Welcome Home Aaron

While we hold our breath and wait for Adrian Gonzalez to pass his physical, sign a long-term contract with the Red Sox and leave San Diego, let’s take a quick look at someone who is headed to San Diego. Aaron Harang will return to his hometown after signing a one-year deal with the Padres. Harangatang has been monkeying around in Cincinnati the past three years, but there is hope for him to find fantasy relevance once again. Let’s take a quick look at Harang’s recent production and future prospects.

Harang was a useful pitcher during a three-year stretch from 2005 to 2007, peaking in 2007, but since then his ERA and WHIP have been unacceptable. It’s been three years since Harang has been a useful Starting Pitcher in our silly little game. Pitching at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is not a favorable situation and it only gets worse when you allow a 21.3% LD%. Because he allows so many Line Drives, Harang has had to deal with above average BABIP numbers (.318 career BABIP). The past two seasons have been especially brutal (.339 and .346). When he was peaking, Harang was able to battle the high Batting Average Allowed numbers by striking out over eight batters per nine and walking only two per nine. Recently though…

2005 6.93 K/9 – 2.17 BB/9
2006 8.30 K/9 – 2.15 BB/9
2007 8.47 K/9 – 2.02 BB/9
2008 7.47 K/9 – 2.44 BB/9
2009 7.87 K/9 – 2.38 BB/9
2010 6.61 K/9 – 3.06 BB/9

It appears Harang regressed as a pitcher last season, but I think it’s important to remember that he was doing well before suffering from a lower back strain that kept him off the mound for 61 days. Harang’s April/May numbers were just fine: 7.13 K/9 – 2.06 BB/9 in 65.2 IP. Harang will be 33-years old in May so it’s not like he’s old and decrepid already. His Fastball velocity has remained steady his entire career, in fact, his 90.5 MPH Fastball (average) tied a career high from 2005. Anyone who thinks Harang is washed up could be sadly mistaken. 

Home, sweet home. Petco Park is where Fly Balls go to die. If all goes according to plan, Harang will benefit from pitching half his game in an extreme pitchers park. He’s leaving a stadium that made Austin Kearns look good, that alone would have been a major plus for Harang. Petco is just the icing on the cake. As long as Harang doesn’t post a fugly BABIP, he should be a good SP5 in standard fantasy leagues. Hopefully people put stock in his 2010 drop off and leave us a little room for profit.