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Javier Vazquez is the stereotypical pitcher when it comes to pitching in the American League and the National League. His ERA in the NL (not including his first two big league seasons which are left out because he was still developing and those are outliers) was 3.65 versus 4.54 in the AL. His K/9 in the NL was 8.44 and in the AL it’s lower at 8.05. His K:BB in the NL was 4.17 and in the AL it is much worse at 3.12. The effects of pitching against the opposing team’s pitcher obviously helps. It changes the approach to the number eight hitters and the leadoff hitters. It inflates strikeouts and thwarts big innings.

That said, Vazquez is a rather radical example. This season there is only one-tenth of a run difference between the two leagues (4.20 vs. 4.10) in ERA and the K:BB rates are only 0.05 better in the NL. And that’s on average. Haren doesn’t pitch in an “average” ballpark. He pitches in the fourth worst park for runs according to ESPN Park Factors and a worse than average home run park. Angel Stadium on the other hand has been the sixth best park for pitchers in terms of runs and in the top third for least likely to see a home run. So with Dan Haren leaving the National League to go to the American League, there’s not the typical “he’s going to the AL so watch out now” idea taking place.
In fact it might be just the opposite. Haren hasn’t won a decision in more than a month despite having four quality starts in that time. Although his walk to strikeout rate isn’t what it was last year, at 4.86 for the season he is only behind Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Jered Weaver, and Josh Johnson in that category. Those guys are all ranked in the top 35 in all of fantasy baseball and Haren isn’t close. The reason for that is mainly attributed to the 23 home runs he allowed this season. If that problem gets solved (and it seems that the numbers support that it will even if Haren changes nothing) he’s obviously in line to improve significantly. Just a final note, when Haren pitched in the AL West from 2003 through 2005 he was giving up 1.1 home runs per 9 innings. This year he’s giving up 1.46 home runs per 9 innings. Obviously there are a lot of flaws in comparing those numbers, but it does show Haren has conquered AL foes before.
  • Buster is…pretty talented. I don’t know any other way to say it.” – Tim Lincecum on Buster Posey who went 4 for 5 yesterday in the Giants win over Haren’s former team. Posey now has an 18 game hitting streak and should pass Jayson Heyward and maybe Stephen Strasburg in Rookie of the Year consideration. Posey has an 18-game hitting streak and is hitting .371. Funny how not so long ago he was an after thought to Matt Wieters.
  • Roy Oswalt will not veto his no trade clause for the opportunity to tie Joe Niekro on the Astros win list.
  • Ted Lilly could be making his last start with the Cubs tomorrow. They were originally going to pitch him on Tuesday, but have moved him up one day. It seems stupid with so many teams interested, but over his career Lilly actually has a better ERA by about a half of run on four days rest rather than five days.
  • Forget about Ben Sheets being a help at the trade deadline. In all likelihood his season is over. His elbow is the problem as usual and this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
  • Reid Brignac has homered four times in his last six games. This was a guy that had high teens to low twenties home run power in the lower minors, so the power is there.
  • Alex Rodriguez was hit on the hand in the 8th inning. He said he’ll be fine.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka had a third straight quality start despite walking five Mariners.
  • Julio Borbon was not in the lineup yesterday for the second straight game and has struggled mightily for the last month. He joins the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury as a steals guy that has really disappointed this year. Nyjer Morgan, B.J. Upton, and Matt Kemp get honorable mention.

One Response to Dan Haren to the Angels – for Better or Worse?

  1. Max says:

    Haren won't make up a seven game deficit. Check out leave comments ask qs and tell me what you think.

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