Tommy Hanson

Tommy Hanson Statistics and History –

That was a good rookie year. A little too good? Hanson went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA, struck out 8.2 men per nine, and improved as the year went on, so that in his last eleven starts (August and September) he was 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA and struck out better than ten men per nine. There just aren’t any red flags here, except the usual that he’s a young pitcher and young pitchers are unpredictable, and sometimes get hurt. His control was pretty good to begin with and again, got better. He didn’t give up many homers. The Braves didn’t ask him to work too hard — his innings were up, but his pitch counts never got above 112 and most were below 100. All evidence suggests that this is an excellent young pitcher, a potential ace starter unless you’re a spoiled Braves fan or Baseball Prospectus and your standards are so high that there are only ten or twelve #1 starters in baseball — and maybe even then.

It’s just that I get a bit nervous about young pitchers who come up and are really good. A lot of the time, that’s because they trick major leaguers and the league eventually catches up to them. But there’s no reason to think that Hanson is that kind of pitcher. He’s got a really good fastball and a great curveball and a changeup that’s better than many, and he throws them all for strikes. I would expect that in 2010 he’ll have a few struggles mixed in with some great starts, and that starting in 2011 he’ll settle in as one of the best starters in baseball. Just stay healthy, kid.

122 thoughts on “Tommy Hanson”

  1. Frankly, if he doesn’t duplicate Lincecum’s back to back Cy’s in his first two full seasons I’ll consider Hanson to be an abject failure. Kid has to perform! especially if JJ is down with a bum shoulder.

  2. It’s nice to see a player live up to his initial hype. If this continues with Hanson and Heyward follows, the Braves will have a solid foundation. It should be a fun year to see how things develop.

  3. It’s nice to see Thorman still has a job. He was never any good for us really, but it was hella amusing to watch him hustle down the first base line.

  4. I did not know this:

    The Phillies have NEVER had the best record in baseball. (from Buster Olney’s blog)

  5. Not a pleasant subject, but what do we do if JJ is down for a long time or even the season? Stretch out Medlen? Sign Smoltz for the Bobby Cox Magical Mystery Tour? Are there better options?

  6. 7, pray for Hudson, Hanson and three Hail Mary’s (Three Run Bomb) during the other three starts :(

  7. The scary thought for me is what if JJ and one other guy goes down? I assume we’d make a move but Jo-Jo or Redmond?

  8. Rob, I am all for using Medlen as a starter. After early struggles he looked really fine the last few months of the season. I think he has the stuff to be a SP.

  9. Medlin doesnt scare me, he showed he has the make up and the stuff, and if he starts to stretch out now, he should be fine. I’m really not in the mood for JoJo Part Deux or whatever were on, dont know enough about Redmond. Hell, sign Smoltzie if he wants to go down nostalgia lane one last time, but no more JoJo Reyes, PLEASE

  10. One last thought, Kiki Calero is still available (sick numbers last year) that would make Medlin to the rotation alot easier to swallow, and take some pressure of Saito….

  11. Thomas Boswell wrote about the curveball of Scott McGregor on Weaver’s later great Oriole teams, saying that was so good that he eventually stopped throwing it.
    The threat of it did more to batters’ heads than the actual pitch.

    I think Tommy Hanson has that kind of curveball.

  12. Yep, Opponents hit .180 against Calero and he posted an ERA of 1.95 while giving up just one HR in sixty innings of work.

    Not to mention Chan Ho Park who posted an ERA of 2.52 out of the Phillies bullpen.

    I guess these middle inning guys really are a dime a dozen?

  13. Jurgens is getting an MRI on his right shoulder. That is not good. I wonder what a Smoltzie insurance policy would cost?

  14. I still worry about Hanson’s upright delivery. Too much arm, not enough legs.

    Again I ask: what was the rush in dealing Vasquez? It’s not like it was too good a deal to pass up. Yes, I obsess, but damn.

