Brian Cashman and his team recently took a flyer on Lance Lynn. He was acquired from the Twins in a small trade that was almost an afterthought at the time. We all knew J.A. Happ would be a big contributor down the stretch, but Lynn might also provide a much needed shot in the arm for the starting rotation.
After hurling 4.1 scoreless innings against the Orioles on August 1st, Lynn was given a spot in the rotation to replace the struggling Sonny Gray. On Monday, Lynn dominated the White Sox through 7.1 innings, striking out nine batters, while only walking one. He routinely elevated his fastball for strikeouts and got several ground ball outs as well. I’m not sure if he will be THAT good moving forward, but it stands to reason he may be able to provide some stability. Let’s analyze his career and arsenal that he uses to attack hitters.
Lynn primarily throws fastballs. In fact, this season in particular, he has thrown either his four seamer or two seamer a whopping 77%(!) of the time. He attacks hitters, doesn’t nibble, and lives with the results. This is different than pretty much every starter the Yankees have, sans Luis Severino. Moving from the 21st ranked defensive club (Twins -6.7 DEF) to the 12th ranked defensive club (Yankees +12.5 DEF) should help his results as well. This is especially important to a pitcher like Lynn, who generates a lot of ground balls (50.9% this season). His other major offerings include a cutter and a curveball, which he has thrown 10% and 9% of the time this season respectively. See below for his pitch breakdown since his career began.
Something else I thought was interesting; Lynn is throwing his four seamer harder now than he ever has in his career. His 94.24 average mph is the highest it has ever been, so the 31-year-old hasn’t lost anything. Lynn is just one year removed from a season in which he threw 186.1 innings and had a 3.43 ERA. Asking for that in the American League East is probably a stretch, but keeping the team in the game, not giving away outs, and being aggressive can help the Yankees. See below for his average velocity on his various pitches.
The Twins signed Lynn pretty late this year, on March 12th to be exact. He wasn’t fully ready for the beginning of the season and it showed. In his first 5 outings, he threw 23.2 innings and gave up 22 earned runs. Since then, after presumably shaking off the rust, he has thrown 90.1 innings and has a more than respectable 3.59 ERA. Cashman swooped in, knowing that his value would be deflated given his high ERA, and got him for Tyler Austin, who was redundant with the acquisition of Luke Voit, and another lower level prospect.
“It’s the New York Yankees,” Lynn said to Brian Hoch. “As a fan of the game growing up, it’s exciting for me, as a young kid — seeing them in their heyday, winning a lot of World Series championships. You look at their team now, they’re going for it. I’m excited for that opportunity and that challenge. It’s going to be a different experience. I’m just going to go in there and try to do everything I can to help, wherever that may be.”
Looks like it’s going to be in the starting rotation for the foreseeable future, and that’s A-okay with this writer.