When it comes to Lance Lynn and fan reaction, negativity stands tall.
He wins because he gets runs support!
He’s moody in post game interviews.
He breaks down during crucial innings!
He breaks down in July and August?
He’s Not Daniel Descalso!
When it comes to Lance Lynn, I have heard it all. One of the most polarizing subjects in Cardinal Nation is the true value of Lance Lynn.
What good is he? Can he truly become a great pitcher or will he be a 4th or 5th guy? The questions on Lynn may never seem to cease until he turns in a season that is remarkable and Cy Young worthy. It’s too bad Lynn has always been a highly valuable pitcher and one who stands as a great bargain to a team crafting a reputation for building talent from within. Let’s take a look at Lance Lynn since he has been in the Major Leagues.
He was drafted 39th in the 2008 MLB Draft. He made his debut with the team on June 2nd, 2011 against the San Francisco Giants, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits. He started 2 games and pitched in 18 in 2011, compiling an earned run average of 3.12 and an impressive K-BB of 40/11.
In 2012, making 482,000 dollars, Lynn was 18-7 with a WAR of 2.0. He had an ERA of 3.78 but his FIP ERA was a lot better. Lynn thrived on his four seam fastball and took the league by storm. He pitched 176.1 innings in his first full season as a starter.
In 2013, Lynn won 15 games and his ERA rose to 3.98 but he struck out 198 hitters and pitched 201.2 innings. He ran into a tough stretch in July and August, but recovered in September and earned a spot on the postseason rotation.
What has Lynn done differently in 2014 so far? He has leaned less on strikeouts and more on economical pitching. He still has one of the better four seam fastballs in the league but he pitches to contact and doesn’t try to strike everybody out. Lynn has recorded his first complete game this year and has a much better ERA of 2.90. He still has the innings(99.1) and is 8-5. He has experienced his up and down’s so far, but what is different is his start to the season. Instead of blowing through hitters and then hitting a monstrous wall in June/July, Lynn is adapting and only getting better.
After a rough June 1st outing against the Giants, here are Lynn’s last four starts. (Courtesy of ESPN.com)
Toronto-5 innings, 2 earned runs, 6 hits, 6 K, 4 BB. 110 pitches. (Loss)
Washington-8 innings, 0 earned runs, 2 hits, 8 K, 0 BB, 111 pitches(Win)
NY Mets-6 innings, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 5 K, 4 BB, 88 pitches(Loss)
Colorado-8 innings, 0 earned runs, 3 hits, 7 K, 0 BB, 108 pitches(Win)
Usually, Lynn has way more flyout than groundout putouts. Last night, he had 9 groundouts and 11 flyouts. Different.
Lynn is becoming a complete pitcher and it couldn’t come at a better time for this team. With Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha dealing with the most deadly of pitcher injuries(shoulder tightness), Lynn needed to step up and he did. With the departure of Chris Carpenter and the raw arm of Wacha, Lynn already had the tall task of becoming something more than a decent pitcher with good stats.That’s correct folks. Those starts are in June. The month where Lynn usually hits the wall and starts his downfall. The pair of eight inning outings are especially impressive, coming against hard hitting teams right at the midway point of the season.
Suddenly, Lynn is pleasing both the Baseball Card Mafia and the sabermetric crowd. That’s a pleasant sight and a vital plug for an ailing team struggling to gain solid momentum.
The Lynn critics will still find a way to complain. That’s the name of the game in pro sports. Please a few hundred and enrage or ignite a couple hundred. I had one response on Twitter inform me that Lynn won last night because he got 8 runs of support. Without throwing a grenade at that person, I soaked it for true facts. He did receive a lot of support in Colorado last night. The difference this time was he didn’t really need it.
At the Winter Warmup in January, Lynn proclaimed without a doubt that he was a starting pitcher. He is becoming more than that. He is becoming a top tier starting pitcher.
Slowly but surely, he is becoming as big of a deal here in Cardinal Nation as rich mahogany and leather books are in Ron Burgundy’s world.
Long may you run, Lance Lynn.