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John Lackey, Ace?


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#1 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:12 AM

As of this morning, John Lackey has the lowest xFIP and SIERA among Red Sox starters. He has a higher K/9 than Lester and a lower BB/9 than Buchholz. He leads the starters in GB%, while only Dempster has a lower LD%. He is fooling people: he leads the staff in O-Swing%.

 

Is this for real? Are we going to have to learn to love the big horsefaced lummox?



#2 HomeRunBaker


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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:25 AM

As of this morning, John Lackey has the lowest xFIP and SIERA among Red Sox starters. He has a higher K/9 than Lester and a lower BB/9 than Buchholz. He leads the starters in GB%, while only Dempster has a lower LD%. He is fooling people: he leads the staff in O-Swing%.

 

Is this for real? Are we going to have to learn to love the big horsefaced lummox?

 

As much as we all dump on Lackey i gotta respect the effort he put in to reshape his body and get his surgically repaired elbow healthy.  We don't know how much pain/discomfort he was in two years ago but clearly he was pitching hurt.  It's easy to say we should have shut him down however down the stretch in 2011 when we were starting guys like Miller and Weiland this guy kept taking the hill and making an effort while injured when we had nobody else.

 

Kudos to him.......Now if we can just work on his personality a bit. 



#3 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:27 AM

As of this morning, John Lackey has the lowest xFIP and SIERA among Red Sox starters. He has a higher K/9 than Lester and a lower BB/9 than Buchholz. He leads the starters in GB%, while only Dempster has a lower LD%. He is fooling people: he leads the staff in O-Swing%.

 

Is this for real? Are we going to have to learn to love the big horsefaced lummox?

 

I think it's for real.  He's looking more and more like the guy who was the Angels defacto ace and the guy they thought they were getting when they signed him.  He may not ultimately end up with better numbers than Buchholz or Lester, but he'll be close, which makes him a hell of a number 3.



#4 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:34 AM

It depends on what you mean by "Is this real?" Let's assume, just for a moment, that he's back to being west coast John Lackey and compare his peripherals to that segment of his career. Even giving that much of the benefit of the doubt, his k/9 is the highest of his career by 0.51 and is significantly higher than the 6.5 to 7.5-ish range he usually lived in. His bb/9 is right about where it was when he was anchoring the Angels' staff, which is great to see and may be sustainable. His hr/9 is a touch lower than he was putting up at that point in his career, so some regression is still likely. His babip is also a touch lower than he would normally see while in Anaheim. Finally, the ground ball rate is the highest of his career by far, but that could be due to changes in his approach that he made while recovering from TJ surgery.

So no, I don't think it's real if you are asking if he can continue to be this good (the best starter on the staff). But, yes, it's real if you are asking if he can continue to be an effective starting pitcher who can consistently give the team a chance to win, even against really good opposing pitchers. A healthy John Lackey is probably a very good pitcher. At worst, he's very likely an above average one.

#5 HillysLastWalk

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:14 PM

Was I right, or was I right!?

Here is an espn insider article from Dave Cameron: http://insider.espn....first-pitch-mlb

Lackey showed up in 2013 determined to get his career back on track. It's only six starts so far, but not only is he pitching like the John Lackey of old, but he's actually pitching beter than he did in his heyday in Anaheim.


That was yesterday, so now its seven starts. And it seems like even in his 'bad starts' this year, it boiled down to one bad inning that spiraled out of control a bit (this is from memory, which could be faulty). Very aggressive, with life on the fastball, man he looks good.

I especially like the 53.6% GB% and 9.08 k/9, those are career highs (of course its early), he also has a 67% first pitch strike%: http://www.fangraphs...1507&position=P

Three solid starters will go a long way in securing some type of playoff spot. This is exactly the type of break the Red Sox need after the past two years of 'breaking bad'.

Edited by HillysLastWalk, 25 May 2013 - 12:31 PM.


#6 URI


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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:35 PM

It depends on what you mean by "Is this real?" Let's assume, just for a moment, that he's back to being west coast John Lackey and compare his peripherals to that segment of his career. Even giving that much of the benefit of the doubt, his k/9 is the highest of his career by 0.51 and is significantly higher than the 6.5 to 7.5-ish range he usually lived in. His bb/9 is right about where it was when he was anchoring the Angels' staff, which is great to see and may be sustainable. His hr/9 is a touch lower than he was putting up at that point in his career, so some regression is still likely. His babip is also a touch lower than he would normally see while in Anaheim. Finally, the ground ball rate is the highest of his career by far, but that could be due to changes in his approach that he made while recovering from TJ surgery.

So no, I don't think it's real if you are asking if he can continue to be this good (the best starter on the staff). But, yes, it's real if you are asking if he can continue to be an effective starting pitcher who can consistently give the team a chance to win, even against really good opposing pitchers. A healthy John Lackey is probably a very good pitcher. At worst, he's very likely an above average one.

Thanks Rudy.

#7 Toe Nash

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 03:17 PM

Kind of an aside, as Lackey has definitely returned to "form," but strikeouts are way up this year. This is important when comparing rates to guys' careers. 

 

So far in the AL in 2013, 19.87% of PAs have ended in a K
LAckey is at 24.24%, or 121.99% of league average.
 
In Lackey's previous career best for K%, 2005, he struck out 22.3% of batters he faced. But the league was at 15.82%, so his rate was 140.96% of league average.
 
So in relation to the league, he had a better K rate earlier in his career (Not unsurprising as he was 8 years and one major surgery younger).


#8 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:36 PM

Thanks Rudy.


That's just mean.

#9 SydneySox


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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:12 AM

Or is it? It's hard to know.

#10 mr guido

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:57 AM

Oh yes, absolutely. Sure he's pitched 1,915 innings in his career, with a strikeout rate that declined every year between 2005 and 2011, and an increasing walk rate every year from 2007-2011, and an average ERA north of 4. But now that he's pitched 39 innings this year against mostly terrible baseball teams, and has managed to post career-highs in K-rate & lows in ERA during those 7 starts (4 of which even went longer than 5 innings!) you'd really have to say he's now an ACE. The only remaining question is whether he'll be able to fend off Jose Iglesias for the MVP award this year, which might be hard since Jose's hitting .481.



#11 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:34 AM

Just to be clear, the thread title was tongue-in-cheek. No, I don't really think he's our best pitcher, but I wanted to start a discussion about the fact that he's been pitching so well you could actually make a case for that proposition.

 

I think including 2011 in your timelines is a little misleading given that we know he was hurt by then. And using 2005-2011 as the period for K rate, but 2007-2011 as the period for walk rate, constitutes cherry-picking. His walk rate as late as 2010 was better than it was in 2005, but none of the variation in that period was huge; he's gone back and forth over his career between a reasonably low walk rate and a very low one.

 

On the K rate side, what appears to have happened is that he changed his approach in 2007 to pitch a bit more to contact, with notable drops in both K and BB rates that year compared to 2006. From 2007 on, the K rate did continue to decline, but very gradually until 2011; his 2010 K rate was closer to the 2007 number than the latter was to the 2006 number.

 

I agree that it's unlikely he'll post a career-high K rate when all is said and done, even in this K-happy era. But are you really saying that the fact he declined from 2005 to 2011 means he must continue to decline, even in the aftermath of TJ surgery? No partial recovery of this skill (such as it was) is possible?



#12 TomRicardo


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Posted 26 May 2013 - 03:19 PM

That's just mean.

 

Yea he shouldn't light up Snod like that.

 

Lackey's transformation is huge.  This team is night and day 






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