Remember when Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy were lost for the season for the Atlanta Braves? When that happened, Julio Teheran was named the hands-down No. 1 starter in the rotation. As the rotation was filled out, one of the most questionable additions to the team was veteran pitcher Aaron Harang, who had just been released by the Cleveland Indians before spring training had even ended. Little did Braves fans know that the team had just signed a pitcher who very well may be the most valuable pitcher on the staff as the All-Star break approaches.
What Harang has been able to do in the position that he is in has been great. In his 19 starts, he has made it through the sixth inning all but three times, with one of those pitching into the sixth inning in a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Granted, the Braves didn’t sign him to be an ace, and he isn’t. However, he does hold a solid 3.53 ERA, while the team has won 12 games that he has started, including the last four, which includes three games that he hasn’t given up more than two runs.
Yes, those numbers don’t scream ace at you, but when you consider that the Braves are paying Harang a lowly salary of $1 million for this season, they might have struck gold if he continues to pitch this way through the second half of the season. He pitches to a lot of contact, so he’s going to give up hits and runs, but when he is at his best, he is able to allow balls to be put into play and get a lot of outs. By doing that and relying on his veteran knowledge of how to pitch throughout a game, he is able to keep the Braves in games late, which gives the team more chances to win games as we go down the stretch.