The Chicago White Sox could have one of the coolest comeback stories of the 2020 season if things break right.
Lindgren, 27, started his professional career as a second-round pick of the New York Yankees and quickly found himself in the major leagues, as he made his MLB debut in 2015.
However, he didn’t impress in seven appearances as he allowed four runs, including three homers, which prompted him to start the 2016 season in the minor leagues.
What Lindgren didn’t realize then was that his seven appearances in 2015 would be the only ones of his career entering the 2020 season.
That prompted the Yankees to non-tender Lindgren and he’d end up signing a major league deal with the Atlanta Braves, hoping the hard-throwing left-hander would help their team at some point.
Unfortunately, Lindgren would find himself getting a second Tommy John Surgery 19 months later and would not pitch in another game until the 2019 season.
The offseason prior, the Braves tried to remove Lindgren from the 40-man roster by optioning him to Triple-A, but he chose to become a free agent instead.
In 2019, Lindgren did exemplify the promise he was once deemed to have in the minors as he registered a 2.83 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 8.8 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 over 21 appearances stretched across three levels of the Chicago White Sox’s farm system.
There’s a good chance Lindgren might not be ready this season, especially if this year gets delayed too much, but it certainly does appear like there’s a chance Lindgren will get back to the major leagues.
His five strikeouts as compared to no runs, two hits, and no walks allowed over four innings in spring training likely impressed the organization, at least slightly.
The seventh-best prospect in the Yankees’ farm system in 2015 (MLB Pipeline) certainly is someone to keep an eye on, at the very least, considering his “closer of the future” designation back then.
It very well could end up being the case that the surgeries prove to be too much for him to return from or that the time off from the game makes it impossible to reach the majors again.
But, if Lindgren somehow finds his way back on a major league mound, it could prove to be one of the most special moments of the year as it will be an emotional moment for a pitcher that possibly feared his career could be over after the second surgery.
Heck, the first surgery could have at least put some doubt in him about his ability to pitch at the major league level.
It remains to be seen where the Chicago White Sox will have him start in 2020, but given his success last season, starting his season at Double-A Birmingham should not be out of the question.
If that happens, Lindgren could quickly ascend back to the majors, if he impresses, given teams tend to shuffle relievers in-and-out throughout the year and the presence of the 26th roster spot.
The Chicago White Sox would certainly be happy if Jacob Lindgren can find his way to the South Side sooner rather than late to complete a long, arduous comeback attempt.