Breaking down Lackey's tendencies

December, 21, 2009

Ari Kaplan, a statistical analyst who comes out of the California Institute of Technology, has been a major-league consultant for two decades, and has developed with former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire, sent along his scouting report on John Lackey, the new Red Sox acquisition.

Pitch types

  • Fastball 90-93 m.p.h. (54 percent of all pitches)
  • Curveball 77-82 m.p.h. (26 percent) with great command and 36 percent more spin than the major-league average, keeps it low and away from right-handed hitters
  • Slider 80-84 m.p.h. (12 percent)
  • Sinker 90-92 m.p.h. (5 percent) with average command
  • Changeup 82-86 m.p.h. (3 percent)

Other observations

  • At 6-foot-6, he is 3.5 inches taller than the average MLB pitcher, giving him an additional advantage along with his above-average command and control
  • Batters hit line drives off him only 17 percent of the time, below the 20 percent league average
  • His pitches have effective separation of velocities, which helps their effectiveness, and have been constant all season
  • The release points for his off-speed pitches are 4 to 6 inches higher than his fastballs, and pitchers typically like to keep that under a 3-inch difference. His release points have been consistent all season, with a brief dip in early September, when his game time was reduced
  • He likes to throw consecutive pickoff moves (twice the average pitcher)
  • He's durable and is effective through 101 pitches
  • On counts of 1-0 and 2-0, he throws curveballs to left-handed hitters almost half the time -- seven times the rate of the average pitcher
  • Throws curveballs 38 percent more frequently from the stretch, and locates his sinkers and changeups four inches to the catcher's left

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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