Since that first start, Tommy's done a great job of keeping runs off the board. But he's gone from lucky to dominant. In his first 11 starts, he only once struck out more than five: July 20, when he struck out 11 men in 7 innings, his season high. In five of his last seven starts, he's struck out at least seven men. Keeping in mind all proper warnings about small sample size, in the last month and a half his components have warped into ludicrous speed:
|Jun 7-Aug 5
|Aug 11-Sept 15
I'm sure that no one here needs to be convinced of the merits of a rookie starter who's capable of striking out more than a batter an inning. So let's just enjoy the moment. In Hanson and Jair Jurrjens -- who's just seven months older than Tommy -- we have arguably the best two 23-year olds in baseball.
Frank Wren did an excellent job of moving Tommy through the minors, keeping him challenged without needlessly rushing him, and one of the key marks of a good organization is one that can produce a certain number of high-value baseball players from high-ceiling prospects. He's going to have a few more questions soon. Jason Heyward is already in AAA, while his former teammate Freddie Freeman has had a few issues with AA. Hanson's former teammate Cole Rohrbough is still stuck in High-A with a tremendous arm and tremendous problems keeping runs off the board. Hanson is the rare case where things turned out right.
He's still a young pitcher and therefore an injury risk, so Wren won't be in any hurry to sign him to a long-term deal. I'd love to see if we could offer something Longoria-esque (or at least McCann-esque) to his agent, but that may not be possible. We'll see.