Biographical

Portrait of John Lackey

John Lackey PCubs

Cubs Player Cards | Cubs Team Audit | Cubs Depth Chart

2018 Projections (Preseason PECOTA - seasonal age 39)
IP ERA WHIP SO W L SV WARP
141.7 4.59 1.29 120 9 7 0 0.9
Birth Date10-23-1978
Height6' 6"
Weight235 lbs
Age39 years, 9 months, 30 days
BatsR
ThrowsR
2.02014
4.12015
4.92016
1.22017
0.92018
+proj
WARP Summary

MLB Statistics

Historical (past-seasons) WARP is now based on DRA..
cFIP and DRA are not available on a by-team basis and display as zeroes(0). See TOT line for season totals of these stats.
Multiple stints are are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP W L SV H BB SO HR oppTAv PPF H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 GB% BABIP TAv WHIP FIP ERA cFIP DRA DRA- WARP
2002 ANA MLB 18 18 108.3 9 4 0 113 33 69 10 .268 95 9.4 2.7 0.8 5.7 51% .295 .257 1.35 4.00 3.66 102 4.17 89.5 1.7
2003 ANA MLB 33 33 204.0 10 16 0 223 66 151 31 .265 100 9.8 2.9 1.4 6.7 42% .306 .269 1.42 4.70 4.63 95 4.41 92.4 3.0
2004 ANA MLB 33 32 198.3 14 13 0 215 60 144 22 .260 103 9.8 2.7 1.0 6.5 45% .311 .255 1.39 4.17 4.67 93 3.91 80.7 4.1
2005 ANA MLB 33 33 209.0 14 5 0 208 71 199 13 .266 97 9.0 3.1 0.6 8.6 46% .326 .246 1.33 3.12 3.44 79 3.17 68.3 5.5
2006 ANA MLB 33 33 217.7 13 11 0 203 72 190 14 .261 101 8.4 3.0 0.6 7.9 45% .298 .234 1.26 3.39 3.56 85 3.30 67.2 5.9
2007 ANA MLB 33 33 224.0 19 9 0 219 52 179 18 .266 99 8.8 2.1 0.7 7.2 46% .301 .236 1.21 3.60 3.01 82 3.14 65.1 6.3
2008 ANA MLB 24 24 163.3 12 5 0 161 40 130 26 .267 103 8.9 2.2 1.4 7.2 45% .288 .248 1.23 4.55 3.75 93 4.44 94.8 2.0
2009 ANA MLB 27 27 176.3 11 8 0 177 47 139 17 .262 103 9.0 2.4 0.9 7.1 46% .299 .251 1.27 3.76 3.83 87 4.08 87.5 2.9
2010 BOS MLB 33 33 215.0 14 11 0 233 72 156 18 .259 113 9.8 3.0 0.8 6.5 46% .319 .257 1.42 3.81 4.40 98 5.12 115.7 0.3
2011 BOS MLB 28 28 160.0 12 12 0 203 56 108 20 .265 108 11.4 3.1 1.1 6.1 42% .339 .292 1.62 4.74 6.41 113 6.00 139.4 -1.8
2013 BOS MLB 29 29 189.3 10 13 0 179 40 161 26 .265 101 8.5 1.9 1.2 7.7 48% .281 .253 1.16 3.88 3.52 91 3.59 86.1 3.1
2014 BOS 0 21 21 137.3 11 7 0 137 32 116 15 .264 103 9.0 2.1 1.0 7.6 49% .298 .259 1.23 3.59 3.60 96 4.28 105.0 0.9
2014 SLN 0 10 10 60.7 3 3 0 69 15 48 9 .254 103 10.2 2.2 1.3 7.1 43% .319 .283 1.38 4.24 4.30 88 3.41 83.7 1.1
2015 SLN MLB 33 33 218.0 13 10 0 211 53 175 21 .256 99 8.7 2.2 0.9 7.2 48% .295 .243 1.21 3.59 2.77 93 3.52 82.1 4.1
2016 CHN MLB 29 29 188.3 11 8 0 146 53 180 23 .261 91 7.0 2.5 1.1 8.6 43% .255 .239 1.06 3.84 3.35 88 3.11 68.7 4.9
2017 CHN MLB 31 30 170.7 12 12 0 165 53 149 36 .265 99 8.7 2.8 1.9 7.9 43% .268 .274 1.28 5.31 4.59 111 4.96 105.7 1.2
2014 TOT MLB 31 31 198.0 14 10 0 206 47 164 24 .261 103 9.4 2.1 1.1 7.5 47% .305 .267 1.28 3.79 3.82 93 4.01 98.4 2.0
CareerMLB4484462840.3188147028628152294319.2631019.12.61.07.345%.300.2541.293.983.92934.0088.045.7

