Hanson ready to face Panama

During his 1985 rookie season, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell learned that you had to have thick skin and a good personality to co-exist with the personalities possessed by the likes of Keith Hernandez, Wally Backman, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson.

That was the year that Gooden went 24-4 and the Mets finished three games behind the Cardinals in the National League East race.

As McDowell remembers, at the conclusion of that season, Hernandez hollered at Gooden and said, “Hey Doc, if you hadn’t lost those four games we would have won the division.”

Gooden’s name came up this morning, because I wanted to get a sense about whether you can get an early feel about whether a top prospect is going to truly be special.  In another words, I was chasing another Tommy Hanson angle.

Nobody is saying that Hanson will duplicate the early dominance of Gooden, who went 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA and 744 strikeouts in the  744 2/3 innings he completed during his first three big league seasons.
But the more you hear about Hanson, the more you want to see and hear more about him.

“I just want to buy stock in Tommy Hanson,” said 300-game winner Don Sutton, who arrived in Braves camp on Tuesday morning to prepare for the games he’ll broadcast with his new radio parter, Jim Powell, this weekend.

Sutton, who has rejoined the Braves broadcast team after spending the past two years with the Nationals, will get a chance to watch Hanson pitch against Panama this afternoon.  Maybe this time around, Carlos Lee will actually recognize that this isn’t just some run-of-the-mill prospect.  

After being frozen by a couple of breaking balls that Hanson threw in his Grapefruit League debut last week, the Astros left fielder acted like he was unimpressed by essentially limiting his comments to, “He throws hard.”

Based on the fact that Lee had just looked at a called third-strike slider, maybe he didn’t actually get a good look at the right-hander, who certainly has more than simply a fastball that has registered 99 mph.

Hanson made another good impression on the Braves coaching staff yesterday, when he showed up to throw and work out before the inter-squad game. His decision to come to the park on an off-day further proved his early fame hasn’t led to him gaining an early sense of entitlement.

Acosta set to face his country:  Manny Acosta decided last week that he won’t participate in the World Baseball Classic.  So instead of pitching for Panama on Tuesday, the right-handed reliever will be pitching against his native country’s team.  He is scheduled to throw one inning.

Walking wounded:  Jordan Schafer (shoulder), Josh Anderson (tailbone), Casey Kotchman (finger and quad) and Freddie Freeman (quad) are all nursing minor injuries that might keep them out of the lineup for another day or two.  But each of them participated in Tuesday morning’s workout. 

Prepared to play: Garret Anderson thinks he might be ready to make his Braves debut on Thursday against Venezuela.  The veteran outfielder, who signed with the Braves last week, has told Bobby Cox that he needs approximately 30 at-bats to be ready for the regular season.

Odds and ends:  Tom Glavine is expected to arrive in Braves camp on Wednesday…Peter Moylan said that he hasn’t felt any discomfort since throwing an inning against the Phillies on Sunday.  It was his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 8.

Today’s Lineup:
Yunel Escobar SS
Omar Infante CF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Greg Norton 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Matt Diaz LF
Brandon Jones DH
Dave Ross C
Martin Prado 2B

– Mark Bowman  



Now see why I thought it would be fun to keep Hanson as “that kid they have in Atlanta” instead of a known quantity to the Mets and Phillies? The legend is getting fun to be a part of. The more they hear without actually seeing him, the more they buy in to the legend themselves. I would love for the first time the Mets and Phillies players to actually see Hanson to be when he is “firing real bullets” during the regular season. It just plays better that way.
I hope Panama doesn’t “rough Hanson up” like Steve Phillips of ESPN said last time. Any guess why that guy is an analyst now and not a real GM? The Barry Melrose of baseball.
Job Interview, Q1:Can you coach?
BM ” I had Wayne Gretzky on my team, and we won a lot.” Q2: Are you sure you can coach?
BM ” Please refer to my first answer, and don’t you like my loud suit?”
With every day that passes ESPN reminds me more and more of the world in the MAX Headroom movie. Blipverts have to be next.

After needing seven pitches to strike out the first two batters he faced, Hanson allowed a single that set up another matchup against Carlos Lee, who was once again left with his bat on his shoulder. The Astros outfielder looked at a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner. He’s now struck out looking twice in three at-bats against Hanson.

Against Who? Oh, that kid, he throws REEEEAAAALLLLL fast!!!!

If the Braves are looking for a reason to keep that kid in AAA, letting him pitch is NOT going to help further that cause. What a stud.
Having Don Sutton back will also help the pitching staff. He has to be priceless to be sitting next to right now, during this game.

