Name: Jacob Lindgren
DOB: March 12, 1993
Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. When healthy Lindgren has sat mostly in the 92-94 mph range with his fastball at the professional level and that's certainly a tick or two below what he had reportedly been throwing in college [93-96 mph]. His fastball even ticked a little lower last year as it was eventually learned he had a bone spur in his pitching elbow. It stands to reason that perhaps [now completely healthy] he might be able to rediscover some of the pre-draft power he had displayed back in college. While that would be an added benefit, quite frankly it's not needed. Yes the fastball ticks more above average velocity-wise on the radar gun than plus these days but that's not taking into account the unbelievable movement he gets with his fastball either. It dives, dances, runs, sinks, cuts, shows late-life explosion, etc, etc, and batters have a hard time barreling it up as a result. He also doesn't have the greatest command of his fastball either though because of how much it moves so in that regard it can be a double-edged sword.
Other Pitches. It isn't just Lindgren's fastball that moves, his secondary pitches move even more. In fact, as highly effective as his fastball is it is his wicked plus-plus big league slider that is his best pitch. Sitting anywhere from 81-86 mph, it's a true wipeout pitch, meaning opposing batters simply can't lay off swinging at it; forget barreling it, they have a hard time making any contact at all. Just like his fastball too, however, the slider does move so much that his command of it can evade him for stretches. If it's even close to the zone though it's a big-time strikeout pitch. As unfair as it is to hit against Lindgren being armed with those two pitches the fact is his changeup is also a plus big league offering. He doesn't throw it nearly as often as the other two -- in fact, he can go without throwing it for innings or even games -- but just like his slider and fastball the changeup has plus-plus movement. It sinks and fades, it has real depth to it, and it could be a huge weapon the more he throws it.
Pitching. Lindgren's approach on the mound is the epitome of full-attack mode; he goes right after batters from the very first pitch and he's not afraid to pitch to contact. Part of that no-fear mentality is because he knows batters will have an extremely difficult time hitting his pitches, especially considering he doesn't always know himself where the pitches are going. While he's not up there to nibble corners at all it can appear that way to the untrained eye because balls can pile up in a hurry and he is susceptible to issuing a few too many walks, but it has nothing to do with his approach; it's just very difficult to command the incredible movement he gets with all of his pitches. He's not just deceptive with the movement either, he's deceptive with his up-tempo style, quick arm action, and whip-like delivery. His all-business approach is the byproduct of his supreme confidence, unflappable demeanor, and incredible makeup.
Projection. Stuff-wise Lindgren is just nasty and it's mostly predicated on the filthy movement all three of his pitches have. In fact, movement-wise he's about as unique as they come. However, as is the case with most things in life, there is a flip-side to the coin; his command is average at best and there simply isn't a whole lot of room for improvement in that regard either because harnessing control of that kind of movement can almost be an exercise in futility. The walks will be a few more than he and the Yankees would like but he also has the kind of wicked stuff to get himself out of most jams too. He just needs to be around the strike zone and not necessarily command his pitches in the zone because it's incredibly hard to lay off of his pitches. He has the floor of a big league left-handed specialist at minimum [his most likely starting out point initially in a big league bullpen], the realistic projection of a bonafide left-handed setup man after he gains some big league experience, and the ceiling of an All Star closer. He'll pitch like any one of those on any given day too, it'll just depend on his control that game.
ETA. N/A. Lindgren would have burned through his rookie eligibility last year had it not been for the surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow last June. He could find himself back in Triple-A Scranton in 2016 to begin the season initially to build up some arm strength and gain some experience but it's just a matter of time before he's back up in the big league bullpen, and this time it should be for good. He's too good for the minor leagues.