Author Topic: John Lannan is a better man than I'll ever be  (Read 7995 times)

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Offline Lintyfresh85

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LOL so a pitcher in the minors can come in right away and give close 200 ip and a sub 4 era.

I believe so, yes. And if not, the money saved by bringing up a minor league pitcher will add to someone else's contract that will overall succeed the value of Lannan.

That career 4.04 era isn't credible at all.

Not once have I ever said that.

You guys havent outright said he sucked but you are under appreciating his value and production.

Maybe we are, maybe we aren't.

You dont have enough quantifiable evidence to back the bolded statement you made. Not based of the history off the pitching prospects from this franchise's farm system.

How many legitimate pitching prospects has this organization really had? Stras, Zimm... who else?

Offline Tyler Durden

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Metssuck (great name!) - I agree that Lannan doesn't really get the respect he deserves and that he probably would get if he got the same results but had a 95 mph fastball.  But it's not really limited to this board - lots of advanced stats guys have predicted that Lannan would eventually collapse because he gets hit a lot and doesn't strike guys out very much.

But he's managed to get it done for a few years now so it may be time to just take him at face value and stop looking for flaws that may not be there and a collapse that may not come.

If he can eat 200 innings with a 4ish ERA, I think most people would welcome that on this club.

Offline The Chief

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And if not, the money saved by bringing up a minor league pitcher will add to someone else's contract that will overall succeed the value of Lannan.

I know we are all suffering from Stockholm syndrome after years of <60m payrolls, but I'd like to think that there is no need to get rid of a known quantity just to save a couple million.  If the budget is that tight, whoever they sign isn't going to be that much of an improvement.

Offline metssuck

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Based off the success he hs thus far in the majors, you don't considered Lannan a legitmate pitching prospect..

Offline Lintyfresh85

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Based off the success he hs thus far in the majors, you don't considered Lannan a legitmate pitching prospect..

No. He's 26, 27 before the year is over.

Offline Evolution33

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In 2010 45 starting pitchers pitched at least 200 innings. If Milone, Meyers, Solis, Pea****, Maya, or someone else can come up and do that then Lannan can be traded, but why trade someone based on what someone might do?

Offline The Chief

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In 2010 45 starting pitchers pitched at least 200 innings. If Milone, Meyers, Solis, Pea****, Maya, or someone else can come up and do that then Lannan can be traded, but why trade someone based on what someone might do?

I've said this at least three times, but Linty is ignoring me the old-fashioned way, I guess.

Offline Sharp

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This isn't specifically addressed at metssuck, but it's important to realize that a trend of outperforming your peripherals is something that has to stabilize over years and years and years.  At this time last year, Ubaldo was having a season for the ages, and he finished up with a 3.60 ERA.  There is really no reason to believe that Lannan is going to be much better than his peripherals this year.  He's walking batters at a career-high rate and has been pretty lucky in stranding runners on the basepaths.  His groundball rate, while high, is not absurdly so--he's not going to receive a huge boost from it.  His BABIP is around his career average at .283, and with the Nats' defense that might be sustainable, but I wouldn't lay any money on it.  And in a year where strikeouts are at a record high, Lannan is barely striking out five per nine innings.  People have been studying Lannan for a long time to see if there's something in his pitch selection, or movement, or groundballing tendencies, that might lead to his beating his peripherals (like they have with Cain, Hudson, Rivera, etc.) and nobody has found anything.

I'd love to believe in Lannan, I really would.  I'd love to believe that he's doing something magical that makes him a better pitcher than he appears on paper.  But the overwhelming body of evidence suggests that it's luck.

Offline Evolution33

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This isn't specifically addressed at metssuck, but it's important to realize that a trend of outperforming your peripherals is something that has to stabilize over years and years and years.  At this time last year, Ubaldo was having a season for the ages, and he finished up with a 3.60 ERA.  There is really no reason to believe that Lannan is going to be much better than his peripherals this year.  He's walking batters at a career-high rate and has been pretty lucky in stranding runners on the basepaths.  His groundball rate, while high, is not absurdly so--he's not going to receive a huge boost from it.  His BABIP is around his career average at .283, and with the Nats' defense that might be sustainable, but I wouldn't lay any money on it.  And in a year where strikeouts are at a record high, Lannan is barely striking out five per nine innings.  People have been studying Lannan for a long time to see if there's something in his pitch selection, or movement, or groundballing tendencies, that might lead to his beating his peripherals (like they have with Cain, Hudson, Rivera, etc.) and nobody has found anything.

