Fantasy BaseballJosh Kay

2013 Fantasy Baseball: Joel Hanrahan – Walk This Way

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Joel Hanrahan really improved his stock heading into 2012 by putting together a really fine season in 2011. In 2011 he focused on ground balls as he raised his ground ball rate by 10.4% over his 2010 mark of 42%. He sacrificed strikeouts in 2011 for those gains, but he also lowered his walk rate remarkably. Moreover, he pounded the bottom of the zone, resulting in a 0.13 HR/9 and 1.9% HR/FB.

Hanrahan’s 2012 season could not have gone worse, and quite frankly, more opposite to his 2011 campaign. His K’s jumped back up a bit, but his walk rate went through the roof. In 2011, 5.8% of plate appearances ended in a walk issued, but in 2012 that mark was an enormous 14.2%! Amazingly, he was able to record a .225 BABIP and posted a strand rate of 89% which kept his implosion remarkably well hidden. Finally, he lost his GB gains from 2011, and even regressed down to 38%!

For Red Sox fans and prospective fantasy owners, the most troublesome news for Hanrahan is that his remarkable 2011 season now actually looks like an outlier.

Let’s look at what Hanrahan did against righties the last two years:

FB% SL % K/9 BB/9 K% BB% Road ERA Slash Against TAv (True average) agasint fastball
2011 78 22 6.87 1.66 19.20% 4.60% 0.093 .183/.198/.250 0.241
2012 71 29 8.04 6.43 19.20% 15.40% 4.05 .204/.350/.417 0.306

 

His numbers were all over the place in 2012, completely opposite from his 2011 season. His fastball velocity dropped by a full mph, but is a drop from 97.5% to 96.5% really that huge? A small factor that could’ve caused some of this was a change in Vertical and Horizontal release point to 6.13 and 6.14 on his two pitches. In 2010 and 2011, they were consistently 6.03 and 6.04. These differences may seem irrelevant and small, but again they were identical to the exact decimal year-to-year from 2010 and 2011. Did he change his mechanics? Was he having trouble with them?

If Hanrahan’s fastball velocity in spring training seems to be around the 96 mph average range and your drafts are before spring training ends when closer situation in Boston will be more clear, it would be prudent to go after Andrew Bailey and stay away completely from Hanrahan. If his skills from 2012 don’t change, his ERA will balloon to over 4.00.

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