The Fantasy Baseball Droppables: Is it the end of the line for Lance Lynn?
The editors would like me to write a fantasy drops column this year, and we'll roll it out to you every couple of weeks. But let's establish some ground rules first.
One size never fits all with this stuff. What might be right for you might not be right for some. Season to taste. Outside advice is worth considering, but it's just a suggestion. At the end of the day, it's your decision. Make the best decision you can.
In some leagues, you might be able to trade some of these drops. In other pools, that could be difficult or perhaps impossible. You know your league better than an outsider could.
OK, let's get to it.
What the heck is going on with Chicago starting pitcher Lance Lynn?
Lynn was knocked around again Wednesday, giving up nine hits and seven runs over five messy innings at Kansas City. The loss bumped his ERA to 7.51. His WHIP is a bloated 1.60.
Lynn turns 36 on Saturday, and there are some difficult facts of life a pitcher faces in the back nine of his career. He was barely a fantasy contributor last year, posting a 3.99 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP over 121.2 innings.
What do the three true outcomes say? It's mostly messy. Lynn's oddly striking out plenty of batters — 11 per nine innings, a new personal best — but he's walking 3.5/9 and giving up 2.2 HR/9.
Outlier stats usually come with some regression lights flashing, but Lynn for the most part has earned this disastrous line. His expected ERA off batted-ball data is 5.45, which doesn't play in any format. He's allowing the worst hard-hit rate of his career. Also, his velocity is moving in the wrong direction; his average fastball is 92 mph, down from 92.7 and 93.5 the two previous seasons.
When a pitcher struggles, you'll hear common explanations. It's mechanical, they might say. We just need to make a few tweaks. That's a standard refrain. That can be true. Perhaps the White Sox can fix Lynn. Maybe Lynn can fix himself.
But when does a bad start become a bad season? And what about Lynn's 2022 season comforted you? Bottom line, the guy has made 29 starts since the beginning of last year, and they add up to a 4.93 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. I'm surprised he's still rostered in almost a quarter of Yahoo leagues.
Do what you need to do. Just remember this: So often in life (and in fantasy baseball), being afraid to make a mistake is the mistake. If you see something on the wire that catches your interest, you have my sign-off to cut Lynn.
Other cuts I might consider
I'm surprised to see Amed Rosario still rostered in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues.
He's doing one positive thing for fantasy teams right now: running, to the tune of six steals. He's showing almost zero pop, his average is below code, and he's carrying 40 strikeouts to just eight walks. A .234/.275/.328 slash could get Rosario demoted in the Cleveland lineup. Honestly, I'm shocked Terry Francona has been this patient.
MJ Melendez has similar roster respect as Rosario, despite not having much of a profile.
Melendez has a .213 average this year (it was .217 last season) and is slugging a mere .378. We need average or pop from this guy, one or the other. I get that catcher is a difficult fantasy position, but I'd prefer the wildly available Eric Haase to Melendez. Don't be afraid to work the wire at this position.
I still like where Brandon Pfaadt is likely headed long-term, but he has opened with two rough starts, including a blowup against the ordinary Marlins.
It's frustrating to see Pfaadt struggling to put batters away, with a modest six punch-outs over 9 2/3 innings. If he isn't going to be a strikeout ace right out of the box, he's not fantasy-relevant. I realize his tag is under 20% now, but it should be approaching zero. Put a chip on someone else.