First half AL Cy Young Winner: Dan Haren

Sure, we’re not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we’re halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we’re going to take a look at the best
players in each league thus far.

Dan Haren has quietly become one of the most outstanding pitchers in the
game. He had a good year in 2005, his first with Oakland. He finished with an
ERA of 3.73 in his first full year as a starter. He followed up in 2006 with
similar numbers, albeit a slightly higher (4.12) ERA. He did, however, increase
his strikeouts from 163 to 176, and knocked his walks down from 53 to 45. Home
Runs remained a problem, as Haren gave up 31 shots in 34 starts.

But this year, Haren is really doing special things, and he’s been the model
of consistency. He leads the majors with a 1.78 ERA, and at no point has his ERA
been higher than 2.00. He is 9-2; however, his two loses came in the first two
games of the year, where he gave up a combined 1 ER in 13 innings, (in an interesting
turn of events
, Haren managed to give up a 3-run HR which was wholly
‘unearned.’) Haren has not lost since April 7th, and has gone 6+ innings in all
but one of his starts. He has only allowed 3 ER twice, and never more. His
‘worst start’ was his 3rd start of the year against the Yankees, where he gave
up 3 ER on 4 hits and 4 BB over 5 innings. He is 7th in the AL with 89 K’s
and 2nd with a WHIP of 0.90. And the best part is that he’s only 26 years old.

Haren, unlike some pitchers, has been remarkably consistent this year as we
saw above. He keeps his team in the game every time he starts, and that’s what
you need from your ace. Haren, as you may recall, was acquired in a trade
with the Cardinals in which the A’s shipped of Mark Mulder. And, of course, we
haven’t seen much of him lately. For those who are curious, Mulder is currently
rehabbing after rotator cuff surgery and has almost no timetable for return.
Barry Zito has gone arsonist after landing the richest free agent
pitching contract ever with San Francisco, and Tim Hudson has been a strange guy
for the Braves as well. Has anyone ever considered the possibility that the A’s
burn through young arms, as they have no hope of resigning them? Note that Haren
averaged 220 IP in’05 and ’06 and is on pace for 243 this year.

Haren, who supposedly pitches for a ‘small market team’ – and by that, we
mean a team that plays on the West Coast and rarely meets expectations come
October – has not gotten a lot of credit for his outstanding play. So here you
are Dan. And I would suggest a haircut, but apparently the birds nest is working
out well, so just leave it alone.

Also – thanks go out to Deadspin for the link to this weekend’s "Milton Bradley – Looking for work" post. Brought the site a couple thousand extra hits. Regarding those comments, you guys are going to have to take up those issues with the Royals; they’re the ones that traded for the guy. So, you’re kind of arguing with facts by stating they don’t need him. Additionally, if their prospects are so talented, why are they in last place?

Also, another note. Our new site, Ballhouse, is pretty much up and running. We don’t have the tools all in order, and the formating isn’t nailed down yet. Heck, we’re not even sure we’re sticking with the name. However, you can start reading the stuff over there and changing your bookmarks. If you’re using any RSS Feeds, those are all set up as well. Furthermore, the domain name BIHGM is back online. So if you go there, it will automatically direct you to whichever site we find ourselves then.


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