It seems like just yesterday that the promising future of Tommy Hanson was being realized right in front of the entire world in an Atlanta Braves uniform. Everything was going great and his future looked extremely bright until things changed. Suddenly he had back trouble and shoulder pain and had struggles finishing the season. Then last season he struggled even more after not having a good off-season. The result was a one for one trade between the Braves and Hanson’s new team, the Los Angeles Angels.
Hanson is very confident that he can overcome the struggles that riddled him last season. He says he feels fine and it seems that everyone agrees his loss of velocity wasn’t an injury issue but rather a change in pitching style. One has to wonder why he changed styles when things were going so well. He says that if he locates his fastball that the velocity doesn’t matter and he is right. Greg Maddux proved that velocity doesn’t create a dominating pitcher, location does. Still, thus far in the spring his ERA is a whopping 10.80.
I hate to ask the question but when is the new pitching style going to be unsuccessful long enough for him to want to try and move to something that works? Hanson is only twenty-six years old and I think he has years left in him as an effective pitcher. I’m not sure this newer location based pitching style is working for him though. No smart comment will strikeout a batter and no level of confidence without action produces success. I think the Angels are a very smart organization and will suggest changes in Hanson if his struggles continue longer into the season.