I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical of Lance Lynn in the early going. However, as he has continued to excel he has slowly begun to grow on me. Am I completely sold on him? No, I’m not. Would I be shocked if he experienced a regression? Not in the least. However, I am no longer adamant that he is an obvious sell high candidate, either.
Why have I converted? First, let’s look at the numbers:
86 Strikeouts (9.48 K/9)
27 Walks (2.98 BB/9)
81.4% Strand Rate
You can definitely argue that the strand rate is a little bit elevated (he’s currently sixth among starting pitchers who qualify for the ERA title), but as far as “luck” metrics go that’s the only number that’s concerning. With a 19.1% line drive rate, the BABIP is reasonable so even if he starts to strand a few less people it’s not going to have a major impact.
He’s showing solid control…
He’s showing a good strikeout rate…
He’s generating a decent amount of groundballs (49.3%) and keeping the ball in the ballpark (0.55 HR/9)…
Given his current numbers we’d say that, even with a fall in luck, he’s probably a 3.00-3.25 ERA pitcher. Would anyone really complain about that?
The real question I have is if he can actually maintain the current strikeout and walk rates that he’s displaying. Over his minor league career (spanning 77 appearances and 72 starts), he had a 7.78 K/9 and 3.26 BB/9. At Triple-A (42 starts) he had a 7.80 K/9 and 3.30 BB/9 (to go along with a 4.43 ERA).
Having never really shown this type of ability in the past, can we really consider it sustainable?
The strikeout number is a little bit misleading, as you can see by his K/9 by month:
- April (27.0 IP) – 8.00
- May (36.2 IP) – 8.84
- June (18.0 IP) – 13.00
Yes, he has really exploded in the strikeout department of late, posting games of 11 and 12 K. It’s a great outburst, but we would have to think that it is an isolated incident. The marks he posted in April and May could even be slightly elevated, but they are much more believable. I would anticipate his overall strikeout rate to regress and should probably end up around the 8.25 mark for the year. While that’s not a bad mark, it is definitely a marked decline.
As for his control, it has actually been much closer to what we would’ve believed since April:
- April – 2.00
- May – 3.44
- June – 3.55
I would expect him to continue posting numbers similar to what he has done the past few months, meaning the overall BB/9 is going to continue to rise.
If you add fewer strikeouts into the increased walk rate and the potential fall in strand rate, it becomes inevitable that his numbers are going to regress. However, I wouldn’t expect him to fall to a pitcher who is unusable, either.
If I were to tell you that Lynn could easily post an 8.0 K/9, 3.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP the rest of the way, would you sign up for that? Most people would’ve prior to the season, and I would think those numbers are highly believable.
Obviously, that is a drop from what he’s done, but I don’t think anyone could’ve expected him to be THIS good over the first 2.5 months of the year. I do think that his value is at its peak, so trading him could make a lot of sense if you can get the right return. That said, I no longer feel like you have to sell high on him. He should maintain fantasy viability, even with an regression across the board.