Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Roasted Lamb: Chris Lamb cements his place in A's lore

      (Photo Courtesy of: Donn Parris)

Having already had a successful California League induction, Chris Lamb's breakthrough 2014 rampage through Beloit and Stockton culminated in a historic and awe inspiring outing in which Lamb abused an unsuspecting Rancho Cucamonga lineup for an unprecedented 17 strikeout performance. Additionally, Lamb tied the California League record for consecutive punchouts with 10 amassed straight including a mindboggling duration of fourteen struck out of a cumulative fifteen batters faced, with the lone exception occurring upon an infield single. Concluding with a final 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 17 K result, Lamb shattered the previous placeholder of Arnold Leon's 13 strikeout outing for Sacramento during July that knotted Sean Murphy's start in Burlington during the 2012 campaign for the single most punchouts having been accumulated through a lone appearance. More so reminiscent of Pedro Martinez than the 11th round acquisition from the 2011 draft proceeding that embarked on his third consecutive Midwest League assignment to open his 2014, Chris Lamb suddenly has since amassed three seperate double digit strikeout performances for Stockton with the remainder of the organization having only produced six during this season (Tim Atherton, Arnold Leon, Zach Neal, Matt Buschmann, Jake Sanchez, Nate Long). The Berkley native has burst forth from the cusp of non-prospect status forth towards a probable Midland assignment to commence the 2015 campaign in a remarkable sequence for the southpaw in one of Oakland's most prominent storylines to have emerged from the previous few months. More prevalent however, the question remains of Chris Lamb's prospect probability and his potentiality throughout the remainder of his organizational ascent with arguably the best pitching performance throughout the entirety of minor league baseball this season having emphatically been dropped upon his résumé. 

Most scouts don't think fondly of the lefty however, a difficult concept for most to accept for an individual who just obliterated an opposing MiLB lineup. Lamb's ceiling likely resides within that of a middle relief asset however, as the southpaw's fastball is arguably his most inferior pitch with the least amount of potentiality. Throwing 87-91 MPH with an occasional 92 MPH velocity bump, Lamb's delivery is predecated upon his funky arm angle and deception while mixing in a decent breaking offering in that of his curveball while flashing a potential 45 grade changeup and split variation at times. Lamb rather dismantled Rancho based on his outstanding command he demonstrated that evening as opposed to his repetiore, making the feat even more remarkable and unlikely with Lamb hitting his placement within the strike zone on every single offering during his 15 batter stretch  that was immensely assisted through that of a swing oriented and discipline deficient lineup thanks to Los Angeles' offensive organizational philosophy. Previous Stockton assets to have dominated Cucamonga include Sean Murphy and Trevor Cahill, who each recorded eight strikeouts out of the initial nine batters they faced versus the ballclub while Dylan Covey achieved his lone plus strikeout outing with Stockton thus far versus the Quakes. 

Lamb was still able to sustain his dominance for an unbelievable seven frames in what shall likely culminate in a career best performance for the probable 2015 Rockhound. Lamb's command consistency that he has flashed occasionally with Stockton shall have to be sustained through an entire campaign should he desire to be retained within a rotation format, as Texas League and Pacific Coast League bats will consume the 25 year old whole should he not be duplicate his command precision showcased in Southern California for 6-7 innings through 25 outings throughout every campaign: an impossible feat. Lamb shall have to migrate towards a bullpen exclusive facility past Stockton as the lefty has presently demonstrated his capability to do so, initially commencing within the Ports relieving core and opening within Beloit as their closing option. Presenting limited projection while leaning upon deception, secondaries, and control, Lamb's prospect unfortunately shall not shift through that of a scouting perspective. He still could potentially arrive within the majors as a long relief asset should his performance correlate with a injury or bullpen desperation. 

Regardless, his historic outing for Stockton still shall be firmly entrenched within memories of those Oakland minor league curators as one of the most dominant single contest performances for any lone arm ever associated with the A's organization. 

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