Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Aaron Harang 2009

Aaron Harang's 2008 season is generally perceived to be way out of line with the rest of his career. The debate seems to be focused on whether he will bounce back, or whether there is some sort of lasting problem. Harang put up a K/9 of 7.5, BB/9 of 2.4, and groundball rate of 34.1% in 2008, all worse than the previous two years. On the other hand, prior to 2006 Harang actually had lower strikeout rates than last year, so maybe he simply outperformed his underlying ability in 2006 and 2007. The one factor that makes this seem somewhat unlikely is that he had previously always had grounball rates above 38%. The low rate last year does suggest that something in either his approach or his ability changed...which in turn suggests that the lower strikeout rate may reflect a real change in his pitching too. There's a fairly good chance that with a winter of rest behind him, Harang will be back to his old self in 2009. Just be aware that his old self may not be quite as good as his statistics from 2007 would suggest.

3 comments:

Schruender said...

I'm definitely a doubter of Harang. He was hurt for a substantial part of the season last year, what do you think the chances of him being sidelined for a month or more this year are? Given age, innings, etc. I think it's pretty good.

Marc Edelman said...

Alex, I just visited your website for the first time. Nice job.

I run www.sportsjudge.com -- dsipute resolution in fantasy sports.

I just wanted to chime in about Harang. On one hand, you are right, his stats last year are out of line. On the other, however, he pitches in a ballpark that when the wind blows out, even Wally Backman could have gone deep. That why a decrease in K's for him may have more impact than for the exact same pitcher in a different park.

I'm curious where you would take Harang in a draft this year. I probably would be more willing to gamble on him in an NL-only format, because the upside there would be more important.

Best.
Marc

Alex said...

Not sure I agree about prefering high risk/high reward types like Harang in 'deeper' formats (like most NL only leagues). You gain more if he's good, but you also lose more if he isn't. I'll try to get to a blog post that examines this question in more detail in the next few days.