With Spring Training being only a few weeks away, Bleeding Yankee Blue is continuing this series, highlighting the kids that are vying for a coveted spot on the major league roster. We are going over their respective backgrounds – how they have been playing, their strengths, their weaknesses, and what to look for.
Jacob Lindgren is a left-handed pitcher who began as a starting pitcher in college and converted to a reliever. Left-handed relievers have a special place in Yankees stadium, often used as a specialist to get out of tough spots. You need nerves of steel for that job, and this kid might fit the bill. The Yankees picked him up in the second round of the June 2014 draft, and there is some speculation that he could be the first in his class to grace the major league roster this coming year.
Lindgren has an above-average fastball, clocked in the low to mid 90’s, and a nasty slider that goes in the low 80’s with sharp late movement. There is a question as to his control, and that will probably be the determining factor on when he reaches the majors. Opposing batters have a collective .135 batting average against him. He has not given up a home run, and he has only allowed one extra base hit in his time on the minors. This goes over the span of 19 games across four levels of minor league ball, up to AA Trenton.
This spring, look for the Yankees to be paying attention to two things. First, he needs to repeat his 2014 performance. Lindgren has less than 3 months’ worth of experience playing minor league ball, and he is going to have to prove that he is not a one-year-wonder. Look for him to be showing off his fastball’s velocity and his slider’s movement, and putting some K’s up. Second, he needs to show that he has improved his pitch control. If Lindgren starts issuing free passes, he will have given the Yankees a reason to be concerned.
The Yankees may have found something special here. You could easily argue that the only reason he has not reached the majors yet is that the calendar ran out on him last year. The way this pitcher strikes out batters should get everyone excited. If the Yankees have someone who can come in and strike batters out at a high frequency, that would be worth gold.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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