Grading the Trade: Lance Lynn Sent To The White Sox (Does A Regression Loom?)


The Chicago White Sox continued to build their roster for a push towards October, acquiring one of the more sought out starters on the trade market. The deal shakes out as follows:

  • The White Sox Get: RHP Lance Lynn
  • The Rangers Get: RHP Dane Dunning, LHP Avery Weems

Was it a good move for the White Sox? Did the Rangers get a fair return? Let’s take a look:

The White Sox Return

On the surface it appears that Lynn has flourished as a member of the Rangers the past two seasons:

  • 2019 – 208.1 IP, 3.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
  • 2020 – 84.0 IP, 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP

Over the two seasons he’s produced a 10.31 K/9 and 2.59 BB/9 as he’s increased the usage of his cut-fastball (15.47% and 21.80%). That said it isn’t a lights out pitch, and in ’20 his fourseam fastball generated the most swings and misses with an unimpressive 14.93% Whiff%. With that type of mark, can we anticipate him maintaining that type of strikeout rate?

Then you have his 39.1% groundball rate over the two years, though just a 1.05 HR/9. Would it shock anyone if home runs become an issue (as it is he posted a 1.39 HR/9 in ’20)?

While the luck metrics overall are believable, a .242 BABIP and 79.4% strand rate in 2020 obviously boosted the performance.

It all comes together to paint a concerning picture. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Lynn post an ERA of 4.00 or greater, especially if the strikeouts fall under a K per inning. While he could be a solid piece, there’s more risk than you might think.

The Rangers Return

With Lynn a free agent after the year it made sense for the Rangers to move him to a contender. Acquiring at least one piece that could be part of the rotation over the next few seasons, it’s easy to dub Texas a winner in this deal.

Injuries have cost Dane Dunning significant time, but making his MLB debut in ’20 (34.0 IP) he flashed all of the skills we look for:

  • Strikeouts – 9.26 K/9
  • Control – 3.44 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 45.1%

Considering he missed all of ’19, seeing that type of strikeout/control is highly impressive. Armed with a five pitch mix, his slider was an impressive swing and miss weapon (21.77% Whiff%) and supports at least a strikeout per inning.

The numbers overall could’ve been even more impressive as he gets better with his fourseam fastball (.364 BAA / .546 SLG). Considering the consistent weak contact he was generating (20.7% Hard%), that should come in time.

Having shown more groundball stuff coming up through the minors (49.1% over 62.0 IP at Double-A in ’19), the upside is clearly there.

Also getting Weems just adds to the deal. The 2019 sixth round pick was impressive in his first professional season, posting an 11.04 K/9, 1.49 BB/9 and 66.2% groundball rate over 60.1 IP at Rookie Ball. It’s possible he’s ticketed for a bullpen role, but according to

“Daniels said Weems’ velocity has ticked up on both his breaking balls, which he says are above average. He said Weems will be given an opportunity to be a starter in the Minors.”

Time will tell, but the upside is there.

Trade Grades:

  • White Sox – C (The trade makes sense, but Lynn has too much potential to disappoint and depart after ’21)
  • Rangers – B/B+ (Dunning could outproduce Lynn, as soon as 2021, making him an intriguing name)

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball,

Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2021 rankings:

PositionDate Updated
First Baseman11/09/20
Second Baseman11/16/20
Third Baseman11/30/20
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--



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