  15. Agree with Hank. I get the money issue etc but why the rush in dealing him? it’s not like there wouldn’t be any takers at this point in the preseason. Might have even brought in something better than Cabrera. I just don’t get the rush.

  16. We weren’t likely to get anything like as good as Arodys Vizcaino, though. Melkys (Melkies?) are fungible — flamethrowing prospects with that much potential are harder to find. The odds that he ever lives up to it are well below 50%, but it’s doubtful that Wren could have gotten anything remotely like him if he waited this late in the offseason. The Yankees are possibly the only team in baseball both willing and able to take on $10 million in salary AND flip one of their top prospects to boot.

  17. So…. for Vasquez we got our 1st round pick a year early (Arodys), and the salary relief we needed for this year (Melky)… would have been NICE to have the year of JV, but as they have to look at long term viability for the club it makes sense in that context.

  18. #17 – You obsess. Without the JV to Yankees deal, we can’t sign Glaus. Its not ALL about what we got from the Yankees, its about the effect it had on the payroll even more. Alex’s contention that the Yankees were the perfect trading partner at the optimum time is also right on.

  19. I don’t understand the JJ situation at all. Did he hurt his shoulder in the offseason or what? He didn’t seem to have any problems down the stretch last year. Here’s hoping it’s really only soreness, but given our luck I say he’ll be out for the season.

  20. It seems obvious that NL East is Phils/Braves this year, but how the next three teams fall is interesting to me:

    A) I have no feel for how the Marlins should do. They haven’t lost or gained anybody big have they? And they still don’t look impressive on paper, but they’ve been better than they looked on paper the last couple seasons.

    B) The Mets have added Bay and have Jose Reyes back, but lose Beltran for a bit… The big thing is that they still have pretty big holes in the rotation unless Pelfrey/Maine/Perez step up in a big way.

    C) The Nats could have a respectable rotation with Marquis/Wang/Lannan/Strasburg (though Wang is a big question mark obviously), and Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham will give them at least SOME offense… It’s not necessarily a gimme that they’ll cellar dwell all year is it?

  21. @26
    I agree with most of what you say, but I’ll go out on a limb and say the Mets finish last. The rotation is a mess, Beltran (like many other good/great CFs) could be done at relatively early age, Wright’s power outage could be real, and Bay could be a huge bust.

    There’s a lot of could’s in that statement, but it sure is fun to speculate. Except for the Beltran part, of course. I actually like him; it’s a shame he plays for the Mets.

    1. Phillies (best in NL)
    2. Braves (hope for the WC)
    3. Marlins (always frisky)
    4. Nats
    5. Mess

  22. drew — thank you, that is so, so cool.

    With regards to Bay, as far as I’m concerned, the knee’s a big reason; so’s that terrible year he had in 2007, before the Sox picked him up. But, mainly, it’s the fact that he’d have to hit .320 with 40 homers to have a demonstrable effect on that cellar-bound ballclub, and he’s just going to hit .280 and 30.

    And then he’s going to get injured, because that’s what the Mets do.

  23. #28-29….isnt it two bad knees? plus Im pretty sure they were bidding against themselves. They had two many problems esp in the pitching dept to offer that kind of a deal to a bad defender with bad knees

  24. Bay has been pretty damn good since ’07, and he finished strong last year. I don’t see him being the reason the Mets won’t do well.

  25. He’s one hell of a hitter, but a poor defender, and he’s just not good enough to make the difference all by himself. He won’t be the reason they don’t do well — they just won’t do well regardless. (Like Ralph Kiner on the Pirates.) As 4 year, $60 million contracts go, though, I don’t think he’ll be a whole lot more valuable for them than Derek Lowe is for us.

    By the way, the guy who wrote that piece that Drew posted is Tom Shieber, the curator of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s clearly a gifted historian and a wonderful storyteller.

  26. @27

    I think you’re generally par with your division rankings. However, I see the Phillies winning the division, fairly easily at that, and the remaining 4 teams will beat up on each other. I see the Braves finishing 2nd, the Mets and Marlins battling for 3rd and the Nats finishing last, though they’ll be improved. It’s possible the division may take its toll on Atlanta’s (or any other team’s) chances of a wild card coming from the east. The east and west are just so competitive form top to bottom, the wild card may sneak in from the central. Long way to go though.

