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Aaron Harang’s weird 2008

Posted by Andy on July 27, 2009

Last season, Aaron Harang went 6-17 despite a 94 ERA+, meaning an ERA that was just a little below average.

Here are the lowest win totals in a season in which a guy had 17 or more losses but also an ERA+ of 94 or better:

  Cnt Player             **W**  L ERA+ Year Age Tm  Lg  G   GS CG SHO GF  W-L% SV   IP   H   R   ER  BB  SO   ERA  HR  BF   AB  2B 3B IBB HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS Pk BK WP   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  OPS+  Pit  Str
+----+-----------------+------+--+----+----+---+---+--+---+---+--+---+--+-----+--+-----+---+---+---+---+---+------+--+----+----+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----+
    1 Dutch Henry          2   17   94 1930  28 CHW AL  35  16  4   0 12  .105  0 155   211 116  84  48  35   4.88 12  706                  4                        0  2                            0           
    2 Eddie Smith          4   17  120 1937  23 PHA AL  38  23 14   1 11  .190  5 196.2 178 100  86  90  79   3.94 18  847                  4                        0  2                            0           
    3 Scott Perry          4   17   95 1919  28 PHA AL  25  21 12   0  3  .190  1 183.2 193  92  73  72  38   3.58  4  758                  2                        1  4                            0           
    4 Frank Allen          4   18  116 1913  24 BRO NL  34  25 11   0  3  .182  2 174.2 144  75  55  81  82   2.83  6  736                 10                        0  4                            0           
    5 Jim Pastorius        4   20   95 1908  26 BRO NL  28  25 16   2  3  .167  0 213.2 171  88  58  74  54   2.44  5  814                  7                        0  6                            0           
    6 Virgil Trucks        5   19   95 1952  35 DET AL  35  29  8   3  5  .208  1 197   190  99  87  82 129   3.97 12  858                  7                        1  5                            0           
    7 Rollie Naylor        5   18  102 1919  27 PHA AL  31  23 17   0  5  .217  0 204.2 210 109  76  64  68   3.34  2  819                  4                        0  2                            0           
    8 Aaron Harang         6   17   94 2008  30 CIN NL  30  29  1   1  0  .261  0 184.1 205 104  98  50 153   4.78 35  793  723 52  3   5   2  11   7  12  17  4  0  0  2  .284  .329  .509  .838  118 3046 2001 
    9 Galen Cisco          6   19   98 1964  28 NYM NL  36  25  5   2  5  .240  0 191.2 182  85  77  54  78   3.62 17  787  712 35  6   4   6  10   5  21   8 11  1  0  5  .256  .311  .393  .704  107           
   10 Johnny Lindell       6   17   95 1953  36 TOT NL  32  26 15   1  4  .261  0 199   195 122 103 139 118   4.66 17  910                  6                        0 11                            0           
   11 Paul Minner          6   17  107 1951  27 CHC NL  33  28 14   3  3  .261  1 201.2 219  97  85  64  68   3.79 20  861                  0                        1  5                            0           
   12 Howie Fox            6   19  105 1949  28 CIN NL  38  30  9   0  6  .240  0 215   221 120  95  77  60   3.98 13  928                  4                        1  2                            0           
   13 Jack Russell         6   18  108 1929  23 BOS AL  35  32 13   0  3  .250  0 227.1 263 132  99  40  37   3.92 12  978                  3                        0  1                            0           
   14 Joe Oeschger         6   18   98 1918  26 PHI NL  30  23 13   2  7  .250  3 184   159  87  62  83  60   3.03  3  778                  7                        0  4                            0           
   15 Elmer Jacobs         6   19  101 1917  24 PIT NL  38  25 10   1 12  .240  2 227.1 214  87  71  76  58   2.81  3  941                  5                        2  1                            0           
   16 Walt Leverenz        6   17  114 1913  24 SLB AL  30  27 13   2  2  .261  1 202.2 159  81  58  89  87   2.58  3  806                 10                        0  4                            0           
   17 Cy Falkenberg        6   17  103 1907  26 WSH AL  32  24 17   1  4  .261  1 233.2 195 105  61  77 108   2.35  0  976                  8                        0 13                            0           

He's in some pretty rare company there and although many of these pitchers are not all that famous we do see Virgil Trucks on there. Trucks won 13 games in the previous season and 20 games in the following one.

