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I drafted two players in all four of my NFBC leagues this year. One was Dylan Carlson who was so cheap that unless he caught fire early on and established himself it didn’t matter. The other was Lance Lynn.
Lynn fit the profile of a pitcher I liked: a veteran who has been good for years. A slow start in 2022 made him cheaper than usual, but he finished strong, and he was more or less than same guy as always — or so I thought.
Fast forward a month into the year, and he’s got an ERA of 7.51 and a WHIP of 1.60. Worse, because of his bad starts, two of my managers benched him for one of his rare good starts, and his numbers (8.54, 1.90 and 7.88, 1.67, respectively) are even worse. Considering Lynn’s made every start, the effect on the standings in those categories to date is exactly what it would be if you had a pitcher in your lineup, not with a 4.80 ERA, not with a 5.50 ERA, not with a 6.50 ERA, but a 7.51 ERA all year long. You cannot compete with such a pitcher. It’s like having Joey Gallo in your lineup if Gallo got full-time at-bats and batting average were two categories out of five.
It’s unfortunate that Lynn was the guy I had picked to go in on. It could easily have been Sonny Gray who I used to draft every year, or even Clayton Kershaw, who I always have too, except not this year, and who was only slightly more expensive. But I picked Lynn and quadrupled down because I like consolidated rooting interests, rather than needing too many different things to go right across my teams.
I actually don’t think we should drop Lynn, though. His BABIP and HR/FB are way out of line, and his other stats aren’t terrible. His velocity is down ever-so-slightly, but his Ks (nearly 11 per 9) and swinging strike rates (12.9) are in line with or better than past performance. That said, I don’t dismiss BABIP and HR/FB solely as bad luck. The best pitchers don’t get crushed like that, and he’s obviously grooving too many pitches.
Will he adjust, especially as the weather warms, and balls fly farther? I don’t know. I also don’t know to what extent he’s been affected by rule changes. But I’d stick with him against all but the best offenses or worst parks.
But that’s also just my nature — if a player I like does poorly, he owes me, and I expect to collect. It’s saved me a lot of heartache (nothing worse than dropping a struggling guy you liked and seeing him go off for another team), but it’s also cost me dearly at times — sticking with a cooked player too long out of pride/spite/rage when any sane person would have cut him.
I don’t think Lynn is cooked, but he might be.