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View Full Version : Where do you think Harang ranks among NL starters?



HumnHilghtFreel
08-29-2007, 10:47 PM
While watching the game tonight, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who's a Braves fan. I let it be known that(and I may just be a TAD bit biased) that I think Harang is a top 5 starter in the NL. He said he was in the bottom half of his top 20. He's a pretty knowledgeable baseball fan though, so I got to wondering if it's just the lack of hype that Aaron gets in the national media that leads to him getting so little respect.

The top 5 may be a reach when looking at raw stats, but after considering that Harang is so incredibly consistent while pitching in an extreme hitters park, it tips the scale in his favor over other pitchers.

Currently my list would probably read

Peavy
Young
Webb
Penny
Harang/Smoltz/Hudson

LoganBuck
08-29-2007, 10:50 PM
Peavy
Webb
Harang
Penny
Hamels

Falls City Beer
08-29-2007, 10:52 PM
That looks close to right, your list. I'd drop Young down a peg or two because he's missed time and he's helped much more than his teammate Peavy by his home park.

It's pretty much Peavy and Webb. Then the second tier which includes Harang and the others you listed.

edabbs44
08-29-2007, 10:55 PM
I'd take Harang over Penny.

redsfan4445
08-29-2007, 10:56 PM
wish we could find two more like him! (one a lefty)

VR
08-29-2007, 10:56 PM
Peavy has clearly looked the best...but it's a toss up on the others.

The good news...the Reds have a front of the rotation horse locked up with a decent contract.

It's really about finding two starters for next year, and one power bullpen arm.

Cyclone792
08-29-2007, 11:07 PM
Tier 1 (random order grab bag): Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb and Roy Oswalt

Tier 2 (random order grab bag): Aaron Harang, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Cole Hamels, Carlos Zambrano, John Smoltz, and Tim Hudson

I may be forgetting somebody, but that's the way I see it right now. The Tier 2 grab bag is a random order; I'm not necessarily sure Harang's at the top, but he's not at the bottom either.

If Chris Carpenter was healthy, he'd probably be somewhere in the Tier 2 grab bag too.

Joseph
08-29-2007, 11:24 PM
I'm not far off Cyclones list, I'd drop Oswalt into that second bag.

Peavy, Webb, and everyone else.

Spitball
08-29-2007, 11:49 PM
I'm not far off Cyclones list, I'd drop Oswalt into that second bag.

Put a healthy Oswalt on the Padres in that ballpark and there would not be a better pitcher in baseball. For the purpose of watching mechanics, Oswalt is a joy to watch pitch.

Btw, Oswalt is pretty struggling through much the same kind of season Peavy had last year.

fearofpopvol1
08-30-2007, 12:09 AM
For those saying Penny over Harang, what is your basis for this? Penny has given up 17 less HRs (a total of FIVE on the season) and has an ERA that going into tonight was almost a full run lower than Harang's. Penny's record is 14-4 for the season in a similar amount of innings pitched. Harang does have considerably more strikeouts, though. Penny also has a career ERA that is lower than Harang's as well. I do love Harang though.

Here are a few interesting stats. Harang is off to the best start for a Reds pitcher since Tom Seaver in 1981 (who started off 14-2). Harang has 6 more starts left which means he has a shot at being a 20 game winner (though he has no margin for error). Harang also has the best winning % of any starting pitcher. And to think 1 of those losses was related to the back spasms...maybe he would've won that game otherwise.

Cyclone792
08-30-2007, 12:29 AM
For those saying Penny over Harang, what is your basis for this? Penny has given up 17 less HRs (a total of FIVE on the season) and has an ERA that going into tonight was almost a full run lower than Harang's. Penny's record is 14-4 for the season in a similar amount of innings pitched. Harang does have considerably more strikeouts, though. Penny also has a career ERA that is lower than Harang's as well. I do love Harang though.

I'm assuming you mean for those saying Harang over Penny ...

