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The Cardinals and Jermaine Curtis and Lance Lynn

The St. Louis Cardinals call up a guy who will disappoint me quite a bit if he doesn't have an OBP higher than his slugging percentage.

Legs aren't supposed to do that.
Legs aren't supposed to do that.
Dilip Vishwanat

Last year Pete Kozma made the St. Louis Cardinals' 25-man roster despite having been demoted to AAA utility infielder earlier in the season. On Friday Jermaine Curtis joined the Cardinals' 25-man roster despite having been demoted to AA the year before.

He wasn't demoted, luckily, because he couldn't hit; he was demoted because the Cardinals just didn't have any plans for him. Matt Carpenter was better at the high-OBP-third-baseman thing; Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia were both much more important as high-OBP-middle-infielders.

Now he's promoted, and all those things still apply, except that it seems more pressing that he's almost certainly better than Ty Wigginton. Curtis's ZiPS projections are more interesting as a thought experiment--can a baseball player really hit .259/.346/.317 in 2013?--than a bench asset, but that .346 OBP is also the third-highest projected on the team.


More importantly: Lance Lynn is now 4-0 with an ERA of 3.10, which means he's rapidly, strangely off to a start that's not as impressive as last April's but still seems too good for a guy I feel compelled to worry about. A hot start followed by a rough summer is supposed to mean something; when it's followed by another hot start it just seems clearer that it doesn't.

It just seems clearer, if nothing else, that all the questions about Lance Lynn's ability to start weren't telling us anything that the box scores didn't already; however insidery they sounded, all those narratives did was take those numbers and wrap the simplest possible explanation around them, instead of looking for an insight about Lynn's pitching that was independent of his last month's worth of starts.

His fastball still doesn't seem to have its old velocity, but on Friday he was getting swinging strikes at 92 and had enough extra left in reserve to throw multiple 94 mph fastballs to Andrew McCutchen, who couldn't do anything with them. If he's rationing velocity, he doesn't seem much like the pitcher we were/are kind of worried about by default.