2018 Exit Interview: Jacob Lindgren

2018 Exit Interview: Jacob Lindgren

(This continued series focuses on how players performed this season with a look to 2019.)

Jacob Lindgren
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2018: Well, this should be short. Signed in December of 2016 after having Tommy John surgery that August, the Braves never planned on Lindgren throwing a pitch last season. However, this season, he was considered a bit of an x-factor. If he bounced back, Lindgren was a potential high-leverage arm for the pen. But he never threw a pitch in live action and was quickly shelved with another Tommy John surgery.

Contract Details: Age-26 when 2019 opens. Team-controlled through at least 2022. Probably arbitration-eligible this season as a Super 2 player. Lindgren logged 134 days on the Yankees active and disabled lists during his time with the team. Since then, he’s logged two years of service time on the DL. Therefore, he has two years and 134 days of service time in the majors. Last year’s Super 2 cut-off was 2.123. While we won’t know until after the season what this year’s cutoff is, the smart money is on Lindgren being arbitration-eligible. Lindgren has either one or two options remaining as his 2015 option was muddled by injuries.

Previewing 2019: There are a few balls in the air when it comes to Lindgren. 1) When he did pitch for the Yankees back in 2015, he flashed a low 90’s fastball with sick movement to go with a plus-plus slider. It was easy to see how he earned the nickname “The Strikeout Factory.” Do the Braves have yet another arm with 30%+ strikeout rate potential? Most definitely.

2) Two Tommy John’s in such a small time frame is worrisome because, well, it’s two TJS in a small time frame. But also, the recovery time after the second surgery is typically a bit longer. Since Lindgren had the surgery in late March, he might not be able to return until next summer. Of course, what kind of pitcher will he be once he returns? The TJS success rate is so much better now than it ever was before and Lindgren can point to his new teammate, Jonny Venters, as a person who defied all the odds to come back. Nevertheless, it is not a 100% guarantee that the pitcher will ever return to his former self.

3) His contract situation combined with the team’s 40-man issues does not favor him this offseason. While Lindgren is in a similar situation as Daniel Winkler was last offseason – little time in the majors, but arbitration-eligible – Winkler had two advantages. One, he had pitched the previous season and was coming off a freak injury. The other advantage Winkler had was there was more room to fit him on the 40-man roster.

This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last time we talk about this, but the Braves’ 40-man roster is going to get tight this offseason. That will likely move the Braves to make a few quantity-for-quality deals like the Adam Duvall trade. Well, that was the thought process with that deal, at least. Cash in three bubble 40-man guys for one player that you want to keep. We might see that this offseason, but the Braves will still have a pretty packed 40-man with money to spend to improve the roster. I imagine the Braves would love to keep Lindgren based the sheer investment they have put into him.

The Braves can try to do what the Yankees attempted two years. Give him his walking papers and try to bring him back on a minor league deal with incentives. Of course, that put Lindgren on the market in the first place. That still seems like the most probable way that Lindgren remains in the organization as completes his rehab.

Did you know? Back in 2014, after he was selected as a second-round pick out of Mississippi State, Lindgren faced 104 batters while climbing from the rookie leagues to Double-A. He struck out 48. That comes out to a 46% strikeout rate. Are you at all curious where he got his nickname from?

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Given that The Brave have invested 2 years of rehab AND MLB minimum wage salaries (over a million dollars…still a nice chunk of change)…I’m willing to state that AA will probably keep him (IF it looks like he’s making significant progress this winter towards a return in the summer of 2019, it’ll look like a July Trade acquisition if he returns and pitches well, lol) on the 40 man roster this winter.

He could very well be the next Dan Winkler (who killed it in the 1st half of the season, before wearing off some in the 2nd half. However if Lindgren comes back around June/July of 2019, then by the time he possibly were to ‘wear down’ like Winkler did…The Braves Post Season will already be over with).

FANTASTIC WIN by The Braves tonight! With The Magic # down to 4…..THE WORST that our lead can be come Monday morning (assuming Philly ‘sweeps’ the next 3 games…which I feel is HIGHLY UNLIKELY)….is 3 1/2 games.

With 3 games left in this series….it is HIGHLY IMPORTANT that we win AT LEAST one of these 3 games (sure, winning 2 of them gives us The Division Title…UNLESS Washington wins tonight’s extra inning game against The Mets and sweeps them in their current 4 game series…which would give us magic # of 1 going into The Final Week of The Season). Winning one of these 3 remaining games against The Phillies..would give us a 5 1/2 game lead going into The Final Week. Philly would have to win all 4 games at Colorado..and hope that The Mets win AT LEAST TWO of the 3 games that The Braves play at The Mets early next week…which would give The Braves a 3 game lead going into the final weekend series at The Phillies.

HOWEVER…I would LOVE to see The Braves win the next 2 games against The Phillies…clinching The NL East on Saturday (with Folty pitching). The Phillies defense is BAD…their Bullpen is TIRED/OVERWORKED. Unless their starting pitchers pitch 7-8 innings of dominant baseball….I dont see them being able to keep The Braves offense down in the latter innings of the game. As long as Teheran and Folty dont ‘implode’….we should win these next two games!