Statistics for All Levels

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP W L SV H BB SO HR oppTAv PPF H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 GB% BABIP TAv WHIP FIP ERA cFIP DRA DRA-
1999 BOI A- 15 15 81.3 6 2 0 81 50 77 7 .000 9.0 5.5 0.8 8.5 0% -.548 .000 1.61 5.16 4.98 0 0.00 0.0
2000 CDR A 5 5 30.3 3 2 0 20 5 21 1 .000 5.9 1.5 0.3 6.2 0% -.704 .000 0.83 2.82 2.08 0 0.00 0.0
2000 LEL A+ 15 15 100.7 6 6 0 94 42 74 9 .000 8.4 3.8 0.8 6.6 0% -.680 .000 1.35 4.62 3.40 0 0.00 0.0
2000 ERI AA 8 8 57.3 6 1 0 58 9 43 6 .000 9.1 1.4 0.9 6.8 0% -.897 .000 1.17 3.73 3.30 0 0.00 0.0
2001 ARK AA 18 18 127.3 9 7 0 106 29 94 11 .000 7.5 2.1 0.8 6.6 0% -.709 .000 1.06 3.85 3.46 0 0.00 0.0
2001 SLC AAA 10 10 57.7 3 4 0 75 16 42 5 .000 11.7 2.5 0.8 6.6 0% -1.111 .000 1.58 4.05 6.71 0 0.00 0.0
2002 ANA MLB 18 18 108.3 9 4 0 113 33 69 10 .268 95 9.4 2.7 0.8 5.7 51% .295 .257 1.35 4.00 3.66 102 4.17 89.5
2002 SLC AAA 16 16 101.7 8 2 0 89 28 82 5 .000 7.9 2.5 0.4 7.3 0% .285 .000 1.15 3.36 2.57 0 0.00 0.0
2003 ANA MLB 33 33 204.0 10 16 0 223 66 151 31 .265 100 9.8 2.9 1.4 6.7 42% .306 .269 1.42 4.70 4.63 95 4.41 92.4
2004 ANA MLB 33 32 198.3 14 13 0 215 60 144 22 .260 103 9.8 2.7 1.0 6.5 45% .311 .255 1.39 4.17 4.67 93 3.91 80.7
2005 ANA MLB 33 33 209.0 14 5 0 208 71 199 13 .266 97 9.0 3.1 0.6 8.6 46% .326 .246 1.33 3.12 3.44 79 3.17 68.3
2006 ANA MLB 33 33 217.7 13 11 0 203 72 190 14 .261 101 8.4 3.0 0.6 7.9 45% .298 .234 1.26 3.39 3.56 85 3.30 67.2
2007 ANA MLB 33 33 224.0 19 9 0 219 52 179 18 .266 99 8.8 2.1 0.7 7.2 46% .301 .236 1.21 3.60 3.01 82 3.14 65.1
2008 ANA MLB 24 24 163.3 12 5 0 161 40 130 26 .267 103 8.9 2.2 1.4 7.2 45% .288 .248 1.23 4.55 3.75 93 4.44 94.8
2008 RCU A+ 3 3 9.0 0 0 0 8 2 11 1 .269 103 8.0 2.0 1.0 11.0 60% .292 .243 1.11 4.10 4.00 84 2.98 58.0
2009 ANA MLB 27 27 176.3 11 8 0 177 47 139 17 .262 103 9.0 2.4 0.9 7.1 46% .299 .251 1.27 3.76 3.83 87 4.08 87.5
2009 SLC AAA 2 2 9.7 0 1 0 6 1 8 1 .274 91 5.6 0.9 0.9 7.4 62% .200 .190 0.72 3.76 2.78 81 2.94 59.1
2010 BOS MLB 33 33 215.0 14 11 0 233 72 156 18 .259 113 9.8 3.0 0.8 6.5 46% .319 .257 1.42 3.81 4.40 98 5.12 115.7
2011 BOS MLB 28 28 160.0 12 12 0 203 56 108 20 .265 108 11.4 3.1 1.1 6.1 42% .339 .292 1.62 4.74 6.41 113 6.00 139.4
2011 PAW AAA 1 1 5.7 0 0 0 3 0 4 1 .244 91 4.8 0.0 1.6 6.4 53% .143 .138 0.53 4.11 1.59 95 3.26 73.0
2013 BOS MLB 29 29 189.3 10 13 0 179 40 161 26 .265 101 8.5 1.9 1.2 7.7 48% .281 .253 1.16 3.88 3.52 91 3.59 86.1
2013 PME AA 1 1 3.7 0 0 0 3 2 5 0 .264 104 7.4 4.9 0.0 12.3 75% .375 .193 1.36 2.22 0.00 92 3.22 70.2
2014 BOS MLB 21 21 137.3 11 7 0 137 32 116 15 .264 103 9.0 2.1 1.0 7.6 49% .298 .259 1.23 3.59 3.60 96 4.28 105.0
2014 SLN MLB 10 10 60.7 3 3 0 69 15 48 9 .254 103 10.2 2.2 1.3 7.1 43% .319 .283 1.38 4.24 4.30 88 3.41 83.7
2015 SLN MLB 33 33 218.0 13 10 0 211 53 175 21 .256 99 8.7 2.2 0.9 7.2 48% .295 .243 1.21 3.59 2.77 93 3.52 82.1
2016 CHN MLB 29 29 188.3 11 8 0 146 53 180 23 .261 91 7.0 2.5 1.1 8.6 43% .255 .239 1.06 3.84 3.35 88 3.11 68.7
2017 CHN MLB 31 30 170.7 12 12 0 165 53 149 36 .265 99 8.7 2.8 1.9 7.9 43% .268 .274 1.28 5.31 4.59 111 4.96 105.7

Plate Discipline

YEAR PITCHES ZONE_RT SWING_RT CONTACT_RT Z_SWING_RT O_SWING_RT Z_CONTACT_RT O_CONTACT_RT SW_STRK_RT
2008 2321 0.5282 0.4657 0.8002 0.6117 0.3023 0.8920 0.5921 0.1998
2009 2737 0.4932 0.4319 0.7944 0.5696 0.2978 0.8973 0.6029 0.2056
2010 3584 0.5078 0.4381 0.8185 0.5885 0.2829 0.8796 0.6874 0.1815
2011 2837 0.4804 0.4607 0.8279 0.6258 0.3080 0.8921 0.7070 0.1721
2013 2864 0.4993 0.4846 0.7788 0.6294 0.3403 0.8511 0.6455 0.2212
2014 3068 0.5417 0.5020 0.7812 0.6378 0.3414 0.8632 0.6000 0.2188
2015 3096 0.5410 0.4955 0.7934 0.6454 0.3188 0.8631 0.6269 0.2066
2016 2823 0.4828 0.4800 0.7432 0.6427 0.3281 0.8413 0.5637 0.2568
2017 2750 0.5033 0.4658 0.7627 0.6358 0.2936 0.8409 0.5910 0.2373
Career260800.50890.46930.78960.62050.31240.86870.62660.2104