Yeah, it’s certainly great to have Don back…Francoeur just bounced a single up the middle to score Kelly Johnson who reached via a two-out walk and advanced to second on a Greg Norton single…by the way, I forgot to mention that Bruce Chen is pitching today. Before taking a tour around the Majors, he was considered a top pitching prospect in the Braves organization.

Hanson worked a perfect scoreless second inning that ended with Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz flying out to right field. Through two innings, he’s thrown 23 of his 29 pitches for strikes and recorded three strikeouts.

Isn’t Bruce Chen Korean…. What is he doing pitching for Panama?? I don’t really care, just seems funny.

That a boy Francoeur…. The hits are gonna come, just stay on the ball. I’ll take a bouncer up the middle over a fly to left any day..

Bruce Chen visited the Panama Canal on vacation once. It’s not like he’s never been to Panama………

Bruce Chen visited the Panama Canal on vacation once. It’s not like he’s never been to Panama………
Wait a minute, Hanson got a backup catcher out? He has to stick in Atlanta now, nobody else up there can do that.

pardon the “technical difficulties”. My browser locked up and sent the entry twice.

Greg Norton highlighted the bottom of the second with a two-run double off Yeliar Castro, a 21-year-old right-hander from the Braves organization. Concepcion Rodriguez, another Braves farmhand playing for Panama, opened the third inning with a single off Hanson.

After walking Luis Durango to give Panama runners at first and second, Hanson induced a potential inning-ending groundout. But Kelly Johnson’s throw eluded Norton at first base and allowed Concepcion to score.

Hanson is looking good so far. Is he on a pitch limit or an inning limit? I want to see him go 4 or 5 innings and see how he does. Norton has done very well so far. I think Cox should have put Frenchy at DH and Jones or Infante at DH

Even with that run scored, he is still doing great.

Hanson ended up allowing two hits and an unearned run in three innings. He threw 37 of his 53 pitches for strikes, issued one walk and registered three strikeouts…During his next outing, he’ll be scheduled to complete four innings.

In the U.S./Yankees game, Chipper is 1-2 with a single and McCann is 0-1

With all the hype that surrounds the “best young pitcher of our generation”, Jaba Chamberlain, (gag me with a pitchfork), could you imagine the media circus Tommy Hanson would cause in NY? Would there have to be the “Tommy Rules”? Jaba would be just another guy with a big arm in Atlanta.

You mean Joba? And yes I agree with you. Jeter in Atlanta is just a good SS and Chipper in NY was a Hall of Famer 3 years ago.

You mean Joba? And yes I agree with you. Jeter in Atlanta is just a good SS and Chipper in NY was a Hall of Famer 3 years ago.

You mean Joba? And yes I agree with you. Jeter in Atlanta is just a good SS and Chipper in NY was a Hall of Famer 3 years ago.

Sorry for the 3 posts. It kept saying “error” when I posted it

As I always say, there are two ways to make the Hall of Fame.
1.) Be an exceptional player for a long period of time.
2.) Be a Yankee.
Any argument people make to me gets the immediate response that Phil Rizzuto is in the Hall of Fame.
Nuff Said!!!!!

Although, he should have a Grammy for his work on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”.

Update on the Chipper and McCann
Chipper-1-2 with a walk and a run

Quick, how many HRs has Brooks Conrad hit in the last 2 seasons, minors of course?

hey mark bowman,

just think about the prospects you would be talking about now if the Braves hadn’t traded for Mark Texeira or Javier Vazquez. You might also be talking about Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, Tyler Flowers and Brent Lillibridge. I think both trades did and will prove to be a jinx to the Braves. Andrus, Harrison, Feliz, Salty, and Lillibridge are all preparing to make some major contributions at the minor league level. Feliz is rated the 2nd best minor league prospect in all of minor league baseball. I know the Braves were desperate for pitching this offseason, but if they had more faith in Tommy Hanson, they wouldn’t have needed to trade for Vazquez. I know its hard to gauge how players will do once they get to the majors but lets hope some of these players don’t come back to haunt the Braves come the World Series.

Oh, and the 0-7 with 3 Ks he’s had so far this spring aren’t completely out of character, he has 280 K’s the last 2 minor league seasons.
Dave Kingman reincarnated as a 2B.
The answer was 50 (22 in ’07, 28 in ’08)

50… w/ 28 last year for AAA Oakland.

50 over the last 2
74 over the last 3

I think the Vazquez trade is TOTALLY different than the Tex trade. We all know that we should not have done the Teixeira trade, but we got Javy, a possible 200 innings, 200 Ks, 15 game winner for a shortstop who we didn’t need and an extra catcher. It wasn’t like Flowers was gonna beat McCann or Freeman/Kotchman for a spot.

