2010 could be the year of John Lannan

John Lannan Spring Training.JPGThis could be the year of John Lannan. While everyone has been focused on Stephen Strasburg’s every move and pitch, Lannan has done what he has always done best–traveled under the radar like a stealth bomber. The cool-headed, hard working
pie master, low maintenance man is having his best Spring to date: 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA (3 ER/ 11 IP), one walk, six strikeouts and a .190 BAA. The kid that keeps defying odds is entering his third full season in the Majors–not even he thought he would ever make it to the pros– and he could be the Nats first 15-game winner since Livan Hernandez in 2005. 

A few thoughts from Lannan…

On the additions of Jason Marquis and Chien-Ming Wang:

“We got a lot of guys that have won and know how to win. Of course I am happy with what the front office has done.”

Marquis and Lannan are the only two Native New Yorkers to beat the Mets and Yankees in the same season:

“There is something about pitching in front of your family and against the team you grew up watching. It is a great feeling just to pitch there and have your whole family and friends cheer you on. That’s a pretty cool fact.”

On victories:

(Every pitcher has pitched well enough to get a victory but for whatever reasons walked away with the loss. It seems to happen to Lannan more frequently than others though. The sum of his outings weren’t indicative of his overall record last season. First, he had a 3.71 run support average, the second-worst RSA in the Majors last season with at least 200.0 IP. Second, just look the numbers between CC Sabathia and himself. It begs the question: how many wins would have Lannan had if he pitched for the Yankees in 2009?)

Number of games started allowing three earned runs or less:

Sabathia: 23 Lannan: 23

ERA in those games:

Sabathia: 1.78 ERA (32 ER/ 161.2 IP) Lannan: 2.24 ERA (39 ER/ 156.2 IP)

Individual Record in those games:

Sabathia: 18-0 Lannan: 9-5

Team Record in those games:

Sabathia: 20-3 Lannan: 12-11

“I am taking my lumps right now. It doesn’t really get to me. There have been plenty of times when I have given up more than three runs and have walked away with the win. It evens out. You can’t really look too deep into that. You want to go out there and put up wins. But you have to look at how many games the team wins when you are out on the mound. That overall record is more important than my individual record.”

(As you probably could have guessed, it doesn’t quite even out. During his two-plus seasons in the Majors, he has just two wins when he has allowed four runs or more and he has 13 losses when he has allowed three runs or less. In the losses, he has a 3.10 ERA but a 1.22 run support average and that explains it all.)

On being the de facto ace last season and how he sees himself entering 2010:

“I am just going to do what I do… the title of ace didn’t really fit my attitude with where I was with my game last year. But hopefully one day I can feel comfortable with that title, but right now I am comfortable with where I am at.”

On losing the twitter battle–first person to garner 1,000 followers–to teammate Collin Balester:

“He had a two week head start. I lost and I will give him that but look at who has more followers now.”

(Balester was the first to 1,000 followers but Lannan has taken a commanding lead. As of right now the score is: Lannan 1,968 to Balester 1,408)

On 2010 goals:

“You don’t want to put a cap on what you can do. No one has won 33 games but you don’t want to say you can’t do that. That mentality has really helped me out. As far as numbers go, I just want to improve on last year, little by little and just have fun. Go out there and compete and just improve every year.”

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