July 29, 2021

Why signing free agents is paying off like never before (ESPN)

Early this past season, Lance Lynn was wearing his fourth uniform in less than two years, and his pitching was a mess. On May 4, he walked five batters and struck out only three, giving up five runs and inflating his ERA to nearly 6. He was in the second month of a three-year deal with the Texas Rangers, he was about to turn 32, and at this point in his career he was a pitcher you were pretty sure you understood.

Two years earlier, as a Cardinal, Lynn had thrown more sinking fastballs than four-seamers. But as a Ranger, he reimagined himself: After May 4, almost 80 percent of his fastballs were four-seamers. He also threw his slider — some call his a cutter — more than he ever had. He even added a tick of velocity to all of his pitches. “Faced with a crisis that could have sent his season into a death spiral, Lynn was willing to accept and embrace the data-heavy approach of the coaching staff,” Evan Grant later wrote for the Dallas Morning News.

These were not the small adjustments a pitcher is always working…

Read “Why signing free agents is paying off like never before” at ESPN