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Cut by the Tribe, Aaron Harang is dominating for Atlanta

Aaron Harang

Aaron HarangRemember Aaron Harang? One of the journeymen starters the Tribe signed to a minor league deal this spring? After being told he would not start the season in the majors with Cleveland, Harang signed with Atlanta, jumping at a chance to round out a big league rotation. Not only has Harang filled out he Braves’ rotation in the early goings this season, the 35 year old right hander has been nothing short of dominant.

In his latest start, Harang struck out 11 and gave up just one run in over six innings of work — just another gem in a string of beautiful starts for the man who was passed over for the Indians’ rotation in favor of the struggling Carlos Carrasco. The six hits given up in Harang’s last start were the most given up in any of his five starts to begin the 2014 season. In just over 31 innings across 5 starts, the veteran has struck out just over a batter an inning and boasts an ERA nearing Blutarski territory of 0.85.

The crown jewel of Harang’s hot start came just over a week ago when the long time Cincinnati Red tossed seven no hit innings before being replaced for the 8th. Harang’s fastball still touches north of 90, which proved to be one of the Braves’ deciding factors in opting for him over Freddy Garcia to be their over the hill veteran of choice. As chronicled by Cory McCartney of Fox Sports, this is the first time since the 2010 season in which Harang has had his fastball working at that velocity, a necessity for the man who led the national league in strikeouts back in 2006 with Cincinnati.

In his time with the Tribe this spring Harang looked good throwing the ball, posting a 2.00 ERA in two starts, and picking up the win in each outing. At the time Harang’s fate with the Indians was sealed, Tribe General Manager Chris Antonetti praised the veteran for how he’d looked so far during the spring.

“Aaron has pitched really well in camp, but as we looked through how we’d configure our rotation, we’ll likely go in a another direction,” said Antonetti. “A lot can change in the next several days, but we had a decision to make on Aaron and we made it.”

Hind sight is 20/20 and small sample sizes in baseball are a big no-no, but it’s still hard to ignore the early season success of Harang. Compound Harang’s success with the dismal start of Carlos Carrasco (7.31 ERA) and Danny Salazar (7.85 ERA) and one can’t help second guess if Antonetti and Francona made the wrong decision.

[Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]

[Related: Bourn, Bullpen, and Bitter Cold: Tribe edge Royals late]

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  • cmm13

    But.. but…but… Carlos Carrasco!

    ugh.

  • Steve

    This is a post here? Where is the meat? Where is the analysis? This seems like nothing more than a gnashing of teeth to get people to click and hop on the complaint, like something out of sports talk radio.

  • nj0

    90% LOB rate
    .200 BABIP
    53% FB with a 0.0% HR/FB rate

  • nj0

    Was thinking the same thing. FOMENT OUTRAGE!!!

  • Phil Savage

    Harang is pulling a reverse Derek Lowe, going from the tribe to the Braves. He’ll dominate in April then get cut by the end of May. Too bad he’s not costing them $5 mill.

  • mgbode

    I thought he balanced the last paragraph well. It is definitely something to track and, to this point, it was a mistake (and several noted it at the time, Shamrock most prominently).

    Just because it is early does not mean we cannot start the discussion, we just cannot complete them (and your stats listed in your other post show why Harang will likely have some regression coming — add in that he may not be able to keep his velocity up all year either).

  • Steve

    Sure, we can, and probably should, have the conversation. But this post wasn’t the start of a conversation, it was the building a pinata of Antonetti for people to beat around for a bit.

  • nj0

    I remember cries to keep Jeff Francoeur too, yet I’m not reading articles about him wallowing in AAA with the Padres.

    I know, I know… nature of the beast and all.

    Antonetti will get three out of five decisions right and 95% of the attention goes to the two mistakes. I get why this is, but I think it deserves a rebuttal. Just think focusing on this stuff is grabbing the low hanging fruit.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I enjoyed watching Nelson Cruz mash last night as well for Baltimore.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    3-1, 0.85 ERA, 31.2 IP, 15 H, 3 ER, 13 BB, 33 K = Harang
    0-2. 7.31 ERA, 16 IP, 19 H, 13 ER, 8 BB, 17 K = Carrasco

    It was a mistake for sure!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I see the Indians excuse makers already at work gotta love it!

  • nj0

    We shall see. 21 games!

