Tommy Hanson 2010 Outlook

January 18, 2010

Hanson has arrived (Suss-Man/Flickr).

The history of stellar young pitchers developed through the Atlanta Braves organization is well documented. The Braves’ newest anointed future ace has already started his career off very strongly and looks to build on this success during his sophomore season.

With Tommy Hanson the Braves are hoping this tall, lanky right hander turns out to be that future ace. Hanson has a plus-fastball with good movement in the mid-90’s, a solid change, and a “knee-buckling” curve that is one of the best in the game today to top things off. He has a very commanding presence on the mound which when coupled with the ability to throw all his pitches for strikes makes him very difficult to hit.

After finally getting the call last June, Hanson went on to dominate in his starts which helped give the Braves a late season surge towards the National League wild card. While the Braves fell short of the playoffs, they got a glimpse into what kind of an arm this young kid has and how well he fits into their future plans.

So what can we expect from Hanson heading into his first full season in the big leagues? Here’s a look at how Bill James, CHONE and I, the Diamond Cutter, project his numbers to look:

2010 PROJECTIONS
LIST W-L ERA IP SO WHIP
Bill James 14-7 3.30 191 206 1.15
CHONE 9-8 3.91 152 158 1.30
Diamond Cutter 16-8 3.15 198 210 1.14

As you can see, I believe Hanson will have a very successful sophomore campaign for the Braves. CHONE doesn’t see Hanson pitch quite as much this year whether that means they see him skipped in the rotation or shut down early. For me I don’t think Atlanta will even have the option to shut him down as he will emerge as their best pitcher and I believe they will be in the wild card hunt through September. He will be that big of an impact in Atlanta.

The biggest deciding factor on Hanson’s success will be how he makes adjustments now that the league has seen him and will have even more exposure as the season goes on. This is such a telling time for a young pitcher as they learn how to adjust to the big leagues.

Luckily for the Braves Hanson is a very smart pitcher.


Top Prospect #24: Tommy Hanson

December 25, 2008

24
NAME: Tommy Hanson
POSITION: Pitcher
AGE: 22 | BATS: R | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: Atlanta Braves

2008 STATISTICS
LVL G IP W-L ERA SO GO/AO
MiLB 25 138 11-5 2.41 163 0.71

Scouting Report: The Braves are hoping this tall, lanky right hander turns out to be their future ace. Hanson has a plus-fastball with good movement in the mid-90’s, a solid change, and a “knee-buckling” curve that is one of the best in the game today to top things off. He has a very commanding presence on the mound which when coupled with the ability to throw all his pitches for strikes makes him very difficult to hit. I have seen some places that he may be given a chance to close first but I don’t see this happening considering he is looked at as a ace in the making and the Braves value starting pitching too much to do that.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | thefranch15e

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2009 Top 5 Prospects: Atlanta Braves

December 7, 2008
Outfielder Jordan Schafer

Outfielder Jordan Schafer drops two spots from my 2008 rankings (wallg/flickr).

After the run of championships came to an end a few seasons ago for the Atlanta Braves, one of the main reasons was due to a once rich farm system full of prospects suddenly drying up. A well run franchise like this can’t be held down for too long and this is showing true as the Braves day of rebirth is very near. Normally overloaded with pitching, we have seen a definite change as the Braves system is now full of offensive weapons for the first time in years. While the Braves are attempting to fix the lack of pitching on their roster through trades this off season they know full well the fantastic group of position players waiting in the wings. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five prospects in the Atlanta Braves system:

1.) Jason Heyward
Position: Outfield | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #1
Bats: Left | Throws: Left | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 220
Scouting Report: Talented young outfielder has harnessed very strong plate discipline with huge power potential thanks to a strong and athletic build. With potential plus power (despite lower than expected power numbers in 2008), looks to be a 30+ home run hitter for Atlanta. Has the tools to be a star in the Majors and will shoot through the Atlanta system fairly quickly. My analysis last year was that he could possibly slide over to first base with Jeff Francoeur currently in right but with Francoeur’s struggles last season I don’t see that being on their minds any longer. This is especially the case since Heyward is a good outfielder with an above-average arm and decent speed. Everything you ever hear about him is what a good attitude he has which is great to hear about a talent like him.

