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Key Stats: After 12 starts last year Dan Haren had a 2.33 ERA and an amoeba would have had a hard time finding his 0.85 WHIP. An 0.85 WHIP for a 3 start stretch is almost unheard of, but for 12 straight starts to be that hard to reach base against is dominating. And yet after 12 starts, Haren’s record was 4-4. That’s bad luck.

Skeptics Say: What happened after those 12 starts wasn’t terrific. Haren’s 4.62 ERA and 1.26 WHIP was not worthy of a top 10 fantasy starter and he sank teams in head to head leagues who were counting on him to either bring them to the playoffs or carry them in the playoffs. Perhaps the only good part about him falling apart is that many analysts including Matthew Berry were screaming at the fantasy universe to sell high. After all Haren’s ERA went up more than a run in the second half the season before. And the season before that. And the season before that. This is not a new problem and it’s the main reason why Haren (#11 overall in Y! in 2009) is not getting top 30 respect anywhere.

Peer Comparison: Even with the ugly second half ERA, Haren’s second half WHIP of 1.26 was still better than the overall WHIP of John Lackey or Cole Hamels last year. After having such a strong start in that category he was able to finish right at 1.00 walk and hit per inning pitched which enabled him to finish at 1.0 in the category for the whole season. When a player is dominant in the WHIP category there is generally a correlation in ERA, but Haren didn’t even finish in the top ten in ERA. Going back through the past decade that’s extremely rare. Here’s a look at how the WHIP champs have fared in overall MLB ERA.

2008 Roy Halladay 4th in ERA
2007 Jake Peavy 1st in ERA
2006 Johan Santana 1st in ERA
2005 Pedro Martinez 4th in ERA
2004 Randy Johnson 2nd in ERA
2003 Jason Schmidt 2nd in ERA
2002 Martinez 1st in ERA
2001 Johnson 1st in ERA
2000 Martinez 1st in ERA
1999 Martinez 1st in ERA

Looking at the history of these stats correlatoin it’s flat out shocking that Haren finished as poorly as he did in ERA. After looking at these numbers it’s no surprise that the long ball (more than 1 per 9 innings) was Haren’s main problem.

Team Outlook: For Haren to only have 14 wins with the numbers he put together, the DBacks should ask John McCain to make some sort of bill to stimulate fantasy teams. That probably won’t happen, but with Justin Upton another year older and the rest of the DBacks core of hitters either healthier or more experienced this time around, there’s reason to believe 14 is the low point for Haren. The DBacks were 20th in runs scored last year at just under 4.5 runs/game. It sounds bad, but there were 8 NL teams behind them so they were really middle of the pack. If Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew show up to work this year it will go a long way to putting the DBacks in the top third of the NL.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #7 Starting Pitcher; #32 Overall; Yahoo: #7 Starting Pitcher and #50 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #42 Overall; Couch Managers: #57 Overall; FB 365: #7 Starting Pitcher

Projection: If Haren did get the luck he needed in both the wins category and the typical breaks that go the WHIP champ’s way in ERA he very well could have been the top pitcher and/or player in all of fantasy baseball last year. That’s why he can’t be picked any later than 40.
16 wins 3.09 ERA 1.09 WHIP 220 K in 220 innings

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3 Responses to Dan Haren Player Projection No. 38

  1. Dave says:

    Haren is an absolute beast. One of the only pitcher's I'd consider drafting high. Consistent, great K, great WHIP, great ERA. Seems to fade late in the season but you know what you're getting.

  2. Dave says:

    "pitcher's" with an apostrophe? Wow.

  3. Schruender says:

    Ha. I wouldn't have noticed. You're writing comments on the guy who makes at least two of those every post.

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