  • nj0

    He is looking like a steal so far. I’m just remembering Mark Reynolds circa April 2013.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Um Cruz is/was just a tad better.

  • nj0

    With a little help, of course.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Sounds like an Indians fan alright. Perhaps if the Indians could not have used him it would be different. Certainly we have no idea if Harang could have replicated what he’s doing in Atlanta with Cleveland but the decision to release him in favor of Carrasco was questionable. Perhaps Harang’s next start with be the start of his implosion and in May you can tell me just how right the Indians were.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And?

  • nj0

    I don’t think it’s about looking at results and saying – this was right or this was wrong. Not to sound like Wedge, but it’s about the process.

    While Harang displayed some obvious up side, there was a lot not to like about a 36-year-old NL journeyman pitcher coming off the worst season of his career. If we would have kept him and put Carrasco in the pen, I’m sure there would have been criticism about giving up on our young players in favor of some re-tread. “Same old Indians!”, the haters would have said. And if Harang would have come out against AL bats and not been as lucky as he has been? Good lord! Can you imagine the second guessing?

    These sorts of things annoy me because the margin for error from many fans is zero. Not only that, they don’t seem to appreciate how lucky and unsustainable Harang’s early results really are.

    So I just say – 21 games, it’s April, call me in June.

  • nj0

    You don’t see any risk spending our limited resources on a one-time offender whose next infraction is a 100-game suspension? A guy whose past production may have been greatly enhanced by a substance he no longer is using (or which he still is, in which case see question one)?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I would hope Cruz would be smart enough to have learned his lesson but I thought his price tag which was severely marked down, severely more then he ever dreamt, was right in the Indians wheelhouse. It was no different then signing a guy who had suffered multiple injuries or a veteran guy who had been surrounded by a ton of talent who batted sixth and produced 20-25 HRs. Instead the Indians signed Murphy (who I don’t dislike but lets face it he’s more of a 4th OFer) early on to platoon with Raburn. Speaking of Raburn how’s he doing lately, anyone seen him? That’s a different story. I just liked the right handed power hitting homerun ability of Cruz so for me he would have been worth a risk. I don’t think he signed a long term deal in Baltimore either, did he?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I posted a lengthy answer but for some reason Dickus didn’t like it I guess. Oh well time will tell on Harang maybe he’ll implode soon for you. I’m actually hoping Bauer keeps doing what he is and he gets Carrasco demoted to the bullpen.

  • nj0

    One year in Baltimore. Agree on the misgivings on Raburn. I like Murphy though. Guess I’m just wary of power hitters from Arlington.

  • nj0

    Yeah, Bauer keeps pitching like he does, I don’t see how the team can not call him up. I still hold out hope for Carrasco though.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea for one year I’d have risked it but he signed late the Indians signed Murphy early so…and I’m not a fan of the platoon which is why granted Cruz is no defensive star I still would have preferred to have seen him in RF.

    I am of the belief that a power hitter can make up for a lot of the faults for a lineup. The Indians have a lot of moving parts IMO that need to work in unison for the offense to work well. Thankfully they have a manager who has a history of being able to work parts together well. If they had a bona fide power hitter between Kipnis and Santana I just think things would be so much easier. Of course I’ve been saying this for years. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Oh and I think they overpaid/jumped the gun on the extension to Gomes.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’ve just seen enough of Carrasco as a SP I don’t know how much longer they can continue to give him the opportunity. I liked what I saw of him out of the bullpen. I thought he could do what Pittsburgh did with former Indian Gomes last year. He excelled in long relief.

  • mgbode

    question: why would Cruz have learned his lesson? he was never actually caught using. he just ended up in the political cross-fire of the witch hunt on A-Rod (everyone in MLB knew he was using and they wanted to take him down before he became the next Bonds).

    users are ahead of the testers and until they get backward testing in the CBA, there will be little to offset it (that means storing blood for future tests that haven’t been approved yet).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I do believe I said I had hoped take it easy Perry Mason! I just want a right handed power hitter, leave me alone.

  • architrance

    He may not be helping the Tribe, but he sure is helping my fantasy team.

  • mgbode
  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Bit of irony here…I have him on none of my teams, lol. I did gobble up Jesse Chavez from Oakland and Martin Perez from Texas though.

  • nj0

    I forgot to add- Cruz would have cost us our draft pick.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Given the tremendous draft history of the Cleveland Indians would this be so bad? I know I know valid point no need to reply.