Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Congratulations to John Lannan, who tonight embarassed the Binghamton Mets, pitching his first complete game shutout. In all, Lannan faced just 32 batters, recording just one strikeout and throwing 80 of 106 pitches (holy crap!) for strikes. The only batter who looked even remotely capable of hitting Lannan tonight was Jeff Francouer.

Lannan has become one of the better "stoppers" in baseball, and stands in the class of Zach Greinke and Dan Haren in that his team gives him plenty of opportunities to end losing streaks. Greinke and Haren do it by baffling hitters with electric stuff, denying baserunners, and resembling Hall of Famers. Lannan, on the other hand, does it with... good God. He locates well and gets ground balls. The question is: can any pitcher who refuses to strike out batters succeed long-term? Is there an example?

Sure, a few (21 active players) have been able to keep their spot in the rotation while posting less than 4 SO/9, but to be compared to Carlos Silva or Brian Meadows isn't going to be taken as a compliment. Most other pitchers on the list are either extreme groundball pitchers (Aaron Cook), or Tom Glavine at ages 22 and 41. Strikeouts are important in the homerun era, when Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham patrol almost 50% of the outfield (Nyjer Morgan covers the other 55%). I expect that Lannan's long run without K's is a fluke and he will push his numbers back up around 5 SO/9 next year.

Edit: Actually, John Lannan matches up pretty well with Nick Blackburn, who also continues to succeed in an unconventional manner. Blackburn is a righty, so it can't all be attributed to funky lefty junk.

1 comment:

  1. my dad INVENTED the unintentional intentional walk!