John Lackey
John Lackey
39-Year-Old PitcherSP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Has Father Time caught up to Lackey, or was his disappointing 2017 campaign a result of an extreme case of gopheritis? His 4.59 ERA ballooned from 3.35 and 2.77 the previous two seasons. However, a 1.28 WHIP isn’t that out of line with Lackey’s career level, while his strikeout and walk rates were also in range of expectations. Lackey’s ERA was harpooned by 36 homers in 170.2 innings, the third highest total allowed in the majors. The veteran right-hander’s flyball rate nosed up a little; the main reason for the bloated homer total was an 18.2 percent HR/FB clip, well above league average. Even with inevitable regression, Lackey is still a risk entering 2018. There’s a lot of mileage on his 39-year-old arm -- he's averaged 193 frames in five years since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Lackey no longer has the floor rendering him a fantasy staple. The cost should be low enough to see if Lackey can combat the home run issues. Even then, he’s best utilized streaming in favorable matchups. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
Add To Watchlist
$Agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs in December of 2015.
Could pitch in bullpen during postseason
PChicago Cubs  
October 1, 2017
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Lackey could be an option out of the bullpen in the playoffs, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports.
ANALYSIS
Lackey tossed one inning in relief Sunday afternoon, giving up one run on two hits and taking the loss. There are signs suggesting that Lackey will retire upon the conclusion of the Cubs' season in the coming weeks, as he'll turn 39 later this month and is coming off a season in which he posted his highest ERA (4.59) since 2011 (6.41).
Read More News
Pitching Stats
Loading Pitching Stats...
MLB Game Log
Calculate Stats Over Time
Just click on any two dates.
Loading Pitching Game Log...
Minor League Game Log
Calculate Stats Over Time
Just click on any two dates.
Loading Minor League Pitching Game Log...
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
 
 
-18%
BAA vs RHP
2018
No Stats
2017
 
 
-17%
BAA vs RHP
2016
 
 
-17%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .260 676 126 61 154 30 3 26
Since 2016vs Right .214 803 203 45 157 25 1 33
2018vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Left .276 354 59 31 87 16 1 20
2017vs Right .230 377 90 22 78 14 1 16
2016vs Left .242 322 67 30 67 14 2 6
2016vs Right .201 426 113 23 79 11 0 17
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
 
