Hanson adds upgraded changeup to mix

Jupiter, Fla. – After excelling with three high-quality pitches as a rookie, Tommy Hanson has improved his fourth, the changeup, to the point where he’s confident throwing it in almost any situation.

This is bad news for hitters.

“It’s a lot better pitch now, and I’m a lot more confident with it,” Hanson said after allowing one run and six hits in five innings of a 4-2 win against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday at Roger Dean Stadium.

He had four strikeouts and no walks and threw 52 strikes in 72 pitches, including about 10 changeups. Hanson struck out National League Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan on a changeup to start the third inning, part of a span of three consecutive batters he fanned.

“He was really good today,” manager Bobby Cox said after Hanson trimmed his spring training ERA to 1.93 in three starts. “He had the great changeup. He threw it a lot.

“It’s a great weapon. Any time you develop a changeup….”

Hanson already had a mid-90 mph fastball, devastating curveball and good slider, and upgrading his changeup gives the 23-year-old right-hander something softer to keep hitters guessing, particularly left-handers.

He threw it last season, but wasn’t confident throwing it in some situations. Hanson worked on his grip with the pitch during the offseason and this spring, and has seen big improvement.

“It’s a good feeling to know I can get some quick outs with it and use it behind in counts,” said Hanson, who was 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts last season as a rookie after being called up from Class AAA in June.

Catcher Brian McCann said Hanson has learned when best to throw certain pitches including the changeup. A key to his success: Consistency of the delivery.

“He throws all his pitches with the same arm speed,” McCann said. “He does everything right. He doesn’t tip any of his pitches, and he throws them all from the same arm slot.”

Hanson led NL rookies in ERA, opponents’ average (.225) and strikeouts per nine innings (8.2). After allowing six earned runs and three homers in his June 7 debut, he won his next four starts and went 11-4 with a 2.59 ERA and seven homers allowed over his next 20.

In his last 11 starts, he had a .210 opponents’ average and 75 strikeouts in 66-2/3 innings.

He missed a rotation turn last week and had to throw four simulated innings in the batting cage because of rain, but Hanson looks sharp.

“I definitely feel like I’m really close,” said the 6-foot-6 redhead. “Today was a confidence boost. I definitely don’t feel like I’m far off from being ready to start the season.”

26 comments Add your comment

itcouldbeworse

March 17th, 2010
5:41 pm

If he continues to improve a cy young is in his future

Bravezilian

March 17th, 2010
5:51 pm

Thanks captain obvious.

AlDog

March 17th, 2010
5:59 pm

Future Yankee if I ever saw one. Cheap ass Braves will probably trade him in 4 years for some crap players. Gotta keep that payroll under 90mil at all cost!!

Biff Pocoroba

March 17th, 2010
6:06 pm

Wow, posters are in an ugly mood today. Have a Guiness, boys :) .

Our pitching staff seems to be rounding into shape nicely. I like our chances if the bullpen can stay healthy.

Rick

March 17th, 2010
6:10 pm

All Dog i truly hope he doesnt get traded espically to the yankees that would be bad. hey look where Javy is now the yankees that one is going to hurt hope to see a world series title for the braves soon.this year would be nice for bobby since its his last year .

Rick

March 17th, 2010
6:12 pm

Biff ur right our pitching staff looks good just hope the pen can hold up like you said.

Mama Vazquez

March 17th, 2010
6:15 pm

I hope the Braves make the World Series against the Yankees and my boy Javier wins two games, including the one to nail down the title.

Mickey Mahler

March 17th, 2010
6:15 pm

I was a lefty and had more velocity, but my brother Rick had all the success.

Biff Pocoroba

March 17th, 2010
6:17 pm

I was a lefty and had more velocity, but my brother Rick had all the success.

Not to mention “the beard”….man that thing was scraggly.

AdirondackDave

March 17th, 2010
6:24 pm

We just got back home from Jupiter and read DOB’s new blog. As usual, he nailed it with Hanson. After a messy first inning Hanson was in charge of the game. That change-up made several guys look foolish. With his fastball and wicked breaking stuff, the change makes him the ace of a very good rotation you could put up against anybody. His command was very good today and when he went to 3-0 it still seemed like he refused to give in.

A couple other observations, Nate just isn’t cutting it and if this continues I have to think Melky takes over in center. Nate messed up a relatively easy play in center for an error and looked confused at the plate to me. He did something though that I’m sure Bobby loved and just may keep him in center longer than we would like. On an easy slow grounder that the second baseman didn’t hustle for, Nate busted his arse out of the box and beat the throw to first.