    Get well Jair…we need you!

  27. I don’t think Jo-Jo would be the worst thing in the world to have around. He has been improving.

    YR K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 WHIP
    07 4.8 5.3 0.9 1.6 1.68
    08 6.2 5.1 1.5 1.4 1.65
    09 7.0 4.3 1.6 1.3 1.48

    Last year, in his first 4 outings he would do good for about 4-5 IP then shit the bed. Maybe he is just miscast as a starter.

  28. Whether or not Bay makes a huge difference on a team already awash with problems wasn’t my point. It was more about whether or not Bay’ll be a “huge bust.” I don’t see it.

    Signing him was a good move for the Mets. They had to make a splash to maintain some confidence with their already irritated fanbase—they have to try to fill a stadium that’s in the same town as the World Champs.

    And let’s face it: Their OF is/was lacking, especially now with Beltran out. They needed a bopper and they weren’t going to leave the 2010 job for Nick Evans or Angel Pagan. (And if you think Bay is bad with the glove in LF, let me re-introduce you to Daniel Murphy.)

    I hate crappy defensive OFs as much as the next guy, but I can deal with ’em fine if they OPS 900 for me.

  29. Im not saying that Bay will be a bust, however, I do believe their rotation needed more addressing than their offense. Hoping that Perez, Maine, and Pelfrey ALL perform well behind Johan is too much to ask IMO. Their team needs a lot of upgrades and I dont think that was money well spent. I also believe they overspent

  30. Fair enough. But they really need about three starting pitchers, a farm system, and an organizational strategy, and an ironclad agreement from the Wilpons not to meddle, and very likely a new GM. Bay helps the offense. But if Wright, Reyes and Beltran aren’t healthy and productive, that doesn’t matter much.

    Whoops, yeah. What he said.

    Obviously, you know all of this already. It’s just been a weird offseason for them. Like, seriously, why in heaven’s name didn’t they get Lackey?

  31. I think the Mets should try and trade for a pitcher like Harang, but Im glad they didnt. He seems like he could be dominate outside of that park. Hell if JJ is shut down, we should explore that option and make them throw in Votto also

  32. Bingo. Not upgrading their rotation is what’s really gonna hurt the Mets this year.

    Lackey was priority #1 with the Mets fanbase. Too bad (for them) that it never seemed to be one for the FO.

    I’ve posted this radio interview with Ken Rosenthal before, but its pretty fair explanation of the Mets’ FO dysfunction. Among other things, it explores why the Mets haven’t been able to upgrade the rotation, not only with Lackey, but with the Joel Pineiros & Jason Marquis of the world:

  33. Just returning from a Dave Matthews Band concert here in Hamburg. easily the best I have been to. It’s always cool when you feel the guys having fun playing with each other…maybe because it was their first concert this year. If anybody has a chance to catch them this summer, I can only recommend it.

  34. Well, there’s a little more “some say” and “I’ve been told” than I like from Robo, but yeah I could see that version of events being true. As in everything though, it’s become so fashionable to rag on the Mets, I suspect we’ve gone a little past the actual truth (Robo rips them for not aggressively signing FA’a and then complains about Perez’ contract).

  35. 40 — You may have a point. His best chance might be as a LOOGY. (Though I didn’t check his numbers against LHBs from last year.)

  36. Re: Jo-Jo… I wish I could remember the manager who said of a pitcher, “What’s wrong with him definitely isn’t physical, so we know what’s left.”

  37. The real stupidity of the Mets off season involves not replacing Murphy, Francoeur, or Santos with competent players. Twice the good they did by replacing Pagan with Bay could have been done just by sticking a league average player at 1B and RF and it would’ve cost a lot less. I don’t see how you look at the starting line-up:

    David Wright – 3B
    Jose Reyes – SS
    Carlos Beltran – CF
    Angel Pagan – LF
    Jeff Francoeur – RF
    Luis Castillo – 2B
    Daniel Murphy – 1B
    Omir Santos – C

    And say, “Well, left field is the place I want to spend big money on and the rest of the starters are good to go”.

