It's a story about pitchers who struggle with the stick in their hands. And the poster boy is.....*drumroll*..... Harangatang. :O) Yep, pretty fitting.
Aaron Harang, Reds (.088 BA, three extra-base hits in 365 AB)
Harang qualifies for this list by default. Dunn and Austin Kearns, who played with Harang in Cincinnati, recall that he took endless rounds of hitting in the cage. Harang has lots of different bats and gloves in his collection, and he genuinely strives to be good.
The only thing holding him back is a lack of talent. When a hitter can't get around on a fastball, scouts like to say he has a "slider-speed bat.'' In Harang's case, they might have to invent a new frame of reference.
"He swings underwater,'' Dunn said. "His bat is below [Tim] Wakefield's knuckler speed.''
No pitching staff in the majors has a more diverse collection of hitters than Cincinnati. Micah Owings has a .546 career slugging percentage, and Bronson Arroyo has four career homers. At the other end of the offensive spectrum you'll find Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, who are a combined 10-for-125 (.080) in the majors.
While Dunn never tires of needling pitchers for their offensive shortcomings, he roots for Harang because of his former teammate's sincere efforts to improve. Dunn still recalls Harang's proudly chugging into second base after smoking a double off the Padres' David Wells several years ago.
"He was really digging himself,'' Dunn said. "In my opinion, he would rather go 3-for-3 than throw a complete-game shutout. He works so hard at it. I'm telling you, he's going to hit .350 one of these years. Watch out.''
I wonder if you could chart how effective Harang must be in terms of pitching because of his impotent bat. Same with Cueto and Volquez (though they have helped themselves this year, at least).
Kind of like the Funhouse version of Micah Owings.
"You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
-- Christy Matthewson
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
-- Leo Durocher
The poor guy (harang of course) would do a whole lot better if he wouldn't constantly step in the bucket. If he weren't such a good pitcher I'd pull my hair out (what I have left anyway) watching him swing the bat. But as it stands it doesn't bother me one Iota, it's all gravy when he gets one.
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."
That's why the NL needs the DH.
Watching guys like Harang hit is awful - if I'm paying big bucks to watch the best play I don't want to watch guys flail about at the baseball like it's a pinata.
I would love to hit .088 in the majors.
He's gotten a lot better than he was even. When he first came over he was a pitiful sight at the plate. I've never seen a more over matched guy.
0 Value Over Replacement Poster
"Sit over here next to Johnathan (Bench)...sit right here, he's smart."--Sparky Anderson
I'm not sure if it was his first hit of the season, but it was his first season starting full time and he came up with a runner on 2nd and 2 outs, Marty had all but gotten up for the end of the inning and Harang hit a looper just over the infield and Marty wanted it to drop almost as bad as 4192 it was just hilarious to hear.
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