Baltimore Orioles 2019 Draft Highlight: RHP Jake Lyons
The Baltimore Orioles 2019 draft class will always be remembered for the number one overall pick, catcher Adley Rutschman, but it was full of impressive picks. Birds Watcher takes a look at several draft picks whose play should put them on the radar (last in a series).
The Baltimore Orioles made a big pick, both literally and figuratively, in the 22nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft. With that pick, the organization selected Jake Lyons, a 6’5″, 282lb. RHP, out of Oklahoma State University. Little did the team know, however, that Lyons would come up big and toss the second-most innings among the 2019 draft class.
Lyons came to the Orioles organization following a season in Stillwater where he produced a 5-2 record with one save, 16 walks, and 51 strikeouts over 20 appearances (two starts). In 49.2 innings of work, he generated a 4.89 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Prior to transferring to Oklahoma State, Lyons attended Weatherford College (JUCO) in Texas where he had a 16-2 record over 29 appearances (167.2 innings) with a 3.01 ERA and 223 strikeouts.
The 21-year-old hurler brought that big resume to Aberdeen (A-Short) where he both started and pitched in relief for manager Kevin Bradshaw. Overall, he made 14 appearances, seven of which were starts, spanning a total of 37.2 innings and pitching to a 2-5 record with a 2.87 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 10 walks and 39 strikeouts. He allowed just one home run, as well.
As a starter for the Ironbirds Lyons went 2-3 with a 2.49 ERA. Both of his wins came in 5.0 inning efforts in August (8/12 at Vermont and 8/23 at Staten Island) once he became a regular in the pitching rotation.
The victory over Vermont was noteworthy in that it was Aberdeen’s first-ever no-hitter. The no-hitter was a combined effort of the battery of pitchers Lyons, James Ryan, Kyle Martin and catcher Adley Rutschman.
The majority of the time that Lyons pitched in relief came early in the 2019 season, presumably as he became acclimated to professional baseball, and mainly in middle relief (0-2 record, 12.1 IP, 3.65 ERA).
More from Birds Watcher
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
Lyons managed to hold New York-Penn League hitters to a .225 batting average and left over 57% of those who reached base on base. He struck out batters at a rate of 9.3 per 9 innings pitched and realized almost four strikeouts for every walk allowed. His strikeout total was the third best among 2019 draftees.
While being almost 1.5 years younger on average than his NYPL peers, Lyons finished a solid 2019 season in the top-five among Aberdeen pitchers in starts and innings pitched; his strikeout total was sixth-best on the staff.
Lyons features a low 90 mph fastball, a split-finger fastball, and a breaking ball. It will be interesting to see what the Orioles organization can do with him in regards to spin rate and strikeout totals. This is one big hurler who has displayed a workhorse potential; his progress through the system is worth following.
You can find links to the entire series of Orioles draft picks to watch below. Familiarize yourself with these names now before they begin their second season in the Baltimore Orioles organization.