And The Best Hitter In Baseball Is... Dan Haren?

While Dan Haren's year on the mound has been a bit up and down, with a 4.65 ERA, there is no doubt he is having a tremendous season with the bat. He got two more hits this evening, and we're not talking against some rookie, but off Andy Pettitte, who is having a Cy Young year for the New York Yankees, with a 9-2 record and 2.48 ERA. That raises Haren's batting average this year to - bold font, please - .452.

I'll repeat that: italics and underlines this time. .452. Ok, we are only talking 43 plate-appearances, but do you know how many position players are hitting like that, in as many PAs this season? None: the closest is his Arizona battery-mate Miguel Montero, .413. How many players have had seasons with a .450 BA in 40+ PAs over the past fifty years? A total of three: Gary Ward (.463, 1980); Rudy Pemberton (.512, 1996) and Craig Wilson, (.468, 1998).

And Haren is, I should remind you, a PITCHER. Only three pitchers have managed five-game hitting streaks this year - and Dan Haren is two of them [the other is Tim Hudson]. In his current run, now up to six straight, Haren is 9-for-17 with three doubles. He's already had five multi-hit games this season, in 16 appearances, and we're not even at the All-Star break. The most in a season by a pitcher since 1975 is seven, something that seems easily within his reach.

Haren's OPS for the season is now 1.048, a number which only a single qualifying position player, Justin Morneau, has reached. The next best pitcher with a comparable number of PAs is the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright, almost six hundred points behind Haren, at .452. Of course, it may not last, but in a season where Arizona may not win very much, if production so far is anything to go by, they might as well start engraving that Silver Slugger with Dan's name.

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