Pitching in the shadow of Cleveland’s Cliff Lee, Aaron Laffey has been gotten off to an incredible start in his first 6 games of 2008. Laffey has a 1.59 ERA (2nd best in the AL, behind Lee), and he’s only given up 7 earned runs in 39.2 innings pitched. He hasn’t racked up very many K’s, because much of his success comes from his sinking fastball, slider and changeup, which have been responsible for a 52% ground ball rate.
Now who does this remind you of? Let’s compare Aaron Laffey’s first 6 starts with Chien Ming Wang’s first 6 starts (minus 1 bad one) of 2008.
Stats from Baseball-reference.com:
- Laffey: 39.2IP, 1.59 ERA, 7 ER, 31 Hits, 8 Walks, 20 Ks.
- Wang: 41.0 IP, 1.54 ERA, 7 ER, 29 Hits, 10 Walks, 30 Ks.
Aside from their similar stats, both pitchers rely on the sinkerball, slider, changeup combo to get opposing batters to put the ball on the ground. Neither are overpowering strikeout pitchers, but they are both effective in giving their team a chance to win (albeit the Yankee’s offense has a slight advantage, but clearly not showing it yet).
Now that Wang has pitched 11 games, he has a 3.82 ERA and 6-2 record. It’s unrealisitic to think Laffey will be able to maintain his sub-1.6 ERA, and I’d expect him to be right around where Wang is after his next 5 starts.
So do you agree that Laffey has a little Wang in him? Let me know what you think.