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Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

NUTS ABOUT KNUCKLES

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Easy now. You wouldn’t think you’d read the names Charlie Haeger and Greg Maddux in the same article, let alone the same sentence. But that’s what Baseball Prospectus’ [tag]Rany Jazayerli[/tag] has done in his latest column, which bursts with such effusive praise of Charlie Haeger you’d think Jazayerli was his agent and/or making his case in an arbitration hearing.

But one column in Haeger’s stat line looks out of place. Specifically, his homers allowed column, which looks like it was borrowed from another player: Greg Maddux. Haeger has allowed just 19 home runs in 444 innings since he started throwing the knuckler. Over the last two years, he has allowed just 13 in 356 innings. That’s phenomenal for any pitching prospect, even the best pitching prospects in the minor leagues. While it’s a small sample size, the fact that Haeger faced 79 major league hitters last year and didn’t surrender a single homer—and just one double and one triple—is a good sign that his ability to keep the ball in the park may not be solely a single-deck phenomenon.

Haeger proceeded to allow 2 bombs in his 1st start at AAA. One to the leadoff hitter Ed Rogers (5 HR in 2006) and one to the ageless Joe McEwing. In total Haeger allowed 7 hits over 6 innings with 4 Ks, 2BBs and one wild pitch. Eh.

I like Haeger as a prospect but certainly not as much as Jazayerli. While he may be the rare knuckler that sticks on a staff for a fruitful career, I don’t get as excited thinking about him in the Sox rotation as I do for John Danks.

[tags]Baseball Prospectus, Charlie Haeger, John Danks, White Sox[/tags]

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