    It’s stupid. When you’ve got three super-stars, two halfway decent players, one replacement level player, and two players significantly worse than replacement level, replacing one of the halfway decent players with a 3-win outfielder is the dumbest way possible to upgrade the team. Left field would’ve been the fourth place I looked to upgrade in the line up alone.

    Not to mention they didn’t touch the rotation, which will look like this:

    Johan Santana
    John Maine
    Mike Pelfrey
    Oliver Perez
    One of the AAA guys

    What can you do when Jeff Wilpon is your general manager, though?

  38. 41,
    Their outfield was lacking because their right fielder is completely useless and has reached base thirty one per cent of the time during his career. But they kept him and they’ll pay him $5 million. Instead, they decided to ditch one of the few players on their team that isn’t either horrible or extremely good in favor of a guy that’s neither horrible nor extremely good.

  39. Francouer & Pagan had nice (and very similar) seasons for the Mets last year, but I wouldn’t want either one starting for my team.

  40. I hate to be Debbie Downer today, but:

    1) Can someone give me a good reason to feel optimistic about Jair?

    2) Can someone give me a good reason not to fear the Marlins?

  41. And that’s all they were. They outperformed their pythag by 4 wins, and got hot over the last 3 series of the season.

  42. They also got some umpiring help, as I recall. But whatever. It’s been 13 years. I’ll manage to let go one of these days.

  43. 1. shoulder soreness can be somewhat common after a layoff of 3-4 months

    2. Fredi Gonzalez is mentally preparing to be ATL’s 2011 HC (maybe?)

  44. 1. Jurrjens hurt his arm throwing underhanded. As long as he doesn’t throw underhanded anymore, he’ll be fine.

    2. Cody Ross earned $4.5 million in arbitration. The Marlins are bound to trade him soon so they can get some salary relief.

  45. They were only 250k apart (weird that they couldn’t get that settled) and Florida just got their wrist slapped in public over salary dumping, so they’ll probably keep him for a while.

  46. Getting back to Hanson: Just read on Yahoo! that Hanson had the 10th highest first strike percentage among pitchers who threw 120 innings or more last year.
    Color me even more impressed.

  47. I would rather have JJ getting the MRI now than in July…..its easier to fear the Phillies….

  48. ububba,
    you certainly know the venues here in Hmaburg.
    Unfortunately neither of those as they are not as well known over here. The concert was in the “cch”/congresscentrum in the center which is quite an odd theater-style location which fortunately didn’t h.urt the show

  49. Timo,
    Usually better to see a band in a theatre anyway and, now that I think about it, probably woulda been a little cold for the football stadium.

  50. MRI CLEAN on Jurrjens.


  51. I thought Soriano’s was elbow problems, not shoulder.

    And, I almost asked a married chick out today. FML.

  52. Since the joy has already been sucked out of this room, I might as well direct your attention to the official site, where JJ is quoted saying that he first felt the pain a few weeks ago in Curacao doing a few basic baseball-related things and it just wouldn’t go away. WHY did he not report it then? And WHY does it not go away if there is no structual damage?

    JJ pitching in ’10 – I’ll believe it when I see it.

  53. From AJC:
    “We expected the tests to be normal and we were not concerned,” Wren said. “We always try to err on the side if caution when treating our players, and use these types of tests to pinpoint the diagnosis to give them the specific treatment necessary.”

    If it was the Mets:
    “We didn’t think he was going to need any tests, the bleeding was minimal so we weren’t concerned.” Omar Said. “We believe in the healing power of time and always stick to the tried and true treatment method of ‘walk it off’. Miracle cure that ‘walk it off’, wish Beltran had listened to us on that instead of having surgery.”

