At the end of last year John Lannan seemingly made a transformation. As the bane of the sabermetric world for his first 2 1/2 years, Lannan was moderately successful despite walking a fair amount of guys and striking out no one because he was oddly successful at keeping righties from slugging the ball. Post-injury return last year, though, Lannan was a different pitcher. One simple reason was that he was striking out more guys and walking less, but he also was now dominating lefty batters. A quick perusal of the "front page" stats suggest Lannan might be back to his old ways, where everyone hits and no one scores. So let's see which Lannan is here now; old John or new one?
Walk Rate and K Rate:
John's walkrate is back to it's old levels - walking 3.0+ batters for every nine innings. That's not good. His K rate though, while not as high as the end of last year, is still up there (for John) at over 5 batters every 9 innings. These numbers are very reminiscent of 2008 John, probably his most successful year.
With his BB-rate up we'd expect to see the WHIP be high and it is. It's very high at 1.50, or "Matt Chico" on the threat level scale. A WHIP that high means he's giving up a decent amount of hits, too. That's not good. That suggests a guy who should have a much higher ERA than 3.38 (his xFIP is 4.38)
HR Rate and Opponent SLG:
One reason he might be keeping runs down is if all those hits he's giving up are singles. His HR rate is at 0, he hasnt' given one up this year. That's very good and completely in line with John's usual stance of giving up maybe one a game.
What really stands out is the Opponent slugging. Despite hitting .286 against John and getting on base at a .366 clip, the bad guys are slugging only .333 against John. Only 3 XBH - all doubles. This is a recipe for success.
Well that does seem like Old John. Do the splits show that old mojo? No, they don't.
RHB: .372 / .426 /.442
LHB: .100 / .250 / .100
This seems an awful lot like New John but with one difference, the righties aren't slugging nearly as well as they did last year against him. Oh, the SLG% is up there but that's because they are batting .372 against him (something that should fall because it is based on a .380 BABip). Slugging .070 more than your batting average is pretty terrible, falling somewhere inbetween 2010 Nyjer and 2010 Pudge.
It's early but indicators are what we are really seeing is Old John with just the right touch of New John. Like Old John he's walking too many and you'd like him to strike out a couple more guys. But also like Old John he's keeping the righties from killing him. The big difference is that he's carried over whatever tricks he learned last year to keep lefties off-balance against him. If the righties BABIP falls like we'd expect this John 3.0 can not just be successful, but be more successful than ever.