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2021 South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 46: Jacob Lindgren

A long road back to the majors could be fulfilled this summer

Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Jacob Lindgren

Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
210 pounds
Age: 28
SSS rank among all left-handed relief pitchers in the system: 4
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 42
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 55

Jacob Lindgren, a starter during his sophomore season with Mississippi State, was converted to the bullpen during his junior season in 2014 with spectacular results. In 26 appearances for the Bulldogs that year covering 55 innings, Lindgren compiled an incredible 0.81 ERA and 0.87 WHIP by surrendering just 23 hits (.124 OBA) and 25 walks (10.7%) while fanning 100 (44.6%).

With those kinds of results, it was no surprise that he was selected the second round by the New York Yankees in the 2014 draft. Lindgren quickly worked his way up to Double-A Trenton before the end of the year, as he excelled at each of his four stops.

After a great start to begin the 2015 season, Lindgren earned a call-up to the majors and posted a 5.14 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in seven games that year, with stops on the injured list due to a bone spur and subsequent rehab games in the minors in-between. He recovered from the bone spur surgery in order to come back to start his recovery in High-A, but while his ERA looked fine, Lindgren struggled to locate, even in spring training. After taking time off the hill, he ended up needing Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his 2017 as well. In his six appearances in the Florida State League, he threw seven innings with a 2.57 ERA and 1.29 WHIP but with an uncharacteristically high walk ratio.

The Atlanta Braves signed him on Dec. 4, 2016 with the hopes of his potential availability for 2018. Unfortunately for Lindgren and the Braves, he underwent a second Tommy John surgery on March 29, 2018 and missed the entire season. Lindgren signed a minor league contract with the White Sox on January 2019 and finally was healthy enough to pitch in some games in June.

If you exclude his games with the AZL White Sox when he was shaking off more than three years of rust, Lindgren looked exceptionally sharp. In his work with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem — 15 games and 21 innings — Lindgren combined to post a 1.29 ERA and 1.09 WHIP by allowing 19 hits (.247 OBA) and five walks (5.7%) while striking out 20 (23.0%).

Lindgren’s repertoire includes a fastball-slider mix. His fastball pre-surgeries registered as high as 98 mph but is likely a tick or two slower now. His slider is arguably an even more effective pitch than his fastball and was ultimately graded at 60 by FanGraphs. It works well, as it offers a nice change-of-speed in comparison to that hard fastball.

Lindgren received an invite to major league camp this spring and while is almost certain to start the year at the alternate site in Schaumburg, he could be the first lefty called up in case of injury or ineffectiveness in the South Side pen.