Injury History  —  No longer being updated

Last Update: 12/31/2014 23:59 ET

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2014-09-11 2014-09-19 DTD 8 7 Right Shoulder Fatigue -
2013-04-07 2013-04-28 15-DL 21 19 Right Arm Strain Biceps - -
2012-02-21 2012-10-04 60-DL 226 162 Right Elbow Recovery From Surgery Tommy John Surgery 2011-11-01 -
2011-11-01 2011-11-01 Off 0 0 Right Elbow Surgery Tommy John Surgery 2011-11-01 -
2011-09-09 2011-09-09 DTD 0 0 - Lower Leg Contusion Batted Ball Off Shin - -
2011-05-12 2011-06-05 15-DL 24 21 Right Elbow Strain -
2009-03-27 2009-05-16 15-DL 50 34 Right Elbow Recovery From Inflammation Triceps -
2009-03-21 2009-03-27 Camp 6 0 Right Elbow Inflammation -
2008-03-21 2008-05-13 15-DL 53 40 Right Upper Arm Strain Triceps -
2007-06-18 2007-06-18 DTD 0 0 Right Shoulder Stiffness -
2007-03-03 2007-03-08 Camp 5 0 General Medical Illness Strep Throat -
2006-03-02 2006-03-10 Camp 8 0 Right Shoulder Stiffness -

Compensation

Year Team Salary
2017 CHN $16,000,000
2016 CHN $16,000,000
2015 SLN $507,500
2014 BOS $15,950,000
2013 BOS $15,950,000
2012 BOS $15,950,000
2011 BOS $15,950,000
2010 BOS $18,700,000
2009 ANA $10,000,000
2008 ANA $7,000,000
2007 ANA $5,500,000
2006 ANA $3,010,000
2005 ANA $440,000
2004 ANA $375,000
2003 ANA $315,000
YearsDescriptionSalary
15 yrPrevious$141,647,500
15 yrTotal$141,647,500

 

Service TimeAgentContract Status
15 y 95 dHillard Sports2 years/$32M (2016-17)

Details
  • 2 years/$32M (2016-17). Signed by Chicago Cubs as a free agent 12/8/15. $7M signing bonus ($2M paid 12/15, $5M paid in 2017). 16:$12.5M, 17:$12.5M.
  • 5 years/$82.5M (2010-14), plus 2015 option. Signed by Boston as a free agent 12/16/09. $3.5M signing bonus. 10:$18M, 11-14: $15.25M/year, 15: club option at Major League minimum salary if Lackey misses "significant" time with surgery for pre-existing elbow injury. $0.5M assignment bonus. Award bonus. Acquired by St. Louis in trade from Boston 7/31/14. St. Louis exercised 2015 option 10/30/14. In March 2015, St. Louis added performance bonuses ($0.4M each for 100, 125, 150, 175, 200 innings pitched).
  • 3 years/$17.01M (2006-08), plus $9M 09 club option. Signed extension with LA Angels 4/06 (replaced one-year, $3.6M deal for 2006 signed 1/06, avoided arbitration). $1M signing bonus. 06:$3.01M, 07:$5.5M, 08:$7M, 09:$9M club option, $0.5M buyout. Option increased to $10.5M based on 07-08 Cy Young vote. Award bonus: $50,000 for All-Star, $75,000 for 3rd in 2007 Cy Young vote.
  • 1 year/$0.44M (2005). Re-signed by LA Angels 2/05.
  • 1 year/$0.375M (2004). Re-signed by Anaheim 3/04.
  • 1 year/$0.375M (2004). Re-signed by Anaheim 3/03.
  • 1 year/$0.315M (2003). Re-signed by Anaheim 3/03.
  • 1 year (2002). Re-signed by Anaheim 2/02. Optioned to Triple-A 3/02. Recalled 6/02.
  • Drafted by Anaheim 1999 (2-68) (Grayson County College, Texas).

2018 Preseason Forecast

Last Update: 1/27/2017 12:35 ET

PCT W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR BABIP WHIP ERA DRA VORP WARP
90o 11.2 6.5 0 24 24 152.4 128 48 123 20 .252 1.15 3.85 3.98 21.7 2.4
80o 10.5 6.7 0 23 23 146.7 130 49 118 20 .262 1.22 4.18 4.34 15.5 1.7
70o 10 6.8 0 23 23 142.6 131 49 115 20 .270 1.26 4.43 4.6 11.3 1.2
60o 9.6 6.9 0 22 22 139.1 132 49 112 21 .276 1.30 4.64 4.83 7.7 0.8
50o 9.2 7 0 22 22 135.9 133 50 110 21 .282 1.34 4.84 5.04 4.6 0.5
40o 8.8 7 0 21 21 132.7 134 50 107 21 .288 1.38 5.04 5.25 1.7 0.2
30o 8.4 7.1 0 21 21 129.4 134 50 104 21 .294 1.43 5.26 5.48 -1.4 -0.2
20o 8 7.2 0 20 20 125.5 135 51 101 21 .301 1.48 5.51 5.76 -5.0 -0.5
10o 7.4 7.3 0 19 19 120.3 136 51 97 21 .312 1.55 5.88 6.14 -9.5 -1.0
Weighted Mean9.26.902222135.91324911021.2811.344.825.024.90.5

Preseason Long-Term Forecast (Beyond the 2018 Projections)

Playing time estimates are based on performance, not Depth Charts.
Year Age W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR GB% BABIP WHIP ERA DRA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 WARP
20194091102727166160571322444.2991.304.875.368.73.17.11.30.5
202041780202012011442961744.2961.304.895.388.63.27.21.30.3
202142670181810510136821544.2991.314.925.418.73.17.11.30.3
2022435601414807728621244.2991.314.935.438.73.27.01.30.2
2023444501313787627601244.2991.335.005.508.83.17.01.40.1
2024454501111676523511044.2991.325.035.538.83.16.91.40.1
202546340101057562044944.2991.335.085.598.83.26.91.40.0
2026473409950491838844.2991.345.135.648.83.26.81.4-0.0
2027482307743431533744.2991.345.175.698.93.16.91.5-0.0

Comparable Players (Similarity Index 73)