I didn't necessarily rank one over the other in my previous post, but I'll dig into a bit now. In 2007 alone, Brad Penny's been a better pitcher than Harang. That's pretty much a given so far, though it could change with a month remaining (and Harang's outstanding start tonight compared with Penny's lousy start today closed that gap considerably).

But I didn't just consider this current season. How about the last three seasons since 2005? Check this out ...

Harang has a 125 ERA+ compared to Penny's 117 ERA+
Harang has 636 total innings compared to Penny's 542.1 total innings (this is huge)
Harang has a 7.83 K/9 compared to Penny's 6.51 K/9
Harang has a 2.14 BB/9 compared to Penny's 2.61 BB/9
Harang has a 3.66 K/BB compared to Penny's 2.50 K/BB
Penny has a 0.68 HR/9 compared to Harang's 1.02 HR/9

Since the beginning of 2005, Aaron Harang has pitched 93.2 more innings than Brad Penny (that's significant), and Harang has posted an ERA+ considerably higher than Penny. Harang also has a considerably better strikeout rate and K/BB rate, and he has a slight advantage in walk rate.

Penny's home run rate is better than Harang's since 2005, but that's the only key area where Penny has the advantage.

Since the beginning of 2005, Aaron Harang has been a better pitcher than Brad Penny, and it's really not that close considering the innings pitched gap.

fearofpopvol1
08-30-2007, 12:35 AM
I'm assuming you mean for those saying Harang over Penny ...

I didn't necessarily rank one over the other in my previous post, but I'll dig into a bit now. In 2007 alone, Brad Penny's been a better pitcher than Harang. That's pretty much a given so far, though it could change with a month remaining (and Harang's outstanding start tonight compared with Penny's lousy start today closed that gap considerably).

But I didn't just consider this current season. How about the last three seasons since 2005? Check this out ...

Harang has a 125 ERA+ compared to Penny's 117 ERA+
Harang has 636 total innings compared to Penny's 542.1 total innings (this is huge)
Harang has a 7.83 K/9 compared to Penny's 6.51 K/9
Harang has a 2.14 BB/9 compared to Penny's 2.61 BB/9
Harang has a 3.66 K/BB compared to Penny's 2.50 K/BB
Penny has a 0.68 HR/9 compared to Harang's 1.02 HR/9

Since the beginning of 2005, Aaron Harang has pitched 93.2 more innings than Brad Penny (that's significant), and Harang has posted an ERA+ considerably higher than Penny. Harang also has a considerably better strikeout rate and K/BB rate, and he has a slight advantage in walk rate.

Penny's home run rate is better than Harang's since 2005, but that's the only key area where Penny has the advantage.

Since the beginning of 2005, Aaron Harang has been a better pitcher than Brad Penny, and it's really not that close considering the innings pitched gap.

Yes, you are correct...those for Harang over Penny.

This is a good analysis and I think you make a good case, but bear in mind that my focal points were "this season" and "career," not since 2005. Either way, I appreciate the post.

Cyclone792
08-30-2007, 12:45 AM
Yes, you are correct...those for Harang over Penny.

This is a good analysis and I think you make a good case, but bear in mind that my focal points were "this season" and "career," not since 2005. Either way, I appreciate the post.

I'm more interested in the last two, three, or four seasons to try to determine who the best pitchers in the league are right now. One season isn't a large enough sample, but two to four seasons is a good sample to use for the present.

As for their careers ... Harang and Penny each have a 109 ERA+ for their careers. That's a complete wash right there in that respect.

Penny came up at a much younger age than Harang, and that's why Penny has more career innings and more career value so far. Penny was a regular starter at the age of 22 whereas Harang wasn't a regular starter until the age of 26. So yes, if you're factoring entire career value into the equation, then Penny has more value.

Then again, if a pitcher's entire career is being factored into this, then Greg Maddux wins the debate hands down.

red-in-la
08-30-2007, 12:47 AM
How come nobody brought up WHIP? I thought that was a very important measure.

The HR thing is a park affected wash.

Cyclone792
08-30-2007, 12:55 AM
The HR thing is a park affected wash.

