Thursday, March 24, 2011

25 in 25: John Lannan (#19)

In 7 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

Today, we add John Lannan to our esteemed list of current Nats.

Why?: Going into the 2011 season, starting pitching became a concern for the Nationals when they lost Strasburg, hence the one year contract for Livan Hernandez. But beyond Livo and Jason Marquis, the Nats had no guarantees for the starting spots in the rotation. The next logical choice, though, was John Lannan.

Lannan has been the Opening Day starter (a role he was never really qualified for, but there were no other real options) the last two seasons, and we already know he won't start on Opening Day this year. But despite his breakdown in the middle of 2010, Lannan is one of the best options that the Nationals have right now.

What to expect?: Lannan should never be an Opening Day starter or a #2 guy ever again. Lannan is a lefty, though, and as such he might end up as a #2 rotation guy to start this year to break up the righties. We believe John Lannan is a #3 or later guy, and we think he can flourish when facing other #3 and #4 starters. It's not realistic for John Lannan to succeed against Roy Halladay or Tommy Hanson or Josh Johnson. It is realistic for him to succeed against R.A. Dickey or Joe Blanton.

Expect Lannan to get back to his roots, ground balls and low strikeout counts. Also, expect him to stay with the big club all year; there will be no mid-season demotions for the lefty in 2011.

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