Wingatsm.. The Braves needed Vasquez to have some stability in the rotation and prove to other free agent starters that they were serious about reconstructing the pitching staff. Having “more faith” in a really young guy who hadn’t even been to spring training before is a pretty lame statement. Hanson is incredible, but you can’t put the weight of an entire organization on a 22 year old.
Losing prospects is just part of baseball. If we had gone to the playoffs or beyond after the Tex deal, you would be singing a much different tune.. although I really miss not having Elvis Andrus with the Braves.

Show of hands, who would rather have Elvis Andrus starting over Escobar at short this season?
Me neither.
How about Lillibridge?
Nope, unuh.
Salty or McCann?
Sorry, that was a no brainer.
Can you think of a better time to move Flowers than after the Fall he had in Arizona?
Harrison is a number 3 or 4 starter, history of no Ks.
Feliz is still a long way from the majors, but he looks pretty good so far.
You gotta crack some eggs to make an omelet.
Only baseball cards can stay in the shoebox forever.
I need more cliches, somebody help and take the next one…

Oh and Flowers was on the juice as well.

Way to go Mr. Heyward, first HR with an A on your hat. It won’t be the last.

Who is Gorecki?? I have never heard of him until now when I saw he hit a homer.

Blanco went 0-1 with Venezuela. Heyward decided to show us a little of what he is capable of. The Braves are putting on a show against Panama.

Be nice Darion, Tyler is a good kid, and big as a house. Much bigger chance of him being on biscuits and gravy than the juice. He hit a ball last Spring at the Mets facility that they talked about for a couple weeks. I don’t remember if he cleared the big scree protecting the highway in left, or if he just put it half way up it, either way it was a monster shot.

No need crying over spilt milk. The kids we have did great today in mop up duty against Panama. We will dance with who brought us. I am running out of cliches too so someone else jump in here.

Did you find Mr. Sutton for a quick little Whuddya see today?

How about “Don’t put the cart before the horse” or “No crying over spilled milk”. “That was then, this is now”. “You have to spend money to make money.”

I liked Salty… but the Tex deal was good at the time. We needed him. All of you were excited about Tex coming to Atlanta.

I liked Flowers too… but B-Mac is the catcher for years to come. And it’s ridiculous to throw some Bohemiath over at first base just so you could have him on your team. There is value in trading your prospects!

The Detroit Tigers beat Venezuela with the entire middle of their order (Cabrera, Ordonez, Guillen) playing for the other team, and their No. 2 starter (Gallaraga) pitching against them.

So he was REALLY on the juice. He got caught. No lie

The purpose of a minor league system is not only to develop players for the big team but also develop them to use as trade bait to strengthen the parent club. These trades do not always work out in the long term( see Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz) for the parent club but are part of doing business. If we never made trades the club would become stagnant and inbred. GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!

On the last one I meant “no” not “so”

Logan had another good outing. You know, I think he pretty much has the LOOGY job locked up and I don’t regret the Braves not re-signing Ohman now because he’s been so sharp and impressive.

Yea he has been looking pretty good so far.

Rother, I’m going to catch back up with Don tomorrow and see what he thought of Hanson. Other than the fact that he hung a couple of curveballs, there wasn’t much not to like.

While allowing a pair of hits in a scoreless fourth, Gonzo’s fastball was sitting around 88-89. As long as he says he’s healthy, then I’m going to believe him. That velocity will jump when he has reason to be throwing with adrenaline. For those of you who are worried, would you rather him break catcher’s mitts in September or March?

Logan and Carlyle both had solid outings. Bobby really like Carlyle and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the year in Atlanta while Campillo is sent to Gwinnett to condition as a starter…Based on the current schedule the Braves would only have to use the fifth spot in their rotation (Glavine)
twice in April.

Heyward’s homer to right field was a no-doubter. Turner Field is going to be a fun place to be for many years to come. These kids are making a good impression on a daily basis.

Gonzo does sort of marry WWF and baseball when he’s out there doesn’t he. The crowd loves him. If you put him out there when it matters, it’s a whole different ball game with Gonzo. He needs the theme song stuff to get totally cranked up.

Thanks for being our eyes and ears at spring training. I enjoy hearing about all the kids especially. It is a very good sign for the future to have all of these guys doing well at spring camp. Are there any updates on any of the other kids at camp? I know Diory is on the forty man roster but I don’t know a lot about him. What can you tell us?

