Scott Lyman’s potential is infinite.
Over the course of his three-year Aggie career, the junior, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher and outfielder from Alamo, Calif., has demonstrated patience, utility and skill.
But what ties it all together to make Lyman a standout is his sheer physical ability.
“He’s a good athlete – a very good athlete,” said head coach Rex Peters. “The athleticism, the talent is tremendous.”
One week before his freshman season at UC Davis, Lyman suffered a dislocated left elbow, forcing him to abandon his duties at the plate. For the first time in his baseball career, the righty had to zero in on his work on the mound.
“I couldn’t swing a bat for the whole year,” Lyman said. “I just had to focus on pitching. That really helped me a lot [to] grow as a pitcher and allowed me to focus on it.”
Since then, Lyman has collected well over 200 innings of experience on the hill.
This season, he was the Friday night guy, finishing the campaign with a 4.64 earned run average, picking up three wins and striking out 67.
During the 2010 campaign, Lyman did damage as an outfielder and, once again, a hitter.
As a sophomore, Lyman led the Aggies with 19 doubles, ranking second with 39 runs, 40 RBI and five home runs. He also recorded 22 multi-hit games on. For his performance, Lyman received a Big West Conference Honorable Mention that year.
This year’s Aggies have struggled through an 18-36 season, with a 10-14 record in Big West play.
The question this season has been whether Lyman will play his senior season as an Aggie or take the leap into Major League Baseball.
Peters said that with his current stat line, nothing makes a spectator say, “Wow, this guy’s definitely going to be a professional baseball player.”
“That’s the strange thing about professional baseball,” Peters said. “More so than stats, they look at projectability and what their body’s like, arm action and movement on pitches. They love all of that.”
According to Peters, Lyman has had the most looks of any Aggie from professional scouts.
“He’s got all the intangibles that make him very interesting to professional baseball,” Peters said.
Lyman has been projected to go as high as the second round of the Major League draft come June 6, according to a number of “mock draft” websites. With just about every MLB eye on Lyman, he has had plenty of exposure.
“I’ve been in contact with almost every single team,” he said. “Everybody’s shown interest, some more than others.”
If a college junior decides to cash in as a Major League draft pick, he misses a full year of college ball. Conversely, if he puts on the college uniform for a senior year, he risks getting injured, jeopardizing a professional career altogether.
In Lyman’s case, however, there is no question.
“He’s gonna go,” Peters said.
Though the UC Davis coaching staff sees exactly what the scouts see, the Aggies would love to have Lyman back for 2011-12.
“He’s only been pitching for three full years. He’s still relatively inexperienced as a pitcher, and I think one more year of pitching at this level would help him. There’s a great year [left] in there somewhere that he hasn’t had yet.”
But the decision is in Lyman’s hands, and his mind is made up: he has played his final innings of college baseball and will take his skill to the next level.
After three successful years on the UC Davis baseball team, Lyman will cherish the memories of being an Aggie.
“I’m definitely going to miss the camaraderie and being part of a team,” Lyman said. “I really like the whole aspect of all the guys getting together and hanging out off the field. The whole team chemistry aspect is what I’m going to miss.”
Given those three seasons, Peters said Lyman’s talent has proven to be immeasurable.
“There’s no ceiling on Lyman,” Peters said. “He has unlimited potential that he hasn’t reached yet.”
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.