High-school and college career
Haren, who is of Irish and Mexican descent, graduated from Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, CA in 1998. He attended Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA on a baseball scholarship. It was there that Haren teamed up with Noah Lowry, a left-handed pitcher just one month younger than Haren, to form the best starting pitching duo in the West Coast Conference. In the 2001 season, Haren posted a 2.22 ERA in 17 starts, and Lowry posted a 1.71 ERA in 18 starts. The teammates (and roommates) skipped their senior seasons, and Lowry was taken in the 1st round (30th overall) by the San Francisco Giants and Haren was taken in the 2nd round (72nd overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft.
Haren quickly shot up through the St. Louis organization. He made 28 starts in A-ball in 2002 for Peoria and Potomac, finishing with a combined ERA of 2.74. He started 2003 in Double-A Tennessee, but was so dominant in his 8 starts he was promoted to Triple-A Memphis and eventually made it all the way to the big club.
Major League career
St. Louis Cardinals
Haren made his major league debut at the age of 22. He pitched well in his debut but was out-dueled by Jason Schmidt, who went on to finish second in the National League Cy Young Award voting that year. After finishing 2003 with a 5.08 ERA for the Cardinals, however, he was sent back down to AAA Memphis for the 2004 season. He received a late-season call-up, and made five appearances in the post-season for the Cardinals, including two in the World Series. The Cardinals were swept by the Boston Red Sox, but Haren pitched well, tossing 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
After the 2004 season, Haren was traded in a package that included right-handed reliever Kiko Calero and top hitting prospect Daric Barton to the Oakland Athletics for Mark Mulder, one of the best pitchers in the American League at the time. Mulder was surprisingly not missed, as Haren went 14-12 with a 3.73 ERA in his first full season as a major leaguer.
With Haren joining the A's, he got the opportunity to pitch against the rival San Francisco Giants in the Bay Bridge Series. Coincidentally, he has gone head-to-head multiple times against best friend and former teammate Noah Lowry, who also quickly made it to the majors. Haren has been the victor in both of the Haren/Lowry duels.
Haren and Lowry were former tenants in the same apartment building in South San Francisco, California, with Haren living directly above Lowry. However, Haren currently lives in Arizona with his wife, the former Jessica Valdez. The couple was married on November 17, 2006. They recently had a boy, Rhett, born 3 days before he was acquired by the Diamondbacks.
In 2005, Haren broke the top 10 in the American League in the following categories: innings (217-9th place), strikeouts (163-6th place), and complete games (3-4th place).
His early career was plagued by inconsistency, although he allowed a low number of walks, not many hits, and a good amount of strikeouts. Some starts showed his inability to prevent home runs, or get out of a jam. However, in 2007, he seemed to eliminate his shaky starts, allowing five earned runs or less in every start. He allows a very small amount of hits and walks, and his pitches were sharp. He was considered an early front-runner for the 2007 American League Cy Young Award, which was eventually won by CC Sabathia.
Furthermore, in 2007, Haren had one of the best seasons among any pitcher in the majors. Haren finished in the top ten in the American League in wins, with 15, strikeouts, with 192, and finished in the top three in the AL in ERA with 3.07.
In 2007, he was also selected to start the MLB All Star Game for the American League, which resulted in an American League win.
On December 14, 2007, Haren was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Connor Robertson for prospects including Carlos González, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, and Chris Carter.
On August 6, 2008, Haren agreed to a four-year, $44.75 million contract and a team option for the 2013.
Haren throws a 92–94 mph fastball (hit 97 mph) with movement, a sharp split-finger fastball, and the occasional changeup and curveball. Haren also added a cut fastball that he throws on occasion when he doesn't have his best fastball or wants to keep hitters off balance. His curveball is just an average offering that he'll flip over to get ahead early in the count, while his splitter is a plus pitch and his main strikeout weapon. When able to control his split-finger fastball, batters swing as the ball drops down at the last second. He throws a lot of strikes and has had one of the best K/BB ratios in the league, but is prone to giving up home runs.
- A's trade Mulder to Cardinals for Haren, Calero. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2008-11-05.
- D-backs sign All-Star hurler Haren to four-year, $44.75M deal. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2008-11-05.
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|Awards and achievements|
|American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher
|American League Pitcher of the month
J. J. Putz
|National League Pitcher of the month