POSITION: Right-handed starting pitcher
BORN ON: January 14, 1987
AGE: 21 years old
BORN IN: San Francisco, California
LIVES IN: Alamo, California
WEIGHT: 225 pounds
SCHOOL: Monte Vista High School
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the second round (77th overall) of the 2005 draft
SIGNED BY: Nick Hostetler
STATISTICSClick here for Lyman's 2007 stats
SCOUTING REPORTThe Braves keep waiting for Jeff Lyman to take off, and unfortunately 2007 was not the year as the tall right-hander really struggled. Lyman was a combined 5-13 between Rome and Myrtle Beach with a 5.59 ERA in 28 games (22 starts). He gave up too many hits (161) in 135.1 innings and had only one true month of success (2.70 ERA in May).
Lyman really struggled in his first four games (7.73 ERA) of the season, and then he had a stretch of eleven games where he had only one bad performance. From April 26th through June 28th, Lyman had a 3.23 ERA. Then in his last five games in Rome Lyman allowed 17 earned runs in 26.1 innings pitched (5.82 ERA).
After those 20 games in Rome the Braves promoted Lyman to Myrtle Beach. They wanted to challenge him a bit, and they believed after a year and a half in Rome Lyman was ready for that next jump. But the right-hander never got on track in the Carolina League, posting a 8.90 ERA in eight games (two starts). Lyman walked more (20) than he struck out (17), and he gave up 39 hits in 31.1 innings pitched.
Lyman has struggled with still being a thrower, and he needs to learn more about being a pitcher. He still gets into the bad habit of just trying to throw it past people. That can work to an extent, but as you climb the minor leagues hitters are going to connect on fastballs and hurt you. When Lyman keeps it simple, he's able to have some success.
He also ran into some mechanical issues last season. He would twist his body a bit like Luis Tiant and really get out of synch. His delivery was not consistent. Occasionally Lyman would fall off to the left side when he'd land on his front foot, instead of being pointed toward the plate.
With his struggles, Lyman battled with his confidence, which is not unusual for a young pitcher. He's got good stuff, but he's just seeking that consistency that can take him to the next level.
2008 OUTLOOKLyman will return to Myrtle Beach and likely be a member of the Pelicans' starting rotation. But the Braves need to see some results, so this is a big year for Lyman. There are flashes here and there, but Lyman has to show some consistency. The Braves are patient with pitchers like this (see Charlie Morton), so they're going to give Lyman plenty of time to succeed. But Lyman has to be cognizant of the young pitchers behind him. If he continues to struggle, guys that are headed to Rome this year are going to pass him on the depth chart. Lyman will work with Bruce Dal Canton, who always does a good job working with the pitchers on and off the mound. If Lyman can gain some confidence in his ability, he could really take off.
ADDITIONAL STORY LINKSClick here for Lyman's 2007 Player Profile
The Braves Show: March 2007 Interview – Lyman ready for complete, healthy season
The Braves Show: June 2007 Interview – Lyman audio podcast
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.