Tagged: dan haren

Early NL Cy Young Candidates: Edition 2

This is the second installment in the Early Cy Young
Candidates NL Series.  For the
first installment, click here

 

The NL Cy Young race is shaping up to be extremly
close.  All five of the contenders
here have a legitimate chance to win the award.  They’re all great, but there’s no pitcher blowing away the
field.

 

1) Danny Haren, RHP, D-backs

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Dan Haren has cooled off a little bit in the second half,
but his peripherals are still amazing. 
Haren’s 2.74 ERA ranks 6th in the league, his 167 strikeouts
are 4th in the NL, he’s tied for second in complete games, and his
0.93 WHIP leads the league.  Haren
has been helped by a low .248 BABIP, but he’s managed to maintain his gaudy
numbers even with his BABIP rising. 
Haren is not only a strikeout pitcher, but a control specialist, he
walks just 1.3 batter per 9
innings.  That, and a
8.6
SO/9 rate, contribute to his
league-leading
6.42 SO/BB
rate.  As I covered in the first
installment, Haren has superb peripherals, but his meaningless 12-8 record,
he’s receiving just 4.5 runs per game in support.  Haren’s record over a full season projects to be 16-11, not
representative of his ability, and unfortunatly, Cy voters won’t care about the
meaningful stats.

 

2) Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants

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Tiny Tim has set his eyes on back-to-back Cy Youngs.  His numbers will appeal to any
voter.  Lincecum is 12-3 this year,
not that it matters, and has a 2.37 ERA, good for 2nd place in the
NL, and a 1.04 WHIP, good for 3rd in the league.  Lincecum is excellent in all other
categories too.  Look at these
stats, 207 SO, 46 BB, 2.3  BB/9,
10.4 SO/9, 4.50 K/BB ratio.  Oh
yeah, he also leads the league in complete games, and shutouts.  Tim Lincecum dominated in 2008,  he’s even better in 2009.

 

3) Matt Cain, RHP, Giants

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In 2008, Lincecums’s teammate Matt Cain was arguably the
unluckiest pitcher in baseball. 
His numbers were solid, but the Giants scored just 3.12 runs per game in
support of him.  It’s safe to say
his luck has changed in 2009.  Not
only has Cain upgraded hs performance, he’s 12-4, with a 2.43 ERA, and  a 1.15 WHIP, he’s benefited from a low
.258 BABIP, and the Giants have scored a full run more in support of him.  His peripherals aren’t amazing, but he
deserves to be considered along with his teammate.

 

4) Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Astros

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You can’t say Wandy Rodriguez came out of nowhere, because
this small-market late-bloomer always had talent.  But you can say that he’s put it all together this
year.  Rodriguez has stayed
healthy, and has been more durable than in previous years.  He’s ramped up his strikeouts, and has
pulled down both his ERA, which is a sparkling 2.89, and his WHIP, which is a
servicable 1.25.  Like Cain, Rodriguez,
doesn’t have great peripherals, but he’s a fringe candidate who deserves a
mention.

 

5)  Chris
Carpenter, RHP, Cardinals

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Chris Carpenter has returned to his 2005 form better than
anyone could of dreamed.  Carpenter
is pitching even better than he did in ’05, with a 13-3 record, a 2.27 ERA,
tops in the league, a 0.97 WHIP, 2nd only to Haren, and incredible
durability, averaging a round 7 innings per start.  Carpenter also only gives up 0.5 HR/9 innings, and walks
just 1.3 batters per 9.  Carpenter
has gotten his job done this year and is a main reason why the Cardinals lead
the Cubs by 7 games in the central. 
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  This
race will come down to Carpenter, Lincecum, and Haren.

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The Dan Haren Trade Revisited

Before I get to the main subject of today’s post,  a few quick notes…

  • Congratulations To Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester For Taking A Perfect Game Into The 7th

Jon Lester is a success story to many.  A miraculous recovery from cancer, pitching again, winning the last game of the 2007 World Series, and finally pitching a no-hitter in 2008.  Lester’s story runs almost parallel with another player’s: Dave Dravecky.  At the beginning off the 1988 season, Dravecky had a cancerous desmoid tumor removed from his pitching arm, along with half of the deltoid muscle, and freezing the humerus bone.  On August 10, 1989, Dravecky made a remarkable return to the majors, pitching 8 innings, and giving up three runs.  However tragedy struck in his next start, Dravecky’s humerus bone snapped while he was delivering a pitch, ending his career.  Let’s hope that Lester’s career won’t mirror Dravecky’s that closely!

  • Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Eric Byrnes, You Should Be Ashamed

Diamondbacks pitcher Max Scherzer has a .667 OPS, horrible, right?  What else would you expect from a pitcher?  Four D-back starters, 1B Chad Tracy, SS Stephen Drew, CF Chris Young, and RF Eric Byrnes, have lower OPS’s than Scherzer!  The D-backs offense should be ashamed.

