David Price Versus Tom Hanson: Which Major Prospect Will Leave the Minors First?

Jon Z.Correspondent IMarch 28, 2009

KISSIMMEE, FL - MARCH 3:  Pitcher Tommy Hanson #73 of the Atlanta Braves throws during an exhibition game against Panama at Champion Stadium March 3, 2009 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

“Prospect -- the act of looking forward; something that is awaited or expected”

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary


I’ve seen various adjectives describing David Price and Tommy Hanson in draft guides and on websites: studs, future aces, etc.  Some have even made Tim Lincecum comparisons regarding their potential major league impact. 


As for the Lincecum comparison, at this time I must defer to the immortal words of Jason Lee in Mallrats—Not so fast, Pat Sajak.”  


As history has shown, for every franchise gem expected to dominate and who eventually does, there are plenty of players who don’t pan out the way we originally thought. Then again, there are players who seemingly come out of nowhere and dominate for years. 


What does that tell you?    


Well, if you have only one roster spot for a 6’6” pitcher currently in the minors, who’s the better pick as between Hanson or Price for impacting your 2009 fantasy team? 


Like so many other age old discussions amongst friends: bourbon v. vodka, the DH rule and which Godfather movie is better (don’t you dare include III in the discussion), here’s another.     




Hanson:                Righty, 23, #677 selection in 2005 draft (22ndround)

Price:                    Lefty, 24, #1 overall in 2007 (#568 in 2004 draft, 19thround)


2008 Stats


Price:                       A           (34.2 IP, 4-0, 1.82 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 37K, 7 BB)

                                AA         (57 IP, 7-0, 1.89 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 55K, 16 BB)

                                AAA       (18 IP, 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 17K, 9 BB)                          

                                MLB      (19.2, 1.83 ERA, .97 WHIP, 20K, 4 BB, incl. PS)     


Hanson:                  A             (40 IP, 3-1, .90 ERA, .65 WHIP, 49K, 11 BB

                               AA           (98 IP, 8-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 114K, 41 BB)


Position Blocks


Bobby Cox has admitted that Hanson is ready to pitch in the majors now, which is quite an accolade.  Thus, it would appear that the No. 5 spot currently occupied by Tom Glavine is likely what stands in the way of Hanson’s ascension.  Tom Glavine’s body of work for the organization and his recovery from surgery could very well have resulted in a “courtesy” slot from Cox as Glavine ends his career in Atlanta. If injury or poor pitching wreaks havoc on the rotation, it seems reasonable to see Hanson in the bigs sooner than August 1.  Jo Jo Reyes doesn't appear to have the upper hand just yet for that rotation spot, though he does have MLB experience.


Rays management has indicated that Price should be up this year.




 I found it odd that more than one fantasy website projected Price as a No. 4 or

No. 5 starter entering this season. In fact, I saw him as high as No. 23 overall on a 5x5 list prior to his demotion, and he’s No. 1 on most every prospect/rookie list out there. Hmmm. 


Price was sent to the minors in lieu of Andy Sonnanstine, Jason Hammel, and/or Jeff Niemann. Things look crowded in Tampa.  And don’t think that Wade Davis and on-the-mend Jake McGee are far behind. (Did I mention Jeremy Hellickson?)  


It probably didn’t help that Price publicly disputed the organization’s criticism that his changeup required further development.  Perhaps this is simply an example of the organization protecting its franchise. Or not.


Injury Concerns


Price has experienced elbow soreness in the past, which delayed his Class A Vero Beach debut last year.  And while that isn’t indicative of any future injury, it is worth mentioning given Price's status as most everyone’s No. 1 prospect.


So Who Gets There First


In my opinion, Hanson.  The road to the majors seems a little smoother for him in 2009, which could result in a quicker promotion and thus, a quicker impact to your fantasy team.  And folks, that is really what matters to you.


Price clearly has more experience with 20 MLB innings under his belt, but I figured he would be starting by now. 


Thanks for stopping by.