The Twins continue rebuilding their rotation by signing veteran Lance Lynn. What will his value be in the American League Central?
The Minnesota Twins make another move to stay aggressive by signing another starting pitcher. The team signs veteran pitcher Lance Lynn to a one-year deal. He had a great 2017 season with the Cardinals. How will he do with the Twins this seasons?
As Minnesota’s No. 3 starter, Lynn will look to continue his bounce back in the struggling AL Central. By trading for Jake Odorizzi and signing Lynn, the Twins close the gap between them and the Indians
The White Sox and Tigers will likely not be competitive all that much this season. The Royals made a 180 as they signed a few veterans themselves to make the offense, at least, look somewhat competitive. Lynn will be able to take advantage of the poor matchups this division provides.
Lynn pitched to a 4.25 ERA and 1.517 in five inter-league starts last season. He made just one start against his new division opponents, two runs in six innings at home against the Royals. The AL Central is home to some hitter-friendly parks as three ranked in the top 10 in home runs, Target Field, Guaranteed Rate Field and Comerica Park.
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Lynn made 33 starts last season after missing all of the 2016 season recovering Tommy John surgery. He finished with a 3.43 ERA, 1.229 WHIP, 7.4 K9 and 3.8 BB9 with an 11-8 record. Lynn pitched an average of 5.64 innings per start last year, down from his 6.17 innings per start in 2014.
It’s an expected given as he’s just one year removed from surgery. Unfortunately, he regressed in other areas in his first season back. His HR/9 doubled between 2015 and 2017. His strikeout rate has declined over the last four seasons while his walk rate continues to climb.
Lynn kept his ground ball rate near his career average but the fly ball rate went up a couple of percentage points. It also didn’t help that opposing batters weren’t swinging at Lynn’s pitches, down 2.4 percent in swinging and 1.9 percent in first-pitch strike rates.
Things only got worse in the second half for most of his stats. The only improvements came to his groundball and flyball rates. He walked almost a batter more per nine innings while his strikeout rate dropped 1.75 percent.
Not counting the lost 2016 season, Lynn has pitched in at least 175 innings and made 29 starts in his first full five seasons. I project another 31 starts with a 3.60 ERA and 1.33 WHIP for the 22nd round pick. Lynn has value as a high-end SP4 in standard leagues.