Monday, June 8, 2009

What to make of Hanson's debut

Baseball prediction are as worthless as a Canadian nickel at a soda machine.

Über-prospect Tommy Hanson of Atlanta made his major league debut on Sunday and all week Yahoo! was asking folks to predict the outcome. You know, rub your crystal baseball.

But very few thought it would go like this: 6 IP, 6 hits, 7 runs, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks.

So, what happened??? Isn't this the same guy who posted a 1.49 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 66 1/3 innings in AAA?

In a phrase...welcome to the big leagues, Tommy.

No, the difference isn't usually that stark, but it really shows you how master pitching in the majors takes more than just great stuff.

Hanson was hitting upper 90's in spring training, with a filthy slider. He fanned 90 batters in 11 starts with Gwinnet, but he wasn't facing the Charlotte Knights or the Norfolk Tides.

"Just chalk it up to, today happened, get it behind me, get ready for the next one," Hanson said. "If I keep my command I think it turns out a lot better."

If you're like most fantasy players, you were itching to grab Hanson like a poison ivy patient at a crowded Urgent Care. For some Yahoo! leagues, he's not even on the site yet (that should be happening around 3 a.m. Monday).

I'm still putting all my chips down on this rookie.

You certainly have to temper your expectations down to roughly a Freschetta Pizza plateau. Almost all rookies have rough patches in their rookie campaign, but Hanson's the rest of the way should be better than most.

And on Sunday, he simply mowed through the first 13 batters, striking out the side in the second with a 96-mph heater. Then the wheels fell off, starting with a pair of home runs to Ryan Braun and a Mike Cameron 2-run shot. The first home run pitch was so meaty, it almost was dripping with some marinara. But Hanson will quickly learn where not to throw pitches to one of baseball's Top 5 hitters.

Figure around this sort of production the rest of the way, as you contemplate whether or not to dip your toe into the Hanson waters: 3.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 115 Ks, 9 wins.

Glavine update: The Tom Glavine era may be over in Atlanta, but the drama may not be. A report by says Glavine's agent is looking into filing a grievance over Glavine's $1 million roster bonus. The Braves swear money wasn't an issue, and since it's not a black and white issue, this grievance may not go very far. But stay tuned.


MichaelProcton said...

Glavine will have a HARD time to make that grievance charge stick. Given that the Braves baseball team (scouts, executives, player personnel guys, etc.) unanimously decided to go with the young guys over him, it'll be REAL hard to prove money was the only factor behind the decision.