Lackey, Victorino: Red Sox Revelations

One of the most interesting statistics from BaseballAnalytics.org is that John Lackey has come off Tommy John Surgery at the age of 34 to be one of the major league leaders in swing-and-miss percentage after 100 pitches. Lackey has had little luck; he’s received no decisions in nine of his team-leading 17 starts, but coming off surgery his command has been so sharp that he’s walked one or none in 17 of his 25 starts.

One thought on his swing-and-miss numbers after 100 pitches is that when he is told an inning will be his last, he throws strikes so consistently that he has what John Farrell calls “a closer mentality” and finishes that inning in 10-12 pitches. Another thing that has helped Lackey’s season is that he has taken David Ross’s suggestion and often moves more to the first base side of the pitching rubber, which has freed his delivery and allowed him to better throw strikes on his glove side.

Red Sox players feel the two most interesting revelations in this surprising season have been Lackey and Shane Victorino. “Watch how Shane re-positions himself in every count, after every pitch,” says Ryan Dempster. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

To which Brian Butterfield adds, “he’s the best right fielder I’ve ever seen.”