Harang or Bonderman: A Poll

Dave · June 20, 2013 at 10:24 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Here are the stats for the two Mariners starters who are in the running to get tossed out of the rotation whenever the Mariners decide to bring Erasmo Ramirez back from Tacoma.

Jeremy Bonderman 24.2 7% 8% 46% 13% 0.215 86% 3.28 5.48 5.14
Aaron Harang 59.2 4% 22% 36% 12% 0.319 64% 5.73 4.18 3.87

I’m not offering any analysis besides putting those numbers up for you to see.

Which one do you think is going to pitch better going forward?


67 Responses to “Harang or Bonderman: A Poll”

  1. ChrisK on June 20th, 2013 10:31 am

    .215 BABIP hahaha

  2. tranebc on June 20th, 2013 10:32 am

    If you just put the names up there I would have selected Bonderman….but the stats definitely point towards Harang (esp. BABIP).

  3. spuuky on June 20th, 2013 10:34 am

    I’ve always liked rhetorical polls. I mean obviously Harang is likely to be better – he’s ALWAYS been better than Bonderman, his entire career, including this season. Why exactly would that suddenly change for the future?

  4. Sportszilla on June 20th, 2013 10:34 am

    I have to admit, I’ve paid almost no attention to the M’s this year, especially non-Felix/Kuma starts, but I’m stunned to see how good Harang has been in every sense but ERA. Stunned!

  5. make_dave_proud on June 20th, 2013 10:37 am

    I voted for Harang.

    I singled out two factors in my choice: K-rate and BABIP. Bonderman’s K rate is really low and his BABIP is significantly below average. Harang’s K rate along with an average BABIP, but a bad ERA suggest he should see better results as he logs more innings.

    Other things that stand out for me with Bonderman: his FIP rates are on the under-side of the league average, but ERA-wise he is better than league average. Harang is the exact opposite: pretty close to league average in FIP, but behind the curve on the ERA side.

    Disclaimer: I’ve only started paying better attention to these metrics, so my interpretation is subject to noob-ness.

  6. Coug1990 on June 20th, 2013 10:39 am

    Erasmo Ramirez. Oh wait! Was that a choice?

  7. rowlandice on June 20th, 2013 10:41 am

    Shouldn’t there be a “c”? Which one has more, if any, trade value?

  8. dgood on June 20th, 2013 10:46 am

    I vote for Harang, but one thing I feel like is that he’s been hit really hard when they do hit the ball. Super small sample but his wOBA against seems higher. I will still vote Harang but wish neither to be there as both are bad in their own ways.

  9. Bodhizefa on June 20th, 2013 10:47 am

    They’re both pretty much toast regardless of what FIP says, and neither of them are in our future plans. As long as one of them is replaced by Erasmo, it doesn’t really matter to me — especially if Zduriencik isn’t around after this year. I’m guessing it’s (again) the front office’s decision making skills that you’re questioning, Dave, but on a non-winning team like ours, and with a GM who is likely on his way out, does it really matter at this juncture? (No offense meant, I’m just saying)

  10. ThundaPC on June 20th, 2013 10:49 am

    Been thinking about this way longer than I should be (I mean well before this poll was put up). Peripherals say Harang’s clearly a better bet going forward but…

    Jeremy Bonderman looks good but peripherals are awful and the chances of him keeping this up are pretty close to zero. Aaron Harang’s peripherals show that he could potentially be a useful pitcher but he’s just been bad result wise. I was clearly for Harang before his last outing.

    The future for either one of them doesn’t look good but I’d almost lean towards keeping Bonderman just to see how long he keeps this up. Can he really get away with striking out less than Blake Beavan?

    This is going to be a battle of who regresses first. Bonderman is basically Beavan with a good ERA, Harang is Iwakuma with a bad ERA. I choose Aaron Harang being better going forward but seeing Bonderman trying to beat his peripherals is comically ironic.

  11. Nik Aitken on June 20th, 2013 10:51 am

    Harang, and it’s not even close.

  12. spuuky on June 20th, 2013 10:52 am

    Man if you were clearly for Harang before his last outing, you should still be clearly for Harang now. His last outing was one start.