Good point about the HR rates. Here's Harang and Penny's home run rates on the road since 2005 ...

Harang: 31 home runs in 331 innings (0.84 HR/9)
Penny: 20 home runs in 250.2 innings (0.72 HR/9)

That's quite a bit closer than their overall numbers which include Harang's GABP starts.

AtomicDumpling
08-30-2007, 12:57 AM
I'm assuming you mean for those saying Harang over Penny ...

I didn't necessarily rank one over the other in my previous post, but I'll dig into a bit now. In 2007 alone, Brad Penny's been a better pitcher than Harang. That's pretty much a given so far, though it could change with a month remaining (and Harang's outstanding start tonight compared with Penny's lousy start today closed that gap considerably).

But I didn't just consider this current season. How about the last three seasons since 2005? Check this out ...

Harang has a 125 ERA+ compared to Penny's 117 ERA+
Harang has 636 total innings compared to Penny's 542.1 total innings (this is huge)
Harang has a 7.83 K/9 compared to Penny's 6.51 K/9
Harang has a 2.14 BB/9 compared to Penny's 2.61 BB/9
Harang has a 3.66 K/BB compared to Penny's 2.50 K/BB
Penny has a 0.68 HR/9 compared to Harang's 1.02 HR/9

Since the beginning of 2005, Aaron Harang has pitched 93.2 more innings than Brad Penny (that's significant), and Harang has posted an ERA+ considerably higher than Penny. Harang also has a considerably better strikeout rate and K/BB rate, and he has a slight advantage in walk rate.

Penny's home run rate is better than Harang's since 2005, but that's the only key area where Penny has the advantage.

Since the beginning of 2005, Aaron Harang has been a better pitcher than Brad Penny, and it's really not that close considering the innings pitched gap.

Penny also has a huge advantage based on the ballpark factor. Penny has pitched his entire career in strong pitcher's parks for the Marlins and Dodgers.

Penny's career ERA:
3.38 at home
4.37 on the road

That is a full run of ERA advantage due to his home ballpark.

Harang pitched his first 1.5 seasons against DH-lineups in a pitcher's park in Oakland, then came to GABP -- which is a hitter's park.

Harang's career ERA:

4.01 at home
4.31 on the road

Much of that difference was from his rookie season in Oakland:
3.05 at home
6.81 on the road

Harang's career ERA:
3.64 McAfee Coliseum
4.07 Great American Ballpark
4.31 all other ballparks

What all this means is that Harang has accumulated stats equal to or better than Penny despite pitching in an enviroment that is much more difficult to succeed. Yet Penny is considered a true ace pitcher while Harang is not. Penny starts All-Star games and Harang does not. Penny gets Cy Young consideration and Harang does not.

History has shown that playing in New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles will garner a player much more publicity and hence better endorsement deals and much greater odds of winning the Cy Young or MVP awards, and especially election to the Hall of Fame.

I think Aaron Harang has an excellent shot of being the first Cincinnati Red to ever win the Cy Young award. Probably not this year, but Harang could be a stud pitcher for a number of years.

wheels
08-30-2007, 01:08 AM
If Harang's team won more ballgames, he'd be widely considered a top three pitcher in the NL by the mass media.

As things stand now (in their eyes), he is as insignificant as his team.

It's a real shame that his prime years are being wasted.

Chip R
08-30-2007, 01:18 AM
Tier 1 (random order grab bag): Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb and Roy Oswalt

Tier 2 (random order grab bag): Aaron Harang, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Cole Hamels, Carlos Zambrano, John Smoltz, and Tim Hudson

I may be forgetting somebody, but that's the way I see it right now. The Tier 2 grab bag is a random order; I'm not necessarily sure Harang's at the top, but he's not at the bottom either.

If Chris Carpenter was healthy, he'd probably be somewhere in the Tier 2 grab bag too.