Rank Score Name Year Run Average Trend
1 93 Hiroki Kuroda 2014 4.12
2 90 Kevin Brown 2004 4.43
3 87 Roger Clemens 2002 4.70
4 87 R.A. Dickey 2014 4.21
5 87 Derek Lowe 2012 5.55
6 86 Allie Reynolds 1956 0.00 DNP
7 85 Mike Mussina 2008 3.82
8 83 Don Sutton 1984 4.36
9 83 Tim Wakefield 2006 5.14
10 82 Rick Reuschel 1988 3.20
11 80 Gaylord Perry 1978 3.28
12 80 Greg Maddux 2005 4.48
13 80 Aaron Harang 2017 0.00 DNP
14 80 Woody Williams 2006 4.15
15 80 Dennis Martinez 1993 4.41
16 80 Jamie Moyer 2002 3.47
17 80 Hoyt Wilhelm 1962 2.81 DNP
18 80 Early Wynn 1959 3.73
19 79 Andy Pettitte 2011 0.00 DNP
20 78 Virgil Trucks 1956 4.20
21 78 Jon Lieber 2009 0.00 DNP
22 78 David Wells 2002 4.32
23 78 Phil Niekro 1978 3.47
24 78 Kevin Millwood 2014 0.00 DNP
25 78 Warren Spahn 1960 3.83
26 77 Rudy May 1984 0.00 DNP
27 77 John Smoltz 2006 3.61
28 77 Harry Brecheen 1954 0.00 DNP
29 77 Marv Grissom 1957 4.42
30 77 Sal Maglie 1956 3.08
31 77 Bob Gibson 1975 5.45 DNP
32 77 A.J. Burnett 2016 0.00 DNP
33 76 Miguel Batista 2010 3.92
34 76 Paul Byrd 2010 0.00 DNP
35 76 Jose Contreras 2011 3.86
36 76 Ellis Kinder 1954 3.75
37 75 Dizzy Trout 1954 0.00 DNP
38 74 Chuck Finley 2002 4.58
39 74 Bartolo Colon 2012 3.66
40 74 Tim Hudson 2015 4.44
41 74 Nolan Ryan 1986 3.64
42 72 Jim Bunning 1971 5.89
43 72 Jack Morris 1994 6.11
44 72 Bob Tewksbury 2000 0.00 DNP
45 72 Ryan Vogelsong 2017 0.00 DNP
46 71 Darren Oliver 2010 2.92
47 71 Al Benton 1950 4.57
48 70 Tommy John 1982 4.14
49 70 Larry Jackson 1970 0.00 DNP
50 70 Todd Jones 2007 4.26
51 70 Elmer Dessens 2010 2.68
52 69 Orlando Hernandez 2005 5.40
53 69 LaTroy Hawkins 2012 4.29
54 69 Bruce Chen 2016 0.00 DNP
55 69 Bert Blyleven 1990 5.71
56 69 Gene Garber 1987 4.73
57 69 Bob Wickman 2008 0.00 DNP
58 69 Orel Hershiser 1998 4.68
59 69 Randy Wolf 2016 0.00 DNP
60 69 Kyle Farnsworth 2015 0.00 DNP
61 68 Greg Harris 1995 3.35
62 68 Joe Niekro 1984 3.73
63 68 Tom Burgmeier 1983 3.09
64 68 Ryan Franklin 2012 0.00 DNP
65 68 Stu Miller 1967 3.32
66 68 Bobby Shantz 1965 0.00 DNP
67 68 Rheal Cormier 2006 2.44
68 68 Mike Stanton 2006 3.99
69 68 Charlie Hough 1987 5.02
70 68 Trevor Hoffman 2007 3.45
71 68 Whitey Ford 1968 0.00 DNP
72 68 David Cone 2002 0.00 DNP
73 68 Tim Worrell 2007 0.00 DNP
74 68 Arthur Rhodes 2009 2.70
75 67 Brian Moehler 2011 0.00 DNP
76 67 David Weathers 2009 4.21
77 67 Jerry Koosman 1982 4.26
78 67 Hector Carrasco 2009 0.00 DNP
79 67 Dave Burba 2006 0.00 DNP
80 67 Trever Miller 2012 0.00 DNP
81 66 John Franco 2000 3.88
82 66 Alan Embree 2009 6.93
83 66 Larry Andersen 1992 3.60
84 66 Doug Jones 1996 4.64
85 66 Doug Brocail 2006 5.08
86 66 Ron Villone 2009 4.62
87 65 Tom Candiotti 1997 4.00
88 65 Troy Percival 2009 6.35
89 65 Chris Hammond 2005 3.99
90 65 Lindy McDaniel 1975 4.62 DNP
91 65 Mike Timlin 2005 2.58
92 65 Ramon Ortiz 2012 0.00 DNP
93 65 Rick Honeycutt 1993 3.89
94 65 Al Worthington 1968 3.07
95 65 Curt Schilling 2006 3.97
96 64 Jason Isringhausen 2012 4.34
97 64 Sonny Siebert 1976 0.00 DNP
98 64 Matt Herges 2009 3.63
99 64 Guillermo Mota 2013 0.00 DNP
100 64 Rafael Betancourt 2014 0.00 DNP

Platoon

SORT_FIELD PLATOON AVG OBP SLG TAv
10 vs L (Multi) .255 .323 .393 .263
11 vs R (Multi) .227 .268 .372 .231
18 Split (Multi) .028 .055 .022 .032
19 LgAvg (Multi) .006 .020 .015 .013
30 vs L (2016) .242 .322 .372 .259
31 vs R (2016) .201 .251 .359 .224
38 Split (2016) .041 .071 .013 .035
39 LgAvg (2016) .003 .018 .013 .012

