There was a noticeable difference in how Daniel Lynch pitched during his May 15 home start against Frederick. The Wilmington left-hander was decisive. He deployed his fastball with pinpoint accuracy and mixed in his slider and curveball effectively.The Royals No. 2 prospect limited the Keys to two hits over a season-high
There was a noticeable difference in how Daniel Lynch pitched during his May 15 home start against Frederick. The Wilmington left-hander was decisive. He deployed his fastball with pinpoint accuracy and mixed in his slider and curveball effectively.
The Royals No. 2 prospect limited the Keys to two hits over a season-high seven innings and set a career high with nine strikeouts.
It began a stretch of 22 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run. What was the difference in this outing compared to others? Simply put, he didn't overthink it.
"I tend to lean toward the side of a thinker. I would say I'm a pretty cognitive person, but the biggest thing for me so far this year is learning to separate that," Lynch said, "and when I step on the mound and the hitter's in the box is to be in the moment and compete. I sometimes start to lose my full potential as a competitor if I start to think too much and not just be in the moment."
Lynch, the Royals' first-round selection from the 2018 Draft, turned the corner in that mid-May start against Frederick. The appearance came one week after Salem rattled off 10 hits and scored five times in four innings against him, an outing that proved to be a valuable learning experience.
"I think it's just awareness. After that game against Salem where I got touched up a little bit, I threw well in my next start and it was being aware of, OK, what did I feel there? What was I thinking there? What was my thought process?" Lynch said. "And then just starting to build on that, and also just realizing that if I come out and give up a couple of runs … just make sure I stick with what I was doing. One bad outing doesn't change what was working."
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound lefty did not allow a run for three straight appearances after his May 8 start at Salem. He gave up 10 hits, walked three and struck out 18 over 20 innings as he continued to develop his slider and mix in a changeup to round out a four-pitch repertoire.
Lynch, MLB.com's No. 100 overall prospect, said he began throwing his slider last year when he was concluding his collegiate career at the University of Virginia and during his first 12 professional starts between Burlington and Lexington. It became a third pitch he could mix in during an at-bat to go with his fastball and curve.
He added he has been trying to work in his changeup more frequently during his outings to have a complete mix. The addition of the two pitches has allowed Lynch to maintain his tunnel vision on the mound and not overthink before each delivery.
"A lot of things are intuitive, and when you start to overthink, you sort of get out of the flow of the game," Lynch said. "I was just trying to get back to seeing what was obvious -- what was working for me that night -- and sticking with that and not trying to think too much about maybe a guy's tendencies or my tendencies and just sort of go with what was working in the moment."
In briefCausing a Raquet:
Potomac southpaw Nick Raquet
allowed two or more earned runs in his first nine starts of the season. But something began to click for the Nationals' third-round pick from the 2017 Draft, and he's settled in to become a reliable arm in the P-Nats' rotation. Raquet has won his last two starts, scattering seven hits over 11 scoreless innings. He lowered his ERA from 6.38 to 5.06 thanks to the back-to-back scoreless outings.Over the slump:
Salem shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
opened the season with hits in 13 of his first 15 games, but the second-year pro went into a slump and his batting average dipped more than 100 points. Fitzgerald, however, has rebounded and is third in the Carolina League with a .332 batting average. He has 19 multi-hit games this season, including four in the last 12 games.Twist of fate:
The Carolina Mudcats have steadily chipped away at Down East's lead in the Carolina League Southern Division standings thanks to strong pitching out of the bullpen. Matt Hardy
and Rodrigo Benoit
have led the way. The two right-handers have combined to allow only two earned runs over 19 1/3 innings. Hardy sports a 6-0 record, while Benoit is 5-0 after going 1-11 over the previous three seasons.
Damien Sordelett is a contributor to MiLB.com.