Here at Philthy Stuff we'll be taking a look at the 2013 Phillies and what we can expect from each and every player in the upcoming season as we head towards Spring Training. Next up, John Lannan.
It wasn't too long ago that left-handed pitcher John Lannan was among the most hated men in Philadelphia. He was right up there with Joe Carter, Chipper Jones, and Scott Rolen. For good reason, too -- in 19 games against the Phillies, he's beaned 11 hitters -- the most against any team during his six year career. Among them was Chase Utley, who fell prey to an errant pitch in 2007 that broke his hand and cost him a month's worth of games in the middle of a great season as the Phillies were making a push for the playoffs.
Whether or not Lannan was throwing at Phillie hitters on purpose is up for debate, but I suppose his new teammates will have plenty of opportunities to ask him, as the lefty signed a one-year deal with the club in December, and figures to the fifth starter heading into spring training.
Like we wrote about at the time, Lannan isn't going to strike fear in the hearts of opposing hitters. He's got a career ERA of 4.01, and his 4.7 K/9 is just a tick higher than Kyle Kendrick's. But thanks to his ability to generate ground balls in over 50% of at-bats, he doesn't need to set down hitters via the K as often as Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, however nice that would be.
More than anything, Lannan is on the Phillies to provide quality innings over a 162 game season. He's been about average over his career, so it's not as if he is completely overwhelmed when he toes the rubber every five days. His starts might not be exciting to watch, but at the very least, he should be able to keep the game within spitting distance.
As in every one of these blogs, we like to reference stat guru Bill James' 2013 projections to give us a bit of a starting point for each player heading into the season. For Lannan, it's not promising. James projects him to have a 2-4 record and a 4.58 ERA over ten starts. Likely, James doesn't figure that Lannan is going to be needed at the big league level over the course of the entire season, which would actually be a good thing, because it means that the Phillies have found someone better to replace Lannan in the rotation.
Is Lannan going to win any awards? No. Is he going to stink out loud? Probably not. Either way, you should get used to seeing him take the hill during 2013. With Roy Halladay's health a big question mark, they might need to call on the 28-year-old Lannan more often than not next season.