Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 4/16/13
It's been a rough start to 2013 for Dan Haren, who was a major offseason acquisition for the Washington Nationals. He's under contract for just one year at $13 million based on a track record of significant success over the course of a 10-year career. In seasons where he's pitched 30 or more games, and there are eight of them, Haren only posted an ERA over 4.00 twice. One of those times was last season, when he posted the highest ERA of his career (4.33) when pitching a full season. Early this year, some raw numbers seem to indicate Haren isn't off to a much better start, and perhaps, he's on his way to a worse season. In two games, he's given up nine earned runs and 19 hits in nine innings. His first start of the season in Cincinnati was atrocious for the entire team, including the bullpen, on the way to a 15-0 loss for the team. His second start against the White Sox at home went better, even though he gave up 10 hits. His 22.2% home run per fly ball ratio is also worrisome early. Looking at those facts, it's easy to be concerned. However, with all of those negatives, there are still a number of positives to take from Haren's early performances on the mound. - Walks: While Haren has faced 48 batters in just two games and nine innings, he hasn't walked a single one of them. He may still struggle a little bit with pitch location in the zone, leaving too many pitches up, but he hasn't allowed a single walk. He has hit two batters, though. - Strikeouts: Haren is averaging 10.00 K/9 early in the season. He's not known as a strikeout pitcher, but he's getting enough movement on his pitches to generate quite a few swings and misses. His K/9 ratio will come down, but it's still encouraging to see him missing enough bats to chalk up 10 strikeouts in two games. - BABIP: Haren's Batting Average on Balls In Play is an astronomical .469 early on this season. League average is somewhere around, or just shy of, .300. With the kind of defense the Nationals have once the infield starts to limit their errors, which will happen, he is bound to have far more luck than he's had so far. That translates into fewer hits, fewer runs, and better overall stats. -xFIP: xFIP measures what a pitcher's ERA should have been while taking into account factors like dealing with balls in play and ballpark size. Haren's early xFIP is 4.26, which graded on the ERA scale, is below average, but not terrible for a back of the rotation starter. It's certainly far and away better than his 9.00 ERA would indicate. - Velocity: Fastball velocity was a huge concern for Haren last season with the Angels, averaging 88.5 mph on his fastball, which was the slowest in his career. It's not a huge jump so far this season, but he is averaging 89.3 on that pitch so far. The slight uptick may be a result of a small sample size early in the season when his arm is still strong, but it also may be that he is healthier than he was last season. As Haren toes the rubber today against the fledgling Miami Marlins, who Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals beat 10-3 yesterday, he has a significant opportunity to make this a turning point for his season. He's pitching in one of the friendliest stadiums for a pitcher in the country, and he's facing a terrible offensive lineup. I'd watch closely to see what he's able to do tonight in Miami.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Arizona Cardinals make Jen Welter first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Junior Seau family says Hall of Fame went back on its word

Kobe will probably see time at power forward next year

Angels acquire Shane Victorino from the Red Sox

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clemson's Swinney wants Notre Dame in a conference

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel as Browns starter

David Price won't rule out Red Sox despite testy past

Bullying victim Jonathan Martin retiring from NFL

Why Jay Gruden may lose job if he can’t fix Robert Griffin III

Report: T.Y. Hilton wants similar contract to Dez Bryant

Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays, and upgrading strengths

Nick Saban has incredible advice for his players on chasing girls

Nik Stauskas trolls Thad Matta

Will Smith fires back at former teammate Junior Galette

Sammy Watkins: It's a "problem" if Bills don't win AFC East

The most important quarterback in the game?

Boston Mayor Walsh refusing to sign Olympic host contract

Chris Johnson accused of smashing up Rolls-Royce rental

Astros’ playoff push prompts rescheduling of Taylor Swift

Answering the AFC East's biggest questions in 2015

Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

College football's top 10 coaches on the hot seat for 2015

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

With Cueto dealt, what's the market for other pitchers?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker