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2015 Yankees player report card: Jacob Lindgren

Jacob Lindgren made his much-awaited debut, but things got off to a rough start when he went down with an elbow injury

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: B-

2015 Statistics: AAA: 15 G, 1.23 ERA, 1.88 FIP, 11.86 K/9, 4.09 BB/9, 22.0 IP
MLB: 7 G, 5.14 ERA, 8.13 FIP, 10.29 K/9, 5.14 BB/9, 7.0 IP

2015 Level/Roster Status: AAA/MLB; 40-man roster

The Yankees made an odd choice to draft a reliever with their first pick (in the second round) of the 2014 MLB Draft. After surrendering their first round picks to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran, the idea was that the best they could hope for was a high-end reliever who could move through the system quickly and make an impact on the MLB team. The organization had been so unsuccessful at developing talent at that point that they felt that a "safer" pick was the way to go and as disappointing as it was for fans, Jacob Lindgren might have been the best way to go. Evaluators believed he could get MLB hitters out at the time of the draft and it was thought that he could be the first in his draft class to make a major league roster before Brandon Finnegan eventually debuted with the Royals.

Lindgren dominated the minor leagues, cutting his way through four different levels before ultimately finishing the year in Double-A Trenton. He looked like a closer-in-waiting and after David Robertson left in free agency, it seemed like Lindgren would be needed before too long. Instead, the Yankees signed Andrew Miller, traded for Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve, and their success allowed him to spend more time in the minors. Finnegan started feeling the effects of all his innings over the last two years and New York's restraint seemed to be the right decision. In Triple-A this year, Lindgren continued to dominate, though he did still seem to struggle with control. He was finally called up in May and it looked like The Strikeout Factory was here to stay, but things just didn't work out.

He made his major league debut less than a year after he was drafted, but something looked wrong. His velocity was down, his pitches weren't breaking, and he looked nothing like the man everyone was hyped to see. Despite all the excitement, it looked like Lindgren needed to be sent down in order to fix whatever was wrong with him. The team was in need of effective relievers and they had no time to wait for Lindgren to figure things out. Only a few weeks after his heralded debut, Lindgren was demoted back to Triple-A, but then he was placed on the disabled list and, as luck would have it, he needed surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow. While surgery is never a good thing, it was actually relieving to hear that there was a simple solution to his disappointing debut and once he recovered, he'd be back to normal.

The Yankees originally expected him to return in September, but his recovery time was longer than expected and they just shut him down for the year. Their system has been hit with their fair share of prospect injuries and even when you're cautious and do all the right things, something can still go wrong. Luckily for everyone involved, Lindgren's injury could have been a whole lot worse, but the hope is he will be ready to go in 2016 and should get a chance to make the team out of spring training. It might be asking a lot to expect them to carry him, Wilson, Shreve, and Miller, but they went with multiple lefties in 2015 and that worked out for a time. In all likelihood, Lindgren will be back in Scranton to start the year, but it shouldn't be long before we see him again, and this time he should be back to 100%.