In his latest outing (5/16 against the Pirates), John Lannan worked around 11 base-runners in 6 and a third innings and only gave up 2 runs (one being inherited and allowed to score by Cole Kimball). Four walks conspired to cause Lannan grief all afternoon, as well as only throwing 54 of 101 pitches for strikes. However in the end, it was a quality start and kept the team in the game.
But are we seeing a gradual breakdown in Lannan overall? After getting sent down in 2010, he had masterful numbers upon his return (6-3 record with a 3.42 era and 1.24 whip in his last 10 starts in 2010). But he has not been able to carry these numbers into 2011. Right now, his season long 2011 numbers are WORSE than his combined stats from last year, and despite only really having one egregiously bad outing (2ip, 6runs) his supporting stats are getting to be really concerning. Here’s what concerns me specifically:
- 1.615 whip. That’s just way too many base-runners.
- 26ks and 22bbs in 47 IP.
Perhaps I’m being nit-picky; his ERA (4.53) is almost exactly in line with his FIP and xFIP (4.50 and 4.56 respectively) meaning he’s pitching exactly as expected. His BABIP is .323, meaning he’s been unlucky and is due for a regression of seeing-eye singles costing him hits and base-runners. His game scores throughout the season have been relatively consistent (mostly 40s and 50s; his high on the season has been 54 and his 5/16 game was a 51).
But, more importantly, even if Lannan is the first in line to be replaced out of our current rotation, we don’t really have anyone in AAA quite yet deserving of the promotion.
The incumbent seemed to be Ross Detwiler, but he’s really struggling so far this year in AAA. $8M man Yunesky Maya started slow and is coming around, but I want to see more Ks out of him. Tom Milone‘s k/bb ratio is fantastic but he’s not on the 40-man (though we seem to have an empty spot right now, so perhaps that’s a non-issue). Newly promoted Brad Meyers needs a few more AAA starts for seasoning but the evidence is there (especially after he dominated AA early in the season); his problem is lack of 40-man status as well. Lastly Craig Stammen believe it or not may have the best case of them all; best whip, decent numbers, and outside of one bad start has been solid, but he seems to have the least “investment” of any of the starters in Syracuse and seems more likely destined for the bullpen than the MLB rotation.
Interesting decisions lay ahead, especially if Lannan has a couple bad outings in a row. Remember; Lannan has minor league options (two of them if I read his transactions correctly). It isn’t really a good statement to option a former opening day starter, but the team has to do what is best.