For the second time this month, Prospectus’ “Player Profile” feature looks at a Red.  This time, staff ace Aaron Harang.

Author Marc Normandin says that he’s received more email about Aaron Harang than any other player, most asking how a guy went from league average to #1 starter in three seasons. 

The pitcher that Aaron Harang became in the 2005-2006 seasons was exactly what he needed to be in order to succeed: he cut down on his home runs allowed, and continued to be stingy with the free pass. He even turned into the strikeout pitcher his early minor league numbers had suggested during 2006, crossing the 200 K mark.

How’d he do it?

Harang stopped working up in the zone as often, instead doing most of his work on the lower corners. [Normandin later notes that this has decreased his HR rate, even though his fly ball rate is still high.]  He’s primarily a fastball pitcher, although he uses his slider with very good results. His problems mostly have to do with 1) pitching at the Great American Ballpark and 2) left-handed hitters. GAB simply causes Harang to give up more homers than he ought to: From 2004-2006, he held a 1.4 HR/9 at home, with only a 0.9 HR/9 on the road

Something new:  Harang’s change-up (“once considered his top offering”), was hit hard last year (.339 batting average against).

“The Reds were smart to lock up Harang to a deal through his age-33 campaign, and at a bargain price to boot.”