Let's get ready to see this Hanson kid

If you want to figure out what all of this Tommy Hanson-hype is all
about, you should tune in today’s game against the Astros.  The big
right-hander is scheduled to throw the third and fourth innings of the
game, which will be broadcast on  MLB.TV and ESPN. 

Eddie
Perez witnessed pure mastery on those countless nights when he sat
behind the plate and watched Greg Maddux demoralize opposing batters. 
Given that he spent most of his career serving as the primary catcher
for one of the greatest pitchers to ever toe the rubber, you might
think that it would take a lot for Perez to get excited. 

But
like most us, Perez arrived at the stadium on Thursday looking forward
to the opportunity to see Hanson make his first appearance in a Major
League setting.  Baseball America lists Hanson as the game’s fourth-best overall prospect and the top right-handed pitching prospect. 

“I
haven’t seen a pitching prospect like this since I started coming to
big league camp and guys like Steve Avery and John Smoltz were getting
started,” said Perez, who now serves as Atlanta’s bullpen coach.

Braves
manager Bobby Cox compares Hanson’s slider to the one thrown by Smoltz.
When you consider that many consider Smoltz’s slider to be the best in
the game, that’s pretty lofty praise.

Chipper making the trek to Bradenton:  When
Kenshin Kawakami makes his Braves debut against the Pirates on Friday,
Chipper Jones will be there to play alongside the Japanese hurler and
reminisce about his earliest days in professional baseball.

This
will be the first time that Jones has returned to Bradenton since
playing rookie ball there after being selected by the Braves as the top
overall selection in the 1990 Draft.  The first curfew punishment he
received that summer came after he was caught by current Braves first
base coach Glenn Hubbard, who had just started his professional
coaching career.

Chipper on managing
:  When I told
Chipper that some of you were talking yesterday about the possibility
of him one day serving as the Braves manager, he laughed and said
something like, “my wife would divorce me so fast that it’s not even
funny.”

“The managing part is more time consuming than playing,”
Jones said.”Quite honestly, I don’t know if I have the patience to put
up with everything that you have to put up with.  Whether it’s with
young cocky players, the media and what not, I think I’d be better
suited to be an instructor.

Today’s lineup:
Jordan Schafer CF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Chipper Jones 3B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Yunel Escobar SS
Jeff Francoeur RF
David Ross C
Brandon Jones LF
Greg Norton DH

Jorge
Campillo, Hanson, Boone Logan, Jeff Bennett, James Parr and Mike
Gonzalez are all scheduled to pitch against the Astros, who will send
Roy Oswalt to the mound to start the game.

- Mark Bowman

40 Comments

Hey, Mark. I’ve really been enjoying the blogs, thanks for doing them.

How do you feel about a 6-man rotation? I’m a little hesitant. Do you have any idea what the general consensus is among players/coaches? I’m sure it would help to cut down on the injuries.

Bowman,

You may already be aware but your moniker is udflyer96 again.

Thanks for the blog and efforts looking forward to seeing Hanson today.

Thank you for asking Chipper. I thought that might be fun. Tommy Mania reminds me of when Jack Nicklaus made that run on the back nine at Augusta in 1986. The SI article talked about millionaires climbing trees to get a better look. It sounds like the same thing going on in Orlando.

That was a 26-pitch inning for Campillo. Hanson might actually take the mound before the start of the third inning. He’s currently stretching in the bullpen and I’d assume he’ll start throwing soon. My guess is that Campillo will at least start the second inning.

Watching the game online. Mexican Maddux is not doing so well. Oswalt struck out the side.

Thanks david for the heads up on the udflyers96 tag. eware, I’m not a fan of the six-man rotation. Instead of taking the approach that throwing less might lessen the risk of injury, I’m of the opinion that throwing more during the developmental Minor League stages is actually the better answer. Utilizing a six-man rotation would essentially mean that your rotation consists two “number five” starters. I just don’t see how it’s beneficial add this volume of uncertainty at the cost of reducing the starts of your front-line starters.

