After finishing outside the top 12 SP for the first time in four seasons Dan Haren has fallen in most fantasy baseball rankings. Despite his track record as one of the game's elite pitchers the previous three seasons he is being treated as a lower second tier starting pitcher. Often going off the board after the 75th pick is a far cry from a year ago when he was rarely around after the 50th.
Find out why it's ok to reach for Haren a round early after the jump...
His move to California helps his chances of a return to being a fantasy ace as he will be in a better park for pitching with a stronger squad behind him. He will be less prone to homers in his new home which was the main reason for his decline in 2010. He is still one of the game's top 5 starting pitchers for K/BB making him a top candidate for fantasy dominance.
Haren will strike out less hitters in the AL as evidenced by the drop from 9 to 7.18 K/9 after his trade to the Angels. Even if he retains the 7.18 K/9 he would provide 188 strikeouts over the same amount of innings he pitched in 2010. Last year marked the sixth consecutive season of pitching 215+ innings as he posted a career high 235. His durability makes his elite WHIP and ERA even more valuable and ensure a healthy number of Ks and Wins.
It would be unwise to undervalue Haren as he is as good a bet as anyone to give you 200+ innings, 200 strikeouts, sub 3.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Don't be afraid to nab him a round or two early if you are confident in a return of his fantasy dominance as you could have one of the top pitchers in the game for a discount. At the very least he should be able to earn his draft position thanks to elite skills in command and durability.