Lannan was drafted by the Nationals in the 11th round of the 2005 draft. He spent 2005 and 2006 in Single-A ball before his epic 2007 season. He began the year by going 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in High-A before being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg. In Harrisburg, Lannan went 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA and was subsequently promoted to Triple-A where he went 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA. By the end of July, Lannan found himself making his Major League debut. It was certainly a memorable one for Phillies fans as Lannan hit Chase Utley on the wrist, which he broke and ended up on the disabled list. Lannan then hit Ryan Howard on the next pitch which got Lannan ejected from the game after 4.1 innings. He was the first person to be tossed from the game in his debut in nearly ten years. (Note: He does NOT like it, at all, when you ask him if he remembers breaking Utley’s wrist.)
Lannan worked his way to the top of the starting rotation in Washington where he was the Opening Day starter for the Nationals in 2009 and 2010. His best season came in 2011 when he was 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. He did not make the Nationals starting rotation out of spring training last year and was sent to Triple-A Syracuse. He split time between Washington and Syracuse which working on his mechanics. The 28 year old was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in six starts. It marked the only time in his Major League career in which his win-loss record was above .500.
The New York native mixes fastballs and sliders to lefthanded hitters. He will use his change up when facing righthanders. His out pitch to lefthanded batters is his heavy slider. The Phillies have historically had success against Lannan. Against Lannan the Phillies hit .313/.396/.503 with 17 homeruns and an .899 OPS. It appears that he has taken the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach. The Phillies hope he can be a serviceable fifth starter for a relatively low cost this season.
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