I'd say that's pretty much on the money. I know you all have talked about this and AD mad some great points about park factors. Guys like Penny, Peavy and Young do have a great advantage not only pitching in their home parks at night the majority of the time but they get to pitch in each others' parks too and SF. They do have to pitch in Coors too but since they have been watering the balls down there, it's a lot better for pitchers out there. Not really great hitting atmospheres out there while Harang has to pitch in GAB, Wrigley - where if the wind's blowing out anyone can hit it out. He also has to ptch a lot in Minute Maid, PIT, MIL and StL which aren't as bad as GAB but they still aren't like Petco, Dodger Stadium or Pac Bell.

I don't think Harang should get any extra credit for pitching here but it needs to be taken into account how he does here and elsewhere. I just hope the knuckleheads around here will actually throw him a bone and give him at least one Cy Young vote. :rolleyes:

Caveat Emperor
08-30-2007, 01:34 AM
Without an ounce of homer in me, I feel comfortable saying the only two pitchers in the NL I'd rather have in place of Aaron Harang would be Brandon Webb and Jake Peavy. If I could get a money-back guarantee on his arm, I might take Cole Hamels too. Otherwise, its all Harang for me. He dominates his competition and can, on any given night, do what he did tonight: go the distance or (in the alternative) hand the ball directly to the closer after 8. I'll anchor my staff with that any day of the week.

Here's a little fun Harang tidbit -- his ERA has dropped in every season since being traded to Cincinnati. This year he's on pace to post his lowest ERA as a professional at 3.51.

Sea Ray
08-30-2007, 01:37 AM
Suffice to say we do finally have a legit "ace"; a #1 starter. That's something we haven't had since Jose Rijo and that's the most difficult piece to find as you try to build a winner.

Now we need to find a rebounding veteran in the off season to stick in that rotation, like a Pete Harnisch type. If we can find a couple all the better but not mandatory in this sorry division.

Assuming everyone stays healthy, we should have enough bodies to field a competant bullpen next year in Weathers, Burton, Majewski, Coutlangus, Bray and Salmon.

harangatang
08-30-2007, 02:40 AM
If Harang's team won more ballgames, he'd be widely considered a top three pitcher in the NL by the mass media.

As things stand now (in their eyes), he is as insignificant as his team.

It's a real shame that his prime years are being wasted.It's like Mario Soto reincarnated.

RedsBaron
08-30-2007, 07:35 AM
Suffice to say we do finally have a legit "ace"; a #1 starter.

Yes we do. Has any pitcher won more games in the NL during the last two seasons? Has any pitcher received less credit?

PuffyPig
08-30-2007, 10:19 AM
Yes we do. Has any pitcher won more games in the NL during the last two seasons? Has any pitcher received less credit?

No,he's tied with Brandon Webb with 30.

FYI, Harang is 30-14, Webb is 30-17.

BRM
08-30-2007, 10:52 AM
From C. Trent:



POSTGAME: As Aaron Harang walked into the Reds clubhouse after his outing, Matt Belisle was sitting on an enquipment trunk and shouted: "Unbelievable. I hate you."

Belisle hates Harang, because Harang makes it look easy. Belisle was charting pitches for Harang tonight and said Harang threw 22 of 29 first-pitch strikes, only four were off-speed pitches.

"I donít know, but it goes really fast and itís really easy to chart. Itís unbelievable. I always tell him I hate him," Belisle said.

Belisle also stated the obvious: "He's just really, really good."

Harang: "I was able to go out, throw strikes, get ahead early. They were out there to swing and it seemed like I was able to get them off-balance and make them swing at my pitches. The guys were there to back me up with defense and put runs on the board early. Junior put us up in the first and we were able to put together some good innings and I didnít stress much and was able to throw my game."

Mackanin: "I said it before and Iíll say it again, heís just a pleasure to watch. He was in complete control the entire game. He threw everything in his arsenal for strikes. He went up and in, low and away. Thereís not a whole lot to say, he was in complete control."

Jim Tracy: "You have to give credit where credit is due. Aaron Harang was terrific tonight. It goes without saying. What we have been doing offensively during this month and the guy goes out there and completely shuts you down in the manner in which he did, you have to tip your cap and give him an awful lot of credit."

