Why does Matthew Berry hate Dan Haren?

In his podcast Fantasy Focus, Matthew Berry has often stated that he has an extreme dislike of Dan Haren because he "can't pitch in the second half." I know that Haren had a comparatively bad second half last season, but as a Haren owner last season, I did not recall Haren ever being truly terrible in the second half. So I took a look at the numbers:

Dan Haren's First Half:
8 W, 2.72 ERA, 125.2 IP, 112 K (8.0 K/BB), 22 BB (1.58 BB/9), 5.09 K/BB, 10 HR (0.72 HR/9), 98 Hits, 0.96 WHIP

Dan Haren's Second Half:
8 W, 4.18 ERA, 90.1 IP, 94 K (9.4 K/9), 18 BB (1.79 BB/9), 5.22 K/BB, 9 HR (0.90 HR/9), 106 Hits, 1.37 WHIP

Yes, from a fantasy perspective, Haren was worse in 2 categories (ERA, WHIP) after the all-star break, but he also improved another category (Ks) and remained consistent in another (Ws). His ERA/WHIP were also very serviceable; a far cry from horrible by any means.

From a real life perspective, Dan Haren was almost as good in the second half as he was in the first half -- just less lucky. Haren's control improved and while the BBs and HRs per nine regressed a little, Haren's peripherals across the board were solid and consistent. If anything got worse, it was the hits rate per nine -- something that Voros McCracken and the minds at BP proved long ago that a pitcher has little, if any control over (although some pitchers -- mainly strikeout pitchers -- do seem to exert more "control" over hits per nine than others).

In fact, Dan Haren's real life career splits look like this:

1st Half
35 W, 3.23 ERA, 599.1 IP, 488 K (7.3 K/9), 134 BB (2.01 BB/9), 3.64 K/BB, 62 HR (0.93 HR/9), 516 Hits, 1.09 WHIP, 3.59 FIP

2nd Half:
34 W, 4.12 ERA, 476 IP, 402 K (7.6K/9), 108 BB (2.04 BB/9), 3.72 K/BB, 60 HR (1.13 HR/9), 524 Hits, 1.33 WHIP, 3.83 FIP

What does this data tell me? Haren is not a second half fizzle. The difference is FIP (0.24 runs per nine) is marginal. Haren gives up a few more HR/9 in the second half, but thats about it. The hits also increase in the second half, but Haren's been in front of some notoriously terrible defensive lineups in Oakland (surprisingly) and Arizona, so he can hardly be blamed for their fielding failures (check the comments for the UZR/150 data of Haren's teams).

Especially in recent years, Haren has been a premier pitching force. His control is Maddux-like and if it weren't for a terrible offense/defense behind him, he would be a perennial Cy Young winner. I think Matthew Berry needs to read this post and apologize.

Perhaps I'll just send this data to him.


Sexy Rexy said...

"but Haren's been in front of some notoriously terrible defensive lineups in Arizona, so he can hardly be blamed for their fielding failures"

Haren played most of his career in Oakland, not Arizona.

David "MVP" Eckstein said...

Here are the UZR/150 and League Ranking for each of the teams Dan Haren has played for since 2005 ---

Oakland, 2005: 3.4 fielding runs, 9th best in baseball (9/30)

Oakland, 2006: -1.3 fielding runs, 16th worst in baseball (15/30)

Oakland, 2007: -3.8 fielding runs, 8th worst in baseball (23/30)

Arizona, 2008: -5.2 fielding runs, 8th worst in baseball (23/30)

Haren has played for bottom half of the league defensive teams (negative fielding runs) in all but one of his full major league seasons

Sexy Rexy said...

I mean I understand you're point, I'm just saying, you made a goof and I'm pointing it out :)

David "MVP" Eckstein said...

I misspoke. I mean to say he's played in front of some notoriously terrible defensive line ups in oakland and arizona,

i shall change it :D