Tommy Hanson: What's Wrong with Young Atlanta Braves Pitcher?

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIApril 3, 2011

Since June 2010, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is just 4-9.
Since June 2010, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is just 4-9.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Two years ago, Tommy Hanson was the pride and joy of the Atlanta Braves

A 22nd-round selection from Riverside Community College in California, Hanson was a product of the Braves' booming farm system and exploded on the scene in 2009 as a 22-year-old rookie.

His rookie season included wins over both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, an 11-strikeout game performance and a third-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

With an 11-4 record and an ERA of just 2.89 in his rookie season, Hanson was expected to take big strides his sophomore year, but instead, it was veteran pitchers Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe who stabilized the Braves rotation en route to their first playoff appearance in five seasons.

Hanson, on the other hand, has been on a steady and slow downhill trend.

Despite finishing with an ERA of 3.33, Hanson finished the 2010 season with a losing record of 10-11. In the playoffs, Hanson went just four innings allowing four earned runs against the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

With Saturday's loss to the Washington Nationals in a rain-shortened outing, Hanson is now 4-9 dating back to June 2010. 

What's wrong with Tommy Hanson? Have batters caught on to this unique whip-like pitching motion or is the lack of run support more the issue?

Going back to June 2010, 22 total games, Hanson has 14 games where he allowed two or fewer runs in a game.

Tommy Hanson represents the hope and future of the Braves pitching staff. But for now, Hanson continues to go through what Atlanta hopes is nothing more than growing pains.