Aaron Harang is the Reds’ number one pitcher. He’s a right-hander who makes his mark with more with good control and smart pitching than with overwhelming stuff. He’s also freaking enormous at 6′ 7″ and 270 pounds. Harang is currently under a 1-year contract with the Reds for $2.35 million.
Amid the steaming mound of crap that was the Reds’ pitching in 2005, Harang quietly developed himself into a nice little bright spot. Harang enjoyed a strong spring in 2006 and won himself the Opening Day start.
To be fair, it wasn’t exactly a hard spot to win:
- Paul Wilson, the 2005 Opening Day starter, was beginning the season on the disabled list.
- Eric Milton, the shiny and expensive acquisition at the beginning of 2005 had been responsible for so much of that steaming mound that they couldn’t have called him the number one even if he started throwing 105 m.p.h.
- Brandon Claussen, a fairly bright spot in 2005 himself, just wasn’t enjoying the kind of surge that Harang was.
- Bronson Arroyo was still crying too much about being forced out of the Boston bullpen to take the ball.
- Dave Williams just wasn’t that good.
Also, to be fair, Harang’s performance on Opening Day 2006 was pretty much a shambles. Since then, though, Harang has established himself as the undeniable ace of the staff. In fact, he’s not just an ace by Reds standards. When was the last time we had one of those?
Among his impressive accomplishments include a shut-out against defending Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals in which he knocked in the only Reds’ run for the 1-0 win.
That RBI was particularly poignant considering what a horrible hitter Harang is. His inability to hit was an ongoing joke through 2005. However, his skills at the plate have improved markedly in 2006.
Get more information on Harang, specifically of the stat persuasion, at JinAZ’s site.