If we restrict the above list to just the last 2o years, there are just 14 seasons that qualify:

  Cnt Player             **W**  L ERA+ Year Age Tm  Lg  G   GS CG SHO GF  W-L% SV   IP   H   R   ER  BB  SO   ERA  HR  BF   AB  2B 3B IBB HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS Pk BK WP   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  OPS+  Pit  Str
+----+-----------------+------+--+----+----+---+---+--+---+---+--+---+--+-----+--+-----+---+---+---+---+---+------+--+----+----+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----+
    1 Aaron Harang         6   17   94 2008  30 CIN NL  30  29  1   1  0  .261  0 184.1 205 104  98  50 153   4.78 35  793  723 52  3   5   2  11   7  12  17  4  0  0  2  .284  .329  .509  .838  118 3046 2001 
    2 Rich Robertson       7   17  100 1996  27 MIN AL  36  31  5   3  1  .292  0 186.1 197 113 106 116 114   5.12 22  853  722 32  5   2   9   2   4  23  15  8  1  0  7  .273  .378  .422  .800  102           
    3 Matt Young           8   18  113 1990  31 SEA AL  34  33  7   1  0  .308  0 225.1 198 106  88 107 176   3.51 15  963  836 25  3   7   6   7   7  27  20 14  3  0 16  .237  .325  .328  .653   82           
    4 Albie Lopez          9   19   95 2001  29 TOT ML  33  33  3   3  0  .321  0 205.2 226 123 110  75 136   4.81 26  896  804 48  2   3   4   8   5  20  20  9  3  1  2  .281  .343  .443  .786  105 3191 2019 
    5 Doug Drabek          9   18  103 1993  30 HOU NL  34  34  7   2  0  .333  0 237.2 242 108 100  60 157   3.79 18  991  906 41  4  12   3  14   8  18  28  7  0  0 12  .267  .312  .381  .693   93           
    6 Jack Armstrong       9   17   95 1993  28 FLA NL  36  33  0   0  2  .346  0 196.1 210 105  98  78 118   4.49 29  879  776 35  6   6   7   8  10   9  18  3  2  2  7  .271  .339  .443  .782  110           
    7 Tim Leary            9   19   97 1990  31 NYY AL  31  31  6   1  0  .321  0 208   202 105  95  78 138   4.11 18  881  785 39  1   1   7   7   4  20  18  9  6  0 23  .257  .328  .378  .706   97           
    8 Kirk McCaskill      10   19   96 1991  30 CAL AL  30  30  1   0  0  .345  0 177.2 193  93  84  66  71   4.26 19  762  681 36  5   1   3   6   6  22   8  6  1  0  6  .283  .347  .435  .782  116           
    9 Joe Magrane         10   17  106 1990  25 STL NL  31  31  3   2  0  .370  0 203.1 204  86  81  59 100   3.59 10  855  773 36  9   7   8   8   6  15  21 16  6  1 11  .264  .320  .373  .693   96           
   10 Greg Harris         11   17   94 1993  29 TOT NL  35  35  4   0  0  .393  0 225.1 239 127 115  69 123   4.59 33  975  881 45  9   9   7  14   4  10  22 10  2  6  6  .271  .328  .455  .783  107           
   11 Steve Parris        12   17   98 2000  32 CIN NL  33  33  0   0  0  .414  0 192.2 227 109 103  71 117   4.81 30  861  772 57  7   5   4  10   3  18  12  3  1  1  9  .294  .355  .503  .858  117 3308 2026 
   12 Darryl Kile         13   17   99 1998  29 COL NL  36  35  4   1  1  .433  0 230.1 257 141 133  96 158   5.20 28 1020  894 47  7   4   7  15   8  23  15  5  0  0 12  .287  .358  .450  .808  100           
   13 Todd Stottlemyre    13   17   95 1990  25 TOR AL  33  33  4   0  0  .433  0 203   214 101  98  69 115   4.34 18  866  781 36  8   4   8   3   5  13  23 13  1  1  6  .274  .337  .410  .747  103           
   14 Frank Viola         13   17  106 1989  29 TOT ML  36  36  9   2  0  .433  0 261   246 115 106  74 211   3.66 22 1082  986 43  6   4   4  12   6  16  16 11  5  1  8  .249  .303  .372  .675   89           

This is a pretty interesting group. For the most part, these guys all had decent-or-better major league careers. That's not too surprising as earning a 94 ERA+ while pitching enough games to lose 17 decisions means you must be at least pretty decent.