Just letting you know that your Baseball-Reference, MLBTrade Rumors, and Baseball Musings links are not working.

After reading Mark’s work on braves.com, I’ve been thinking about our team and how I believe their mindset is at the moment. Our starting pitching is deep. Hanson will be on the roster in a matter of months if he doesn’t make it right out of the gate. That leaves one of our starters expendable. Campillo and Reyes are proven starters. Look for Reyes to have a better year now that he’s fighting for something. Our bullpen is very deep. Boyer, Moylan, Gonzo, Soriano, Logan, etc… Our bench is VERY deep. Prado, Diaz, Anderson, Schafer, etc…

So what’s my point?

Obviously we have all the talent in the world to keep us in this thing at least until the trade deadline, even with our lack of power. Considering everyone stays healthy, we will have A LOT of depth at the trade deadline to help us get that power bat that could put us over the hump, ala Fred McGriff in 1993. That is why Wren did not aggressively pursue spending tons of money on a power hitting outfielder. He knows we can stay afloat in the division. Then, when teams out of it are looking to dump… we will be there with our depth to spend.

That’s the way I see it. It’s not broke right now… so why try to fix it? We are a DEEP team with DEEP pitching. When it comes time to add that power,there will be plenty of options.

How do you guys feel about that?

From above:
That was the year that Gooden went 24-4 and the Mets finished three games behind the Cardinals in the National League East race.

As McDowell remembers, at the conclusion of that season, Hernandez hollered at Gooden and said, “Hey Doc, if you hadn’t lost those four games we would have won the division.”
Gooden also knocked in more runs than he allowed over the final 2 months that year. What a pity he couldn’t handle the fame.

Bravo, you realize you just invited Saltlake to cut and paste one of his pearls of wisdom, don’t you?
The longer the Braves are in this thing, the better chance you see the move for a major league guy. I would say at the end of ST, there will be some movement for minor league guys to start to balance out the system a little. They may even sign a couple guys with pop to minor league deals to see if they might be serviceable on a temporary basis.
Heyward and Schafer are going to make it real hard for the Braves to pull the trigger on anybody that could be considered a long term fix. I bet you the guy with pop they get to stick in the minors will be able to play third base. That is the one position where there is no depth in the system at all. Plus we know Chipper is likely to only play 120-130 games.

haha – I didn’t realize it until you reminded me. He’s probably typing the Edmonds statistical analysis as we speak!

Although I love our team, I do believe we will need to add a power bat by the trade deadline. We will have the depth on our team in pitching and offense to keep us afloat in the division and at least the wild card. My gut tells me that the games we will lose, and we will lose some, will be by 1 or 2 runs… just like last year. Our pitching will keep us in every game. The games we win will be when we execute offensively. The ones we will lose will be because we couldn’t drive anyone in. I don’t think our pitching will give up a lot of runs… but offensively I don’t think we will score a lot of runs. My opinion is that a solid number 4 guy will be available via trade to put us over that hump, ala McGriff in 93, or Tex a few years back. There will be no way to compete with the Phillies and Mets unless we drive in more runs. If you look at the successful teams of last year, they all were in the top offensive categories in statistics. The numbers don’t lie. We will not win games against the Phillies 3-2 or 5-4.

Again, we have the team to at least keep us in it… but it is still a wonder if we have the run producers to get us to October baseball. Who knows, maybe the new Frenchy surges into that role. That would be amazing! That’s my dream scenario… but if not, think short-term playoff solution come via-trade if we are losing too many 1 run games.

The beauty will come with the lack of 9-1 in the 3rd inning games, like they gave us so often last season. If we keep those to a minimum, we’ll be right there. Those have a way of causing the 5-4 8th inning losses.

I’ve got the perfect power hitters to go after. Micah Owings and Dontrell Willis. Get them each a first base glove and look out. Those two guys can rake big time. Use them as the 12-13th guys for mop up and long relief as well. Now that’s how you work a roster. Except of course that Dontrell is signed for a zillion dollars a year.
Could you imagine if a team started that type of swing position going? It would be so much fun. Have two of them in the game at the same time, going back and forth, lefty righty with the batting order. What a hoot!!
Ok, where did you say my medication was? Oh, thanks.

Glavine has arrived in camp and he’s shooting to make his first appearance in a game late next week. His left shoulder has been a little cranky lately. But he says the discomfort isn’t anything he hasn’t dealt with for most of the past 15 years.

Garret still expects to make his debut tomorrow.

I’ll provide more details in the next blog entry. Kawakami vs. the Yankees this afternoon.

Solid work Bowman, nice job by rother also!

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