Definition of multi-year splits

BP Annual Player Comments

YearComment
2018 Due to publishing agreements, the 2018 player comments and team essays are only available in the Baseball Prospectus 2018 book (available in hardcopy, and soon e-book and Kindle).
2017 Some pitchers pitch to batters, as is traditional. Lackey snarls batters into submission. Lackey once killed a squirrel by throwing another squirrel directly at it from 300 yards away. (It was a clean kill, although the thrown squirrel died, too.) Lackey once scared a reporter out of the industry just by holding his gaze a little longer than usual after hearing a question he didn’t like. Lackey once ordered liver and onions at a French restaurant, then sent the plate back because the chef cooked the food first. Lackey once fished for sharks barehanded. And in 2016, Lackey snarled at batters. He dropped his sinker too—in favor of his four-seam fastball, slider and curve—and had one of the best seasons of his career at age 37.
2016 "If he's able to survive the workload, he'll be a good major-league pitcher." Similar sentiments are dispersed throughout this book, but that sentence is from the 2002 edition, which hit stores about seven months before its subject, Lackey, stomped onto the national stage. He was 23 years old when he appeared in three World Series games (including two starts) in seven days. Some 2,400-plus innings, 14 seasons and one Tommy John surgery later, Lackey ranks fourth in frames completed since his rookie year. The pitchers who rank first, third, fifth, seventh and 10th all threw their final pitches last season. Lackey? He was busy posting the best ERA of his career and starting Games One and Four of the NLDS for the team with the best record in baseball. Safe to say he was able to survive the workload.
2015 When the Red Sox signed Lackey to his windfall five-year deal prior to the 2010 season, they wrote in some protection in the form of a team option at the league minimum should he miss significant time with an elbow injury. Fast forward to the easiest decision John Mozeliak has ever made, as the Cardinals exercised Lackey's option this year and will benefit from his veteran steadiness and league-average production for a cool $500k. The big right-hander has never been dominant but remains a premier strike-thrower who slots comfortably into the middle of a rotation. His bulldog demeanor and postseason heroics play well in the heartland. Midway through his Boston career, who could have imagined Google would someday auto-complete “John Lackey is” with the phrase “the poster boy for redemption?”
2014 Lackey's 2011 was reviled in the moment, but when it was learned he had pitched through an elbow tear with no one to take his place, Sox fans softened. (Well, sort of.) Boston's 2012, which Lackey was not a part of, also helped: Red Sox Nation no longer needed to invent demons to rally against, as 2012 had introduced them to frightening, tangible enemies of good baseball. Armed with a more accepting outlook from the experience of fates worse than 90-win campaigns and just-miss playoff seasons, fans began to appreciate Lackey, who had returned from his 18-month absence with his velocity, sinker and strike-throwing prowess intact. The three combined to produce one of the better seasons in his career. Now, he's a World Series hero and a recognized anchor in a strong rotation. Double-fist a couple of beers in his honor.
2013 After playing his part in the ignominious chicken-and-beer clubhouse narrative that allegedly explains the collapse of the 2011 Red Sox, Lackey had the good sense to have Tommy John surgery and miss the Valentine Era. Now healthy, or at least with his elbow healed, hell attempt to recapture the skills that once made him a top-of-the-rotation starter. Chief among them, an ability to throw all three of his pitches for strikes. PECOTA and the rest of Red Sox Nation will believe it when they see it.
2012 Everything sucks in my life right now, he told the press in May. How do you snark at that? Lackey's 2011 was the worst ever for a Red Sox starting pitcher with as many innings pitched, but there are two causes to point to. On the side of things we can't measure, Lackey's wife had a miscarriage, underwent treatment for cancer, and the two filed for divorce late in the season. Then there was Lackey's elbow, which required a cortisone shot early in the year, deteriorated as the season dragged on, and finally gave out. Ignore the projection: he elected Tommy John surgery to repair it, setting him up for a 2013 return. His contract was written with this possibility in mind, so while the Red Sox will pay him to do nothing in 2012, Lackey will pitch in exchange for next-to-nothing (the league minimum) in 2015, after his initial five-year deal ends.
2011 The Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, making him their highest-paid player in 2010. His first-half performance made the signing look like a miscalculationthe righty struck out just 5.4 hitters per nine innings while allowing an OPS of 816, and posted a 1.5 strikeout-walk ratio due to pitiable command of his secondary pitches. His second half salvaged the season, featuring 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings, a much more Lackey-like 3.4 K/BB, and a 705 OPS against. Feasting on the punchless Mariners, Indians, and Athletics helped, but Lackey's command was improvedrepeating that second act is the key to a successful 2011 for the Texan.
2010 For the second season in a row, Lackey opened the year on the DL; this time an elbow strain shelved him until mid-May. He was erratic during his first month, putting up a 6.61 ERA through his first six starts. Luckily for the Angels, he settled into his typical groove, compiling a 3.23 ERA with a tidy 3.1 K/BB ratio while averaging 6.9 innings per start for the rest of the year. Unable to work out a contract extension prior to the season, he hit the winter market as the top starter available. Bigger questions about arm health dogged A.J. Burnett last winter and he did just fine, so it was no surprise when he got a vitually identical five-year deal for $82.5 million with the Red Sox in the latest salvo of the AL East's arms race.
2009 Lackey missed the first few weeks of the season with some arm soreness, but otherwise, he's been a workhorse who eats innings as an above-average starter. His stuff isn't awesome but it's good, including a low-90s fastball and two solid breaking pitches. He doesn't have laser-like precision, but he does throw a preponderance of strikes. It's not his strengths but rather his lack of weaknesses that make him so good, and the Angels smartly picked up his 2009 option while working behind the scenes to hammer out a long-term deal.
2008 Lackey has assumed Mike Mussina's old position as one of the best pitchers in baseball, but one whose traditional stats don't quite represent his full value. Lackey's third-place finish in the Cy Young voting last year was the first time he'd even received votes. He's never won 20 games or had an ERA below 3.00, but he racks up innings, keeps the ball in the park, and gets a little better every season. His 6.2 K/BB down the stretch may be a harbinger of many more Cy Young votes to come.
2007 `Capitalist` Lackey is no man`s running dog--he is unleashed power, set loose to liquidate bats and downsize offenses. Until or unless Jered Weaver can show that he can reliably post ERAs in the twos, Lackey`s the Angels` true ace, though one could argue that an ace would pitch better within in the division--although he owns rival Oakland, weaker sisters Texas and Seattle have Lackey`s number. Having mastered using his off-speed stuff to neutralize lefties, he`ll be entering his fifth full season with perhaps only one little thing to work on--holding baserunners. Give the man some luck with run support and he`d be a favorite for the Cy Young in the non-Johan Santana category. Stoneman wisely signed last spring to a three-year extension that, with a $9-million club option for 2009, will keep Lackey in place for four years at below-market rates.
2006 Angels fans, meet your new ace. Lackey has gone from 5.7 K/9 in 2002 to 8.6 in 2005, the third-best strikeout rate among AL starters. Last year we said he needed an improved off-speed pitch. This year he has a greatly improved changeup and a new cutter in his arsenal. A sleeper Cy Young candidate, especially since his 2005 batting average on balls in play was very high. With better luck, his record could have been even stronger.
2005 Lackey has started 83 games, 39 at home, 44 on the road. At home his ERA is 3.53, with .82 home runs per nine innings pitched. Away from Disneyland, the ERA shoots up to 5.33, the HRs per nine to 1.39. This year, Lackey's home runs allowed declined from 31 to 22, but this was due to almost eliminating home round-trippers (five in 93 innings) while only fractionally reducing the road rate. Teams with real power abused him: In four starts against the Yankees and Red Sox, Lackey went 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA and eight home runs in 21.1 innings. He's a fly-ball pitcher, but not an extreme case, so an alternative is needed, perhaps in the form of an improved off-speed pitch. Not one home run allowed in September was a good omen, despite three starts on the road.
2004 Like the other two homegrown starters in the Angels' rotation, Lackey puts the ball in the strike zone and in the air. His 2003 statistics were ruined by an April from the Navarro Collection, which drove the perception that he was a disappointment. Lackey was actually the Angels' best starter after that month, with strong peripherals (130 strikeouts and 47 walks in 172.2 innings) and an average of more than 6.1 innings per start. Expect some improvement, perhaps a lot of it if Erstad is back in center field.
2003 Lackey has a live fastball, and hes working on the other parts of his repertoire, but the fastball was live enough for him to get to and succeed at the major league level. He matured a lot in just one season, and if he can stay healthy, he looks to be a very good #2 starter for years to come. He could even compete for a Cy Young occasionally. Hes pitched a lot of innings at a young age, but Scioscia is smart enough to lean on a good bullpen and not overwork him. If he can get his slider about 20% better, he could be well nigh unhittable.
2002 The Angels' top pitching prospect did a good job in 2001. Lackey has pitched a whopping 363 innings over the last two seasons while moving through five levels. His performances at Arkansas and Salt Lake were essentially similar, ERA differences aside. If hes able to survive the workload, hell be a good major-league pitcher.
2001 He led the Angels' organization in innings pitched (188) and faced 782 batters. Other than giving up too many hits, John Lackey posted decent ratios pitching at three levels. His workload is the only concern; if healthy, he's right behind Matt Wise and Scot Shields in this system.

