniform number choices.

Negatives: Allowed four earned runs in his last 5.2 innings, including two to the Cubs in his last outing….was shut down after the club was eliminated due to a recurrence of knee problems….had three wins but a 3.16 ERA at Busch….had a 4.15 ERA in the first half….had a 4.09 ERA in September….batters had a 1.065 OPS when they hit the first pitch….hitters got more hits when they were behind (.244 average) than when they were ahead (.140 BAA)….had a 3.71 ERA when he had a day of rest….had a 9.00 ERA in four innings against the Cubs.

Overview: Everyone knows that I have been on the #PatronPitcher bandwagon since his callup in 2013, but even I didn’t expect to see him become this amazing weapon out of the bullpen.  There’s no doubt that in the second half of the season he was the best option in the later innings even if he never got much of a look in the ninth inning.  He had three stints where he went three or more innings, gaining his first save that way.  However, as he became more and more valuable, he was used less per game.  Only three times after July 31 did he pitch more than one inning.

His stuff was good but how he used it was even better.  Joe Schwarz (along with the outstanding cardinalsgifs) pointed out how Lyons’s main weapons could “cross” and confound batters.  There were nights where it was just beautiful to watch him attack hitters, such as when he went up against the Reds later in the season.

Outlook: Lyons was out of options going into this season and his position on the team seemed vulnerable.  While he had good stuff and had shown he could pitch well, he was also a left-handed starter in an organization that had a ton of good arms.  Now that he has truly shifted the paradigm around him and is an effective late inning reliever, his future is much more secure.  The club needs to make sure that whatever adjustments he made in the second half are permanent ones but there’s no reason why he can’t be a prominent part of the bullpen next season no matter how it gets revamped during the winter.  Giving me many more reasons to wear this:

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