This is Ben Humphrey (bgh). Here's part two of stlfan's two-part look at Lance Lynn's struggles. I think it's an interesting perspective given Craig's main post today on Lynn and Joe Kelly.
In Part I (here) I looked at several different reasons why people dislike Lance Lynn regarding various struggles. I also showed that the real struggle for him is against left-handed hitters. Righties hit .234/.282/.346 against Lynn. That's an OPS of .628 - basically Jose Molina at the plate. Lefties hit .258/.369/.427 against Lynn. That's an OPS of .796 - basically Brady Anderson at the plate.
I'm going to look at several aspects of what Lynn does against righties and lefties in order to figure out what is working, what isn't working, and any suggestions I might have for how to fix those problems.
How does Lynn generally pitch right-handed batters?
57.26% four-seam fastballs
14.57% two-seam fastballs (sinkers)
12.35% cutters (cut fastballs)
0.32% change ups
4-Sm v. RHB from catcher's perspective.
In this picture, you can see that Lynn throws fastballs mostly away to right-handers, but occasionally leaves pitches over the middle of the plate and upper-middle of the plate (about 16% combined).
CB v. RHB from catcher's perspective.
In this picture, you can see that Lynn throws curveballs mostly low and away (~25%) and out of the zone low (~50%) against right handed batters. He also throws about 1/5 (~18%) of his curveballs in the bottom third of the zone.
2-Sm v. RHB from catcher's perspective.
In this picture, you can see that Lynn throws sinkers mostly inside to right-handed batters (over 56% of pitches inside off of the plate and 21% more on the inside half of the plate - for more than 85% of his two-seamers closer to the batter than the middle of the plate.)
CT v. RHB from catcher's perspective.
In this picture, you can see that Lynn throws his cutter mostly low and away to right-handed batters, trying to get them to chase quite often. His locations are almost perfectly synced with his curveball locations.
CH v. RHB from catcher's perspective.
There are not nearly enough change ups to be meaningful data, but when he uses his change up, Lynn puts them low and in - to play them off of his sinker.
How does Lynn generally pitch left-handed batters and how does he do against them?
45.87% four-seam fastballs
26.09% two-seam fastballs (sinkers)
3.54% cutters (cut fastballs)
9.91% change ups
4-Sm v. LHB from catcher's perspective.
Lynn's four-seam fastball against left-handed hitters has very little consistency. He does not keep it down in the zone like he does against right-handed batters, though. That could be somewhere Lynn can improve his numbers., and it is the first change I would make to Lynn's repertoire. However, against the four-seamer, lefties only hit .230 with a .419 slugging. While the change to throwing it lower may not improve Lynn's numbers a ton, it might help a little.
CB v. LHB from catcher's perspective.
Lynn's curveball against left-handed hitters is very consistent - low and away. He has been very good with the curve because of it's consistency, with batters hitting .260 with a .375 slugging against him. The second change I would make to Lynn's repertoire would be to throw the curve more often - at least 20% of the time - against lefties.
2-Sm v. LHB from catcher's perspective.
Even though Lynn keeps the sinker low and away very well against left-handed batters, he throws the sinker over 1/4 of the time against them and he has been getting crushed on it. Batters hit .357 with a .541 slugging against him. The third change I would make to Lynn's repertoire would be to throw the sinker less than 15% of the time against lefties.
CT v. LHB from catcher's perspective.
Lynn utilizes his cutter by throwing it down - and mostly inside - against lefties. He rarely throws it, however. If you look at his sinkers vs. RHB again, he was over 14%. Those pitches break towards the batter. He's successful with that pitch. The cutter breaks in on lefties and he only throws it 3.5% of the time. I'd raise this several percent as well - if possible, that's the 4th change I would make to Lynn's repertoire. LHB only hit .250 with a .429 SLG against it.
CH v. LHB from catcher's perspective.
Lynn's change up against left-handed batters are used the same way as his sinker, except they keep lefties off-balance (.197 average and .288 slugging) when he uses it. I'd say that 10% of the time is a very good number. This could go up, but only slightly.
What Else Would I Tell Lance Lynn?
Throw more first pitch strikes to lefties. Against right-handed batters, he throws first pitches in the zone 48.89% of the time. He also keeps the ball on the outer portion of the plate (just off the plate, not high or low) 13.97% of the time. That's over 60% of the time in areas that cannot hurt you really - especially since the strike zone seems to be a bit wider on the outside portion of the plate vs. RHB. Against lefties, he throws first pitches in the zone just 37.32% of the time. That's the 5th change I would make to Lynn's repertoire, throw first pitch strikes more often. He is not attacking batters, and thus falling behind much more often. The outside corner to left-handers is just not called with as much consistency as the outside corner to RHB (at least that is my perception both from the eye test and from heat maps I have seen online from Pitch f/x data.
So generally, my rules for Lance Lynn:
5) Throw more strikes on the first pitch against lefties.
4) Throw more cutters to lefties.
3) Throw the sinker less than 15% of the time against lefties.
2) Throw the curve over 20% of the time against lefties.
1) Be more consistent with fastball location against lefties.