#39 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds
May 09, 1978
- Aaron Michael Harang was born in San Diego, CA in 1978. He spent all of his childhood there, attending Patrick Henry High School. Other famous graduates of Patrick Henry High include Eric Karros, Rey Mysterio, Kellen Winslow, Jr., and Annette Bening.
- Harang graduated in 1995 and chose to attend college at San Diego State University where he majored in graphic design. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 22nd round of the 1996 draft, but chose to stay in college.
- In 1999, Harang was drafted in the 6th round (195th overall) by the Texas Rangers. This was also the draft in which Josh Hamilton was selected first overall, and some guy named Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round. The Reds' first round pick was Ty Howington.
- The Rangers promptly traded Harang to the Oakland A's in 2000 for Randy Velarde, who would go on to be prominently mentioned in the Mitchell Report.
- Harang broke into the bigs with the A's in 2002. He would go on to pitch in 23 games (21 starts) for them, compiling a record of 6-7.
- In the middle of 2003, the Reds went through a great purge, including the firing of GM Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone. Brad Kullman and Leland Maddox acted as interim GMs and promptly traded OF Jose Guillen to the A's for Aaron Harang, Joe Valentine, and Jeff Bruksch. Harang made 9 starts and finished the year with a 4-3 record and a 5.28 ERA.
- By 2005, Harang began to show his ace potential, leading the Reds staff in wins (11), quality starts (19), innings pitched (211⅔), and strikeouts (163). He was the first Red since Elmer Dessens in 2001 to pitch more than 200 innings.
- Pitched his first Opening Day game in 2006. Assuming he stays healthy this spring, he will be the first Reds pitcher to make four consecutive Opening Day starts since Jose Rijo from 1992-95. Only Mario Soto has started more consecutive Opening Days for the Reds (5, from 1982-86).
- In 2006, Harang dominated. He led the league in strikeouts and was tied for the league lead in wins, yet did not receive a single first place Cy Young vote. Brandon Webb won the it instead. It was the first time the league leader in wins and strikeouts did not win the award. Remember this signature win when Harang beat reigning Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter and the eventual World Champion Cardinals in St. Louis, 1-0? He even knocked in the only run.
- Harang's 2007 was even better. He had more strikeouts, and fewer losses, walks, and a lower ERA. The .283 difference between his winning percentage (16-6, .727) and his team's (72-90, .444) was the highest in the majors. He finished 4th in the Cy Young voting. He didn't get a win in his most impressive game, but he pitched 10 innings of 1 run ball against the Brewers, striking out 10 and walking none. (The Reds did win 2-1 in 12 innings when the Greatest Pinch-Hitter in the World hit a walkoff single to score Norris Hopper.)
- On July 2, 2007, Harang pitched a perfect game against the Padres.
- Injuries took their toll in 2008, as Harang was only able to compile a 6-17 record and posted a 4.78 ERA, over a run higher than his previous two seasons. His outstanding effort in relief during an 18 inning nightmare against San Diego (4.0 IP, 0 R, 9 K) was the stuff of legends, but he had just pitched 3 days earlier, and was never the same afterwards.
- He was the victim of Pedro Martinez's 3000th strikeout.
- He is the longest tenured Red on the current team (although David Weathers also pitched for the Reds in 1998).
- Perhaps due to his upbringing in San Diego, a huge military town, Harang launched a program in 2007 called Aaron's Aces, in which he hosts children who have a parent fighting in the War on Terror. For this effort, he was nominated for the 2008 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.
Drafted/Signed: Was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 6th Round of the 1999 draft.
Traded: To Oakland, Nov. 17, 2000, for Randy Velarde.
Traded: To Cincinnati, July 30, 2003, for Jose Guillen.
GM when acquired by Reds: Brad Kullman and Leland Maddox
MLB Service Time (as of Opening Day 2009): 6.061 years
Current Contract Status: In third year of a four year contract. Will make $11M in 2009. Club option for $12.75M ($2M buyout) for 2011. Option increases to $13M if he pitches 210 innings in 2010. If he's traded, the option becomes mutual and increases to $14M ($2.5M buyout).
Information courtesy of Josh Kalk's player cards at baseball.bornbybits.com
Harang primarily relies on three pitches: his fastball, a slider, and a changeup. He can occasionally sprinkle in a curveball for a strike. His fastball is his bread and butter, and he throws it 69% of the time. Interestingly though, it is mainly a set-up pitch, and he will go to his slider oftentimes to record a strikeout. Only 19% of his pitches are sliders, but that percentage jumps into the high 30's when he has 2 strikes on a batter. Pitchers with similar styles tend to be relievers, including Cincinnati's own Arthur Rhodes.
Harang is one of the National League's premier strikeout pitchers, finishing first and second in that category in 2006 and 2007, respectively. He has the 25th highest rate of strikeouts per 9 innings (7.50) of any active pitcher. He is also a workhorse, finishing at or near the top of games started, innings pitched, and batters faced over the last three years. His injuries last year are a concern that he might have been worked too hard, so 2009 will be an important year. Dusty Baker tends to fall in love with pitchers, so expect his workload to be high once again, and hope that he can handle it.
RR Projected Wins Above Replacement: 2.74
Slyde is still reworking the pitching graphs. We hope to have some up this afternoon, so keep an eye out for it.