The Pirates released left-hander Tyler Lyons from their Triple-A club over the weekend, as first indicated on the Triple-A International League transactions log.
Lyons, 30, was briefly with the Pirates’ big league club earlier this season after having his contract selected from Triple-A Indianapolis, but he lasted just five days on the Major League roster before being designated for assignment. The former Cardinals reliever has enjoyed a strong season with the Bucs’ top minor league affiliate, though, pitching to a 3.55 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9 and a 39.8 percent ground-ball rate in 45 2/3 innings. Between those 45 2/3 innings and another four in the Majors, Lyons has limited opposing lefties to an awful .141/.205/.282 batting line. Right-handers have give him trouble, though, hitting him at a .278/.361/.444 clip.
It wasn’t that long ago that Lyons was a solid member of the bullpen with the division-rival Cardinals. From 2015-17, he totaled 162 innings with a 3.33 ERA and a 174-to-49 K/BB ratio (9.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9). That strong three-year run was highlighted by a 2017 campaign in which Lyons logged a 2.83 ERA and a near-identical 2.86 FIP to go along with a career-best 30.9 percent strikeout rate (11.33 K/9).
Back and elbow issues hampered Lyons early in the 2018 season, and the Cardinals somewhat surprisingly jettisoned him in the midst of a summer bullpen shakeup that July. Lyons ultimately went unclaimed on waivers, though, and had to settle for a minor league deal this past offseason despite a respectable showing in Triple-A Memphis following that DFA. He’s now thrown just 20 MLB innings since that standout 2017 campaign, but clubs in need of some left-handed bullpen depth could certainly do worse than to take a flier on Lyons based on his track record and solid Triple-A numbers over the past two seasons.