Sunday, February 24, 2008

Supplemental Draft Guide: Dan Haren

Unbelievably, I somehow managed to leave my paragraph long diatribe against Dan Haren off the Fantasy Hurler starting pitching draft guide.

Dan Haren had a marginally better K rate in '07 as opposed to '06, and the exact same WHIP (1.21). Yet, his ERA dropped from 4.12 to 3.07. It's not as though his opponent's batting average against dropped precipitously, either (a mere .11 improvement). You've got to figure his true ERA is more like 3.60, accounting for luck and bad breaks, over the last two years. That's not a stellar number. So, basically, last year's ERA looks artificially low and is inflating his value pre-draft.

Haren has also thrown a ton of innings in the last three years. Even worse, he's been hovering in the 3400-3600 range for pitches thrown. All of this before he reached the age of 27. As though these warning signs weren't enough, consider these names: Billy Koch, Jason Isringhausen, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Rich Harden. All of these pitchers (and others I can't remember) were used like rented mules during their non-free agent years, often cut loose by the A's, and either saw their careers ruined by injuries or watched their effectiveness drop dramatically. Beane has a pattern: he abuses the shit out of pitchers, then trades them when their market value is high or dumps them when their contract runs out. Haren is no exception. Rather than pay market rate for an overused late 20s pitcher, he was traded for a bunch of young guys who can be similarly victimized before they become free agents.

I wouldn't draft Haren before round 7. He's often projected in rounds three through five, which is just plain crazy. Even though he's switched to the NL, you've got to worry about his arm falling off.

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