It was a travesty this offseason when starter Lance Lynn went — like many other free agents — jobless until late into the winter and early spring. Lynn ended up settling for a one-year, $12 million contract with the Twins. He just turned 31 and underwent Tommy John surgery in late 2015 but had been a reliable starter his entire career and put up strong numbers in his return last year.
Unfortunately for the Twins, Lynn has been abysmal this season. Facing his former team on Wednesday afternoon, Lynn gave up three runs to the Cardinals on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts in three innings. He now owns a 7.47 ERA with a 41/29 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings.
Lynn has lasted fewer than five innings in half of his eight starts. He has allowed five or more runs in half of those starts. His ERA is fifth-worst in baseball (min. 30 innings) behind only Josh Tomlin (8.10), Matt Moore (8.03), Marcus Stroman (7.71), and Kendall Graveman (7.60). Lynn’s average of only 1.41 strikeouts for every walk is eighth-worst in baseball. According to FanGraphs, only 17 pitchers have given up more hard contact than Lynn (40.8%) and only nine have given up more home runs as a percentage of fly balls (20.0%). Any way you slice it, it’s been an awful year so far for Lynn.
The AL Central is baseball’s worst division with the Indians leading the way at 21-21. The Twins hold second place with an 18-21 record. Getting Lynn to right his ship would go along way towards giving the Twins a leg up in a wide open division.