John Lackey’s Case for Comeback Player of the Year
Entering this season, I had higher hopes than many about John Lackey. I was optimisticabout his returning to be a league-average or better pitcher, but Lackey has been so much more than that. After all, just two years ago he was the worst qualified pitcher in baseball and then underwent Tommy John Surgery that offseason to miss the 2012 season. Lackey has been more than just a league average or slightly better pitcher this year, as he is a strong candidate for the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Aug 23, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey (41) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Lackey, now in the fourth year of his five year (with an option) contract, has been one of the better pitchers in the American League this year. His 3.17 ERA is 11th in the American League, his 7.9 K/9 are 12th in the American League, his 1.95 BB/9 is 8th in the American League, and his 4.06 K/BB ratio is 6th in the American League.
Ever since Clay Buchholz hurt himself and has been out ever since, John Lackey has filled the role of an ace on this pitching staff. With Buchholz gone and Lester and Dempster struggling, he has been one of the consistently best pitchers on the Red Sox and in the league.
At this point, the only thing that would prevent Lackey from being a frontrunner for Comeback Player of the Year is his win-loss record. Even with all his supporting stats so marvelous, Lackey’s record stands at 8-11 despite pitching for a first place team all year. Wins and losses should not be a part of voting, but they are regardless and hopefully it does not affect Lackey’s bid for Comeback Player of the Year.