It’s been a busy week, so I’m forfeiting the intro. I put all of it into my Dan Haren diatribe. Enjoy.

1– Overall Yahoo! pitcher ranking for St. Louis hurler Adam Wainwright . The man is referred to in some circles as “XXX: Return of Zander Cage ,” because his curveball is so extreme it could win the X-Games and fight terrorism at the same time.

He is having another stellar season, posting a 1.94 ERA, .213 batting average against, and a zesty 3.78 strike out to ball rate.

I didn’t think he could possibly exceed the 2.63 ERA and 212 strike outs from his breakout 2009 season, but the ceiling just keeps rising for the 29 year old.

His ERA has steadily improved from the 3.70 he posted back in his first full season in 2007.

While his peripherals suggest that an ERA in the 2.5 range is where he will end up to finish the season (.267 BaBIP, 3.21 xFIP), he is a lock to finish in the top five for major league pitchers and a strong Cy Young candidate in a crowded NL. Bask in the glory of Zander Cage.

5– Innings Dan Haren lasted in his first start for the Angels before being hit in the right arm by a line drive. That’s tough, and adds to laundry list of glaring issues after his trade to the west coast.

Let’s start with the simple fact that he’s moving to the AL and will face a legitimate batter instead of an awkward pitcher three times a game.

It’s worth noting that he didn’t do too shabby in the AL from 2005-2007, posting his career best 3.07 ERA over 34 starts in his final season with the Oakland Athletics. But he has delivered two 200+ strike out seasons with the D-Backs, something he never accomplished with the A’s.

Moving to the AL will always hurt a pitcher’s strikeout numbers, and usually with that comes a rise in ERA.

Second, he’s a historically poor second half performer. His first-half ERA is nearly a full run lower than his second-half ERA (3.29 vs. 4.26), something that’s held consistent over the past four seasons. A trip to the AL means that trend will continue.

But oddly (and this is the final problem), he hasn’t been the stellar first half player that we are used to seeing. His ERA currently stands at 4.57, and while the strike out numbers are at the highest totals of his career, he’s been disappointing for owners.

He’s been getting murdered by a .355 BaBIP and a 14.1% home run to fly ball percentage, so for most players you would assume that good times are on the horizon. He’s apparently healthy too.

I’m concerned, however, that his second half regression will cancel out an improvement in his peripherals. Keep close tabs on him.

3-0– Record for early bust Javier Vasquez in July. He’s been pitching very well lately, posting a 3.05 ERA since June. It is helping to offset the awful start he had to the season when he put up an ugly 9.78 over his first four starts.

Is he back? I’m not buying it. A good reason for that low ERA is the .210 BaBIP he’s been blessed with since his positive play started. And he’s only coaxing ground outs at a 33.7% clip, a recipe for disaster in the home run friendly Yankee Stadium. He is a perfect sell high candidate right now.

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