Also, for anybody that thinks Glaus’s inexperience at first could be a problem, think again. The big guy looked very comfortable over there and made a sensational in-between scoop on a throw from third. Chipper and Escobar are going to be buying Glaus plenty of steak dinners this year with his size and athleticism which is geat for a guy the size of a mountain.

Lew, no luck on getting Heyward. Not even a close-but-no-cigar.

dd

March 17th, 2010
6:28 pm

retards, you’re all retards. Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward are going to be the next chipper and smoltz, if anything jj will leave during free agency and go to the yankees.

And the braves have no shot at the world series if they continue to let excellent pinch hitters like greg norton go.

Resign or Resign?

March 17th, 2010
6:35 pm

Is Roger Dean Jimmy’s or Dizzy’s kin? Good news about Hanson. I think the only disappointment of ST has been Mclouth(?), while there have been several pleasant surprises(Glaus, Hinske, McCann, Heyward, etc.)

Resign or Resign?

March 17th, 2010
6:35 pm

Mike Dunn looked good today also.

AdirondackDave

March 17th, 2010
6:41 pm

Resign — More likely Jimmy than Dizzy or Daffy. Plenty of sausage available to the concessions under the stands. Roger Dean is (or was) a business big-shot in the Jupiter area with multiple car dealerships and other businesses according to a very long and loud commercial the P.A. announcer subject us to early in the game.

Resign or Resign?

March 17th, 2010
6:46 pm

paulie

March 17th, 2010
7:16 pm

bobbie cox would have been a better pinch hitter then greg norton.

CJ Dawg

March 17th, 2010
8:41 pm

Gotta hand it to O’Brien. Man knows his stuff. I like to read his reports. I hope the AJC doesn’t trade HIM. Thanks for the work DOB!!!!

renegade#1

March 17th, 2010
9:32 pm

Hanson is gonna be the Man son!

Marko

March 17th, 2010
9:51 pm

Hanson will probably have at least 5 more wins while nearly having half the ERA Vasquez ends up with this year.

The Yankees got suckered yet again in grabbing on to a player that had one great year.
This is an example of what happens repeatedly with the Yankees:

Free agent (FILL IN THE BLANK) has had five offers from all the teams in the market for his services.
offer#1- 3 years, 22 million
offer#2- 3 years, 19 million
offer#3- 3 years, 17 million
offer#4- 2 years, 15 million
offer#5- 2 years, 14 million
The Yankees end up signing this player for 3 years at 40 million. Overpaid by almost 20 million, but by golly, they get their guy. I should make a career move and be a sports agent the deals primarily with New York baseball teams. It might be easier than trying to give candy to a 5 year old.

Chop Chop

March 18th, 2010
12:19 am

Off the subject but why the heck are we even wasting time with Nate McClouth? Put me in coach.

Charlie Kerfield

March 18th, 2010
7:43 am

Maybe I should see if the Braves would give me another shot in the bullpen.

That trade for McClouth is looking worse by the day. I’m predicting a Jordan Schaffer sighting in Atlanta by June 15.

leland

March 18th, 2010
9:03 am

Here’s a good moniker for Hanson: T-Ha. Like it? Tell McCann that if Hanson has learned how to select pitches, it’s not intuitive. Know what I mean? Think! If you spend hours learning that 3×7=21, we don’t then say you have an intuitive mastery of that number combination.

How about the rookie phenom, T-Hey? What did he do? Did he show up to play? Is the phenom still on our team? Let us know; don’t hold out on us. We need to know. What did Bo-Co say?

Don

March 18th, 2010
9:44 am

The only way to win with Bobby Cox managing is to have Pitching so great and so far far superior to the other teams that it overcomes his incomptence. Our only (slight) chance of winning this season left with Vasquez. One or more of the starting pitchers we are counting on will either be injured or be ineffective. Don’t bet that JJ’s arm problem will not end up being significant.

Kharma

March 18th, 2010
10:24 am

Here it is 2010 and a great talent like Mr Hanson still has all the injurious mechanics of all traditional pitchers. It is really too bad that the AJC does not hire any reporters.

[...] 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 [...]

Andrew

March 19th, 2010
12:10 am

Actually, Roger Dean owns a great BBQ joint in Jonesboro.

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