As of this writing, Harang isn't fairing much better in 2009. So far he has an ERA+ of 106 but a record of just 5-10. Weird.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 7:26 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Aaron Harang’s weird 2008”

  1. This brings to mind Nolan Ryan's 1987 season: 8-16 with a league-leading ERA+ of 142. Ryan should've won the Cy Young award that year, and you can even make a case that it was his best season: he had the best strikeout rate of his career to go along with one of his lowest walk rates--good enough to lead the league in K/BB ratio (the only time he ever did that). It was one of only two times he led the league in ERA+ (the other coming in the strike-shortened '81 season).

  2. Some more numbers from Ryan's '87 season: he led the league in OPS against (.576) and game-score average (61), and tied for the league lead in quality starts (25) and quality-start percentage (74%, the best of his career). His neutralized W/L record (15-8, second-best of his career) is nearly the reverse of his actual record. Best season ever by a pitcher who lost twice as many games as he won?

    Incidentally, Orel Hershiser also had a very good 16-loss season in 1987, sporting an ERA+ of 131 (third in the NL). Orel did, however, manage 16 wins to go with his losses.

  3. That also brings to mind Randy Johnson’s 2004 season. Though he did have a winning record (16-14), he lost the Cy Young award to Roger Clemens, despite leading the league in ERA+ (177, Clemens’ 146 was 5th), WHIP (0.90, Clemens’ 1.16 was 8th), H/9IP (6.48, Clemens’ 7.10 was 4th), and strikeouts (290, Clemens’ 218 was 5th). The Unit also had a lower ERA (2.60, 2nd to 2.98, 5th), fewer BB/9IP (1.6, 4th; Clemens’ 3.3 was not in the top 10), a higher K/9IP (10.62, 2nd to 9.15, 7th), a better K/BB ratio (6.59, 2nd, Clemens’ 2.76 was not in the top 10), more innings pitched (245.2, 2nd in NL to 214.1, 8th), more games started (35, tied for 1st, Clemens’ 33 was not in top 10), more complete games (4, tied for 4th, Clemens had none), and more shutouts (2, tied for 3rd, Clemens had none). The main thing Clemens had going for him was an 18-4 record vs. a 16-14 record. While both pitchers were the benefactors of 3 “cheap wins”, Johnson was the victim of a league leading (tie) 9 “tough losses” to Clemens’ 2.

    I did an analysis back then, putting Johnson’s, Clemens’, Jason Schmidt’s, and Carlos Zambrano’s performances in the context of Arizona’s, Houston’s, San Francisco’s and Chicago Cubs’ run support.

    With Arizona’s run support:
    Johnson: 16-14 (most W)
    Clemens: 15-10 (best WL%)
    Schmidt: 14-15
    Zambrano: 14-11

    With Hoston’s run support:
    Johnson: 19-8 (most W, tied)
    Clemens: 18-4 (best WL%)
    Schmidt: 19-6 (most W, tied)
    Zambrano: 17-6

    With San Francisco’s run support:
    Johnson: 20-8 (most W)
    Clemens: 14-8
    Schmidt: 18-7 (best WL%)
    Zambrano: 15-9

    With Chicago’s run support:
    Johnson: 19-9 (most W)
    Clemens: 16-7 (best WL%)
    Schmidt: 16-9
    Zambrano: 16-8

    It is clear that with equivalent run support, Johnson would have wound up with more wins than Clemens, and presumably the Cy Young award. Clemens still finishes with a better win-loss percentage, but I think that the greater win total – along with Johnson’s lead in virtually every other category – would have given the award to the Unit.

  4. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Of course, the following season Clemens had a 1.87 ERA and probably deserved the CYA, but didn't get it because his record was just 13-8. He had historically bad run support that season. I think the Astros may have been shut out something like 10 times when he started. If Chris J. reads this, he probably has the details.

    Clemens did win some CYAs he probably didn't deserve, but he also lost some he probably should have won (1990 also comes to mind).

  5. I completely agree, JohnnyTwisto. I had both Clemens and Johnson on my fantasy team those years, and I felt that essentially Chris Carpenter stole a Cy Young from Johnson. (Carpenter was the one who took the CY over Clemens in 2005). Clemens was a bit light in innings in 2005; only 211.1 in 32 starts, Carpenter and Dontrelle Willis (the two ahead of Clemens) had 30.1 and 25 more innings in addition to 20+ wins each.

  6. The really cool thing about the Virgil Trucks 5-and-19 season is that two of those 5 wins were no-hitters.

    Oeschger was, of course, one of the pitchers who went 26 innings in a game in 1920.

  7. Maybe also worth mentioning is Anthony Young's 1993 season: 1-and-16, ERA+ = 107.

  8. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    I always found interesting the comparison of Anthony Young and Bob Wickman, both pitching in NY at the same time.