BP Articles

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BP Chats

DateQuestionAnswer
2011-05-05 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Steven. Worse contract: John Lackey's 5 year/$85 million deal with Boston or Derek Jeter's 3 year/$51 with New York? I think Lackey but I'm curious as to your opinion. Thanks for the chat!
(mattymatty2000 from Portland, OR)
Jeter's. As expensive and disappointing as Lackey has been, he's a new pitch or refined mechanics away from salvaging the deal. Not saying it WILL happen, but it's in the realm of possibility, whereas Jeter has gone to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns. (Steven Goldman)
2011-04-05 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Steven. After the Red Sox cut Daniel Bard, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, and fire Terry Francona they can still win 140 games and win the World Series, right?
(mattymatty2000 from Portland, OR)
The panic in Boston is as exaggerated as this question, and I'm sure that if an angel sent Lot into the city to find 20 good men who weren't panicked by an early sweep, he would easily fulfill his quota and spare Beantown a hail of brimstone. The Red Sox are still the class of the league. Some champions go wire-to-wire, some don't. That's all it is. (Steven Goldman)
2011-04-07 13:00:00 (link to chat)Jay: Understanding we are still in SSS(small sample size) territory, has anything in the first week of play: (a) produced evidence of a surprising new career development; or (b) confirmed a suspicion of decline? or (c) indicated the possibility of a real change in career path? in any of your most-watched players? In other words, what should I watch for in the April-June period? Thanks for the chat.
(BeplerP from NYC)
I think we have to be incredibly wary of making bold pronunciations about one week of play, particularly one week of play in cold weather, because a lot of players may be struggling with the elements. The danger is that our suspicions of decline can easily become confirmation biases - see, Clay Buchholz is regressing! John Lackey doesn't have it anymore! The Rays can't win the AL East without Carl Crawford! The Orioles are for real! All of those things may turn out to be true, but if we pretend to really know them now, we're just pumping hot air.

What I look for in the first two months is whether rookies get the hang of things, and how managers deal with their bullpens and the moving parts in their lineup - are they platooning? How are they getting around the holes in their roster? Where might they be looking to upgrade this summer in order to make a run? (Jay Jaffe)
2010-10-25 13:00:00 (link to chat)What are the chances the Red Sox end up with fair value on the John Lackey contract? Lackey looked like a better pitcher in the second half, but he looked cooked in the first so maybe I'm just straw grasping here...
(mattymatty2000 from Portland, OR)
He'll be better, and he'll deliver more value than A.J. Burnett, the man whose contract his own resembles. In terms of value, in a market where the price of top available free agent hurlers seems to be set by the Sox and Yankees, that's fair performance on fair market value. (Christina Kahrl)
2010-09-13 13:00:00 (link to chat)So is this who John Lackey is now? A slightly above average innings eater? I can't imagine that's what Theo Epstein thought he was getting for his $82 million.
(mattymatty2000 from Portland, OR)
It's been a rough season for Lackey, but let's not forget that Josh Beckett put up a 5.01 ERA in his first season in Boston, only to rebound with a Cy Young caliber season the following year. Of course, Beckett didn't have nearly the mileage or the history of recent arm troubles that Lackey's had.

