Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP BAA A+
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds, southpaw Kyle Ryan features a thin and wiry body. The soon-to-be 22-year-old's strong work ethic and projectable frame make it easy to assume that growth and a jump in velocity is perhaps on the horizon.
On the mound Ryan delivers the ball from a standard 3/4 arm slot. His mechanics and delivery are simple, clean and relatively easy on the arm. For the most part Ryan routinely repeats his delivery.
Ryan varies his time to the plate, keeping base runners uncomfortable and anchored once on base. He has an outstanding move to first thanks to his quick feet and lightning quick deceptive move. Ryan recorded an impressive ten pickoffs over 24 starts this past season. Yes I said TEN!
Kyle currently features a three-pitch mix consisting of a high-80s fastball that occasionally reaches 91-92 mph, a high-70s curveball and a low-80s change-up. Working predominantly with his fastball and curveball, he legitimately seemed comfortable throwing both pitches regardless of the count. A stranger to premium velocity, Ryan moves the ball around the zone well to attack hitters and remain the aggressor in the battle. He has an advanced feel for pitching, regularly changing the eye-level, keeping hitters off balance and guessing.
If there is one blemish in his game, it's definitely the long ball. Despite generating a ton of weak contact and groundballs, Ryan allowed an astonishing 12 home runs (6th most) over 142 innings this past season. Moving forward Ryan needs to catch more corners and hit his spots up in the zone to prevent getting barreled and beat.
Despite being one of the younger guys in the league and one of the youngest on his team, the 2013 season was a huge year statistically for Kyle Ryan. He recorded an FSL best 12 wins and his 3.17 ERA and 1.19 WHIP also ranked fourth best on the circuit. Ryan was an absolute horse that ate innings, stopped losing streaks and regularly kept his team in the game. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's my humble opinion that Ryan was the Flying Tigers' Ace and MVP this season.
As impressive as his latest campaign was, there remains necessary refinement to Ryan's game. Moving forward I would like to see Ryan pitch more accurately up in the zone. The development of his change-up is also paramount now that he's entering the more advanced levels of play. Lacking premium velocity, Ryan will also need to channel his inner-Michelangelo painting the corners like a boss to challenge advanced hitters. Regardless of the work that still needs to be done, Ryan should feel very pleased about what he has accomplished this season.
I fully expect Ryan to begin next season in Double-A Erie's rotation. Should everything fall into place I think it's realistic to place a backend of the rotation or swingman ceiling on the former 15th rounder.
James Chipman is the Lakeland Correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.