2.) Frederick Freeman
Position: First Base | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Left | Throws: Right | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 220
Scouting Report: Nobody was sure what to expect from Freddie Freeman in his first full season of pro ball in 2008 considering he was only 18 years old. But after a good first half of the season he exploded in the second half posting a line of .349/.418/.562. This got scouts (including myself) to sit up and take extra notice as most kids his age experience growing pains in their first year. Freeman’s maturity and discipline help with his outstanding pitch recognition and selection at the plate. Because of this he should be able to hit for a high average in large part due to his ability to drive the ball. He will be able to hold his own in the middle of the Braves lineup someday as a run producer. Also is a good defensive first baseman which makes him all the more valuable. With how good he has proven to be at such a young age he has set quite a high ceiling for himself which is exciting if you are a Braves fan.

3.) Tommy Hanson
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #5
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 210
Scouting Report: The Braves are hoping this tall, lanky right hander turns out to be their future ace. Hanson has a plus-fastball with good movement in the mid-90’s, a solid change, and a “knee-buckling” curve that is one of the best in the game today to top things off. He has a very commanding presence on the mound which when coupled with the ability to throw all his pitches for strikes makes him very difficult to hit. I have seen some places that he may be given a chance to close first but I don’t see this happening considering he is looked at as a ace in the making and the Braves value starting pitching too much to do that.

4.) Jordan Schafer
Position: Outfield | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: #2
Bats: Left | Throws: Left | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 190
Scouting Report: Schafer is yet another solid young outfield prospect in the Braves system. He possess the ability to hit for both average and power and the ball seems to just jump off his bat. While he does have a few mechanical issues in his swing (pulls the ball too much and slower bat speed based on his approach) it isn’t anything that can’t be tinkered with as he moves through the ranks. Has an above average arm and a pretty good outfielder. Looks to be a very serious threat offensively for the Braves in their future lineup. The problem lies in the dark shadow Schafer has cast on himself after serving a 50 game suspension for using HGH last April. Many people, like myself, were very high on this kid but once the label of “cheater” is permanently stained on you it takes a lot to make things right again even after owning up to your mistakes. He still has a bright future ahead of him either with the Braves or used as trade bait as has been rumored lately.

5.) Gorkys Hernandez
Position: Outfield | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 175
Scouting Report: Many may wonder why I have Hernandez cracking the top five after a disappointing 2008 campaign. I personally still see the kid who dominated the GCL in his first pro season with his sharp bat, blazing speed and stellar glove in center. While his bat slowed a little last season his base stealing ability is still there as is his glove. With these two skills as his meal ticket for the future I still see him turning it around offensively (hopefully with a little more power) to warrant a spot in the Braves outfield between Schafer and Heyward.

2008 Rankings: (1) Jason Heyward, (2) Jordan Schafer, (3) Brandon Jones, (4) Jair Jurrjens, (5) Tommy Hanson

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | thefranch15e

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2008 Top 5 Prospects: Atlanta Braves

January 21, 2008

As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we start off with the Atlanta Braves who are overloaded with talented young outfielders. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.

1.) Jason Heyward, OF: Talented young outfielder has harnessed very strong plate discipline with huge power potential. Looks to be a potential 30-35 home run hitter. Has the tools to be a star in the Majors and will shoot through the Atlanta system fairly quickly. While he is a plus right fielder he may slide over to first base with Jeff Francoeur holding down right field for the foreseeable future.

2.) Jordan Schafer, OF: Schafer is yet another solid young outfield prospect in the Braves system. He possess the ability to hit for both average and power and the ball seems to just jump off his bat. While he does have a few mechanical issues in his swing (pulls the ball too much and slower bat speed based on his approach) it isn’t anything that can’t be tinkered with as he moves through the ranks. Has an above average arm and a pretty good outfielder. Looks to be a very serious threat offensively for the Braves in their future lineup.

3.) Brandon Jones, OF: While Jones’ bat may not be as fierce as Heyward or Schafer, he definitely has the edge on defense. Great glove out in center and can handle himself very well at the plate with his scrappy approach. Looks to get more seasoning in the minors this year but he will be the starting center fielder for the Braves for a long time to come.

4.) Jair Jurrjens, RHP: Picked up in a trade with Detroit, this athletic youngster has two plus fastballs and a strong change up that he has excellent command of. Has an incredible make up and looks to prove he’s ready to join this Braves rotation this spring.

5.) Tommy Hanson, RHP: The Braves are hoping this kid turns out to be their future ace. Has a plus-fastball with good movement in the mid-90’s, a solid change, and and “knee-buckling” curve to top things off. Some say he may even get a shot a closing first.

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