  54. I’m headed down to Orlando in March. I hope to spend one of those days (probably the 12th) at the Braves spring training complex. Anyone have any tips on making the most of the experience?

  55. @82 – The few times I have been to see the Braves at Orlando it has been an easy experience. Easy to get into/out of the parking lots, great stadium, great vendors. Give yourself plenty of time to get there because Orlando traffic in that area can be hellish.

    I looked at the schedule and I see that they are playing the Yankees in Tampa the night before. Since the March 12th game in Orlando is a day game, you may not see all of the Braves’ “stars” due to the quick turnaround. I wouldn’t be too worried about that though. Enjoy!

    I love going to Spring Training. Went to Arizona last year and greatly prefer Florida between the two.

  56. @84, what do you prefer about Florida’s spring training (aside from the Braves’ presence, I assume)?

    I would like to make a trip to spring training some year and want some insight into the pros/cons of each location, Florida or Arizona.

    I know that Keith Law has said he prefers Arizona due to the proximity of the sites and lack of rainouts, but that’s all I’ve got so far.

    Thanks in advance.

  57. Married chicks have husbands. Some of them aren’t unfamiliar with weaponry. Fantasies can get shattered in a hurry.

    I’m headed to Georgia late tomorrow night. Dunno if it’s possible, but we oughta grab a brew or a bite at some point.

  58. Love to. I live in East Atlanta, so there are plenty of options. Big Sandy is playing Friday at the Star. I have no plans for Thursday, ‘cept I can’t go out until after I put the rugrat to bed at 8.

    Do you need a lift from the airport?

  59. Stephen –

    I am headed back to Dubai the first week of March, FYI. Let me know if you are going to be up that way.

  60. Nobody ever says, “Hey, Stu, I’m coming to Nashville next week and would love to get together.”

  61. @85 – The main thing I did not like about Arizona, the Phoenix area in particular, was the traffic. I guess I did not realize beforehand how big Phoenix is and it felt like you couldn’t go anywhere without getting into a traffic jam. It may be different in Tucson where some other teams play.

    I will say that there were plenty of good things about Arizona (gotta visit Arizona State University nightlife area), but the thing I enjoy about Florida is driving the back roads to some of those towns that are not Tampa and Orlando and relaxing in general. Maybe I’m more used to Florida having lived in the south my whole life (hospitality, slower pace, etc…). One similarity b/w the two – old people and yankees everywhere.

    If you like Spring Training, you should definitely do Arizona at least once to see the Cubs (a huge deal out there), Dodgers, Giants, etc…but I prefer Florida.

  62. Florida has that whole ocean thing going for it. Hard for me to get past that aspect, and all it’s associated benefits (swimming, seafood, bathing suits, etc.).

  63. Stu,
    If I’m ever back in Nashville, I’ll look you up & we’ll get some Jack’s BBQ.

    Re: PHX
    About three years ago I was in Phoenix, went to a hockey game one night (at an arena next to the football stadium, about a half-hour outside of town), left the place around 10 pm & got caught in a traffic jam that was as bad as the Long Island Expressway on the day before Thanksgiving.

    I kept saying, “But this is Phoenix…”

    Thanks, but I’m renting a car.

    Staying in ATL Thursday night & headed over to Athens for the Vic Chesnutt thing at the 40 Watt Friday/Saturday nights. Back to ATL Sunday, leaving stupid-early Monday morning.

    I’m staying with a friend who lives near Grant Park, so connecting in L5P or E.ATL is a possibility.

  64. if anyone is familiar with santa rosa beach (it is the home of seaside, watercolor, grayton beach, and blue mountain beach), that is where i call home now. if you plan on taking a vacation this way, look me up.

  65. 94—I’ll meet you anywhere, ububba, but there are probably half a dozen BBQ joints around town that put Jack’s to shame.

  66. @97 You Speak the Truth Ububba

    I have been trying to find a decent BBQ sandwich in NYC since I moved here,… I have eaten a lot of terrible sandwiches that had more in common with a elementary school cafeteria sloppy joe than with a BBQ sandwich

  67. Spike,
    Coordinating with my pal. Will hit you back.

    BTW, my email’s jimtremayne at msn dot com.

