Feb 28, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang during a workout at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Unfortunately for Dodger fans, it's been a long time since Aaron Harang was one of the more valuable starting pitchers in the National League. Harang had an impressive prime in 2006 and 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds where he was a legitimate workhorse putting up 200+ innings pitched in three consecutive years (2005-2007) including a career best 234.1 innings pitched in 2006. During that year, Harang led the national league with 6 complete games and 216 strikeouts and posted an fWAR of 5.4 in 2006 and 5.2 in 2007 (rWAR of 4.6 and 5.7 for the same periods.)
The heavy workload would eventually take a toll on Harang as production started to drop off and injuries started to pop up. Harang would be limited to 184 innings pitched in 2008 as he missed 4 weeks with a strained right forearm and further dropped to 162 innings pitched in 2009 after missing the final 4 weeks of the season undergoing an emergency appendectamy. After another injury plagued season in 2010, this time Harang missed 7 weeks with "lower lumbar spasms" the Cincinnati Reds elected to part with the long-time starter by declining his team option for 2011. Even though Harang rebounded a bit in 2011 (170 innings pitched) his game is no-longer the power arm with high strikeout totals. After peaking in 2007 with a K/9 of 8.47 (an excellent rate for a starter who threw 231 innings that season) the K/9 has steadily decreased, down to 6.54 last season with the Padres. Harang will still benefit from a pitcher's park in Los Angeles (though not as extreme as San Diego) but the pitcher signed this past off-season doesn't resemble the flame-throwing workhorse from 2006 and 2007.
Perhaps perfectly underscoring both his value at the time and ultimately his undoing, Aaron Harang threw 10 innings in a July 2007 game against the Milwaukee Braves. Harang struck out 10 batters in his 10 innings of work and the Reds would eventually win the game in the Bottom of the 12th.
Much to the chagrin of the TBLA commentariat, Aaron Harang signed a Harang signed a two-year contract on December 8, 2011 worth a guaranteed $12 million, which includes a vesting option for 2014. Harang will be paid $3MM in 2012, $7MM in 2013 and a vesting option worth between $7 and $8MM in 2014 with a $2MM buyout.
|2009 - Cincinnati
|2010 - Cincinnati
|2011 - San Diego
|2012 Projections - Age 34 Season|
As much as I've been a fan of Harang throughout his career, I'm not too optimistic about his chances in Los Angeles. As his body has been breaking down he's had a hard time staying off the disabled list and he's been less effective when he's been healthy. At this point, Harang is a 4/5 starter who will likely have one or two DL stints per season.
I predict an ERA of 4.55 and a FIP of 4.25 in 155 innings pitched (with 2 trips to the 15 day DL.)
What is your prediction? Be sure to guess Harang's ERA, number of innings pitched, plus anything else you would like to predict.