Lost in all this Heyward love- there’s another aged-beyond-his years baseball prodigy in the Braves dugout this spring. It seems like a long time ago, but it was only last June that we saw Tommy Hanson in a Braves uniform for the first time. Hanson held the Marlins to 1-run and 6-hits in 5 innings of work yesterday, and despite where he may pitch in the rotation, he looks to be the unquestioned ace of this staff.
With so much of the attention being paid to J-hey, Hanson has almost been taken for granted in Braves circles this spring. It’s not that nobody’s talked about him, it’s just the way they have gone about it is different than last year. For instance, David O’Brien writes today about Hanson’s new and improved change-up, and the quotes from Bobby Cox and Brian McCann lack the lack the same wonderment as the ones about Heyward. McCann mentions his consistency on the mound, Cox adds that “(the change-up) is a weapon”… Nothing close to raving from either one. Its almost like Hanson’s promising spring is just business as usual. With rookies and prospects, the talk is usually of the future, of the great unknown that awaits. But after Hanson’s 11-4, 2.89 ERA rookie season, all anyone is expecting is more of the same.
How many other team’s can say their best pitching prospect is already a proven commodity?
How many other teams can say their best pitching talent and their best positional talent are 23 and 20 years old, respectively?