M2
08-30-2007, 11:06 AM
Harang is currently 2nd in the NL in IP, 2nd in Ks, 4th in WHIP, 4th in BB/K ratio and 8th in ERA+.

I'd rank him 3rd overall in the NL at the moment for 2007, behind Peavy and Webb (though not far behind Webb). With a strong finish Aaron could catch those guys. He's legitimately in the Cy Young hunt.

wheels
08-30-2007, 03:54 PM
Harang is currently 2nd in the NL in IP, 2nd in Ks, 4th in WHIP, 4th in BB/K ratio and 8th in ERA+.

I'd rank him 3rd overall in the NL at the moment for 2007, behind Peavy and Webb (though not far behind Webb). With a strong finish Aaron could catch those guys. He's legitimately in the Cy Young hunt.

Or he SHOULD be in the Cy Young hunt.

My guess is that he really won't be.

Falls City Beer
08-30-2007, 03:56 PM
Harang is currently 2nd in the NL in IP, 2nd in Ks, 4th in WHIP, 4th in BB/K ratio and 8th in ERA+.

I'd rank him 3rd overall in the NL at the moment for 2007, behind Peavy and Webb (though not far behind Webb). With a strong finish Aaron could catch those guys. He's legitimately in the Cy Young hunt.

Aaron won't come close to Peavy in the counting stats that matter to voters. Or within a country mile of Peavy's HRs surrendered, GAB or not.

RedsManRick
08-30-2007, 04:01 PM
From a fantasy league I participate in, somebody wrote an article using Rotisserie methodology for Cy Young worthiness.

Sure, we could debate the factors. But this isn't meant to be scientific. The data is also about a week old, but it's interesting nonetheless.



NL Cy Young
NAME W W% ERA IP SO WHIP K/9 B/9 K/B HR/9 TOTAL TEAM
PEAVY, J 9 9 11 8 12 11 12 7 9 10 98 PADRES
HAMELS, C. 9 8 5 6 9 10 9 12 12 1 81 PHILLIES
WEBB, B 9 3 9 12 11 8 6 6 7 8 79 D-BACKS
HARANG, A. 4 11 3 9 10 9 8 9 10 5 78 REDS
HUDSON, T. 12 10 7 11 1 7 1 11 5 11 76 BRAVES
YOUNG, C 1 7 12 1.5 3.5 12 10 3 6 9 65 PADRES
SMOLTZ, J 2.5 4 8 3 8 4 7 10 11 7 64.5 BRAVES
PENNY, B 9 12 10 5 2 5 2 4 2 12 63 DODGERS
LILLY,T 5.5 5 1 4 6 6 4 8 8 2 49.5 CUBS
OSWALT, R. 5.5 6 6 10 3.5 1 3 5 3 6 49 ASTROS
ZAMBRANO, Z. 9 2 2 7 7 2 5 1 1 4 40 CUBS
PEREZ, O. 2.5 1 4 1.5 5 3 11 2 4 3 37 METS

That seems to square fairly closely with what people were saying here. I don't think it can be debated that Harang is among the top half dozen starters in the NL, by any measurement. What really killed Harang's chances last year was his ERA. For Cy Young voting, it seems there's some de facto minimums required for consideration. Sub 3.50 ERA and 15 Wins being the top 2. If you don't do both of those you don't have a shot. I don't think most voters even got to his innings, strikeouts, etc. because he missed their cursory ERA cutoff.

Also, unlike Coors, I think both GABP and Citizens Park get only half corrected for in the minds of most media types. That is, they penalize hitters for getting the boost but don't give pitchers extra credit for pitching well in that environment.

M2
08-30-2007, 04:13 PM
Aaron won't come close to Peavy in the counting stats that matter to voters. Or within a country mile of Peavy's HRs surrendered, GAB or not.

It looks like Peavy's for the taking, but if Harang wins out to finish the season, finishing 18-3 or so and in the top two in IP and Ks, then he might be the best of the rest.

