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Thread: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

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    John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Prospect Retro: Aaron Harang
    By John Sickels
    Posted on Mon May 08, 2006 at 02:47:26 PM CST

    Prospect Retro: Aaron Harang

    Aaron Harang was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round in 1999, out of San Diego State University. I was impressed with him in college: he's a tall guy with a good slider and good control. I picked him in my Minnesota Twins "Shadow Draft" that year, so I have been following him closely ever since.

    Harang went 9-2, 2.30 in 78 innings for Pulaski in the Appalachian League after signing, with an 87/17 K/BB ratio. I gave him a Grade C in the 2000 book, with the following notation: "I need to see what he can do against better competition before giving him a high grade, though my instincts says he could develop into something interesting."

    Moved up to Charlotte in the Florida State League in 2000, Harang went 13-5, 3.32 with a 136/50 K/BB in 157 innings, allowing just 128 hits. I raised his grade to C+ in the 2001 book, and noted that "my instincts say that he will survive at higher levels, but I don't have anything empirical to back that up." There are many college-trained pitchers who do well in the Florida State League and then struggle at higher levels, but for some reason (and even today I'm not sure why), I thought Harang was going to make it.

    He was traded to Oakland for Randy Velarde before the 2001 season. He went 10-8, 4.14 with a 112/37 K/BB in 150 innings for Double-A Midland. It was a tough environment, but he did enough to warrant more chances. I dropped him back to Grade C due to the slippage in his strikeout rate, but warned that he was still capable of surprising.

    Harang was brilliant in Double-A to begin 2002, pitched well in Triple-A, and ended up going 5-4, 4.83 in 15 starts for the Athletics. He was a bit less effective in 2003, both before and after a trade to Cincinnati. He had an OK year in 2004, then a pretty strong year in 2005, and is now a pretty solid major league starting pitcher, off to a strong start in '06.

    Harang's minor league career was marked by sharp K/BB ratios. His strikeout rates went up and down, but he adjusted to better competition and is on a nice path for success. I'm not sure why my intuition liked him so much, but in this case it worked out.

    Comparable Pitchers to Aaron Harang

    Doc Medich
    Pete Vuckovich
    Mark Clark
    Danny Cox
    Bobby Jones the Righthander
    Jon Lieber


    Thought it was interesting to see Sickels map out his learning curve through the minors. Harang has always been a guy with pretty decent stuff, but he has obviously turned into a real "pitcher" out there instead of a "thrower" - making him far better than an end of the rotation starter as was predicted when we received him from Oakland.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Valentine was supposed to be the "main principle" in that deal to. Harang was the throw in.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis
    Valentine was supposed to be the "main principle" in that deal to. Harang was the throw in.
    Are you sure about that? I remember it the other way, but then again I'm old.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    That's pretty cool......I may be young, but who are all of those pitchers that he is compared to??? I've heard of Lieber, but none of the others....
    This will not change until the Reds win the World Series.......

    April 28, 2006.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by REDSEER
    That's pretty cool......I may be young, but who are all of those pitchers that he is compared to??? I've heard of Lieber, but none of the others....
    Would you give Guillen for Harang straight up right now if you were the Nats...I would. Gotta say the Reds came out ahead on this trade.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph
    Are you sure about that? I remember it the other way, but then again I'm old.
    I don't think Harang was necessarily considered a throw in for the deal, but Valentine was definitely the player Kullman was keying on when he made the trade. At the time, Valentine looked to have the makings of a great closer - and yeah that really backfired. However, Harang was a great pickup in the deal and he just keeps getting better as he goes.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis
    Valentine was supposed to be the "main principle" in that deal to. Harang was the throw in.
    I'm pretty sure that was the other way around. Everyone know Joe Valentine had a good fastball but had control problems. The projections for Harang at the time were that his upper potentials were a 3/4 mainly because his fastball only touched 90 at the time. Jeff Bruksch (I had to look up his name) was the throw in on that deal and the Reds were mainly focused on Harang, who has turned out well.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph
    Are you sure about that? I remember it the other way, but then again I'm old.
    It was certainly my opinion that Valentine was the prize, and Harang was the warm body who was better than what the Reds had. But I don't know if Kullman/Maddox saw it that way.

    Harang to me is a pleasant surprise, while I underestimated Valentine's lack of control.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    So...if Sickel gives a prospect a series of consistently medicore grades, but leaves himself the "he could still surprise" line in the write-up, he has left himself room to say he was right about a prospect?

    That's just a whole lot wishy-washy.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis
    Valentine was supposed to be the "main principle" in that deal to. Harang was the throw in.
    I didn't even know that Valentine was a part of this deal. At the time of the trade, and ever since, I thought it was a straight up deal for Harang. He was more than just a throw in.

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Here is an article written at the time of the trade.

