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Lance Lynn is the first starter to four wins this season

Apr 25, 2012, 6:20 PM EDT

Lance Lynn AP

Just as everyone predicted, right?

Lance Lynn, who was competing just to make the Cardinals as a middle reliever before Chris Carpenter got hurt this spring, won his fourth straight start Thursday by pitching eight innings of one-run ball against the Cubs.

Lynn has allowed exactly one run in each of his four starts to date, giving him a 1.33 ERA.

A 2008 supplemental first-round pick, Lynn wasn’t looked at as having a very high ceiling during his time in the minors. In ranking him the Cardinals’ No. 7 prospect this season, Baseball America stated, “As a minor league starter, Lynn mixed a darting 88-92 mph sinker, a curveball that could get loopy and a so-so changeup,” before noting that his velocity did improve in a relief stint. The nice surprise is that Lynn has held on to those velocity gains since moving back to the rotation. He’s averaging 92.4 mph with his fastball this year, which puts him in the top 25 or so percent of major league starters.

Lynn still isn’t this good. His changeup definitely needs work, and his slider isn’t an a big weapon as a third pitch either. Still, I think he’s a legit No.  3 for the Cardinals, and he has a real chance now at 15 wins, assuming the team can find room for him in the rotation after Carpenter returns.

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