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.