    CINCINNATI -- The Oakland Athletics bulked up their outfield by getting Jose Guillen from the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for right-hander Aaron Harang and two minor league pitchers.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/story?id=1587533

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by MattyMo4Life
    I didn't even know that Valentine was a part of this deal. At the time of the trade, and ever since, I thought it was a straight up deal for Harang. He was more than just a throw in.
    30-Jul-03 Oakland Athletics traded Aaron Harang, Jeff Bruksch and Joe Valentine to the Cincinnati Reds for Jose Guillen.

    12-Dec-00 Texas Rangers traded Aaron Harang and Ryan Cullen to the Oakland Athletics for Randy Velarde.

    02-Jun-99 Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 6th round in 1999.

    ----

    If you asked Billy Beane, I doubt he regrets the trade on his end. They needed a bat like Guillen for the stretch run. But the Rangers? Not sure they really NEEDED Randy Velarde during the Chan Ho Park years. But they could sure use another arm now.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by MattyMo4Life
    I didn't even know that Valentine was a part of this deal. At the time of the trade, and ever since, I thought it was a straight up deal for Harang. He was more than just a throw in.
    Agreed. It was Guillen for Harang, with Valentine and Bruksh to sweeten the pot. Unfortunately, they made the stew bitter, but Valentine was a nice long shot pick up, but was by no means the principal in that deal.
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    Re: John Sickels' Prospect Retro for Harang

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal
    So...if Sickel gives a prospect a series of consistently medicore grades, but leaves himself the "he could still surprise" line in the write-up, he has left himself room to say he was right about a prospect?

    That's just a whole lot wishy-washy.
    I think Sickels is pretty up front about when he misses. It's part of the territory.

    Speaking of Sickels, IIRC he ALWAYS ranked Valentine ahead of Harang on the prospect lists.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    Chris(tina) Kahrl's reaction to the trade at the time

    Kahrl seemed to project Harang over Valentine.

    ---
    CINCINNATI REDS


    Acquired LHP Chris Michalak from the Rockies for a PTBNL, and assigned him to Louisville; acquired LHP Phil Dumatrait, a PTBNL and cash from the Red Sox for RHP Scott Williamson. [7/29]

    Purchased the contract of LHP John Bale; activated OF-R Wily Mo Pena from the 15-day DL; waived C-R Dane Sardinha; traded OF-R Jose Guillen to the Athletics for RHPs Aaron Harang, Jeff Bruksch and Joe Valentine. [7/30]

    Traded 3B-R Aaron Boone to the Yankees for LHPs Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning, and LHP Gabe White to the Yankees for a PTBNL; recalled 3B/OF-R Brandon Larson from Louisville; placed RHP Ryan Dempster on the 15-day DL (elbow inflammation). [7/31]

    In total, what was achieved here? Well, first off, the Reds got arms, and lots of them. I was amused by the one comment that Aaron Harang could be ready to step into the Reds rotation next spring. Next spring? Harang was giving up 6.5 runs per nine in Oakland, which is terrible, but it would make him the fourth-best starter the Reds have right now, and that's if he didn't get any better pitching in the DH-less league. At this point, the only starter in the Reds' rotation who ought to have job security is Jose Acevedo, and he just got here. Otherwise, everybody acquired should be taken seriously, because everyone has a chance to outpitch the current lot.

    In terms of swag, the Reds did well. The best talents brought aboard came over from the Yankees and Red Sox, in Claussen and Dumatrait, two power arms in an organization desperate for any flavor of pitching. Dumatrait's a good arm, a lefty with velocity who can also change speeds and throw breaking stuff for strikes. He comes over giving up 3.5 runs per nine in the Florida State League, which isn't outstanding, but he's got a good assortment, and he's still picking up command of his power/curve/change assortment. Claussen's remarkably quick recovery from Tommy John surgery hides the fact that he's not quite back to the level of dominance he had before, but he's also not far from getting all the way back. Add in Harang, who ought to be able to stick as a useful starter at the bottom of a big league rotation, the flyers taken on Joe Valentine (hard-throwing reliever, but struggling with his control in the PCL), Charlie Manning (standard issue finesse lefty struggling to make the jump to Double-A), Jason Bruksch (2001 pick in only his second pro season since starring at Stanford), a couple of PTBNLs, and a couple of million bucks, and the Reds came out all right.

    As for replacing the talent lost in the present on the big league roster right now, the Reds are essentially fine. Between Larson and Russ Branyan and Ruben Mateo, they should have right field and third base covered, and Austin Kearns will be back before the end of the season. With so many veteran relievers ported out, you might think that the bullpen will be a bit sketchy for the stretch, but that's a small price to pay for the amount of talent acquired. They'll get an opportunity to take a very serious look at Ryan Wagner, they still have Kent Mercker for lefty duties, and they still have the three Rs, John Riedling, Brian Reith, and Chris Reitsma. Calling up journeyman John Bale to tackle second lefty duties rounds things out nicely enough, and nobody's really doing that badly.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids


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