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2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 68: Will Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Dan Haren Return to Ace Form?

Mon, Mar 7, 2011

Big Board, Player Projections

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

After establishing himself as one of the game’s elite starters in recent years, Dan Haren posted sub-par totals in 2010. His ERA (3.91) was his worst since 2006, while his WHIP (1.27) was as high as it’s been in six years.

Further, Haren’s usually dominant repertoire was below average last season. Both his fastball and slider had negative value, while his cutter (17.6 runs above average, fourth best in 2009) checked in at just 0.5 runs above average. His splitter also dropped from 9.3 runs above average in 2009 to just 4.8 runs above average last season.

Despite these lackluster numbers, Haren’s ERA since 2007 is seventh-best among qualified starters at 3.37. Of the six pitchers ahead of him, only Tim Lincecum has a higher strikeout rate (10.07) than Haren (8.34), and only Roy Halladay has a lower walk rate (1.42) than him (1.86).

If we dig a bit further into Haren’s 2010 advanced stats, we discover that he actually wasn’t that bad. His strikeout rate (8.27) remained in sync with recent years, while his walk rate (2.07) was slightly elevated compared to ’08 and ’09, but still ranked eighth-best in the majors.

Haren’s BABIP (.311, career .292) was slightly elevated, and his 3.71 FIP suggests his ERA may have been inflated.

Even Haren’s plate discipline stats were very good, ranking among the league’s elites:

  • O-swing rate: 34.8 percent (3rd)
  • Contact rate: 78.3 percent (18th), better than Halladay, Verlander, Sabathia and Price
  • Swinging strike rate: 10.1 percent (13th)
  • First pitch strike: 63.8 percent (10th)

Of course a summary of Haren’s 2010 campaign would be incomplete without mentioning his trade from Arizona to Anaheim in July. This is where things get interesting and especially encouraging for 2011:

  • With Arizona: 141 IP, 4.60 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 9.00 K/9, 1.85 BB/9
  • With Anaheim: 94 IP, 2.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.00 K/9, 2.40 BB/9

While his strikeout and walk rates took at hit against A.L. hitters, his ERA dropped nearly two full runs.

Haren’s performance at Angel Stadium last season is even more encouraging:

  • 60 2/3 IP (nine starts), 2.08 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 7.30 K/9, 2.82 BB/9

Looking forward to 2011, there’s reason to believe Haren’s ERA will return to near-past form. His strikeout and walk totals might not be as elite as they once were, but they’re still likely to be very good. With six consecutive seasons of at least 215 innings under his belt, Haren remains one of the most reliable fantasy starters on the market.

  IP W K/9 BB/9 ERA WHIP
2010 stats 235 12 8.27 2.07 3.91 1.27
3-year average 226.2 14 8.53 1.75 3.47 1.14
2011 FBI Forecast 218 15 7.60 2.20 3.40 1.19

 

Image courtesy of: Adam Fagen

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