I’d LOVE to see The Braves clinch and CELEBRATE in front of the home fans…..while The Phillies watch, lol! Then on Sunday…see a lineup of SCRUBS play against Aaron Nola…and win, lol!

Then next week…Snitker can rest the regulars for a few games…giving some spot starts to Bryce Wilson and Kolby Allard (while giving Max Fried and Kyle Wright some opportunities to pitch in ‘high leverage situations’ late in games that wont hurt The Braves in the standings).

Newcomb is probably gassed. I wouldnt be surprised if he is shut down for the rest of the year. Unless an injury happens…I dont see him making The Post Season Roster.

I’d go with a Playoff Rotation of:

1. Folty
2. Gausmann
3. Sanchez
4. Touki

No Newcomb…No Teheran (he’s not a relief pitcher). They can watch from the dugout.

Washington just lost to The Mets…Magic # against Philly is 4..against The Nationals is #2. If we win 2 of the next 3 against Philly…we clinch NO MATTER WHAT!

Come on guys….get these next two to clinch on Saturday…..then chill on Sunday in front of a home sellout crowd on the final home game of the season! The Phillies are gassed! Their defense SUCKS! Their bullpen is GARBAGE (worse than ours..which would be BETTER if Snitker knew how to properly manage it, lol).

While AJ Minter did warm up tonight..he didnt have to pitch in the 9th inning (thanks Phillies Bullpen for BLOWING UP, lol). Neither did Dan Winkler, Johnny Venters NOR Brad Brach!

If Julio Teheran can give us 6 good/decent innings tomorrow (keep the walks down/let our GOOD defense ‘do their thing’)….then we should have a good chance to beat Nick Piveta (7-13 record…4.67 ERA) tomorrow night..and get that Magic # down to 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW….With the win tonight, The Braves went from a 96.4% chance (prior to tonight’s game) to win The NL East…to a 99.1% favorite to win The NL East after winning tonight’s game against The Phillies!

Even though Washington ‘technically’ still has a chance to win The NL East (they would EITHER have to win all 9 of their remaining games…while The Braves would have to lose AT LEAST 8 of their last 9 games for them to even force a one game tiebreaking game…OR….they would have to win 8 of their last 9 games while The Braves lost all 9 games while Philly lost at least 2 of 4 against Colorado, which would create a 3 way tie for 1st, lol)…FanGraphs has Washington as ‘0.0%’ chance to win The NL East, lol!

Why not ‘0.1’? They do (in theory) have a chance (however UNLIKELY, lol).

I’d be a little worried about a potential dip in velocity when Lindgren returns. The research I found was old, but it indicated some guys will lose 1 or 2 mph off their stuff when they get back. That’s not across the board, but still… If he returns, and his fastball starts topping out at 90, will his stuff still play? I mean I wouldn’t dump him just to save the cash, but if it came down to keeping him or a decently valuable prospect on the 40 man…

Just a quick update – not to this article, but in general.

We have accepted an invitation to be a contributing partner at The Sports Daily (http://thesportsdaily.com/). They are currently working on moving our archives over so as we wait, we’ll be cross-posting both here and there for the most part aside from some exclusive content to get some momentum over there. When the archives are formatted and moved over to their servers, we will no longer cross-post and this page will automatically point to our little slice over at TSD.

I did post one exclusive article over there today about Chad Sobotka so give it a read. http://thesportsdaily.com/category/walk-off-walk/

Don’t worry, Nathan. It’s an excellent situation for us. A lot of perks are involved. WOW won’t be changing outside of a new look and, yes, there will be ads. But we feel it’s a great opportunity for exposure for our content.

Well, dammit, Thomas. If you wanted to expose yourself more, why didn’t you just say so? We’re all grown men and women here. It’s not like we haven’t ever seen a lil smokie and a pair of marbles before.

Wait. What? Not what you meant by exposure? Well, gosh darn it. English is such a difficult language.

Although my first reaction was we’re losing Tommy, it sounds like you will still be writing as much about the Braves. If so, I’ll be glad that you’re getting the additional opportunity and exposure. You are the best writer about our team anywhere.

Ben, yeah, as far as content and all that, very little changes. We’re still going to present analysis, prospects, and history. And when the archives are formatted by their people, we’ll set it up so that when you type in walkoffwalk.net, it will send you to our section at The Sports Daily. But for us, what was really appealing was the fact that they take on all costs including photo licensing through USA Today which The Sports Daily is connected to. Other perks that I won’t go into as far as specifics go made this a no-brainer for us. TSD wasn’t the first to approach us, but they were definitely the only one who gave us everything that we wanted. We are very excited!

I had a small amount of hope for Lindgren. Now, I think the Braves have to get him off the 40 man. If they can re-sign him, then great, but if another team swoops in, you have to let him go. But after 2 TJS, would another team really try to sign him away from the Braves? That feels slim to none.

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