  13. marcus_andrews on June 20th, 2013 10:52 am


    I don’t think either has any trade value. We got Harang for nothing and he still appears to be the exact same guy that we figured we would be getting (some k’s, homer prone, very meh) and Bonderman was available to anyone that wanted him this offseason and has shown nothing to entice people to pay anything of value for him. GMs won’t be tricked into giving up a prospect because of two DIPS defying starts.

    As far as the poll, I’m surprised how not terrible Harang has been overall this year in regards to FIP, k rate, etc. Watching him he seems much worse than that but that’s probably just because the results have been so bad so often. I’d be fine if either of them went, but I think Bonderman is going to run in to the regression monster soon and I’d rather abandon ship before that happens.

  14. djw on June 20th, 2013 10:58 am

    I voted for Harang, because obviously.

    The 2013 version of Aaron Harang has to be one of the worst players in major league history to post K and BB rates that good.

  15. terry on June 20th, 2013 11:12 am

    Is this a trick question?

  16. Klatz on June 20th, 2013 11:15 am

    Harang’s peripherals are remarkably good given the results. His problem is HRs (as it has been throughout his career). His swinging strike rate is about average which is much much better than Bonderman (or Saunders for that matter).

    At Safeco and other large parks, Harang will actually (or should be) pretty good. But close eyes at say Texas or HR happy parks.

  17. Transient Gadfly on June 20th, 2013 11:26 am

    The correct answer: It doesn’t matter even a little tiny bit. Unless, of course, you want to make it a referendum on whether M’s understand pitching peripherals. But that answer you already know.

  18. rick m on June 20th, 2013 11:29 am

    I voted for Harang because the xFIP is so clearly in his favor, but the ground ball rate is what has me second guessing. Is Bonderman’s higher GB% the reason his BABIP is so much better? How does xFIP take into account ground balls vs. fly balls, the former being much better to deal with (especially with this team – great infield defense. Outfield? Not so much).

    On second thought, I’ve talked myself into Bonderman.

  19. G-Man on June 20th, 2013 11:46 am

    Harang, though rick m’s comment about our gb defense being better than our outfield made me back off from saying that it isn’t close.

    Bonderman has a combo of luck and SSS. He wasn’t doing well in Tacoma, and I factored that in to my choice.

  20. Monty on June 20th, 2013 11:48 am

    I know this question will show my ignorance but …. What about placing one of them in the bullpen? How would either of them do in that position?

  21. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 12:10 pm

    Is this just a “feel good about ourselves” poll? Because it’s probably a foregone conclusion what the org will do.

    Actually, I take that back. There’s a third scenario, and I suspect it may be the most likely one. Leave Erasmo Ramirez to rot in AAA for the rest of the year, and let the VETERAN pitchers continue to provide gritty leadership involving Knowing How to Throw Strikes, Going About Their Business, and Having Been There Before.

    So I pick option 3. Erasmo Ramirez will not crack the major league roster in 2013, unless some other even more gullible GM decides Bonderman or Harang can provide Veteran Leadership for their playoff push. But, more likely, a GM who actually knows what he’s doing will throw some kibble at the M’s and be given Erasmo Ramirez.

  22. Calculon on June 20th, 2013 12:13 pm

    While some may argue that ‘past performance is no indication of future performance’, shouldn’t we factor in Harang and Bonderman’s career #’s?

    That is, Hargang is posting his best K rate in five years and the best BB rate of his career. His current xFIP would also qualify as his best since 2009 (and/or second lowest of his career).

    So while, overall, his stats are fairly in line with his norms, there are plenty of ‘regression to the mean’ candidates.

    All that said, Harang appears to be the obvious choice, BUT neither he nor Bonderman ‘truly deserve’ a spot in the M’s rotation when Erasmo and the rest of the promotable arms are ready for arrival.

  23. kfrei2 on June 20th, 2013 12:26 pm

    I’m really surprised that Bonderman has received over 40% of the votes. His BABIP and LOB% are both completely unsustainable. He is Silva-esq with his ability to miss bats. The only number in his line that would inspire any confidence at all is his ground ball rate. As much as everyone loves a comeback story, the answer is Harang, and it isn’t all that close.

