Wow, this kid's good.
As a Braves fan since 1995 (the year I moved to Atlanta), Tommy Hanson is just the type of pitcher to help carry on the Braves tradition of great pitching—only he can carry it to another level. Atlanta has not had this kind of power pitching since John Smoltz in his heyday.
Last night against the San Fransisco Giants and their fresh off the no-hitter pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez, Tommy Hanson put on a pitching clinic. After a rough first inning in which he allowed two runs, Hanson settled nicely and cruised to an 11-3 Atlanta victory.
Hanson retired 14 straight batters until the seventh, when Nate McClouth misjudged a fly ball that eventually led to another San Fransisco run. Hanson struck out 11 Giants, the most by a Braves rookie since 1963 (thanks to Elias Sports Bureau, c/o ESPN.com), and he did it with three great pitches.
Hanson's fastball averaged 94 MPH for the night.
That's simply overpowering dominance. Hanson was on both sides of the plate all night, and threw with calm and confidence.
The Braves rookie is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year honors with the way he's throwing. He likely will not have accumulated enough stats to merit the honor, but clearly he is proving himself as a force to be reckoned with.
If the Braves are to try and make a play at the Wild card and division this year, their going to need Hanson the rest of the way.
Through his first eight starts, Hanson is sporting a 5-0 record, with a 3.00 ERA, while holding opponents to a .216 batting average. Take away his major league debut, in which he allowed six earned runs over six innings, and his ERA is well below 3.00.
But looking beyond this year, the future looks bright for the Braves. Top prospect Jason Heyward has made a case for a September call-up, and he will likely have every chance at securing right field next season.
Jordan Schafer, who began the season as the starting center fielder, should be back starting again next season as well, in either left or center. Throw in first baseman Freddie Freeman, who may also have a shot, and the future is bright indeed.
So while the Braves look to make things interesting the rest of the way, vying for the Wild card, also remember that the future is bright.
*Thanks to espn.com for statistical data*