After Chris Sale, there is a major dropoff in the White Sox rotation. Many pitchers, while talented, lack major league experience. They could surely use some arms that have logged big league innings and this past week they may have found that help in Tommy Hanson. While he is not the once prized prospect he was in Atlanta, or even guaranteed a roster spot, Hanson has all of the tools to be a viable starter on the White Sox staff.
When he came up through the Braves system, Tommy Hanson dominated. In his first four minor league seasons, Hanson’s ERA never rose above 3.32 and his numbers got better each season. He was a strikeout machine, averaging over a strikeout per inning. He impressed so much that he was ranked as the fourth best prospect in baseball by Baseball America in 2009.
After a promotion to Atlanta in 2009, Hanson put together a 2.89 ERA with an 11-4 record. He looked to be a mainstay in the Braves organization for years to come. But, so far his rookie season has been his best. As years went by, Hanson battled injuries and saw his ERA rise.
Eventually, Hanson was traded to the Angels after the 2012 season, where things got even worse. In 11 starts, Hanson was hammered. He allowed 44 runs in just 73 innings. These numbers forced him to look for work this off-season.
By signing Hanson to a minor league deal, the White Sox have a no risk situation. While fangraphs shows that his fastball velocity has dipped in recent seasons, Hanson at 27 still has potential to turn things around. If he can rebuild his confidence in the minor leagues he should have no trouble making the White Sox rotation at some point this season. When he first came up to the Braves, Hanson was a dynamite pitcher who was consistently counted on to record double digit victories. The White Sox are currently in a rebuilding mode and a Hanson rebound could be a key piece in the Sox resurgence.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference