Some fans are less than enthused about the prospect of landing Dan Haren. They look at his 7-8 Win-Loss record and 4.60 ERA this season and think he’s having a bad year. Nothing could be further from the truth. He’s a good pitcher on a bad team with a horrendous bullpen, one that’s so bad it’s a Run and a half worse than anyone else in the sport. The bullpen alone can affect his W-L and inflate a pitcher’s ERA by allowing so many inherited runners to score. A better way to analyze a pitcher is to look at the numbers he can control. Dan Haren leads the NL with 141 Strikeouts (9.0/9 IP) and has outstanding Walk rate at 1.9/9 IP. He’s given up too many HRs (23) this year, but I think that’s a function of him just trying too hard. Check out his Pitch FX velocity numbers:
|2007||91.7||84.0||76.9||82.4||88.3||85.4||89.1||71.7||84.2||45.6||- – -|
|2008||91.5||83.9||76.7||82.5||88.2||84.9||89.3||71.2||83.9||50.6||- – -|
|2009||91.9||83.9||77.3||82.8||89.1||86.7||90.3||71.3||84.7||52.3||- – -|
(NOTE-Numbers not in bold are seasonal averages)
His Fastball is down a shade, but that’s a rounding error. It could also simply be a function of comparing mid season numbers to full season, and as we all know pitchers tend to build up arm strength and add velocity as the season progresses. But here’s what I found really interesting. His Slider, Cutter and Change are all UP this year. He’s throwing his secondary pitches harder? Classic case of someone who’s trying to do too much. Look at his horizontal and vertical charts as well. Less up and down movement (depth) on his Slider and Cutter, less side to side movement on his Change. He’s overthrowing. That explains his HR numbers being up, a Slider with no bite might as well be put on a tee for most MLB hitters.
Dan Haren is still just 29 years old. He’s been healthy throughout his career, pitching 200+ innings and making 33-34 starts every full season he’s been in the bigs. He was great in 2009, posting a 6.0 WAR and finishing 5th in NL CY Young award voting. Dan Haren is simply on a bad team with a bad bullpen. You can’t blame him for trying to do everything himself, especially as the Ace of the staff. He won’t be asked to carry the Yanks with CC as the #1 and Andy, Javy and AJ in the fold. He can simply go about his business and the results should follow.
Make no mistake, Arizona is having a fire sale. You couldn’t touch Dan Haren last year, so when a pitcher of his caliber becomes available you have to seize the opportunity. Even a package that includes Joba Chamberlain will be buying low unless he reaches his full potential as a Starter or Closer, and right now he looks lost out there. I’ll trade potential for a finished product any day of the week. If the deal is Nova/McAllister and we take back one of their overpriced relievers, then it’s an absolute steal in terms of talent. I’ll let Cash and Hal worry about the budget. But if the deal includes Joba, Mo can drive and I’ll pay the tolls.