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As Jason Beck, Detroit Tigers' beat writer, recently wrote in his blog, the three pitchers left in the running for the fifth starter position are Drew Smyly, Andy Oliver and Duane Below. All of these pitchers are much better options for the spot than John Lannan.
Here are the numbers for the three players and John Lannan:
Drew Smyly: 8 IP, 1 ER, .154 average against, .88 WHIP
Andy Oliver: 12.2 IP, 3 ER, .098 average against, .95 WHIP
Duane Below: 12.1 IP, 6 ER, .302 average against, 1.78 WHIP
John Lannan: 18 IP, 9 ER, .275 average against, 1.33 WHIP
Oddly enough, the pitcher with the upper hand in this situation may be Duane Below. While the other two have better numbers, Below has more MLB experience, as he spent time as both a starter and reliever during the 2011 season.
While Lannan may have more experience and have similar numbers to the players above, the ceilings for the three Tiger pitchers are far higher than that of John Lannan. Once Jacob Turner enters the fold, positions in the Tiger's starting rotation will be few and far between for any pitchers.
Right now, Andy Oliver is in the lead to win the spot, in my opinion. He has amazing potential and could prove incredibly valuable and consistent in the fifth spot in the rotation.
UPDATE: The Washington Post has recently reported that John Lannan will be the Nationals' fifth starter once the season begins.