Hanson is warming up in the bullpen and he’ll be entering the game when the third inning begins.

Hanson is nasty. I love that he just hit Tejada after Escobar was drilled by Oswalt.

Oh man… that strike 3 slider was disgusting.

So one guy blocks one out to the opposite field and Phillips says he gets “knocked around”. Give me a break.

After issuing a five-pitch walk to Carlos Lee and hitting Miguel Tejada in the ribs with a 95-mph fastball, Hanson showed pretty good control. His fastball rested between 95-98 mph and the curveball he used to strikeout David Newhan looked much better than the one Chris Johnson lofted to center for a sac fly. I’m looking forward to seeing him face Lance Berkman in the fourth inning.

rother, I agree. That was certainly an excuse-me swing.

Steve Phillips is pretty much just noise during a ball game isn’t he? I’d have fired him as a GM just to keep his babbling out of my office.

What years was that idiot GM of the Mets? I see they were 71-91 in 2004, that must have been his doing.

ok i’m watching the game on espn and it says the top of the 4th and the score is 5-2, but on mlb.com it says top of the 5th and it’s 6-4

After primarily throwing four-seam fastballs and a few curves in the third inning, Hanson showed his two-seam fastball and some sliders during the fourth. He froze Carlos Lee with a third-strike slider and the only hit he allowed in the fourth, came when Lance Berkman fisted a single into center.
It wasn’t a performance that would lead you to say, ‘wow’. But it’s nice to see a young pitcher, who has the ability to touch 99 mph (like he did against Berkman) and have the ability to consistently control three other pitches.

I think he was just talking, not necessarily saying Hanson was getting killed out there. I mean, he has given up a couple of runs. Not exaxctly unhittable. But he looked great. 95-98 mph fastballs? and that slider?? I don’t think Smoltz ever left the team. He’s just 20 years younger and will probably make his 09 debut about the same time as the one who signed with the Red Sox.

asphalt, I’ll cast the deciding vote by saying it’s 5-2 in the top of the fourth. Chipper said he wasn’t ready to see live pitching and then proved it by striking out twice against Oswalt. That’s two at-bats for Francoeur and he’s seen a total of three pitches. But if we all want him to show more patience, I guess we should the same while evaluating him over the next few weeks.

2 ABs into ST and Ross already has as many good swings as Corky had last season. Poor guy.

Gonzalez said that he exited in the middle of the fifth inning because he’d reached his pitched count. He said that his elbow felt great and that his velocity will increase over the course of the next month. He didn’t seem worried at all. When I reminded him that he was saying similar things before the start of 2007, he said that things are definitely different with his elbow this year.

He just couldn’t find the strike zone today it seemed.

It looks like a lot of these young guys are definitely taking advantage of the opportunity, I just wonder if we’ll be able to duplicate this late inning clutch hitting. Two days in a row digging out of a hole, but it seems like it’s the younger guys doing it.

I’m new to these blogs, but this is great. I don’t have a very good connection at work, so watching on the net is not an option. (plus it would probably be blocked out :-) ) So, this allows me to keep tabs with what is going on. I see Frenchy posted a hit. How did it look?

Frenchy looked good when he drilled a line drive to left in the seventh inning. You can see that he’s still a little overanxious at the plate. But he has been making regular contact and over the next few weeks, we’ll see if he can consistently make solid contact. He’ll be the first to tell you that this is a work in progress.

They’ve got some spunk this year. I like that. Tommy will calm down and then oh my goodness!!!There is also almost zero chance he put that ball in Tejada’s pocket accidentally with his control. That will win him even more points with the guys.
So, two hits, a block single to the opposite field and a jam job to a perenial all star slugger. Good start.

If Chipper is going to hit 4th, how bout this lineup?
J. Anderson CF
G. Anderson LF
C. Kotchman 1B
C. Jones 3B
B. McCann C
Y. Escobar SS
J. Franceour RF
K. Johnson 2b

Or flip Esco and Garret to break up the lefties even more

Because they aren’t fleet of foot, I would be concerned that McCann and Kotchman could clog the bases if placed in the third spot of the lineup.

