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10/18/07 The 2008 Nationals Starting Rotation: Joel Hanrahan?...But First...

     *An Official Apology- I got a comment on the last post asking about the number of starts John Lannan made this season, so I double-checked and he did in fact make six starts as I had stated, but as I started to write tonight's blog I had a realization...

      ...I was trying to come up with Joel Hanrahan's ERA over the 6 seasons he had spent in the Los Angeles Dodgers Minor League system before being signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals last winter...

     ...My Brother Scout, Braves Fan and Source For All Things Baseball was in the room at the time, so I asked him, "How would I figure Hanrahan's ERA over his Minor League career in LA's system?"

     "Earned runs over innings pitched, times, nine over one," Scout responded.

      "What?" I asked. "Earned runs times nine, divided by innings pitched," Scout repeated. "So you can't just add the ERA over, say 6 seasons, and divide by say, six?" I asked. "No. Are you serious? You are, okay...that would be Hanrahan's average earned run average, which wouldn't be too far off, probably, but isn't his combined ERA."

      "So what's the formula again," I asked, as I suddenly started to realize that I had been figuring combined ERA's all week, and probably been doing them all wrong, and I in fact had. I began stat-checking and found errors wherever I figured a "combined ERA" for the pitchers.

     Luckily, I haven't been offering these kind of stats often, but I must admit some embarrassment, and promise there was no ill-intention, just a complete lack of mathematic ability on display. I hope no one was harmed by these statistical errors, and I have already set about correcting what mistakes I could find, and I have also, in turn, hired Scout as a statistical fact-checker, so as to avoid any further incidents, though I have asked him to, please, not offer any opinions. (And what about combined batting averages? I might be up all night fact-checking).

     And so here's the post that started the troubling, "My Lord, How many mistakes did I make?" kind of night I've just enjoyed...*

     Joel Hanrahan was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 57th pick in the 2nd Round of the 2000 MLB Amateur Draft, and the right-handed starter would remain in the Dodgers Minor League system for the next six seasons until signing as a free agent with the Washington Nationals in November of 2006.

     Why Hanrahan never surfaced in LA? It's something of a mystery. The Des Moines, Iowa native was (62-45) from 2000-2005, with a 4.22 ERA (That's 426 ER's x 9, divided by 908 innings), but simply never reached the Major League level with the Dodgers, so a move to the Nationals, who were starved for starting pitching, seemed like a good move for the twenty-five year old right-hander.

     Hanrahan was (5-4) with a 3.70 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-AAA Columbus before Washington called him up in late July. In 12 appearances, 11 of which were as a starter, Hanrahan posted a (5-3) record with a 6.00 ERA in 51 innings with the Nationals.

     Hanrahan walked 38 in those 51 innings, the third highest total on the Nationals, though he ranked 12th on the team in innings pitched. The walk total and high ERA are offset somewhat by the (5-3) record and 43 K's Hanrahan collected in his first stint in the Majors, but I'd be surprised if the right-hander is able to earn a starting spot in '08, that is if everyone else on the roster defies history and remains healthy.