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Entries in Lance Lynn (2)

Sunday
Jun092013

What Makes Lance Lynn's Fastball So Good?

Lance Lynn is just about the most predictable pitcher in baseball. When he takes on the Cincinnati Reds tonight (8 PM, ESPN), he's going to throw fastballs. Lots of fastballs. In fact, no starting pitcher this side of Bartolo Colon relies on his heat as much as Lynn, who throws the pitch about 78% of the time. You might think that throwing one pitch so frequently in the cat-and-mouse, tit-for-tat game that is baseball would backfire -- hitters would learn to sit on Lynn's fastball, driving the pitch into the gaps and over the fence.

At least, that's what you'd think. Instead, Opponents are slugging a paltry .310 against Lynn's fastball, which is nearly 140 points below the major league average (.452). The only starters who have done a better job than Lynn of limiting hard fastball contact are Cliff Lee (.282), Clay Buchholz (.291) and Chris Sale (.303). And it's only getting harder of batters to connect: They slugged .384 off Lynn's gas in April, .300 in May, and .100 so far in June.

How has Lynn managed to dominate hitters with his fastball, even though they know it's coming? Here are a few guesses as Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and the rest of the Reds' lineup ponder the same question.

  • With two strikes on the hitter, Lynn takes full advantage of having Yadier Molina behind the plate by stretching the corners of the strike zone. Lynn has struck out 20 batters looking with his fastball this season, trailing just Buchholz and teammate Shelby Miller among starters, and nearly all of those heaters have been on borderline pitches. With Yadi receiving, those calls are going Lynn's way.

Location of Lynn's looking strikeouts with his fastball

  • Lynn might not possess elite fastball velocity (he averages 92 MPH and maxes out at 95 MPH), but he elevates his heater as well as nearly any starter in the game. Hitters swing and miss 31% of the time that Lynn climbs the ladder, a mark bested only by Max Scherzer (38%), Jose Quintana (35%), Miller (35%) and Yu Darvish (34%).

Lynn's fastball contact rate by pitch location

  • He's ultra-aggressive against same-handed hitters, throwing the highest percentage of fastballs within the strike zone (65) to righties among MLB starters. Rarely getting behind in the count, Lynn has yet to allow a single homer to a righty batter.
Tuesday
Feb052013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller

Today the news broke that Chris Carpenter will likely miss the entire 2013 season. Any time there’s an injury it presents an opportunity for another player to contribute on an everyday basis. Before the Carpenter news there was going to be a two-player battle between Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller to be the Cardinals number five starter. Now it appears both players are front runners to make the rotation on opening day. Below are player profiles about each player respectively.

 

Please note the format for the “ADP” section reads as follows: ADP: positional draft position (overall draft position). For example, Lance Lynn is currently the 53rd starting pitcher being taken and is going 197th overall. All ADPs are from Mock Draft Central.

 

Lance Lynn

Throws: R | Age: 25 |Team: Cardinals | Position: SP | ADP: 53 (197)

Lynn’s 2012 season was tale of two halves. During the first half he won 11 games, had a 3.41 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. However, in the second half he won just 7 games with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. In order to not over work him, the Cardinals put him in the bullpen for month down the stretch. Lynn has a plus-plus fastball, which has late movement, sits between 92-94 mph and can hit as high as 97 mph. For secondary pitches he primarily relies on the sinker and curveball, but will throw a cutter and changeup sparingly. The curveball is his best secondary pitch, effective against both lefties and righties. If he can improve the command of his changeup he can be a top 20 fantasy starter. Fantasy owners should expect a 3.80+ ERA with 170+ strikeouts.

Shelby Miller

Throws: R | Age: 22 |Team: Cardinals | Position: SP | ADP: 88 (306)

In 2012 during his first 17 starts in Triple-A Miller posted a 6.17 ERA (due to a lack of command), but in his last 10 starts he dominated hitters with a 2.88 ERA with 70 strikeouts in only 59 innings. In only 13 big league innings he continued to flash his dominance striking out nearly 30% of the batters he faced. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can touch 98 if he needs it. The fastball has good sink and boring action that jumps on hitters because of his extension. His changeup and curveball (looks like a slider), can both miss a ton of bats. As the 2012 season wore on he metamorphosed from a "grip it and rip it" thrower to pitcher who relied less on the fastball and sequenced his secondary pitches more frequently. If he begins the year in the Cardinals rotation he’s a top 30 fantasy starting pitcher.