I can’t remember which lineup I suggested the other day. But I’m currently thinking:
Josh Anderson Yunel Escobar Garret Anderson Chipper Jones Brian McCann Jeff Francoeur Casey Kotchman Kelly Johnson.

Having Kotchman and Johnson in the bottom two spots of the lineup could show the weakness of having such left-handed heavy lineup.
With this lineup if you pinch hit for Kotchman or Johnson against a veteran lefty, you might find yourself further depleting your bench in the same inning by using a pinch hitter in the pitcher’s spot of the order.

Over in Texas, Andruw is 0-3 with 3 Ks in 2 games. Poor guy.

It’s true that both Kotch and BMac are slow, but Chipper isn’t the fastest guy out there either is he?

I like that line up with G. Anderson hitting 3rd. That helps mask the lefty heavy middle of the order, since Chipper can turn around on the lefties. However, Chipper has to be mentally comfortable in the cleanup spot for it to work. I agree that the bottom of the lineup could create problems. Is it worth it to platoon KJ and Prado?

The situation is not perfect by a long shot, but I believe this is a team that at least gives us hope. Can they win the division? I won’t say they can’t, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it either. I personally don’t feel like they have to win the divsion for me to consider it a good season. At this point, I would be happy with a .500 + season and at least be in the fight for a wild card. The calvary is coming, they are just a year away.

katjam, i’m not sure who will win the division. The Mets upgraded their bullpen and the Phillies filled their left field void with a solid addition in Ibanez. Can Jamie Moyer continue to defy Father Time? How much will Romero’s suspension affect the Phillies? Do the Mets have somebody who can consistently act as a catalyst at the top of their lineup? That’s the best part about this time of year. There are endless questions and very few clear-cut answers. But I’m willing to say it would be a disappointment if the Braves don’t win more than 81 games.

bravesman: Chipper still has some pretty good wheels. He’s obviously not as fast as he once was. But he’s definitely in a different category than Mac and Kotchman.

I finally watched my tivo’d Braves game. I have to say I liked what I saw from Tommy Hanson and completely agree with Mark and Peter Gammons that he will be on the roster by mid summer. He’s legit. Boring wind-up and nasty stuff. Presence on the mound. You can tell he’s a gamer. Tejada can thank Oswalt for the 96 mph fastball in his back. I’m sure Bobby and Yunel appreciated that. Oswalt was obviously getting closer and closer to Escobar before he hit him.

Frenchy ripped his single. That was good to see.
Is it bad that I grimmace every time I see Chipper take a big swing? Does anyone else do that?

Here are some projected power rankings for 2009:

PECOTA- http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/

CHONE- http://www.baseballprojection.com/2009standings.htm

FOX Sports- http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/powerRankings

I figured this could spakup some debate nothing else something intersting fo everyone to check out.

Ok thanx Mark

Mark – do you have an ETA on Glav’s arrival in camp? I saw they put Huddy on the 60 day DL to make room, so I’m hoping that means Tommy is due at any time.
Also, any idea what his projected timeline is for pitching a couple of innings in preparation? I’m hoping not to have to wait until April to see him pitch again….

GA got activated first I think with the Hudson move to the 60 day. I think somebody has to get pulled from the 40 man for Glavine to kick in, so they probably won’t do that until the last minute.

ok – thanks – I was going by what Ken Rodriguez had said last night on the local news… and of course, just hoping it meant Glav’s arrival was imminent.

Glavine is expected to arrive in camp on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. I’ll check to see if he’s provided the Braves a definitive date. When he arrives, they’ll have to make another adjustment on the 40-man roster.

WOO HOO!! Thanks Mark!!!
I am so psyched – my ETA is next Friday (and they won’t even have to make any adjustments to accomodate me lol)..

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