Welcome to part four of our Hall of Fame ballot previews as we deal with not having sports for the time being. We’ve run out of candidates that I think have a chance at staying on the ballot for a second year, but there are a few more players that I want to talk about. We’ll be changing the format a little bit, as there’s less to discuss with players that don’t have a real chance to make it. Today, we look at Dan Haren.
To view the full series, click here.
Why is he on the ballot?
Haren makes the HOF ballot mostly on the strength of his three-year run from 2007-2009 (ages 26-28) in which he had ERA+ figures of 138, 138, and 142 and was an All-Star all three seasons. He finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting in 2009 while pitching for the Diamondbacks. He received Cy Young votes again in 2011 when he posted an ERA+ of 119 and went 16-10 with the Angels. He owns a 3.75 career ERA, good for a 109 ERA+, with a 1.181 WHIP and 2,013 strikeouts.
Why won’t he make the Hall of Fame?
A 153-131 record isn’t going to blow away voters, nor are any of the above figures for why he’s on the ballot. In the years other than his 2007-2011 peak (in which he had a 127 ERA+), he had just a 97 ERA+. He threw less than 2,500 career innings and doesn’t have a depth of playoff success, going to the playoffs in the bullpen with the 2004 Cardinals that lost the World Series, where he gave up two runs in 8 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and four walks. Two of three runners he inherited scored as well. In 2006 with the A’s, he earned a win in game 3 of their ALDS win over the Twins, going six innings and allowing two runs. He allowed three runs in five innings of game four of the ALCS against the Tigers in the game that will be remembered for Magglio Ordoñez’s walk-off home run to send Detroit to the World Series. He ranks below 200 in all of the Hall of Fame predicting stats, had just 35.0 career WAR, and never won any award greater than being named an All-Star.
Haren will be remembered fondly in the southwest, as his best years came in Oakland, Arizona and Anaheim, but his was not a Hall of Fame career. He was shipped out of St Louis two years before they won a World Series and ended his career with the Cubs in 2015 when he wasn’t invited on the playoff roster the year before they would win the World Series. He narrowly missed out on having more playoff opportunities, but his career also ended when he had just turned 35. If he had pitched better into his 30s, he might have a World Series ring.
Haren was a fly ball pitcher that got burned by extra-base hits too many times to be worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. He was above league average in strikeout rate and below league average in walk rate, but his home run rate and extra-base hit rate were also above league average, as he allowed over 300 home runs and 800 extra-base hits in his career.
Up next: Barry Zito.
Stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.