TYLER LYONS, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: February 21, 1988
Height: 6′ 4″
Drafted: 9th Round, 289th Overall, 2010 (Cardinals)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: Oklahoma State University
Agent: Icon Sports Management
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Lyons was regarded as a potential first round pick after his sophomore season, but his velocity dropped off the next year and the Yankees never made him an offer after drafting him in the tenth round. The Cards took him in the ninth round as a senior and he reached the majors quickly despite only decent numbers. Generally speaking, he was effective as a reliever and not as a starter, and he turned in strong seasons for the Cards in 2016-17 before a rough 2018 season. He throws a little over 90 mph and relies heavily on a slider that he used over half the time in 2017-18. The slider is his swing-and-miss pitch and probably accounts for a strong platoon split. Left-handed hitters have posted a .606 OPS against him over his career. Right-handed hitters have had a .762 OPS, with considerably more power. As a starter he also threw a change. Lyons is not a groundball pitcher and had problems with gopher balls before he moved to the bullpen full-time.
Lyons didn’t pitch the year he signed and went straight to high A for his first full year. He served in a swing role and put up solid numbers, with good control. He had a strong platoon split, allowing a .762 OPS to right-handed hitters and only .630 to left-handed hitters.
The Cardinals kept Lyons in the rotation all year, the first 12 games in AA and the last 15 in AAA. He again got solid results, with better peripheral numbers in AAA. He also again had a platoon split, although not quite as large.
Lyons opened the season back in AAA, but beginning in late May he shuttled back and forth repeatedly between there and the majors. He served mainly as a starter in the minors, and made eight starts and four relief appearances with the Cards. He was considerably more effective as a reliever, holding opponents to a .517 OPS, compared to .764 as a starter.
Lyons again spent much of his time shuttling back and forth between AAA and the majors, although he also missed a month with a shoulder strain. He wasn’t as effective in AAA as he’d been the year before. In the majors, he made four starts and seven relief appearances. He pitched better than his ERA, as shown by his 3.65 xFIP. He again was much more effective as a reliever.
Lyons continued in the same role, moving back and forth between AAA and the majors, making eight starts and relieving nine times with St. Louis. He pitched well for the Cards, with a 3.46 xFIP, and continued to pitch better in relief.
The Cardinals kept Lyons in the majors, although he missed the last two months with a knee injury. He pitched well, with an extreme platoon split: left-handed hitters had a .464 OPS against him, right-handed hitters .788. The Cards used him in a long relief role rather than as a lefty specialist.
Lyons relieved in 50 games in the majors, but also saw rehab time in the minors. He missed part of April while recovering from the previous year’s knee injury, and also missed time in May due to a muscle strain. He pitched well again for the Cards.
Lyons had a rough and injury-plagued season. He missed time in May with a back strain, and over a month in June and July with an elbow strain. He struggled with the Cards, although not quite as badly as the ERA indicates. His xFIP was 4.76, but he was hampered by a .412 batting average on balls in play and a very low strand rate of 60.4%. The Cards designated him for assignment in late July and he finished the season in the minors. He became a free agent after the season.
Lyons struggled early in spring training, but pitched well later in March. The Pirates nevertheless sent him to the minors at the end of camp. Ultimately, his chances of success would be greater as a lefty specialist, but Clint Hurdle pays little attention to the platoon advantage with his relievers.
UPDATE: Lyons pitched just decently in April at Indianapolis, but when Jameson Taillon went on the disabled list, they called Lyons up. Given Hurdle’s bullpen usage, he’s a risky addition to the team’s already struggling bullpen.
FURTHER UPDATE: Lyons was terrible in three outings with the Pirates. They designated him for assignment so they could bring up Montana DuRapau. Lyons cleared waivers and was outrighted to Indianapolis.
|2019: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $40,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 5/22/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 5/22/2013 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2014, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 4.026
|June 10, 2009: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 10th round, 315th overall pick.
June 8, 2010: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 9th round, 289th overall pick; signed on July 22.
May 22, 2013: Contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals.
July 27, 2018: Designated for assignment by the St. Louis Cardinals; outrighted to AAA on August 3.
October 1, 2018: Became a free agent.
January 1, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 4, 2019: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 9, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on May 12.