The thing I find particularly disconcerting is Lackey's plummeting strikeout rate. He's going to have to miss more bats to be successful in the AL East, and if he doesn't, that contract is going to turn into a real albatross. (Jay Jaffe)
2010-08-26 13:00:00 (link to chat)Is this who John Lackey is going forward or can the Red Sox hope for some improvement in the next four seasons?
(mattymatty2000 from Portland, OR)
Hey, good time for a plug! I wrote about this recently at a new venture Patrick Sullivan and I are working on, Red Sox Beacon. We'll have daily Sox analysis and plenty of articles centered around facepalming after reading Shaughnessy's work. (Marc Normandin)
2010-04-01 13:00:00 (link to chat)So, watching John Lackey pitch right now for the Red Sox on MLB.tv and giving thanks that a) he's no longer on the Angels, so I don't have to watch his goofy, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing mug pitch every 5th day on local tv and b) not only *wasn't* he signed by my favorite team, but I get to double down on my dislike because he was signed by my *least* favorite team. I fully acknowledge the irrationality of it, but my Yankees' fandom dodged a bullet this offseason, because I just couldn't imagine ever feeling happy about rooting for Lackey. Is there anyone you would say you'd have an irrational (as opposed to a rational, performance based) dislike for seeing playing for your favorite team?
(Cult of Basebaal from Los Angeles of Pasadena)
Not really. There are very few players where I feel like I have gotten to know them well enough, either through personal interaction or through the media, that I can say, "Oh, he's a bad person. I dislike him so much I must root against him." There are one or two guys I've tried to talk to in clubhouses and had a bad time of it, and I have faintly negative feelings about them, but I'm not embittered or anything. The only exception might be if a player comes out and says something that identifies them as suffering from some kind of intolerance... It's just performance-based for me. I can remember prior to 1992 saying to friends, "The Yankees can get anyone to play third base as long as it's not Charlie Hayes," and of course it was Charlie Hayes. That wasn't because I had anything against Charlie personally, but just because he was a career .247/.276/.361 hitter to that point. (Steven Goldman)
2009-12-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Does Omar Minaya have a plan? A clue? A radio? Internet access? Sign Ben Sheets already. Forget about the entire Molina clan. Sign Bay, but not if it means losing focus on signing pitcher (see, e.g., John Lackey). p.s. Fela!
(Dan from Bklyn)
No, no, no, yes, and I have confirmed that was him asking for fantasy advice (true story was that back at one winter meetings he did tell a BP colleague that RBI were a key facet of his player evaluation strategy. Sheets: not at his current asking price. Bay: I wouldn't go 4x$15m, let alone 5 x anything. Fela: YES. New reissue series coming in 2010, but those two-fer discs are endlessly listenable. (Jay Jaffe)
2009-12-15 14:00:00 (link to chat)Thanks for the chat, Christina. You are one of the reasons I just re-upped my subscription for another year. Are you of the opinion, like your colleague Mr. Sheehan, that the Red Sox signing of John Lackey is a precursor to a trade for some offensive centerpiece? If possible please include at least one reference to a historical event over 200 years old in your answer. Thanks!
(mattymatty2000 from Philly, PA)
Thanks for your support mattymatty, definitely appreciated. I have to think that there's every reason to believe they'll deal pitching for offense, in part because the pitchers out there now seem attached to various risks (Sheets, Bedard, Smoltz, Wang, Washburn) or because they're just not seen as tremendous front-end types (Marquis, Pineiro, Washburn, Wang). If you decide the bids on Jason Bay are too rich for your blood, and you want to go after a better bat at either infield corner and maybe left (if the Mike Cameron thing doesn't work out), my sense is that the only better bargaining chip to have beyond well-regarded starters would be a shortstop prospect. (Christina Kahrl)
2009-11-24 13:00:00 (link to chat)Would you rather have John Lackey or two from the high upside/injured grouping of Bedard, Harden, and Sheets, thinking that a one year, 8 mil plus option deal (or something similar) would work for them? I might lean toward the latter and would certainly choose the latter over Marquis, Pineiro, or Wolf.
(jschmeagol from hyattsville, md)
It's funny you should ask because I have an article going up later today in which I break down 10 free agent SPs, separating them into groups based on their proneness to injury. I personally think it would be a more sound strategy do grab Bedard and Harden on 1-yr deals with options than to give Wolf, Pineiro or Marquis deals resembling that of Ollie Perez. (Eric Seidman)
2009-11-24 13:00:00 (link to chat)I'm interested in your thoughts about the shape of the offseason. It seemed like last year everybody was waiting for Manny to sign to begin the cascade of other signings. Who is the player who fits that role this year (if anyone) and, holy mackerel, is it possible that it's Chone Figgins? He seems to be on many teams' radar and is also central to whether the Angels pursue Lackey (they've said they can only sign one of the two), which begins the pitching cascade. If I'm crazy, please don't tell me.
(Rob from Alaska)
I actually think the reverse is going to happen with Figgins. We'll see something like Detroit re-sign Polanco, the Phillies re-sign DeRosa, and Beltre go somewhere on a 2-20 with a 3rd yr option, meaning that Figgins won't get anywhere near the 5-50 his agent has been touting. Add in the lack of any superb pitchers aside from John Lackey and an eerily long list of injury prone starters and it might not be that teams are waiting for someone to set the market but rather taking much more time deciding to whom they should open their checkbooks. (Eric Seidman)
2009-10-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)Given that the Angels payroll will likely only support re-siging of a portion of their free agents, would bringing Figgins back make sense in light of his multi year run of playoff collapses?
(askeys from Los Angeles)
Again, you don't make personnel decision based upon a small sample of postseason performances. There are reasons not to sign Figgins, who's coming of his Age 31 season, who's had trouble staying healthy (nearly 100 games missed in 2007-2008) and who's just had a career year based on a walk total that's light years beyond his previous showings.

