The Royals announced that left-hander Daniel Lynch will make his Major League debut on Monday in Kansas City against the Indians. No corresponding move has yet been announced. Monday would be Jakob Junis’ turn in the rotation. Brad Keller struggled again in his start on Sunday, and Brady Singer is day-to-day with a heel injury after taking a line drive off the foot on Saturday, so the Royals may need more rotation options.
With the Daniel Lynch promotion, GM Dayton Moore said Jakob Junis will move to the bullpen to strengthen the overall pitching staff in May.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) May 3, 2021
Lynch was originally the 34th overall pick in the 2018 draft out of the University of Virginia, but he improved his velocity upon joining the Royals and now throws in the high-90s. He posted a 3.10 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 78 1⁄3 innings in 2019 with High-A Wilmington, but missed time with arm soreness.
Keith Law of The Athletic ranked Lynch as the top pitching prospect in the Royals’ farm system and the #17 prospect in baseball before this season.
Brady Singer and Kris Bubic saw the majors in 2020, but Lynch was and still is their best pitching prospect, a lefty who’s up to 99 with three off-speed pitches that can all grade out as plus, coming from a 6-6 or 6-7 frame too. Lynch missed some time in 2019 because of shoulder soreness but returned with the same power stuff he’d shown before, hitting 99 in the Arizona Fall League, and was doing so again at the Royals’ alternate site last summer while he worked on improving his changeup and developing more confidence in the pitch. His fastball doesn’t play up to its velocity, so he’ll need to pitch more with his secondary stuff, but his slider was already plus and his changeup looks like one now too. He’ll have to keep working on repeating his delivery to boost his command and control, but this is elite stuff from the left side, and his arsenal has only improved since we last saw him.
MLB Pipeline ranks him #24 in baseball, writing “Lynch also got better at repeating his delivery and arm slot while at the alternate site has inspired even more confidence in his capacity to develop at least average command on top of his present above-average control.”
Baseball America ranks him #21, saying he has “loud stuff with a mid-90s fastball and two swing-and-miss secondaries from the left side” and that his “potentially the best of the Royals bevy of young pitchers.”
Cleveland has struggled against lefties with a line of just .198/.293/.366 against them this year. Lynch would be the fourth player from the Royals’ 2018 draft class to reach the big leagues already, joining pitchers Brady Singer and Kris Bubic, and outfielder Kyle Isbel.