With Tuesday night’s impressive performance – again – Tyler Lyons (who is this guy, really?) has continued the success of Cardinal rookie starting pitchers in 2013.
Leading all of baseball in 2013 with nine wins from rookie starting pitchers, the Cardinals have relied on one pitcher they hoped would have this success, Shelby Miller, and two that they probably hoped they wouldn’t have to use in Lyons and John Gast.
Miller has impressed with a 5-3 record that probably should be even better, given his peripherals. Gast won two games before going on the disabled list with a bum shoulder, and Lyons has allowed just one run in each of his two starts, going deep into both games.
Getting several wins out of rookie starting pitchers is nothing new to the Cardinals, even in recent history. You’ll remember that Lance Lynn won 17 games as a starting pitcher last season while still qualifying as a rookie. Lynn led the way for Cardinal rookie starting pitchers in 2012, with the team posting a total of 21 wins by rookie starting pitchers. Even those numbers aren’t THAT impressive when you consider the Oakland A’s got 40 wins from rookie starting pitchers in 2012 (in 101 starts). The Cards’ 21 wins was good for fifth most in MLB for 2012.
Interestingly enough, the Cardinals “franchise” (dating back to predecessors of the modern day mascot, from 1871) leads MLB in rookie starting pitcher wins with 1491, according to Fangraphs. Led by names like Silver King, Jumbo McGinnis, Jack Harper, Harvey Haddix, and Johnny Beazley – Cardinal fans might also recognize the two pitchers who won 19 games in their rookie seasons, Dizzy Dean and Paul Dean. Lance Lynn’s 18 rookie wins (unfortunately, at this volume of data, it’s not separating out his one relief win from 2012) is good for a five-way tie for eighth most by a rookie for the Cardinals. Jaime Garcia also makes the top 30 list with his 13 wins from 2010.
Next to try to add to the rookie win total? Michael Wacha, heralded prospect and hot shot of Spring Training this season, Wacha will make the start this evening, again more out of necessity than desire for the Cardinals. Injuries to the Cardinals’ staff (including Gast) has forced John Mozeliak’s hand into calling up the 2012 draftee seemingly ahead of the front office’s planned schedule for him.
Can Wacha add rookie starting pitcher win number 10 in 2013?