Will that new-found plate discipline stick? Will the Halos be better off letting Brandon Wood finally have his day? Would they be better off spending the money for Figgins on retaining John Lackey? Those are questions the Angels have to answer. (Jay Jaffe)
2009-10-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)Do you think that the Dodgers need to go out an trade for a true number one starter. Would Toronto accept a Billingsley, Broxton, and Gordon package for Halladay?
(Mike from Utica,NY)
It's a tough call. I definitely think Kershaw and Billingsley both have the capability to be true number ones, but they're not there yet, and by the time they get there, the Dodgers' current nucleus may start to disperse. Given that Kerhsaw seems to have passed Billingsley on the track towards getting there and that there may be some concerns about the latter's conditioning, I could see building a deal around him, but adding Broxton and Gordon to that package is too much to bear.

I'd far rather see the Dodgers go after John Lackey as a free agent. No, he's not as good as Halladay, but throwing him 1-4-7 in a series is no shame, and all he costs is money and a draft pick. (Jay Jaffe)
2009-10-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)The Mets have identified Matt Holliday as their number 1A target after John Lackey. So where does he end up - St. Louis for less money or in NY?
(Moose from Whippleville, NY)
The Yankees will need a LF, too, and have a ton of money coming off the payroll again. That's not to say he'll end up there, just making the point. I'm not sure there's value in this year's market--good players, not great ones, who will end up overpaid for being best in class.

I have no real idea where Holliday will end up. I guess I should reiterate the point that the reasons these guys sign are often inscrutable to us, comparable to the same reasons any of us might relocate. (Joe Sheehan)
2009-07-13 14:00:00 (link to chat) At what point do you ascribe significance to 1st half/2nd half splits (thinking Cano, LaRoche, etc), beyond mere coincidence? Who are some players you think will perform far better in the 2nd half than they did the 1st?
(Drew from Ohio)
I don't, basically. As far as second-half improvers this year, give me B.J. Upton, Howie Kendrick and John Lackey. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-10-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Dear Mr. Carroll: Is it OK if I sneak in an early keeper question involving four pitchers with various kinds of (health) concerns? I can keep two out of these four aces: John Lackey, Francisco Liriano, Ervin Santana and Ben Sheets. Who would you keep and why?
(bo9anderson from Amterdam, the Netherlands)
I'd keep Lackey (pitching for a contract, few health problems) and Liriano (healthy, good team). Liriano's not a clear choice over Santana. Sheets -- arm trouble plus I dont know where he'll play. Him signing in Texas or Houston would knock him way down. (Will Carroll)
2008-10-07 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Marc, Given that the two of the top teams from the regular season have already been eliminated, I think there may be a problem with the current (5-game) playoff format. Trouble is, I can't think of a better set up. Simply switching to a 7-game in the LDS seems unappealing, as the playoffs are long enough already, and there's little chance of convincing the networks to condense the schedule. Any ideas?
(BigOwe from SF)
I'd like to see the Division Series go seven games rather than five, but that's just the structure of the playoffs in general. If these series were all 25 games long, we'd still have lesser teams coming away victorious a percentage of the time.

Let's not forget that the Angels were ranked behind the Red Sox in Hit List pretty much all year, despite the better actual record, and that they had 84 third-order wins while the Red Sox had 102. I'd hardly say the Angels lost to the worse team, as John Lackey so sour-grapingly put it after yesterday's finale. (Marc Normandin)
2008-10-06 14:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Joe. Is your aversion to C.C. from a Yankee perspective a) health concerns, b) need or c) both?
(Joe from Washington, DC)
C. I don't like him in the medium- or long-term because of his body. I think even if his arm holds out, the rest of him will break down. There are actually a LOT of pitchers coming onto either the trade or FA markets behind Sabathia who are a lot more attractive to me, and I'd rather wait on them, save the money for Felix Hernandez or John Lackey or someone like that. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-04-25 15:00:00 (link to chat)Could the A's conceivably win the AL West with 85 wins or so or do the Angels pull away once they get healthy (since we know Rich Harden won't!)?
(Dave from Chicago)
Right now this is looking as though it might be your typical two-team AL West battle as it's been for most of the past few years. The A's appear to be playing above their heads, but it shouldn't be all that shocking that a few things have gone especially right given the bad luck that's befallen this team in recent years, things like Bobby Crosby's health and Dana Eveland's ability to pitch at a major league level. I think a lot depends on whether John Lackey can be John Lackey when he gets back, and how well guys like Harden and Duchscherer can withstand regular turns in the rotation. (Jay Jaffe)
2008-03-19 13:00:00 (link to chat)I believe John Lackey has had shoulder problems for the last 3 years in the spring. The innings pitced over the last four years made me question the green this season. I assume this is just normal wear and tear for pitchers?
(scottziegler from Beaver Dam,WI)
I completely and totally discount reports of "soreness" in spring training. It's too normal and too spuriously reported to be used as a precise tool. I wait for actual, addressable injury. (Will Carroll)
2008-02-06 14:00:00 (link to chat)Please rank and comment on the follow AL Starters. Rich Harden, Shaun Marcum, Phil Hughes, Erik Bedard, John Lackey.
(Bittorrentluvr from Music Theft, IA)
Ok, so you want to roll a whole bunch of information into a single axis, huh? Fair enough. I'll spare you the 4 paragraphs of equivocation...

Lackey
Bedard
Hughes
Marcum
Harden

With the difference between Marcum and Hughes not being particularly large. Of course, move Harden's E(Starts) from eight to thirty, and things change. (Gary Huckabay)
2008-02-07 14:00:00 (link to chat)Now that Santana is out of the American League who do you see as the early favorite to win the Cy Young? Will Sabathia repeat or will someone step up and knock him off his perch?
(Martin from New Jersey)
John Lackey and Felix Hernandez are atop my list. Justin Verlander, because of the run support. (Joe Sheehan)


BP Roundtables

DateRoundtable NameComment
2009-10-16 13:00:00NLCS Game Two/ALCS Game OneHoly cow. Aybar and Figgins look at each other, watch the popup drop, and the run scores. John Lackey could be excused for punching both guys in the junk. (Jay Jaffe)
 

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