It’s safe to say that 2021 did not go as Daniel Lynch and the Royals planned it would. He finished the season with a 5.69 ERA across 15 starts, including a memorable second start that saw him give up eight earned runs while recording just two outs.
He isn’t the first young Royals pitcher to struggle out of the gate, as both Brady Singer and Kris Bubic have had their hiccups. However, neither of them had the prospect profile that Lynch had. He is arguably the organization’s best pitching prospect in a farm system built on arms.
Needless to say, 2022 will be an important year for all three of these pitchers, but nobody will be watched more intently than Lynch, who takes the mound this afternoon for the first time this spring.
He’ll be caught by his Omaha battery mate M.J. Melendez, who gets the start in a lineup that, if you squint hard enough at it, looks a bit like an opening day lineup. That is, aside from Lynch and Melendez, of course.
Bobby Witt Jr. makes his fourth start at third base, alongside Adalberto Mondesi at short and Nicky Lopez at second, with Whit Merrifield being stationed out in right field. Barring any injuries, this looks like the alignment manager Mike Matheny will opt for come April.
Here are the lineups for today’s game: