JOHN O'LANNAN? COULD BE
I was as amazed as anyone both with Lannan's 6-0 start and his meteoric rise through the Nationals' farm system.
He's looked good overall, though his last two starts has seen his ERA rise to 4.15. He is a "crafty" lefty who must rely on putting his "junk" where he wants . Each and every time. When he doesn't, bad things happen. To be sure, there have been some outstanding pitchers over the years who have crafted Hall-Of-Fame careers by painting the black with 80 mph changeups. Tom Glavine comes to mind. But there aren't as many John Lannans in major league rotations as there are Brandon Webbs. It concerns me a little bit when pitchers begin their rookie year with very low ERA's that then began to rise after each game pitched. I'd much rather see a kid get beaten senseless initially and then "begin to get it" as he gains experience.
Lannan is reminding me a bit of Mike O'Connor. O'Connor came out of nowhere to grab a position in the starting rotation. He didn't give up a run in April, but saw his ERA reach 3.00 by the end of May. By the end of June, it had risen to 3.77. By July, his ERA was 5.12. He sat out August and did pitch better in September, ending the year with a 4.80 ERA.
They are similar pitchers. Lefties with solid curveballs and good changeups, but with a fastball that will get pummeled every time should the batter be looking for it. And if they lose control of that curve, watch out. O'Connor averaged a walk every 2.3 innings, or about 4 walks per game. Lannan - in less starts - has walked 17 in 34 innings, about 4.5 walks per game.
I hope I'm wrong, but Lannan may be following in Mike O'Connor's footsteps, meaning that they dominated the opposition until their weakness was found, and then exploited. I'm not suggesting that O'Connor won't return to the Nationals, or that Lannan won't become an ace.
What I am saying is that I've seen this before. And deja vu? It aint always a good thing.
Around The Horn: Jason Bergman completed his 3rd (and likely last) rehab assignment for Columbus last night.Bergmann threw seven scoreless innings while allowing six hits, walking none and striking out nine. He'll likely be in the Nationals' rotation next week. While this is a good thing, I am concerned as to which Jason Bergman will toe the rubber for the Nats. Will it be the unhittable Bergman, who was without question the toughest pitcher to hit in the National League before his stint on the disabled list, or the Bergman who has looked really bad since his return. No question, whether good or bad, he needs to get his innings in so the team can better evaluate their upcoming roster decisions, but if it's the "bad" Bergman, the team might have a tougher time reaching that 70 - 74 win plateau.
Here are how the starting eight are projecting to finish the season (I'm not couting Wily Mo because of a too-small sample size and assuming Ryan Church finished the season as a regular. The italics are my predictions for the players from spring training:
1B: Dmitri Young: .334-15-88 (Nick: .291-25-95)
2B:Ronnie Belliard: .281-10-54 (Guzman: .255-4-45)
SS:Felipe Lopez: .241-11-61 (271-12-45)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman: .271-24-91 (.301-27-117)
LF: Ryan Church: .263-13-64 (.271-23-85)
CF: Nook Logan: .289-0-21 (.263-1-35)
RF: Austin Kearns: .262-14-66 (.268-21-81)
C: Brian Schneider: .231-8-54 (.255-11-54)
This is the 3rd year that I took a stab at predicting how the Nationals would do, and third year that I didn't come close for most of the players. Oh well .....
And, congratulations. Yours is the first negative comment in my nearly three years of blogging.
Again, tell me where I'm wrong, and if you are going to be negative, at least leave your name.
You were pretty close a far as HR and RBI. There is also still a month to go. Keep up the good work!
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