The Los Angeles Dodgers have a dire need for starting pitching, and the first step they took to address that was acquiring Lance Lynn, along with Joe Kelly, from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a package headlined by prospect Nick Nastrini.
Lynn has a long history of success pitching at the Major League level, making a name for himself as a top-of-the-rotation innings eater with the St. Louis Cardinals before stops with the Texas Rangers and White Sox. However, the 36-year-old is in the midst of the worst season of his career, posting a 6.47 ERA in 119.2 innings, but some underlying metrics suggest he’s performed better than his run prevention numbers indicate.
“I’ve had some ups and downs this year, for sure,” Lynn acknowledged. “When you look at ERA, wins and losses, it’s the worst I’ve ever had in my career. And then you look at strikeouts per nine and stuff like that, they’re the best I’ve ever had.
“Like I said, it’s been a weird year. Hopefully we can make sure the ERA and wins take care of themselves, and we keep the other things going in a positive direction. Maybe a change of scenery will help that.”
Lynn’s strikeout rate of 26.9% his the highest mark of his career, up from his average of 24%. Lynn’s walk rate is right at his career average of roughly 8%. Lynn’s expected FIP also estimates his ERA should be 4.02 as his home run to fly ball ratio of 20.6% is an unsustainable mark and nearly double that of his career average of 10.9%.
In addition, the White Sox have one of MLB’s worst defenses, if not the worst, so going to the Dodgers should help him perform better in things that are outside of his control as well.
“It is a clean slate, because you’re on a new team,” Lynn said. “But you don’t forget the last four months either. There’s a lot of positives I can take. And the negatives I’ve had, I need to make sure those don’t come back up.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also believe there’s upside in Lynn with sequencing changes and his “unluckiness” that should regress back to the mean. It’s still unlikely Lynn would pitch at an extremely high level, but he could become a competent starter for the middle of the rotation, which is all the Dodgers essentially need from him right now.
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about him as far as the compete, the preparedness,” Roberts said. “I think a little bit, he’s a guy that takes the baseball, he goes deep into games, and victim of sort of the circumstance. I just feel that getting in this environment, playing meaningful games will bring out the best in him.”
Lynn is set to make his Dodgers debut on Aug. 1 against the Oakland Athletics, and he hopes to make a good impression with his new team.
“I physically feel good,” Lynn said. “When you’ve played a long time and you feel good, you know you can go out there and are capable of a lot of things. Getting over here, seeing what the plan is, getting with the catchers and just try to hit the ground running.”
Lance Lynn hoping to help Dodgers in postseason push
After leaving the White Sox, a club that has been one of the worst in baseball, Lynn joins a Dodgers team with high expectations, and he’s ready to help them compete for another National League West title.
“Like I said when I left Chicago, unfortunately we didn’t play the way that we wanted to,” Lynn said. “To have a chance to salvage the season personally, coming here and see what I can do, see if I can help this team as much as possible, that’s the plan.”
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