 
-34%
ERA at Home
2018
No Stats
2017
 
 
-24%
ERA at Home
2016
 
 
-40%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2016Home 3.19 1.08 192.0 11 10 0 8.2 2.3 1.3
Since 2016Away 4.80 1.26 166.0 12 10 0 8.4 3.0 1.7
2018Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017Home 3.95 1.20 82.0 4 6 0 8.2 2.2 1.6
2017Away 5.18 1.35 88.2 8 6 0 7.5 3.3 2.1
2016Home 2.62 0.99 110.0 7 4 0 8.1 2.5 1.0
2016Away 4.37 1.15 78.1 4 4 0 9.3 2.6 1.3
More Splits View More Split Stats
Advanced Pitching Stats
Loading Advanced Pitching Stats...
Defensive Stats
Loading MLB Defensive Stats...
Stats Vs Today's Lineup
Want more matchup stats?
Loading Matchup Stats...
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
A recurring theme for the 2016 Cubs was the elevated contributions the team received from the starting pitchers, and Lackey was no exception. At 37 years old, Lackey struck out opposing hitters at the highest rate of his career (24.1 percent, 8.6 K/9) and parlayed a career-low .213 batting average against to a career-best 1.06 WHIP. Good defense goes a long way toward helping pitchers, but Lackey had a previously unmatched level of success with his slider, as opposing hitters hit .137 against that offering while slugging a mere .185 against it. Additionally, he made adjustments with his changeup, and sustained a lot of the growth he experienced with the pitch in 2015. Perhaps most impressively, Lackey did not show signs of fatigue the third time through opposing batting orders, as he was even better in those situations (.187/.252/.317 line against) than he was the first and second time through. Additionally, his performance in the second half featured an ERA (2.76) nearly a run lower than his first-half mark (3.70). He'll reprise his role as the Cubs No. 4 starter in 2017.
Lackey delivered one of the best seasons of his career at age 36 in 2015 and with just a $500,000 salary was probably the best dollar-for-dollar pitcher in the majors. He posted the first sub-3.00 ERA of his career (2.66), matched his career high in starts (33) and threw more innings (218) than in all but one of his previous 12 seasons. Lackey also struck out 175 batters while posting a career-high 26 quality starts. He has returned to form nicely since missing the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, posting 605.1 innings with a 3.35 ERA and 93 starts in his last three seasons. None of his peripherals suggest a reason for his numbers to drop off any time soon, and he should get plenty of run support working out of the middle of the Cubs' rotation in 2016.
Lackey will return to St. Louis in 2015 after his option was exercised by the Cardinals following the season. The veteran righty posted a solid season in his 13th year, bolstered by a strong first half. He looks to be locked in as a member of the Cardinals' rotation for 2015, likely as an innings eater in the third or fourth spot in the rotation. His xFIP of 3.48 in 2014 indicates that he was just as good as advertised and should provide the Cardinals with terrific value at the veteran minimum. Lackey should be a solid source of wins and could also provide cheap value to fantasy owners in 2015 as well.
Lackey's run in Boston has been largely a disappointment, hitting its nadir in 2011 when he had the highest ERA among starting pitchers, required season-ending Tommy John surgery and was implicated in the bad clubhouse karma that blew up in September. After sitting out the 2012 season, a lighter Lackey showed up at spring training in 2013 ready to change the narrative. He was Boston's most consistent starter from April to October and had his best moments in the postseason, when he outdueled Justin Verlander in Game 3 of the ALCS and finished off the Cardinals in Game 6 to clinch the World Series. His sojourn from pariah to savior earned him the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually to the major-leaguer who has overcome adversity. He'll enter the final year of his five-year deal as one of Boston's top three starters.
Lackey missed all of the 2012 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but is now ready to pitch again and is in Boston's rotation plans for 2013. Other than eating up innings, there has been little good in Lackey's performance since signing with the Red Sox. He gives up a ton of baserunners, and has experienced declining strikeout rates and increasing walk rates. He has managed 26 wins in two seasons with Boston, largely due to enhanced run support. We are talking about expensive wins here. Add on that he is coming off an elbow injury, and there are enough warning signs to stay clear of Lackey.
Little was expected from Lackey entering the 2011 season and he didn't exceed those expectations. He finished 12-12 and he should thank his teammates, who supported him with 9.39 runs per game. He authored a 6.41 ERA in 160 innings, historically-bad numbers. Lackey missed some starts early on with an elbow injury, which eventually required Tommy John surgery and will force him to miss the entire 2012 season. He could be the most unpopular athlete in Boston these days.
For better or worse, Lackey threw the most innings of any Boston starter in 2010. He gave up a ton of hits and walks, but Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't have to waste his bullpen when Lackey started -- mostly because Lackey was given very good run support. Aside from that, Lackey did not perform up to the level of the five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed last winter. His per-nine numbers moved in the negative direction across the board. If you want to hang your hat somewhere, Lackey was at his best in September, he pitched reasonably well against the Yankees, and was healthy. He'll return as Boston's fourth starter, and there's something to be said for pitching on a contending team that's capable of scoring runs for you, but there's some negative perception and performance he needs to turn around in 2011.
For the second season in a row, Lackey owners had to wait to open their draft-day present, as the right-hander missed seven starts with an elbow strain. Once healthy, he was as effective as ever, and even with the missed time was the top free-agent starting pitcher available over the winter. The question, for owners real and fantasy, is whether Lackey can make 33 starts a year. It's an eight-round difference at the draft table, maybe $8 million a season in the real world. His build and the lack of surgeries say that he can, and the Red Sox seem to agree after signing him to a five-year, $85 million contract in December.
Lackey wasn't nearly as dominant in 2008 as he was the previous season and he finished the season with only 12 wins, good for fourth on the team. Lackey, who only made 24 starts last season, finished with less than 30 starts for the first time since he was a rookie in 2002; but he still managed to post a 3.75 ERA and strike out 130 batters in 163.1 innings pitched. The Angels exercised their 2009 club option on Lackey in October, while a long-term deal could be worked out before he hits the open market as a free agent next winter.
Following a strong 2007 season that saw him finish third in the AL Cy Young voting, Lackey has ascended into the top tier of major league pitchers. Lackey went 19-9 with an AL-leading 3.01 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 224 innings. Lackey is in his prime, so his numbers should be very good again next year and he'll remain the ace for a competitive Angels club for the foreseeable future. Statistically, he's not far from the likes of Johan Santana and Jake Peavy, but he's relatively under the radar given the lack of postseason hardware.
One of the AL's most reliable sources of strikeouts, Lackey hasn't taken that next step forward in improving his command. He's a very slight improvement from being a No. 1 starter, and this is the year he gets there. He'll challenge for the Johan Santana Award.
Lackey showed solid improvement in 2005 and is a sleeper breakout candidate for 2006. His 199 strikeouts (in 209 innings) topped his previous season high of 151 (in 204 innings). The most important trend to note is his post All-Star break performance where he was 8-1 with a 2.57 ERA.
Lackey almost duplicated his 2003 season in 2004, but he wasn't exactly repeating a success. He's been just average since his debut, and with each passing year it's looking increasingly likely that's all he'll ever be. Consider him trade bait if he starts hot.
Lackey's first full year in the rotation can't be considered a success, but it wasn't exactly a failure either. His strikeouts jumped while his walks and hits allowed dropped, and that has to count for something. That said he still gives up too many home runs. If you have a reserve list, be patient with him. If you don't, let someone else take the risk.
The answer to the trivia question of who won Game 7 of the World Series for the Angels is John Lackey. Once he was given a chance to start in July, Lackey impressed and became a marginal fantasy threat in AL-only leagues. Should be the No. 5 starter this season and will start at least 22 games.
More Fantasy News
Likely to retire after postseason
PChicago Cubs  
September 28, 2017
Lackey, 38, seems likely to retire after this season, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
ANALYSIS
Subscribe now to instantly reveal our take on this news.
Gets division-clinching win Wednesday
PChicago Cubs  
September 27, 2017
Lackey (12-11) picked up the win over the Cardinals on Wednesday, allowing one run on two hits and two walks over six innings while striking out three.
ANALYSIS
Subscribe now to instantly reveal our take on this news.
Takes no-decision against Brewers
PChicago Cubs  
September 22, 2017
Lackey allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over four innings in a no-decision Friday against Milwaukee.
ANALYSIS
Subscribe now to instantly reveal our take on this news.
Ejected in fifth inning
PChicago Cubs  
September 15, 2017
Lackey was ejected in the top of the fifth inning Friday against the Cardinals after giving up two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four in 4.2 innings.
ANALYSIS
Subscribe now to instantly reveal our take on this news.
Takes 11th loss despite solid start
PChicago Cubs  
September 8, 2017
Lackey (11-11) allowed two runs on four hits and two walks and struck out nine over seven innings but still took the loss Friday to the Brewers.
ANALYSIS
Subscribe now to instantly reveal our take on this news.