Key Stats: In two playoff starts John Lackey had a 2.63 ERA 1.10 WHIP and struck out just 3.96 batters per 9 innings. The strikeouts are a problem, but the other numbers are solid. It was clear that against one of the best offenses in baseball Lackey can pitch.
Skeptics Say: The reason that I went to the playoff starts as a key stat was because the month of September would have been a bad leaving off point for Lackey. He had an 8.14 ERA and cost me a championship in a head to head league letting up 10 runs against the Rangers in his last start. From 2005 to 2007 Lackey had allowed one home run every 14 innings. In 2008 Lackey allowed a home run about once every 6.1 innings.
Peer Comparison: Who is the ace of the Angels? They are going to make Lackey their opening day starter because of seniority, but fantasy owners should draft Ervin Santana first. He was better than Lackey across the board as the stats below indicate.
Santana 16 wins 3.49 ERA 1.12 WHIP and 8.79 K/9 innings
Lackey 12 wins 3.75 ERA 1.23 WHIP and 7.18 K/9 innings
So case closed right? Well MLB.com, CBS, and profantasybaseball.com all have Lackey ahead of Santana. Longevity is important, but in the words of Terrell Owens “if it looks like a rat, it smells like a rat well then it’s a rat.”
Team Outlook: Apparently Lackey thought the Angels were good last year. He was quite angry that the team couldn’t get him run support in those two playoff starts he made. It could be a sign of the times to come for the Angels. Vladimir Guerrero is looking more like a DH only player and nobody is going to replace Mark Teixeira.
What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #9 Starting Pitcher; CBS Sportsline: #11 Starting Pitcher and #50 Overall; Fox Sports: #14 Starting Pitcher; ESPN: #10 Starting Pitcher; Yahoo: #12 Starting Pitcher and #85 Overall
Projection: Overall things don’t sound too promising. But wait…contract year.
17 wins 3.20 ERA 1.20 WHIP 158K in 205 innings
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