Last season, the St. Louis Cardinals saw their streak of five consecutive postseason appearances come to an end. The 2016 team was one of the most inconsistent Cardinals team I can remember, yet they were still alive for a Game 162, falling one game short of a Wild Card spot with a record of 86-76. Something tells me this upcoming 2017 season will be a lot better than 2016, and one of the main reasons will be because of the return of Lance Lynn.
What was one of the big reasons the 2016 Cardinals missed the postseason? The team rotation ranked 12th in MLB with a 4.08 ERA. What was one of the main reasons the 2015 Cardinals won 100 games and the NL Central? The team rotation ranked first in MLB with a 2.94 ERA.
What was one of the key differences between the 2015 and 2016 team? 2015 had Lance Lynn, and 2016 did not. Yes, Lance Lynn means so much to this team. There are going to be some questions with how he comes back after Tommy John surgery, but he should still be a big factor in this starting rotation.
Lance Lynn is one of the most underrated starting pitchers in all of baseball, and he has the numbers to prove it. From 2012-2014, Lance Lynn had 48 wins, the third most in MLB during that span, only behind Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. Pitching wins aren’t everything, of course, but that is pretty good company for Lance Lynn. In his first five seasons with the Cardinals, Lance Lynn is 61-39 with a 3.37 ERA. Talk about consistency, which is what last season’s starting rotation really lacked.
As GM John Mozeliak told John in his exclusive interview, Lance Lynn will be resuming a regular spring schedule and there really won’t be any limitations the club puts on him depending on how he feels. Lance Lynn will be making $7.5 million in 2017 and could turn into one of the best values of any starting pitcher. With that said, he will be a free agent after this season and will be looking for a big pay day. All the more reason to ride him ’til the end.
Again, I’m not sure what to expect from Lance Lynn coming off of Tommy John surgery, but having him back in 2017 can improve this starting rotation immensely. Also, in the final year of his contract and expecting to test the free agent market after the 2017 season, we can see a very motivated Lance Lynn, and that could go a long way for the success of this year’s starting rotation. John Mozeliak has done a nice job of bringing in Brett Cecil and Dexter Fowler, but Lance Lynn might be the most underrated addition to this team in 2017.