I'd love to believe in Lannan, I really would.  I'd love to believe that he's doing something magical that makes him a better pitcher than he appears on paper.  But the overwhelming body of evidence suggests that it's luck.


Lannan has been an above average pitcher for most of his career. I don't know if he is just a lucky guy that will always be lucky or if there is something he is doing that we don't understand, but as far as walking people and not getting a lot of K's Jim Palmer made a Hall of Fame career out of doing just that. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1009973&position=P

Offline Lintyfresh85

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I've said this at least three times, but Linty is ignoring me the old-fashioned way, I guess.

I'm not ignoring you at all. I just happen to have more faith in the trio of Milone, Pea**** and Meyers than some do. And I'm willing to take that blind leap of faith, without seeing them pitch a day in the major leagues.

Offline Sharp

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Lannan has been an above average pitcher for most of his career. I don't know if he is just a lucky guy that will always be lucky or if there is something he is doing that we don't understand, but as far as walking people and not getting a lot of K's Jim Palmer made a Hall of Fame career out of doing just that. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1009973&position=P

Let's not be silly here.  Palmer had a far better career than Lannan could dream of.  It's important to keep in mind that (1) he played in a different era where league BABIP was much lower--his career BABIP of .249 is absolutely unsustainable today, (2) he kept the ball in the park at an insane rate that Lannan isn't even close to approaching, suggesting he was probably a super groundballer like Hudson, and (3) he has 19 years of evidence that he was beating his peripherals consistently, while Lannan sort of has 3 (one of which showed the opposite).  They aren't comparable.  Palmer was also better than Lannan in every meaningful statistic.

Offline Minty Fresh

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I'm not ignoring you at all. I just happen to have more faith in the trio of Milone, Pea**** and Meyers than some do. And I'm willing to take that blind leap of faith, without seeing them pitch a day in the major leagues.

But you're saying it would be smart to "non-tender" him and call somebody up in the HOPES that they can replace him.  At least admit that's a big risk - especially if they do the classless thing and non-tender him. 

Offline Lintyfresh85

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Not that this will sway anyone... but of all pitcher on the Nats that qualify for the ERA title (0.1 IP/Team Game), Lannan has the highest WHIP on the team at 1.41.

Or, nearly 1 1/2 runners per inning. A low ERA, in my mind (mindfact), is unsustainable when you place so many runners on base per inning.

But you're saying it would be smart to "non-tender" him and call somebody up in the HOPES that they can replace him.  At least admit that's a big risk - especially if they do the classless thing and non-tender him. 

There most certainly is a risk there, I have no problem admitting that.

Offline Evolution33

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Let's not be silly here.  Palmer had a far better career than Lannan could dream of.  It's important to keep in mind that (1) he played in a different era where league BABIP was much lower--his career BABIP of .249 is absolutely unsustainable today, (2) he kept the ball in the park at an insane rate that Lannan isn't even close to approaching, suggesting he was probably a super groundballer like Hudson, and (3) he has 19 years of evidence that he was beating his peripherals consistently, while Lannan sort of has 3 (one of which showed the opposite).  They aren't comparable.  Palmer was also better than Lannan in every meaningful statistic.

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.

Offline The Chief

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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.

Offline Lintyfresh85

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I'm not a huge fan of Lannan because he simply doesn't inspire confidence in me as a fan.

He looks unsure of himself and constantly afraid to make a mistake. I need to see an aggressive attitude out there... or at least a "business as usual" look... not Lannan scared/sad face.

Of course, inspiring confidence in fans is not part of his job description... but it goes a long way in making believers out of skeptics.

Offline Tyler Durden

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From Boz's chat today:  http://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-0613.html

---------
Really?
I am as optimistic as anyone about the Nats but I am surprised everyone seems to think Lannan is part of the solution. He's a hardworking plugger but nothing special. (Is he a good guy? I can't remember.) I wouldn't be surprised to see Lannan gone either.
– June 13, 2011 11:15 AM Permalink
A.Thomas Boswell :
Okay, I'm a hopeless case. I studied Lannan over the weekend in as much depth as I know how to study any pitcher. After 107 MLB starts __a significant sample__ he has a 4.04 ERA but a 32-43 record.

Is he really an average MLB starter, and thus very useful 4th-5th starter, as his ERA would imply? Or does his high Whip (1.411 career) and poor W/K ratio mena he's a low-stuff guy whose record really tells the ttuth: lucky to be in a MLB rotation.

The correct answer is "A." I''m positive. His run suppirt his whole career has been abysmal __3.6 runs per nine innings pityched vs the MLB norm of 4.6. Think about that: 3.6 vs 4.6! You can hardly find anybody over a four-year period who has been supported that badly. Also, this is the first year he's had a good defense __and his ERA has suddenly dropped to the 3.60's. Connected? A pitch-to-contyact guy who is great at getting DPs. He has "converted" 16% of all GIDP "situations" __far higher than the league norm of 11%. That means he's gotten about 25 more GIDPs in his career than you'd expect.

What does that MEAN? I have a method to adjust WHIP for GIDP which adds an out and subtracts a runner from the bases. Lannan's real "adjusted WHIP" should be about 1.333. That, to me, explains why his ERA is 4.04, not 4.70 like the FanGraphs and FIP stats predict. They are missing a key factor. Also, his GO/AO ratio of 1.70 vs a MLB norm of 1.07 is really excellent. If you con sistently get that many ground balls __and he has for 107 starts__ then your BABIP will be better than normal and you'll get a ton of GIDP.

Oh, Goid, I didn't really just write that, did I? Just pretend I'm the guy quoting the Maxims of La Rochefoucauld, not the stat dweeb.

Sign Lannan to an extension if he keeps this up another six-eight weeks. Yeah, make him do it a little longer. Don't know why. I just feel that way. He's durable. Who knows why? But he ius. He's your 4th or 5th starter.     

– June 13, 2011 12:34 PM

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.

Offline Tyler Durden

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I'm not a huge fan of Lannan because he simply doesn't inspire confidence in me as a fan.

He looks unsure of himself and constantly afraid to make a mistake. I need to see an aggressive attitude out there... or at least a "business as usual" look... not Lannan scared/sad face.

Of course, inspiring confidence in fans is not part of his job description... but it goes a long way in making believers out of skeptics.

This almost sounds like....he doesn't look good in his uniform but somehow gets the job done.

Offline The Chief

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He doesn't inspire confidence in me either, but I feel obligated to defend him against what I feel like is a questionable argument against him.  If we had a crowded rotation, sure, Lannan is a fringe starter, but as of right now we've got Zimm and Stras next year.  I feel like there will be opportunities for other guys to get shots without having to get rid of Lannan.


Offline Sharp

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Also... Boswell's formula isn't really based on anything much.  You can't assume GIDPs.  SIERA does a great job of factoring them in, though, and it doesn't like Lannan one bit.

As for getting rid of Lannan?  I don't know that I want to.  I think he's showed one quality that's very important in a back of the rotation starter: durability.  All the talent in the world isn't worth anything if you're on the DL.  There's a reason Boston keeps Wakefield around.

Offline Lintyfresh85

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This almost sounds like....he doesn't look good in his uniform but somehow gets the job done.

The results are what they are. I would never argue those.

Do I think he keeps them up? No.

Is it because of his mound demeanor? Maybe.

Is that a rational way of thinking? Absolutely not.

Offline metssuck

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Cant judge a book by its`cover. I knew he had some grit when he wasnt afraid to throw some strikes to Barry Bonds in  2007. Everybody was afraid topitch to him cuz they didnt want to be the one he broke the record against. This guy just want out and played baseball and didnt care.

Offline The Chief

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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.

I'm sorry but I just can't accept that 95 games over 3.5 seasons is "lucky" but 14 games over half a season condemns him.  That absolutely screams "bias" in big read letters to me.

Offline MarquisDeSade

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I'm sorry but I just can't accept that 95 games over 3.5 seasons is "lucky" but 14 games over half a season condemns him.  That absolutely screams "bias" in big read letters to me.

Obviously you haven't seen the regression model they built to quantify luck...