Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TPC 2009 Projection: Tommy Hanson

The following projection is based off of the assumption that the Braves will call up Tommy Hanson sometime in 2009. I'm not going to try and guess exactly when they'll call him up, but barring injury or some kind of horrible start in AAA, he should be called up sometime before the All-Star break.

Before we come up with a rough projection, let's first identify some pitchers that have posted similar minor league numbers to Hanson (each pitcher was 21 during their time at AA; all stats are overall minor league averages).

Of these 5 comparable pitchers, I think Johnny Cueto matches up the best with Hanson.  Cueto's walk rate was a bit higher, but his ground ball rate was also a bit higher, so it all kind of evens out.  I threw Jesse Foppert up there (the once rising phenom in the Giants organization) simply because his minor league numbers were somewhat similar to Hanson and Foppert actually pitched in the majors for almost a whole season before undergoing Tommy John surgery.  Unfortunately, I can't find a GB% for Foppert from before his injury, but if we assume that at worst he posted a 40% GB%, then he can provide us with a decent comp for Hanson.

Anyways, the first thing that strikes me when I look at Hanson's comparables is that he seems to be benefiting from some good luck or pitcher friendly situations.   His WHIP of 1.10 and ERA of 2.74 are similar to Jake Peavy's, but his K/9, BB/9, and GB% suggest that his actual performance is considerably inferior to Peavy.  With that in mind, it comes at no surprise that almost a third of Hanson's minor league innings came at Myrtle Beach, where hitters tend to struggle.  But that aside, we should keep in mind that the quality of minor league defenses can vary greatly, so WHIP and ERA are often out of the control of individual pitchers.  

The few stats that a pitcher can control in the minors include strike out rates, walk rates, and ground ball rates.  So, before we look at some possible major league stats for Hanson in '09, let's move forward with a rough ranking system that has Hanson matched up with Cueto and Jon Lester, while coming in somewhere below Jake Peavy and Jesse Foppert, and somewhere just above Scott Olsen.

Below are the major league stats for each of the above pitchers at the age of 22 years old:
If we dispose of the outliers in each category, we come up with a K/9 of about 7.9, a BB/9 of 4.1, a WHIP of 1.42, and an ERA of 4.56.  I'm pretty comfortable with those numbers for Hanson, and had he posted them in 2008, he would have fit in somewhere between Jair Jurrjens and Mike Hampton, and would probably have maintained a .500 win percentage for the Braves.  Not bad, but not great.

TPC 2009 Projection for Tommy Hanson:  7.9 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.42 WHIP, 4.56 ERA, .500 win percentage
...Read more


James said...

Thanks bud,

Just wanted to catch you during a 3 day break.

Hope we can take a look at this at the end of the season.

Adam G said...

No prob.

I'll definitely come back to this one and see how close I was.