Is Aaron Harang Worth A Late Round Pick?

Aaron Harang was once considered a top option for fantasy owners, after posting back-to-back 200+ strikeout seasons with ERAs under 3.80.  Than, without warning, things went south in 2008.  Injuries helped to sabotage him, as did his inability to consistently get batters out.

The past two seasons opponents have hit .280 or better against him.  His strikeouts have come down.  His home runs allowed are up.  His wins are almost nonexistent.

Let’s take a look at his line from last season:

6 Wins
162.1 Innings
4.21 ERA
1.41 WHIP
142 Strikeouts (7.87 K/9)
43 Walks (2.38 BB/9)
.339 BABIP

There’s a lot not to like there, but at the same time there’s a lot to be positive about.  While his WHIP was atrocious last season, with that type of walk rate, there’s a good chance that he rebounds in a big way.  For his career he has a BB/9 of 2.48 and hasn’t been above 2.44 since 2004.

Couple that with a very unlucky BABIP and the WHIP looks like it should be extremely appealing.  Just look at his WHIPs from 2005-2007 as proof:

  • 2005 – 1.27
  • 2006 – 1.27
  • 2007 – 1.14

While he has always had the perception of being a big-time strikeout artist, that is a little bit misleading.  He’s actually never had a K/9 better than 8.47, which is very good, but it’s not elite.  The fact is that while he was running up 434 Ks between 2006 & 2007, he threw 466 innings.  When you are able to take the mound that often, you have the potential to pile up the Ks.

Over the past two seasons he’s seen his K/9 fall below 8.00, so the chances of him reaching the 200 K plateau is extremely unlikely.  While he’s not likely to hurt you there, he’s also not likely to be elite.

The home runs also aren’t going anywhere, considering he’s been giving them up both at home and on the road.  While you want to point towards Great American Ballpark, he allowed half of his home runs (12) away from there in 2009.  In 2008, he allowed 16 of 35 away from home.

That’s going to happen when you allow flyball rates of over 40%, as he has each of the past three seasons.  He had given up 28 HR in 2006 & 2007, when he was thriving, so don’t simply say that the long ball will prevent him from having a good year.

Let’s take a look at what I’m projecting him for in 2010:

195.0 IP, 14 W, 3.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 168 K (7.75 K/9), 48 BB (2.22 BB/9)

The numbers come courtesy of a .314 BABIP, so it’s not like I’m projecting him out to be extremely lucky.  He has a ton of potential, it’s just a matter of him being able to put things together once again.  There’s no chance of him continuing to win just six games a season and considering that he currently has an ADP of 317.71, he’s an absolute steal and one that I’d target in any format to fill out your rotation.

What are your thoughts?  Is Harang someone you’d target?  How good do you think he could be in 2010?

Make sure to check out some more of our 2010 projections, including:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.


  1. Keith says:

    Harang is just anther young promising pitcher ruined by Dusty Baker.

  2. frank says:

    I think the ADP should read 217 and not 317 but still a steel IMO.

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