    That said, I do believe that we can expect Harang’s results to continue to fall short of his peripherals as long as guys like Ibanez and Morse see regular time in the field. He has always been a pretty extreme fly ball pitcher and he would probably benefit from an actual major league quality outfield more than most.

  24. G-Man on June 20th, 2013 12:38 pm

    I do like the idea of leaving Ramirez in Tacoma for the time being. A starter going down, a decent trade offer, or one of these two putting up multiple bad starts could then get him up here.

  25. Paul B on June 20th, 2013 12:52 pm

    Are there any GM’s that think ERA is predictive, and want a “proven veteran innings eater” for the back of their rotation in the second half of the season, and would happily give up a B+ prospect for Bonderman?

    Or are they all extinct now?

  26. ripperlv on June 20th, 2013 12:56 pm

    Who really cares. Having Harangue, Bonderman and Saunders in the same rotation is an insult to Mariner fans!

  27. weebs on June 20th, 2013 12:56 pm

    I am stunned at how close the results of this poll are. Harang, clearly.

  28. Choo on June 20th, 2013 12:56 pm

    Frankly, I’m surprised Harang’s BABIP isn’t higher than .319. The man is a bacchanalia of hard-hit balls.

  29. scraps on June 20th, 2013 1:00 pm

    Harang. I appreciate that Bonderman has a couple good starts, but he’s not sustainable (to which I mean, of course I could be wrong, but the evidence points way way toward not sustainable).

    I worry that the Mariners’ front office doesn’t realize that, like lots of people.

  30. Typical Idiot Fan on June 20th, 2013 1:06 pm

    It’s a trick question. The answer is Erasmo Ramirez.

  31. ovhfourth on June 20th, 2013 1:15 pm

    I’d be interested to hear the rationale of the 43% that are currently voting Bonderman. Since there’s only one comment on Bonderman’s behalf, I’m assuming this is just the ERA-is-supreme folks. I’d expect something along these lines in a general poll of Mariner fans, but am puzzled by the USSM readership voting this way.

  32. jak924 on June 20th, 2013 1:17 pm

    Just win, baby.

  33. nwade on June 20th, 2013 1:29 pm

    Tick question. This poll isn’t about the pitchers, its about whether you consider BABIP and/or FIP to be meaningful (and/or predictive) stats.

    That said, I picked Harang. My gut-reaction to his appearance and mannerisms is “ughhh” but I gotta believe his pitching is superior (as a relative term) to Bonderman’s.

  34. zackr on June 20th, 2013 1:39 pm

    Not true. It’s a question of whether or not you feel that Bondo’s arm strength is going to substantially increase going forward, subsequently making his stuff better.

    I voted for Bonderman for that very reason. We are going nowhere with either of them at their current state, and if Bonderman gets stronger (i.e. Kuma) and figures something out, then – bonus! Otherwise, there’s no real loss to 86ing both of ‘em for some other scrap heap starters.

    To me, this looks like a question of considering the objective past, or the subjective future. Since the assets in question are so mediocre, I choose to roll the dice with Bondo and the subjective future.

  35. rth1986 on June 20th, 2013 1:45 pm

    With this team’s defense, it’s pretty simple: the Mariners need a pitcher who can miss bats.

  36. terry on June 20th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Obviously Dave is trying to make a point about peripherals.

    But Harang’s numbers are eerily similar to the last 78 innings that John Smoltz pitched in the majors. Sometimes peripherals don’t tell the whole story. Harang has been whackamoled when he’s been moled.

    Now Harang isn’t coming off of an injury and he should be better than his ERA. But I should be a millionaire by now too.

  37. Dave on June 20th, 2013 1:51 pm

    The Iwakuma “arm strength” myth appears again. Fun fact: Hisashi Iwakuma’s throwing his fastball at a slower speed now than he was when he was battling “dead arm” last April. The “arm strength” crap was made up by people who weren’t smart enough to realize they were wasting a good pitcher in the bullpen because of their biases.

    And no, Bonderman’s not going to start throwing any harder. His fastball velocity right now is where it was before his disappearance from the big leagues. This is how hard he throws. If you expect him start throwing as hard as he did when he was 24, you haven’t researched velocity aging curves.

  38. zackr on June 20th, 2013 2:03 pm

    I’m not expecting that, Dave.

