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Hanrahan’s sub-3.00 ERA and batting average allowed of .187 were supported by an unusually high strand rate and low BABIP, two factors that will make it difficult for Hanrahan to replicate his 2012 season in 2013.
His percentage of baserunners stranded (89.7 percent) and BABIP (.230) both ranked in the top five among NL relievers with at least 50 innings last season and were far removed from his career averages of 75 percent and .306.
Though Hanrahan had an above-average strikeout rate in 2012, his walk rate jumped from six percent in 2011 to 14 percent in 2012 (fifth-highest in MLB) and his groundball rate fell by nearly 15 percentage points over the last two seasons.
This combination of statistics partly contributed to a 4.45 FIP (an ERA estimate based on strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed), which ranked 118th out of 134 relievers with at least 50 IP.
ESPNBoston | Reason to be wary about Hanrahan
Projections for how good Joel Hanrahan will be for Boston go all over the place. The advanced stats say he might be overrated, at least based on last year. The scouts say when everything is right, his slider is basically unhittable. The doctors say much of his trouble last year can be attributed to injury.
I don't find myself being all that concerned either way. I don't think he'll be a disaster. This isn't a Mark Melancon situation, where you have a pitcher of a certain talent level that just can't handle the atmosphere. And I don't think this is Eric Gagne either, where a pitcher has lost it, changes leagues, and will be even worse.
We don't need Hanrahan to be Mariano Rivera. Contrary to what Larry Lucchino will try to tell you, this team is not likely to be a serious competitor. Sure, if everything breaks right they could be. But what are the chances of that? What are the chances Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury stay healthy and perform at their talent levels? What are the chances Jon Lester returns to form? Clay Buchholz puts together a complete season? John Lackey and Ryan Dempster both stay healthy, can handle the AL East, and eat some innings? That all the bullpen efforts work out?
To me, the chances aren't good. We may be heading into 2013, but the focus should still be on 2014. And since Joel Hanrahan likely won't fit into the 2014 picture, due to his impending free agency, I'm only concerned with him being good enough to be an attractive trade chip at the deadline. Hanrahan and Koji Uehara, both signed to one-year deals, both with significant levels of performance at the deadline, would be great additions to any contender. And the Sox could use either or both of them to help bolster 2014.
Herald | How it all went wrong