The Royals announced yesterday that they’ve transferred left-hander Daniel Lynch from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day injured list, opening a spot on their 40-man roster. Kansas City followed that announcement by announcing Thursday (an off-day for them) that first baseman/outfielder Matt Beaty has been optioned to Triple-A Omaha. An additional roster move is forthcoming tomorrow, per the team.
Generally speaking, transfers to the 60-day IL are accompanied by corresponding 40-man moves, so it’s feasible that Kansas City will have such a move to make tomorrow. Right-hander Brad Keller, out since May due to a shoulder impingement, has been on a minor league rehab assignment for three weeks and could be an option to return (speculatively speaking). He’s been working out of the bullpen in Double-A and pitched two innings on Monday. Keller still has a week left on his rehab window, however, so the Royals could delay that move and select the contract of prospect or perhaps make an external addition via waivers or free agency. Kansas City’s starting pitcher for Friday’s game in Toronto is currently listed as TBD.
Lynch, 26, has been out since mid-July with a left shoulder strain. The move to the 60-day injured list is largely procedural. He hasn’t yet begun a minor league rehab stint and had already been on the injured list for 50 days (51 now), so it’s highly unlikely he’d have returned before reaching the 60-day mark anyhow. (The 60-day term on such IL stints is retroactive to the original placement on the injured list and does not reset when a player is transferred to the lengthier IL designation.) Anne Rogers of MLB.com tweets that Lynch is slated to begin pitching live batting practice this week, so it seems there’s still a chance he could return before season’s end.
Selected with the No. 34 overall pick in 2018, Lynch was one of several college arms (joining Brady Singer, Kris Bubic and Jackson Kowar) on whom the Royals were banking to quickly turn the tides on their big league roster. The lefty ranked among baseball’s top pitching prospects prior to his 2021 debut but has yet to solidify himself as a staple in the Kansas City rotation.
Lynch opened the season on the injured list with a strained rotator cuff, returned in late May and made nine starts prior to returning to the 15-day IL. The 92.8 mph average velocity on his fastball was noticeably down from the 94.2 mph he averaged in 2022. In those nine starts, he pitched 52 1/3 innings of 4.64 ERA ball, striking out just 15.2% of his opponents against a sharp 7.2% walk rate.
That’s among the best stretches of Lynch’s career to date. He has an excellent but brief stretch last summer, tossing eight starts with a 3.18 ERA from June 17 through Aug. 17, but that was bookended by a poor start to the year (5.50 ERA in 54 frames) and an even rockier finish (6.63 ERA in 38 innings). Overall, Lynch has made 51 big league starts and pitched 252 innings with a 5.18 ERA, 18.6% strikeout rate and 8.7% walk rate.