  39. bookbook on June 20th, 2013 2:14 pm

    I’m sure the Ms will replace Harang first (if at all). Hopefully, Hultzen replaces the other one in August.

  40. zackr on June 20th, 2013 2:17 pm

    I’ve been avidly watching baseball for 35 years, and played ball through college. Players often do improve when they gain strength.

    Has anyone asked Kuma if he is intentionally lightening up on the fastball in order to get more action on the pitch?

    Do you disagree with the premise that since Bondo has been out of baseball for so long, he has a slightly better chance to improve over his current ability than Harang?

    The pitching assets are inconsequential enough that it’s worth the gamble to me, and I feel that to say I’m unequivocally, absolutely wrong on this may be an error of ego. There are too many intangibles at play to beat your chest about an answer here.

  41. zak24 on June 20th, 2013 2:27 pm

    If Guti could be counted on to stay healthy and Saunders hit well enough to hold down a corner OF spot defensively Harang would be the clear choice here. Unfortunately right now even though they are putting the ball in play off Bonderman more it’s on the ground and to solid defenders, who turn the walks into double plays. When they do hit Harang our outfield defense becomes exposed and all hell breaks loose. Harang is the better pitcher with no one standing behind them at all and no one on base but with our current defense shouldn’t we stick with the mediocre groundball pitcher to the mediocre flyball pitcher?

  42. VivaAyala on June 20th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Though I don’t think the difference will be as huge as xFIP makes it seem (since Harang seems to give up harder-hit batted balls than average), it’s pretty obvious that Harang will be better going forward. That huge advantage in walks and strikeouts more than offsets Bonderman’s advantage in groundballs.

  43. djw on June 20th, 2013 2:50 pm

    The pitching assets are inconsequential enough that it’s worth the gamble to me, and I feel that to say I’m unequivocally, absolutely wrong on this may be an error of ego.

    If you’re saying “I’m throwing out reams of robust data about predicting future performance because I believe my hunch about Bonderman has more predictive value”, I’m not sure you should be lecturing others about excessive ego.

  44. zackr on June 20th, 2013 2:56 pm

    It’s my impression that the term lecture would require more than on sentence on the subject of ego.

  45. djw on June 20th, 2013 2:58 pm

    Harang is the better pitcher with no one standing behind them at all and no one on base but with our current defense shouldn’t we stick with the mediocre groundball pitcher to the mediocre flyball pitcher?

    This is a failure to do simple math. Who is sending more balls into the outfield? Harang’s GB%+K%-BB% is 54% (36+22-4). Bonderman’s is 47% (46+8-7). The line above doesn’t break down line drives and fly balls but it doesn’t matter–despite being more of a GB pitcher, Bonderman taxes our bad outfield more than Harang does.

  46. djw on June 20th, 2013 2:59 pm

    zackr, feel free to amend “lecture” to “complain” or “accuse” or whatever, then.

  47. Bremerton guy on June 20th, 2013 3:01 pm

    I think it’s great when insults start flying around, don’t you?

  48. zackr on June 20th, 2013 3:01 pm

    And seriously, when it comes to harsh language, Dave throws enough out there that I cannot see how my comment would offend him.

    He’s not only a great source of in your face language, but from what I’ve been read from him and DMZ in the beginning, all the way through today’s manifestation of the site, he can handle the comment.

  49. zak24 on June 20th, 2013 3:07 pm

    djw thanks for the breakdown your tone was kind of dickish but that is helpful information.

  50. MosesLakeBrian on June 20th, 2013 3:50 pm

    I voted Bonderman, mostly because I don’t give Harang much of a shot of regressing to mean/improving. Harang will throw more strikes, but he will continue to get hit significantly. Bonderman, while having an unsustainably low BABIP, will still maintain a significantly lower BABIP than Harang.

  51. Dobbs on June 20th, 2013 3:56 pm

    A poll to see how many of your readers haven’t read the reference material?


  52. djw on June 20th, 2013 3:58 pm

    Sorry, but you do have to be kind of allergic to basic math to prefer a pitcher with K and BB rates of 8/7 to a 22/4 pitcher. I suppose it’s theoretically possible there’s a circumstance where you’d prefer the former, but I have a difficult time imagining it.

