Washington Nationals: No Risk Move To Reunite With John Lannan
By Ricky Keeler
Yesterday, it was reported that the Washington Nationals have signed former starter John Lannan to a minor league deal and will try him in the bullpen
In a surprising move, the Washington Nationals decided to bring back one of their starters from the past yesterday. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post was the first to report that the organization has decided to sign former right-handed starter John Lannan to a minor league deal. Castillo also talked about the new pitching technique they want him to try:
Lannan hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since he was with the New York Mets back in 2014 (15.75 ERA in five games). For the last two seasons, the 31-year-old has pitched in triple-A for the Rockies (2015) and Royals (2016), but his numbers have been far from stellar.
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While Lannan was pitching in the Pacific Coast League, which is not too friendly to pitchers, he had a 5.29 ERA in 25 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers last year. If you want to look at his numbers as a reliever, he had a 11.34 ERA in six games with teams hitting .413 against him (according to MILB.com).
Back in 2005, the Washington Nationals drafted Lannan in the 11th round out of Siena University. In six seasons with the Nats as a starter, he went 42-52 with a ERA of 4.01 in 134 starts. He had three seasons of 30+ starts, but he only won double digit games once (10-13 in 2011).
When you look back at some submarine pitchers, names that come to mind in recent years are Byung-Hyun Kim, Chad Bradford, and Mike Myers. If you look at Kim’s career, he was an All-Star closer in Arizona. However, when he was with the Rockies, he gave up 37 home runs in three years (33 in six seasons with Arizona).
This experiment will be an interesting one to watch. Lannan isn’t in Major League camp, so it’s a mystery as to where he will start the season. With that being said, it’s not a bad idea to see what he has since the Washington Nationals are the organization most familiar with him.
When you talk about a submarine pitcher, the success will determine upon whether he get the ball to stay in the lower portion of the zone. If you look at Lannan’s career in a Washington Nationals uniform, opposing hitters had a .294 average against his sinker (courtesy of Brooks Baseball). That is the highest batting average against any of his pitches.
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Nobody can blame Mike Rizzo for taking a flyer on a former Nats pitcher and seeing if he has anything left. Plus, maybe going to a new technique of pitching could be something that helps extend his professional career. Only time will tell.