At 32 years old, Dan Haren is in decline. Thirty-two isn’t very old in today’s game, what with recent advancements in strength, conditioning, and nutrition, but no amount of (legal) supplements and training is going to make a player immune to the effects of wear and tear. And boy, has Haren been worn down.
From 2005-2011, Haren made 237 starts, more than any player in the game, and pitched 1,581.1 innings (226 per season), second only to 290-pound behemoth, CC Sabathia. Haren’s lost the zip and electricity that made him one of baseball’s best starting pitchers of the last half decade, and last year he finally reached the point where his knack for working batters couldn’t make up for his erosion in skill.
Now we just have to wait and see whether a return to the NL helps boost his stats. Can’t hurt, right?
At a Glance
Strengths: IP, QS, W, BB
Neutral: K, K/9, ERA, WHIP, L
Best-case scenario: Mat Latos (CIN)
Likely scenario: Homer Bailey (CIN), Ian Kennedy (ARI), Josh Johnson (TOR)
Worst-case scenario: Joe Blanton (LAA)
Dan Haren 2013 Fantasy Projection
One look at Haren’s velocity chart is enough to make you want to avoid him altogether in fantasy drafts this year, but that might be a bit rash. He’s still a good bet for 190-200 innings, and his elite walk rate ensures a good WHIP, even if it’s not great. He should win 14-16 games pitching for a stacked Nationals team with a fearsome bullpen closing out games. It’s been proven that pitching in the NL helps boost strikeout totals, so Haren has that going for him. He’s also part of what might be baseball’s best rotation, and that will help ease the pressure on him.
The point is this: Haren isn’t the pitcher he used to be, but he has a chance to have a semi-throwback season this year with Washington. However, if he can’t get it done for the Nationals (I literally can’t think of anything negative about his fit with that team), then we can probably move on past Haren in 2014.