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