Lackey’s Location

After yet another disasterous outing by John Lackey tonight, I decided to have a look at where his location has been this season compared to last.

Lackey actually has a decent BB/9 rate this season (not including his hit batsmen), but throwing strikes isn’t always a good think if those strikes end up in the hitter-friendly part of the zone — This is why one can’t rely on K/BB rate alone (*cough* Ricky Nolasco *cough*). Such has been the case for Lackey this season.

First, his “called strike-zone” pitch f/x from 2010 (via

Then, his location through the same dates this season.

Granted, Lackey missed some time this season and has not thrown the same number of pitches to-date as he did last season. That includes facing many more left-handed hitters to this point in the season in 2010. Regardless, the issue here isn’t what side of the plate he’s pitching to, but rather the number of pitches that are ending up in the middle of the plate or up in the zone. If you compare the two images, it’s not even close. Lackey has clearly missed in the middle of the plate and up in the zone much more often this season.

I know this may seem like, “Duh, that’s why he’s sucked all season!”, but it’s just me trying to confirm with data what my eyes have been telling me all along.

Categories: Boston Red Sox John Lackey

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

2 Responses to “Lackey’s Location” Subscribe

  1. Gerry September 9, 2011 at 11:45 PM #

    So, given all the negative outside influencers this season and the fact that he has historically never been less than a decent #4 or 5, what can we possibly expect next year? Better, worse, a loss-leader trade? With Beckett, Lester, Buchholz and one of Bedard, Doubront, Miller, other … Might he improve in 2012 and be an above average #5? Theo has to do something

    • Charlie Saponara September 10, 2011 at 3:30 PM #

      I think we can HOPE for him to become a decent 5, but he's been regressing for a few years now. It's almost impossible to say at this point. It could be mental, but who knows.