What’s Behind Lance Lynn’s Success?

No doubt Lance Lynn has been good this year, actually Lance Lynn has been great this year. He’s  9-2 so far with a 2.66 ERA. In both of these stats he’s at the top of the league. So why has he been this good in 2012?

Let’s look at it from a sabermetric point of view…

  • Well first off, he’s done an extraordinary job with runners on base. With men on base opponents are only hitting .189 against him. Not they’re doing too much better with no one on base (.216), but that’s still a considerably low average.
  • When runners do get into scoring position against him, opponents are only hitting .213 which also is low. He buckles down with RISP, he puts on that bulldog mentality and works to get out of the jam. Another stat that has wow factor to it is LOB%. Lynn has left runners on base 80% of the time they get there.
  • Lynn is a big boy. At 6’5/250 lbs he can bring the strikeouts and thus far, he’s proved that he’s very much capable of being a strikeout pitcher averaging 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. I was never too good at math, but that means he’s averaging 1 strikeout an inning.
  • A big reason he’s a strikeout pitcher, is the fact that his fastball averages out at 93 mph. Something that’s common with hard throwers is that they give up a lot of home runs. Lynn has not. In 74.1 innings pitched, he’s only allowed 5 home runs! And all five of them were solo-shots which again backs up how good he is with runners on base. His HR/FB (HomeRun per FlyBall) ratio is only 8%, which basically means only 8% of his fly balls end up over the wall. Limiting home runs is an essential ingredient to successful pitching and Lynn does that.

Now, I don’t think Lynn will keep this pace up, which would put him at about 25 wins at the end of the year, but there’s no reason to believe he can’t win 20 games and keep his ERA under 3, assuming health. Lynn is not eligible for Rookie of the Year, but with numbers like these the Cy Young could be a possibility and if he keeps it up, a very real one at that.

Thanks for reading.

Zack

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