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9/27/1984 (32 y, 5 m, 25 d)
2005 June Amateur Draft - Round: 11, Pick: 4, Overall: 324, Team: Washington Nationals
$0.2M / 1 Years (2014)
Lannan agreed to a minor league deal with the Nationals on Tuesday, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports. (3/7/2017)
Looking For Value In The Mets Rotation
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FanGraphs Audio: Dave Cameron Analyzes All Basebal»
Carson Cistulli (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
For the second year in a row, Lannan pitched more than 180 innings with a sub-4.00 ERA despite lugging around a FIP closer to 5.00. At first glance, it seems like luck. His poor strikeout rate in 2008 (5.79) fell off of a cliff (3.88) to the level of absurdity; he had the worst strikeout rate among qualified starters in the Major Leagues last year. His walk rate is good (3.34 career), and his home-run rate is decent (1.02 career), but nothing leaps out as elite other than his ground-ball rate (52.7% career). His four-pitch mix seems as fringy as the velocity on his fastball (88 mph), since only his curveball (+1.1 runs career) has been a positive pitch for Lannan year in and year out. He pitches to contact (88.6% contact rate in ‘09) and keeps it on the ground. That's enough to be a mediocre starting pitcher in pro baseball.
The Year Ahead:
There's not much upside in his stuff or his peripheral numbers. Lannan is the type of pitcher that is worth sticking in the back end of your rotation while he is cheap. He keeps the ball on the ground so he won't embarrass the team, but with his lack of strikeouts he'll have to have another year like 2008 and 2009 to have fantasy value. If he does repeat those years, he'll be useful as a back-end of the rotation guy in deep leagues. With some decline in the secondary numbers, it's not a lock that he will give an encore performance. Don't depend on this ground-ball whiz and don't spend anything more than a final round pick on him, whatever fantasy format you are playing. (Eno Sarris)
John Lannan had the worst year of his career in 2010, but he wasn’t exactly unlucky -- his 4.65 ERA was
lower than his career 4.71 FIP. He maintained an ERA under 4.00 in 2008 and 2009, making him a nice fantasy sleeper, but his poor components -- he has a career 1.39 K/BB ratio -- came home to roost in 2010. He pitched so poorly in the first half that he earned himself a mid-season demotion to Double-A; upon his return, he pitched well enough to ensure himself a rotation spot in 2010, but he simply doesn’t have the stuff to survive anywhere but the back of the rotation. He’s perfectly serviceable back there, as long as he isn’t getting paid much. But he’s mostly valueless to a fantasy owner. He’s never even won 10 games, he doesn’t strike many people out, and his ERA and WHIP are likely to be between mediocre and bad once more. It's hard to bet on him beating his components the way he did in '08-'09. The greatest compliment you can pay John Lannan is to say that he’s slightly better than a replacement player. (Alex Remington)
The Quick Opinion:
Slightly better than a replacement player. But only slightly.
The lefty had a nice bounce-back season for the Nats, posting the lowest ERA of his career after a weak performance in 2010. However, his skill set is far from exciting. Though he has never induced ground balls at a level below 50%, he only has mediocre control and a poor strikeout rate. His fate is really in the hands of the defense, which luckily has been there for the most part to bail him out. Lannan has outperformed his SIERA every year of his career, except in 2010, when he nearly matched it. Much of that outperformance is due to a career .286 batting average on balls in play and a nearly 73% strand rate. With his low BABIP years coming back in 2007-2009, his luck may have run out, and he is left with little to fall back on. Even in NL-Only leagues, the upside is simply too low to be worth even a minimal bid. (Mike Podhorzer)
The Quick Opinion:
The left-handed ground ball specialist has gotten by on better-than-league-average batting averages on balls in play and strand rates, despite weak peripherals. With a terrible strikeout rate, he is a poor risk even in NL-Only leagues given his low ceiling.
Lannan spent the majority of last season in Triple-A, where he compiled a 4.30 ERA and 4.46 FIP over 148.2 innings. His FIP dropped to 3.71 in a brief 32.2-inning stint with the Nationals, but the results remain consistent with his career performance. He’s a low-strikeout, ground-ball pitcher who will hover around a 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately, he also walks a healthy number of batters, making his career 1.42 WHIP unappealing in standard rotisserie leagues -- not to mention he only threw 41.8% of his pitches in the strike zone last year. That’s certainly a small sample size, but it doesn’t suggest his career 3.40 walk rate isn’t dramatically decreasing anytime soon. Lannan should be a solid fifth starter for the Phillies in 2013. That doesn’t mean, however, that he should occupy the same role on your fantasy squad. Only in extremely deep NL-only leagues should he be considered on draft day. (JP Breen)
The Quick Opinion:
Despite moving from Washington to Philadelphia, the left-hander still does not provide much value in fantasy formats, as Lannan essentially provides a Joe Saunders-esque ERA with fewer strikeouts and more walks.
With a 5.33 ERA, 4.84 SIERA and 4.60 strikeouts per nine last year for Philadelphia, it doesn't require much expertise to advise against drafting left-hander John Lannan. Still, don't draft John Lannan. Even in New York. (JP Breen)
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Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:37 AM ET
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