by Will Overton
Tommy’s Turned the Corner
In the first two games of the season Tommy Hanson only pitched a combined 9 innings and allowed 6 runs on 12 hits, while only striking out 3 batters. After a strong second half last year it looked like Hanson wasn’t going to pick up where he left off the way so many had expected he would.
Since those two starts, Hanson has gone 7 innings in three of four starts, allowing only 4 runs in the four starts combined. On top of that he has struck out 26 in the last 19 innings. After yesterday’s 7 innings, no run, 10 strikeout game, Hanson has obviously turned the corner and is now on the track that we expected he would be.
The most encouraging sign for Hanson is that he seems to be taking his strikeouts to another level. Hanson posted double digit k/9 numbers in each of his last three minor league seasons. Last season he posted a 7.68 k/9 which is certainly respectable, but we all knew he had it in him for more. So far he’s at 8.74 this season, and that’s after striking out just three guys in his first two starts. We’ve got an elite pitcher in the making right before our eyes.
- With Jonathan Broxton unavailable to pitch due to elbow soreness, Vicente Padilla came in during the tenth inning and picked up a 3 up, 3 down save. Broxton claims the soreness isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but couple it with his rough start and the rumblings of a replacement and Padilla has to be a guy to watch.
- April’s not over yet, but Drew Stubbs is building his case as a budding fantasy star. Stubbs went 2 – 5 yesterday, scoring 3 times and hitting his 5th homerun of the season. To go with the power numbers is 8 stolen bases already. He still strikes out way too much and might not ever come close to hitting .300, but the power seems real and he’s quickly placing himself in the discussion for top 15 outfielders.
- Chris Young walked into yesterday’s game hitting .204, but Kirk Gibson still stuck him back in the leadoff spot. And while Young might not have the best average, he continues to hit for power, hitting 2 more out of the park last night which gives a total of 7 so far. Young also brought his totals to 16 runs and 19 RBI for the season. Young’s average is troubling, as is the fact that he has no steals, but don’t let those things fool you into dropping him, there’s still value here.
- After three multi-hit games in his last four Derek Lee has brought his average up from .209 to .247 and seems to be getting back on track. Lee was 3 – 4 with two runs scored last night against Boston. The fact that he picked up just his 4th extra-base hit last night (only 1 HR) and has only 3 RBI is still hard to ignore. But he’s been dropped in over 50% of leagues at this point and might still be worth a flier.
- Round two as a starter in the majors for Tyson Ross was much more of a success than his first go around. Ross threw 7 innings, allowed 4 hits and a walk and didn’t give up a run while striking out 3. It was a promising start, and Ross may still see another start before Dallas Braden is back, but he’s not a long term option.
- Somehow the Indians keep on getting it done and Josh Tomlin moved to 4 – 0 with last night’s win going 6 innings with 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB and 3 K. Tomlin is now 5 – 5 on quality starts and hasn’t thrown less than six innings in a game yet this season. Tomlin isn’t a strikeout pitcher and he’s probably not going to maintain a sub 3 ERA for too long, but he’s still got use in deeper leagues.
- Two games after taking time off for the death of his father and Justin Smoak picked right up where he left off. After a HR two nights ago he followed it up with another HR last night as well as 5 RBI. Smoak now has 4 HR’s and 14 RBI on the season while hitting .302. It looks like the promise of Smoak might be breaking out right now.
- He may not be the most physically fit pitcher in the game, but it didn’t stop Bartolo Colon from throwing 8 strong innings last night. Colon allowed 7 hits, 1 walk and 1 run while striking out 6. Colon has been very strong in his two starts and should keep a spot in the rotation if he keeps this up, even when Phil Hughes comes back.
- Two struggling pitchers turned in their best performances of the year last night when Madison Bumgarner and James McDonald went head-to-head. Bumgarner looked better allowing 6 men on base, with 7 strikeouts in 6 innings. McDonald still walked 4 men, but he didn’t let anyone across the plate and picked up the win. Unless you’re in a deep league I’d wait another start before grabbing one of these two, and if I had to choose one to grab it’d be Bumgarner.
- Sean Burnett blew a save, allowing 4 runs and picking up a loss against the Mets. This should further open the door for Drew Storen to take this job over.
- After Mitchell Boggs blew a save two nights ago, the Cardinals turned to Eduardo Sanchez last night in the ninth inning. Sanchez got the job done, but it wasn’t pretty. Sanchez gave up 3 hits and 2 runs before ending the game picking up the save. Who knows who gets the next shot for a save, but if I had to bet on it, I’d say Boggs gets another go.