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tommy-hanson-making-a-name-for-himself | May | 2007 Articles

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Tommy Hanson Making a Name for Himself

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Coming into this season, Matt Harrison was the unquestioned number one pitching prospect in the Braves organization. The 6'4" southpaw was drawing rave reviews as the closest thing to Tom Glavine to come out of the Braves organization with impeccable command, a fastball that hovers around 90, and a great change. Now, Tommy Hanson may be giving him a run for his money as the top pitcher in the Braves farm system, while charging up prospect lists. Hanson, an imposing 6'6" righty, was a draft-and-follow selected in the 22nd round pick (Braves have had good luck with 22nd round right-handers) and the 677th overall selection in 2005 out of Riverside CC in California, where he finished as the school's all-time strikeout leader. In his first season last year, Hanson went 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 56/9 K/BB in 51.2 IP for Danville but still flew under the radar because of where he was drafted and the fact that he was playing the Appalachian League. Now Hanson has moved up to Rome and is second in the minors in strikeouts, one behind Tim Lincecum, the number one pitching prospect in baseball. So far Hanson is 0-2 with a 2.40 ERA, 45 Ks, 9 BBs, and only 19 hits allowed through his first 30 innings, good for a .178 BAA. These numbers would get anyone some notice, but for a guy that is only 20 and will probably put 15-20 more pounds on his 6'6" frame it is making Braves prospect guys giddy. Harrison has already moved up from the 88-90 mph range when he was drafted in 2005, to working his fastball in the 92-93 mph range consistently, so guessing he will end up working consistently in the mid-90's as he fills out more isn't a stretch at all. Harrison throws two types of fastballs, both of which have movement and one has some cutting action, along with a good change he throws down in the zone and a developing breaking ball. I had Hanson ranked at number 16 in the Braves farm system coming into the season, but with the added velocity and success he has found so far I would put him somewhere in the 3-5 range right around Matt Harrison, Brent Lillibridge, and Elvis Andrus. If this kid keeps along this path, he has a chance to become a top-notch front line starter.

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