Scott Lyman, SP
Weekly Stats: 2 GS, 2 QS, 13 IP, 7 H, ER, 5 BB, 7 K
The Lyman family are no strangers to watching their young men dominate early in their baseball careers and share the thrills of being selected early the MLB draft only to see them have disappointing professional careers. Such was the case with Jeff Lyman, who was drafted out of high school in the second round of the 2005 draft by the Braves only to go on to post an ugly 4.9 ERA, 1.559 WHIP, and 1.57 K/BB in 630.1 minor league innings, never even sniffing the majors. So when younger brother Scott went from a similar high when he was drafted out of college in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft only to go to a similar low when he went on to struggle in his first full season as a pro posting a 5.3 ERA by way of allowing more hits than innings pitched and at a .275 clip, it was a bad case of deja vu. However, Scott refused to allow the Lyman baseball legacy to die. Following his tough rookie campaign, Lyman put in the man hours and made all the adjustments necessary to allow him to come back with a vengeance in 2013 and show why the Marlins took him with the 313th overall pick. That season for the Grasshoppers, Lyman posted more than respectable numbers and was the best arm in the rotation. In 105 IP, he totaled a 102/37 K/BB (an average of 9/3 per start). While his 4.11 ERA was heightened in the hitter friendly Sally League and the extremely hitter friendly NewBridge Bank Park, his BAA lowered to the mendoza line (.250) and his WHIP fell 30 points to 1.31. His control was spectacular as proven by his 2.76 K/BB which ranked twelfth in the league amongst pitchers 41 pitchers with at least 100 IP. While the talent was always there, to see Lyman turn a complete 180 in just a single offseason was remarkable.
Lyman’s hard work and dedication paid off at the end of 2013 with a call up to high A Jupiter. There, he was rewarded with some good fortune as well as the help of some good defense allowing his BABIP to fall to .278 and with it, his ERA to 3.62. In six starts, Lyman totaled 32 IP, pitching in to the 6th inning in five of them and recording quality starts in two of them. Lyman’s stint with the Hammerheads in 2013 laid the groundwork for the success he enjoyed with them in 2014. That year, in his first full year with the Hammerheads, Lyman threw a career high 135 innings. His BABIP normalized to an average .307 but he still held down a 3.53 ERA and a 3.77 FIP, proving his stuff had started to turn the corner. He was the second biggest contributor to a Hammerheads rotation that posted fantastic collective numbers including a 3.50 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. At the start of this season, ace Jake Esch as well as two guys Lyman outperformed, Austin Brice and Trevor Williams all made the jump to at least AA. In the case of Esch, he spent a few games there before making it all the way to AAA. However, Lyman started a third year in Jupiter and has remained there the entire season so far. Though there was undoubtedly some frustration in his staying put as he watched his teammates graduate and go on to bigger things that he himself could and should likely be enjoying, Lyman has showed poise and professionalism well beyond his years and is right now pitching some of the best baseball of his career. After getting off to a bit of a rocky start by the standard he has set the rest of the year, Lyman is currently riding a string of seven straight quality outings. His 1.50 ERA and 1.01 WHIP are both second in the Florida State League, making him all but a shoe-in and possibly the starter for the FSL All-Star Team. While he does have slightly more strikeouts than walks, Lyman is succeeding with the style of pitching that has become his forte: pitching to contact. While he has given up a combined 59 hits and walks in his 60 innings pitched, he is stranding 80% of his runners and has given up just one home run. His groundout/flyout rate is an eye popping 1.64. Though it has taken a bit longer than it should have and that Lyman has liked, a call up should be coming any day now.
On the mound, Lyman has five pitches in his repertoire. Although none of them are exactly overpowering, he mixes them up well and keeps the ball down almost exclusively, as proven by his 1.64 GO/FO rate. After getting ahead with either his four-seamer which tops out at 96 or his two-seamer which usually sits in between 92-94, Lyman selects from a secondary arsenal including a 82-85 MPH slider, an 82-85 MPH changeup and a 75-79 MPH slider. The changeup is probably Lyman’s best feel pitch thus the one he goes to most in two strike counts but he also hasn’t been afraid to use the slider which has good sweeping movement and when he hits his spot, is probably his best pitch. Though he is in his last season of prospect eligibility, there is still plenty of potential here. While he probably won’t ever be the ace of a major league staff, Lyman’s ability to keep the ball down, avoid big contact and induce ground balls while limiting his pitch count makes him translate well to either the 4-5 spot in the rotation or the long relief role. Lyman’s call to AA should be coming any day now. With a good showing there in the second half of this season, he should get an invite to spring training and spend next season in AAA. With continued success with the Zephyrs, he could realize his dream in 2016. File Lyman’s name in your not-so-deep thoughts as a good contact pitcher who won’t light the world on fire but who will get outs and could contribute to the pitching staff in that capacity as early as next year.