Now the main topic, the Dan Haren trade Revisited
On December 15, 2007, the Oakland A’s traded RHP Dan Haren to the D-backs for six players, LHP’s Dana Eveland, Brett Anderson, and Greg Smith, OF’s Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, and 1B Chris Carter.  
After the 2008 season, in which they failed to impress, Smith, and Gonzalez were used as part of a package for Matt Holliday.  They will be left out of the analysis
How has Haren done for the D-backs?  Through 44 starts, Haren has gone 20-12 with a 3.09 ERA, and 284 strikeouts, including a career high of 206 in 2008, and a 1.06 WHIP.  Ace numbers.
But the A’s certainly received an ace’s haul for Haren.
LHP Eveland was one of the A’s starters in 2008, and at the beginning of 2009, he was solid in ’08, but with the A’s glut of young pitchers, I don’t see Eveland in the team’s longterm plans.
LHP Anderson, just 21 years old, has had a rocky start to his major league career, his minor league numbers are fantastic however, and he should be dominating in 2010.
Cunningham will take over in LF for 2010, he projects as power-speed combo, perhaps 15 HR’s, and 20 steals, with a high .OBP.
Chris Carter will defensively end up a 1B, or a DH.  But his hitting ability cannot be questioned, Carter is a slugger who gets on base a ton.  He projects as a 25-30 homerun bat in the majors.
All in all, Haren could have been a young veteran anchor in an even younger rotation, but with the potential of Anderson, Cunningham, and Carter, the A’s made the right move.  The D-backs paid a king’ s ransom to get a second ace, Haren’s been great, but the D-backs offense hasn’t put them in the playoffs yet.
This Day In Baseball History

1938-In a game against the Red Sox, Indians’ pitcher Johnny Allen storms off the mound and doesn’t return when he is ordered by ump Bill McGowan to cut off his distracting dangling sweatshirt sleeve. The shirt ends up in the Hall of Fame but the Lenoir, North Carolina native doesn’t.

1982-Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey becomes only the fifth player in major league history to play in 1,000 consecutive games.

1983-Steve ‘Lefty’ Carlton of the Phillies strikes out Cardinals’ outfielder Lonnie Smith for his 3,522nd career strikeout to pass Nolan Ryan as the all-time strikeout leader.

1989-For the first time in major league history, the same game is played partly outdoors and partly indoors as the Blue Jays beat the Brewers, 4-2 in a contest which features the closing of the SkyDome’s retractable roof in the fifth inning due to inclement weather.

1998-Dave Burba becomes the first Cleveland pitcher to homer in 26 years in a 6-1 victory over the Reds at Cinergy Field. Ironically, the right-hander was scheduled to be the Opening Day pitcher for Cincinnati but was traded to Cleveland the day before for Sean Casey.

2006-With the Yankees 10-3 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Joe Torre wins his 2,000th game as a manager. The former Brav
es (257), Mets (286) and Cardinals (351) skipper becomes the first person in big league history to have to reached the milestone and also have at least 2,000 hits as a player.

2007-With two outs in the bottomof the ninth inning at Network Associates Coliseum, Shannon Stewart lines a single to right field to break up Curt Schilling’s no-hitter. Thanks to a first inning home run by David Ortiz, the Red Sox beat the A’s,1-0.

Early NL Cy Young Candidates

Sorry, I didn’t have internet access yesterday, so no post.  On to the NL’s top pitchers…

1. LHP Johan Santana, Mets

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Santana had some bad run support at the start of the season, but has put up stellar numbers none the less.  He leads the NL in Strikeouts (86), and Wins (7), he is second in ERA (1.77), and fourth in WHIP (1.09).  He should maintain these rates, as is BABIP is average.  Santana is one of the best pitchers in baseball, yet he manages to be underrated; maybe fans are just taking this production for normal.  They certainly have a right to, Santana is the frontrunner for the NL Cy Young.
2. RHP Josh Johnson, Marlins

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Josh Johnson is one of many pitchers who have Cy Young talent, but just can’t stay healthy.  He’s among the league leaders in ERA (2.67), WHIP (1.10), Strikeouts (59), and Innings Pitched (67.1).  He has an average BABIP.  Durability will be the number one concern for Johnson, he just can’t seem to stay healthy.
3. RHP Dan Haren, D-backs

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I’ll start this off by saying that Dan Haren won’t win the Cy Young.  Then why am I including him?  Simply this, Dan Haren has excellent peripherals, a 2.57 ERA, a league-leading 0.91 WHIP, he averages 7 IP per start, he strikes out a batter an inning, hardly ever gives up a walk, and leads the NL in SO/BB rate.  His BABIP is on the low side, so his ERA and WHIP will go up, but he will still dominate.  If I could choose one pitcher to build a team around, Haren would be a top possibility.  Than what’s his problem?  The D-backs have a poor offense.  What’s that got to do with anything?  Haren has received no run support, in fact, he has a losing record.  He won’t win the Cy Young, because he won’t put up a flashy, (and meaningless), win total on the D-backs.  Danny Haren deserves much better.
4. RHP Chad Billingsley, Dodgers

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I consider Chad Billingsley a darkhorse candidate for the Cy Young, he will catch voters’ attentions with gaudy win totals, produced not by Billingsley, but by the Dodgers offense.  Billingsley has received an average of almost 6 runs per game in support, he’s not a Dan Haren.  Billingsley has a good 2.67 ERA, and a solid 1.19 WHIP, he also has a BABIP a sliver on the high side.  Billingsley rarely gives up homeruns, but his glaring weakness, not illustrated by his WHIP, is walks, he walks 4 batters per 9 innings, he offsets this somewhat, by striking out a batter an inning.

Haren has the best peripherals, Billingsley has undeserved win totals, Santana has the “dominate” numbers that voters will look for.