  53. Farmer Cam on June 20th, 2013 4:34 pm

    So far, 45.24% of you have flunked this test.

  54. DougMorgan on June 20th, 2013 4:43 pm

    I lean towards Bonderman. I think there’s more upside there, given that he hadn
    t pitched for 2 years. I’m not really a stats guy (except for the obvious) and I wish he’d last more than 6 plus innings, but Bonderman’s ERA has been dropping like a rock, while Harang’s has been consistant. I just can’t see Aaron getting any better.

    Another point in Bonderman’s favor is that he’s 30, to Harang’s 35, and in the long run could be more valuable to the M’s as a “seasoned” pitcher than Harang.

  55. msfanmike on June 20th, 2013 5:03 pm

    An ERA argument on an advanced stat discussion site?

    Sabermetrics, bro … It’s a lot like math.

    You’ll like it if you look into it and you will eventually think back to the comment you just made.

  56. Dobbs on June 20th, 2013 5:16 pm

    Dave’s removed the names and ERA in the past and it’d be clear who you keep, even if you put age in there. A guy who strikes out 8% of batters won’t last.

  57. zak24 on June 20th, 2013 5:41 pm

    djw: I ended up voting for Harang after your breakdown, so i was simply entertaining the thought that maybe there could be more to the story here than the enormous differential in their k/bb rates and xfip data – like maybe the great infield defense and tragic outfield defense effecting the flyballer vs. the groundballer- without accepting that thought. You demonstrated, using basic math, how the numbers aren’t lying in this case, which I appreciated. In conclusion, after gathering all the data, my takeaway here is that you are an incredibly brilliant mathematician, a true baseball mind, and also just kind of a snarky douche.

  58. djw on June 20th, 2013 5:53 pm

    my takeaway here is that you are an incredibly brilliant mathematician, a true baseball mind, and also just kind of a snarky douche.

    One of these things is probably true.

  59. Logan Davis on June 20th, 2013 6:32 pm

    I’m shocked that this is close.

  60. henryv on June 20th, 2013 8:08 pm

    I would like to vote for “None of the Above”

  61. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:57 pm

    Admit it – some of you are voting for Bonderman just because you hate Harang’s cheesy beard.

  62. KiWiNiNjA on June 21st, 2013 12:17 am

    How is this so close? :s

  63. 6-4-3 on June 21st, 2013 7:13 am

    As others have mentioned Bonderman has the age advantage. He’s still 30 and Harang turned 35 last month. No question Harang’s peripheral stats are better. Is there a way we can pick the June 11th, two hit shutout Harang over the typical Harang?

    I’ve got to admit I can’t stand Harang primarily because he’s so fat. Yeah, I know these “horses” tend to have good longevity for whatever reason, but it still bugs me. Not that Bonderman is exactly lithe…

  64. Choo on June 21st, 2013 9:09 am

    Why does Bonderman need to be lithe? Brandon McCarthy is lithe. Jake Peavy is lithe. Alexi Ogando is lithe. Look where lithe has gotten them. These guys aren’t cross country runners. I saw Bonderman a couple of weeks before he took off for Peoria and that dude is weight-room strong from head to toe, very little fat.

  65. djw on June 21st, 2013 9:40 am

    As others have mentioned Bonderman has the age advantage. He’s still 30 and Harang turned 35 last month.

    This would matter if we were (shudder) signing one of these people to a long term contract. But as we’re talking about performances over the next 3 months it’s not relevant.

    I’m amazed at how hard people will evidently work to convince themselves that 8/7 is better than 22/4. Why?

  66. 6-4-3 on June 21st, 2013 11:59 am

    The question posed was “Which one do you think is going to pitch better going forward?” There was no timeline specified. I’m sure many took this to mean “for the remainder of this season” or “for the remainder of their Mariners career.” I took it to mean “for the remainder of their career.”

  67. djw on June 21st, 2013 2:44 pm

    1. With Bonderman’s injury history, the odds of advancing age being the thing that ends his career are very long indeed.

    2. Since there’s very little reason to think Bonderman’s current skill set elevates him above replacement level, the future value of his career may have very little to do with how long he’s able to pitch.

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