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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 19: Jimmy Lambert

Getting his feet under him at Birmingham, the righthander continues to surprise

Movin’ up: Lambert defied expectations with an brilliant 2018 campaign,
Kim Contreras/South Side Sox

Jimmy Lambert
170 pounds
Throws: Right
Age: 24
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system: 5

Lambert, brother of top Colorado Rockies prospect Peter Lambert, improved in each of this three years with the Fresno State Bulldogs. In 15 starts in his junior season totaling 97 23 innings, Lambert posted a 3.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP. In those innings, he allowed 98 hits (.280 OBA) and 19 free passes (1.75 BB/9) while striking out 78 (7.19 K/9). With his control and solid four-pitch repertoire, the White Sox drafted him in the fifth round in 2016, signing him to a $325,000 bonus.

Lambert struggled with the AZL Sox and Kannapolis in 2016, perhaps because he was battling some fatigue. That year in 37 23 innings, he posted a high 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP; he relinquished 44 hits (.288 OBA) and 13 walks (3.11 BB/9) but stuck out 43 batters (10.27 K/9). In 2017, returning to Kannapolis, Lambert excelled with a 2.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP; however, he struggled at Winston-Salem, with a 5.45 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. Combined with both teams last year in 150 innings, Lambert posted a 3.84 ERA and 1.35 WHIP — allowing 163 hits (.282 OBA) and 40 walks (2.40 BB/9) while striking out just 102 (6.12 K/9) overall.

In 2018, Lambert put it all together, and was much tougher to hit. In 18 starts with Winston-Salem and Birmingham covering 95 23 innings, Lambert posted a 3.67 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in allowing 77 hits (.222 OBA), walking 27 (2.54 BB/9), and striking out 110 (10.35 K/9). Unfortunately, Lambert’s last game was in late July, as he suffered a strained left oblique. It’s possible he could’ve returned in late August, but the White Sox opted not to take any chances with the season nearly over.

Lambert’s velocity improved in 2018, as he transitioned from a two-seamer to a four-seamer that peaks at 96 mph. Lambert also throws an above-average slider and curveball. His changeup is consistent; he held lefties at bay for Winston-Salem but he had a .321 OBA against them in a short sample size in Birmingham.

Having just now passed 20 career starts at Double-A, Lambert is pitching relatively well in Birmingham in 2019: 3-3, with a 4.04 ERA and 1.490 WHIP. He’s suffering a bit more with his control so far in nine starts, in which he’s averaging 5 13 innings pitched.

Take a look!

Thanks to 2080 Baseball for the footage.

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