Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hanson the next "Ace".

After striking out a career high 11 batters in 7 innings of work, Tommy Hanson's fastball is officially un-hittable. OK so I'm drooling a little bit. Seriously though, it was fun just to watch him challenge the Giants' hitters with his fast ball all night long. Then after settling down and throwing strikes, his slider got down right nasty. This got me thinking, Is Tommy the next Atlanta Braves Ace?
First of all, it's an understatement to say that Hanson came out of no where. The Braves drafted him in the 22nd round of the 2005 amateur players draft as a draft and follow player. This allowed them to hang on to his rights up until a week before the following draft at which time he could enter the draft again or sign a contract with the Braves, but no other team could try and sign him or "tamper" with him. The rest is history as Hanson dominated the minor leagues in the 3.5 seasons that followed, compiling 463 K's in 389 innings. For those of you that are "mathematically impaired" that's more than a strike-out per inning. Those are definitely numbers more fitting of a 1st round Draft choice and not a 22nd round choice. Somebody deserves a big pat on the back for finding this diamond in the rough, but somebody else deserves a swift kick in the butt for not finding him sooner.
So I think that yes Hanson is going to be an ace, but he's not the next one as Jurrjens may have already beaten him to that post. Tommy came up to the major's this year touted as the organization's #1 pitching prospect and he has not disappointed. He actually reminds me a lot of a young John Smoltz who took the Braves from worst to first in the 1991 season. Expect Hanson to co-anchor a young pitching staff that includes Jair Jurrjens and Kris Medlen, sometime in the near future. Braves fans have a lot to look forward to with this young core of excellent pitchers. Hanson will defiantly be an ace in the coming years, if he isn't already, but don't expect him to be the only one as it is more likely that this staff will be reminiscent of the Glavine-Maddux-Smoltz days. OK now I am really drooling.

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