When It Clicked: Nationals Pitcher John Lannan
Unless his skills are simply too bountiful to be denied, every baseball player reaches a pivotal point in their development, where one path leads to the promised land of an established big-league career and the other to a minor league flame-out. The fact there are dozens of examples of the latter for every one of the former tells you how difficult it is. For John Lannan, a humble 11th-round draft pick in 2005, success may have been even more unlikely than for most.
"Most recently, [it was] that offseason between '06 and '07. I just mentally kind of grew up. I realized there was an opportunity to make the big leagues. Going a little further back, I always took baseball seriously. But [that winter] my offseason regimen got lot tougher, and I put in a lot of hard work to kind of mentally and physically prepare for the season.
"To tell you the truth, my Dad made my realize it. He said It just doesn't come naturally. When I was younger, it came naturally. But he told me hard work does pay off, and it showed.
"I worked out more, and I also talked to a sports psychologist. This game is mental. The older you get, it's what separates the high school player from the college player, and college from professional. I tried to concentrate more on the mental side. i just learned you have to trust what you have.
"In '06 [when he went 6-8 with a 4.76 ERA at Class A), I had some troubles mentally [with the] longer season. And so for that '07 season I just wanted to mentally prepare myself for the season, and I went out there and trusted what I can do."
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