Targeting Lance Lynn
Lance Lynn had an enjoyable 2019 season as he was able to produce in every category across the board. He held a record of 16-11 with 208.1 innings pitched and provided a 3.67 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 3.83 SIERA, and 21.4 K-BB%. The question that I am pondering is why is he going outside of the top 100? Why is he the 37th pitcher off the board behind pitchers like Zack Wheeler, Frankie Montas, and Mike Soroka? The assumption is maybe he just had a really good year, or maybe he has a limited upside. I say poo-poo to that and everyone needs to be drafting Lancy Lynn earlier.
The best thing about Lance Lynn is his consistency. In 2019 he had a sub-four ERA every single month except for April. His April ERA was 5.45 but interesting enough that came with a 3.56 FIP. In fact, Lynn never had a month where his FIP was higher than 3.85. Consistency is extremely important for fantasy baseball owners, especially in head to head leagues.
Due to that terrible April ERA, Lynn had a much better second half compared to his first half. In the first half, he had a 3.91 ERA and in the second half, he had a 3.38 ERA. In the second half, he went to his four-seam more by raising the usage percentage from 46% to 59%. Some might be suspicious of taking a chance on a pitcher who throws a lot of four-seamers, or even fastballs overall. But to that I say: Lance Lynn in 2019 had the most swinging strikes with fastballs while hitting the edge of the zone. He also did it at a high percentage - 6.2% of the time which was second in the league. He also let up a lot of weak contact as he was 16th in Brls/PA%, 14th in FB/LD, 24th in xwOBA, and 24th in xERA. Lynn can and should throw as many fastballs as he pleases, especially with how often he touches the corners of the strike zone. Let’s dive into those fastballs he throws and whatever else Lance Lynn brings to the plate.
The four-seam was notably his most thrown pitch in 2019 as he threw it more than half of the time. Overall his four-seam performed extremely well as batters only had a .214 batting average against it. It also produced an SwStr% of 14.1 which was the fourth-highest amongst all four-seam fastballs. What’s so crazy about this pitch is he hit the zone with it over 60% of the time and still produced those numbers. Whether he faced a left-handed hitter or right-handed hitter he always went with his fastball. Deservedly so as to whether it was a lefty or righty the batting average against on his fastball was .239 or under.
Let’s make a checklist for this pitch. Creates swing and misses? Check. Hitters can’t hit it? Check. Has great command over it? Check. What about underlying stats? Well, it was seventh overall in xBA, xwOBA, and spin rate. Check. Last but not least, does he utilize it well? In 2019 it posted a 25.7 pVAL. Check. This is quite the pitch ladies and gentlemen.
Another fastball but this one has a slightly different story. The results from the outside don’t seem great, it produced a .337 batting average against. It instantly caught my eye when I saw that batting average against came with a .403 BABIP, and what do you know the pitches xBA was .286. This pitch was clearly unlucky, but .286 still isn’t breathtaking. Regardless it is a solid second pitch as it ranked top 20 in K%, xBA, and xwOBA.
Fastball number three! Much like the last fastball this one could be better next year. Its .248 batting average against came with a .230 xBA. The craziest stat about this pitch is that he threw it 558 times and never once gave up a Barrel. Left-handed hitters do have an easier time hitting it but Lynn clearly knows that as he drops his cutter usage by 3% when facing them. Overall, this is an amazing pitch as it was ranked first in xwOBA amongst all other cutters. It has some decent movement to it and he constantly paints the lower corner of the strike zone with it.
Someone call the police! We have a breaking ball! I am slightly surprised that he doesn’t throw this more because it is a great breaking pitch. Just like his cutter, he didn’t allow one Barrel when throwing this pitch. With an impressive .176 xBA and decent 14.1 SwStr%, Lynn finds himself a nice breaking pitch to use when he is looking to change pace. He mainly uses his curve against left-handed hitters (10% of the time) because they essentially cannot touch it. He loves to jam them inside and drop the ball below the strike zone with it.
Lynn did throw this pitch last year but it was only about 3% of the time and he basically went away from it by the end of the year. While it is a decent pitch he has a lot better ones to rely on and we can expect his changeup to virtually disappear.
Lance Lynn = Vanilla Ice Cream
As you can tell from all of the greatness I just described, you should probably be drafting Lance Lynn. He does literally everything, creates strikeouts while also giving up weak contact and suppressing home runs. Lance Lynn is kind of like vanilla ice cream, nothing flashy but it will always be a great option. Combine his skills with an ADP that provides value and he certainly should be on every fantasy owner’s radar. As always thank you for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!