    NYC & BBQ don’t really go together, no.

  68. Sdp,

    Sdp: So you wanna go out?
    Married Chick: I’m sorry, but I’m married.
    Sdp: I woke up at 6:45 this morning.
    Married Chick: What?
    Sdp: Oh sorry, I thought we were talking about things that didn’t matter.

    That’s how it should play out.

  69. @91,92, thanks Michael & Spike

    Good to know. Can’t go wrong either way, I suppose. Beats workin’.

  70. sdp,

    If you’re in Atlanta, there’s no reason to risk hubby’s revenge. The single ones abound – I think it’s like 7-1 in our favor.

    A friend of mine got divorced a few years ago. He was in his mid-forties and very insecure about dating. He was knee-deep before he knew it (and all of them single).

  71. I live just east of Orlando, if you have the time check out Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center and Canaveral National SeaShore, and if your single, check out Lido’s in Cape Canaveral……

  72. FlaBravesFan,

    Dude, I love Lido’s in Cape Canaveral. I am in Cocoa Beach several times a year. You don’t know the Oanh chick by any chance (“dancing” at Lido’s)?

  73. Timo –

    I used to bounce there, the name doesnt ring a bell, but they change names like they do pasties. I lived in Cocoa Beach for 20 years, had to move after the ’04 hurricane season. My property insurance went from $700 a year to $7000 a year. The ocean is nice, but not THAT nice. I live in Port St John now, about 15 minutes inland.

  74. ububba, let us know how the vic chestnutt thing goes.i would dearly love to see it, but it just didn’t happen. (flirted with you all my life has been burning my house down for awhile)

    there is no such thing as bbq in new york. that city does food like no other, but ny does not speak bbq or cheap mexican.

  75. redclay,
    Sure thing. Despite the circumstances, I’m really looking forward to it.

    Yeah, that tune’s pretty tough, especially now, but IMO it’s up there with the best things he ever wrote.

    Been listening to a lotta Vic lately & I came across a long-forgotten Braves reference: In a really breezy song called “Onion Soup” (circa ’94), he describes “crumbled fingernails never doing Tomahawk Chops.”

    You can take the boy out of Pike County, but…

  76. i could understand it if he sucked as he got older, but he just kept getting better.

    he used to play pretty much anywhere.
    imagine a hundred barely functioning drunks packed into a divebar closet,
    singing along.

  77. You want to know something crazy? There are two players in baseball history with more than 300 homers and fewer than 500 strikeouts. Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio. Berra never struck out more than 38 times in a season; DiMaggio never struck out more than 37.

    And they were teammates. That boggles my mind. How do you pitch to that team? I guess it isn’t a complete coincidence that they won 5 World Series in a row.

  78. FlaBravesFan,

    We have a condo at Shorewood, which is the very northern tip of North Atlantic Ave, close to the port and the RonJon resort.

    You’re right and I cannot recall her stage name anyways. Certainly the hottest of them all, Asian…maybe that rings a bell ;-)

  79. Very nice resort, the water slide is cool, I recommend it. And Onah is a hottie. Do you golf or fish? I cant give you some really good secret spots, or anything really. I lived here all my life except for a few years in Athens.

  80. #116–Thats a pretty neat stat to dig up–and, yes, it is more than a coincidence….

  81. HYPE!!!

    Anonymous (CO)

    Who in the minors right now do you believe is most likely to be the Next Albert Pujols like super-star?

    John Manuel (2:25 PM)

    Heyward. I saw where Chipper Jones compared him to Fred McGriff, and the high follow-through on his swing is quite reminiscent of the Crime Dog, but Heyward’s closer to a Dave Parker type with his athletic ability. Health is the only thing that has held Heyward back, so he’s my pick for having that kind of a career.

  82. No pressure kid, but we’ve got a stadium full of people to feed and just a couple loaves and fishes. Could you help us out Jason?

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