VR
08-30-2007, 04:17 PM
Harang is currently 2nd in the NL in IP, 2nd in Ks, 4th in WHIP, 4th in BB/K ratio and 8th in ERA+.

I'd rank him 3rd overall in the NL at the moment for 2007, behind Peavy and Webb (though not far behind Webb). With a strong finish Aaron could catch those guys. He's legitimately in the Cy Young hunt.


Yep. And last year he was 1st in Wins, 1st in K's, 1st in Innings pitched. Garnered him all kinds of attention, and 0 Cy Young votes.

How much would his contract have cost the Reds though with a CY as bargaining chips?

Benihana
08-30-2007, 04:44 PM
I think it depends whether you want to rate the NL pitchers overall or just for this year. Assuming its overall, I would look at the last three years (including this year), and adjust for age/park etc.

I would rank them like this

1. Roy Oswalt
2. Jake Peavy
3. Brandon Webb
4. Aaron Harang
5. Carlos Zambrano
6. Brad Penny
7. Cole Hamels
8. Chris Young
9. John Smoltz
10. Rich Hill

Aaron Harang is clearly ahead of Brad Penny when you look at the numbers. In the last three years, Harang is more durable (ip), more reliable (era/whip), has better stuff (k's and baa) and gets better results (wins). I think I'll take Harang.

Strikes Out Looking
08-30-2007, 05:15 PM
I'm just happy the Reds have a pitcher that we can all debate whether he is top 3 in the NL or top 5. It sure beats discussing Eric Milton and Joey Hamilton.

Falls City Beer
08-30-2007, 05:26 PM
I'm just happy the Reds have a pitcher that we can all debate whether he is top 3 in the NL or top 5. It sure beats discussing Eric Milton and Joey Hamilton.

And an ever-shrinking window of opportunity to contend with him on the roster.

While Wayne can't seem to put up a .500 team in a pathetic division, Harang's salad days waste away.

fearofpopvol1
08-30-2007, 05:29 PM
Yep. And last year he was 1st in Wins, 1st in K's, 1st in Innings pitched. Garnered him all kinds of attention, and 0 Cy Young votes.

How much would his contract have cost the Reds though with a CY as bargaining chips?

He was tied for wins, FYI. And as someone else pointed out earlier, it was because of his ERA. It was good, but it was a little on the high side.

BRM
08-30-2007, 05:33 PM
He was tied for wins, FYI. And as someone else pointed out earlier, it was because of his ERA. It was good, but it was a little on the high side.

He's 12th in the NL in ERA this year. That may keep some folks from voting for him again.

fearofpopvol1
08-30-2007, 05:37 PM
He's 12th in the NL in ERA this year. That may keep some folks from voting for him again.

It might, but his ERA (if he keeps it similar or improves upon it some) is definitely better this year than last. I think the best thing he has going for him is his W/L record. 14-3 as of now is pretty incredible, especially when you consider the Reds record. I know the writers will not take the latter into consideration, though.

RFS62
08-30-2007, 08:16 PM
He reminds me in a lot of ways of Jim Maloney.

He doesn't have the blazing fastball, but he's one of the top pitchers in baseball and doesn't get any credit in the mainstream media.

Maloney was overshadowed by Koufax, Gibson, Marichal, Drysdale and a few others, but he was a true stud for several years.

The players all knew it. I think that's the case now too with Harang.

oregonred
08-31-2007, 03:06 PM
Best move of the year inking Harang to the extension in the offseason. Having a true ace for at minimum the next three seasons is the biggest piece of the puzzle to fill.

The best Reds multi-year pitching stretch since Rijo's sick run from '89-'94. One difference is that Harang has been Tom Browning-like in durability whereas with Jose you always had the injury bug that limited his innings and ability to run deep into ballgames. Almost-Rijo good with Browning level of innings eating ability... However, Aaron is not as funny as Jose was off camera.

Reds were solidly in playoff contention last season until the early September West Coast meltdown, so its not like Harang's 2006 effort was totally meaningless.