Braves One Year Wonder, Aaron Harang, aka The Harangutan, has a similar story to Ervin Santana. He was a savior of the 2014 rotation. You can read about the rotation situation going into the 2014 season here, but long story short: Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm were gone as free agents, and in a span of about a week, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, and Brandon Beachy went down with injuries. Had they not added Santana and Harang, they would have gone into the season with Julio Teheran and Alex Wood as their only legitimate starting pitching options. That’s it.
Braves One Year Wonder, Aaron Harang
So Harang was added on March 24th, as deep into Spring Training as you could possibly expect to add a starting pitcher who would end up being such a strong presence in the rotation. The reason he was available was that it was perceived that he was done. He was 36 years old, he had not been good since he had enjoyed a couple nice seasons in the pitchers’ ballparks that the Dodgers and Padres enjoy in 2011 and 2012. But the desperate Braves gave him a flyer to join Gavin Floyd and David Hale as potential rotation options.
You couldn’t have asked for any more from Harangutan. He cleared 200 IP for the first time in 7 years, made 33 starts, and finished with an identical FIP and ERA of 3.57. That allowed them to absorb the loss of Gavin Floyd to injury after he had actually pitched pretty well for several starts. And it allowed David Hale to be used more as a swing man. It didn’t really matter since the Braves would miss the playoffs, but you’ll remember that the Braves were still adding at the deadline that year to try to salvage this wreck of a season. It was only until the next offseason that the Braves identified that this core of players was hopeless and in need of a sell off.
Not Just a Braves One Year Wonder
Harang was not just a Braves one year wonder; this was a one year wonder for the man himself. A true flash in the pan. He had two seasons before this one where had more than 2 bWAR, his age-28 and 29 seasons. He would put in another 2.2 bWAR this year which got him a guaranteed $5M the next season with Philadelphia, and then his career would be done at age 37. The Harang and Santana stories of 2014 worked brilliantly for both the team and players. They got their shot, they pitched well, they solidified the rotation (64 total starts between them too), and it got them both paid and on their way.
These stories are almost equally as fun as the wankers. I’m really enjoying this series.
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