Key Stats: The Atlanta Braves have a history of churning out quality pitchers and Hanson is no exception. He doesn’t have the win total you would expect from an ace pitcher, but at 25, and not yet having pitched 3 full seasons in the majors, you have to be blown away at the other numbers Hanson has put up. His career 3.28 ERA is backed up by a career 3.46 FIP. His K/9 each season (8.18, 7.68, 9.83) has never been bouyed by an obscenely high BABIP. Even his walk 2011 walk rate, which was almost 2% higher than his 2010 number, wasn’t outside the norms of his major and minor league careers. There is just one thing…
Skeptics Say: The dude went on the disabled list August 7th and missed the rest of the season with a partially torn rotator cuff and missed the remainder of the year. The shoulder was also bothering him in June and caused him to miss some time then. The efforts to pitch through it were disastrous, with him giving up 24 runs in his last 27 innings pitched before hitting the DL.
Peer Comparison: Like the recently profiled Josh Johnson, Hanson is elite when he is healthy, but he has to prove to us he is healthy. Both of these guys are going to be coming back from shoulder problems that they never went under the knife for. Like Josh, Tommy has only pitched 200 innings in his career once. This could be another cause for concern, as they are pitchers that their respective teams need. They aren’t going to get pulled from starts to protect them, so fatigue late in the season (if they make it that far) could impact their performances.
Team Outlook: The Braves plan on competing again in a suddenly much more crowded NL East. Derrek Lowe is gone from the rotation, replaced by either one of the two uber-pitching prospects the Braves have in either Mike Minor or Julio Teheran. Your projected 2012 Braves rotation should be Hudson, Hanson, Beachy, Jurrjens, then Minor or Teheran… that is a group that would make you think you could win day in and out.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline – #20 in the Top 100 Starting Pitchers; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com – #18 in the Top 75 Starting Pitchers & #73 in the Top 250 Players; RotoChamp – #69 in the Top 300 Players; Mock Draft Central ADP – #27 Starting Pitcher and #95 Overall
Projection: Once again it all comes down to health. If he can throw 180 innings we will all be jumping up and down and popping open champagne bottles. The ERA and Wins totals won’t blow you out of the water, but expecting a K per inning isn’t out of the question.
14 Wins 3.10 ERA, 180 K’s, 1.20 WHIP in 180 innings