Author Topic: John Lannan is a better man than I'll ever be  (Read 7808 times)

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Offline Sharp

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I was in no way arguing that Lannan is as good as Palmer just that there are guys that can survive not striking people out.
People can definitely survive while not striking people out, but using a guy from a completely different era like Palmer to prove your point isn't ideal.  Someone like Maddux or Hudson would be more modern examples of non super-high strikeout guys who nonetheless find success, and they all have distinguishing features: playing in a great pitcher's park, minimizing their HR/FB, inducing groundballs at an absurd rate (> 2 to 1 GB/FB ratio), walking virtually no one.  Lannan doesn't have any of those things.  And to be honest, he doesn't really pass the "eye test" either.
Seriously, I think fangraphs/sabr guys just don't like Lannan because maybe he forces them to admit that their formulas aren't as perfect as they like to think.  I've never seen so much talk about beliefs and luck from a crowd that claims to eschew such things.  They see what they want to see, and when they look at Lannan, they see a horrible pitcher and dammit to hell if anyone is going to convince them otherwise.
That's a popular sentiment here, and for awhile I agreed with you guys.  But the sabr community has done plenty of work try to figure out whether Lannan is doing anything remarkable that helps keep his ERA below his traditional peripherals.  They don't hate him, they're curious about him because, like the other guys I mentioned above, studying him may produce new insights into other ways pitchers have of controlling their ERAs.  But... Lannan doesn't really have anything special going for him.  He just doesn't.  The more you analyze him, the more his results scream "luck."  And indeed, he regressed significantly last year, and there are plenty of starts left this year in which he might regress.  It's in our nature as fans to try to tell ourselves that a guy who's having a great year despite warning signs that it's being done with smoke and mirrors has something special, something great that will help him defy his numbers.  People did it with Ubaldo last year, too, and we did it with Pudge for awhile.  Ultimately, the best way Lannan can prove the stats guys wrong is to continue to have season that are much better than his peripherals suggest.  But the overwhelming balance of evidence is on their side.