Even though it has been a couple years since I consistently wrote prospect profiles, by and large the players on the upper level rosters are very familiar to me. Jacob Lindgren, a relief pitcher with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, would be one of the exceptions. Having been drafted out of Mississippi State by the Yankees in 2014, Lindgren has shot through the Yankees' farm system and appears to be on the cusp of making his major league debut.
Lindgren was taken by the Yankees with their first pick of the 2014 draft, however, he was taken in the second round - the 55th overall pick. The southpaw began as a starter in college, taking Mississippi State to the College World Series, but in 2014 he started coming out of the bullpen. Quickly becoming one of the most dominant relievers in college baseball, Lindgren didn't slow down after signing with the Yankees, making appearances with four Yankees minor league affiliates last year.
After one game in Rookie ball he went up to Charleston, where he threw five innings over four games and allowed just one run on one hit, as he struck out eleven and walked none. Next stop was Tampa, where he made appearances in six games (7.1 innings) and allowed just three hits, one unearned run and four walks, while striking out seventeen. Lindgren ended last year in Trenton, where he seemed to find his first true challenge, giving up six runs (five earned) and nine walks in eight games. Any idea that he was slowing down, however, has been adequately assuaged for now, as he has been dominant in Scranton this season. In twelve games, Lindgren owns a 1.65 ERA with 22 strikeouts and only seven walks.
Scouting Report: Lindgren is not a big guy, but that doesn't mean he isn't an intimidating figure on the mound. He has a solid fastball, which jumped from high-80s/low-90s when he worked as a starter, to the mid-90s as a reliever. However, it is his slider that is just nasty, bringing him a whole lot of attention. It sits in the mid-80s and breaks at least nine inches, which is not common for lefties. Lindgren has also successfully added a sinking changeup, but having moved to the bullpen, this pitch has more or less been shelved for the time being. He continued to hone it, but it is his fastball and slider that have him mowing down the competition.
While the hard-throwing lefty has been successfully striking out opposing hitters right and left since he stepped foot in pro ball, the main knock on Lindgren is his control. As a strong college pitcher, Lindgren came to the Yankees much more polished than many young prospects and that has been evidenced by his quick assent through the system. He has used his time in the minors to work on his control, and it seems to be getting him results. If he shows that needed control in Scranton, the Yankees won't be able to leave him there too long. Barring any injuries, it's hard to imagine that Lindgren doesn't get a shot in the Bronx at some point before the 2015 season ends.