Tommy Hanson at the Head of the Class

Alex DanversContributor ISeptember 16, 2009

ATLANTA - AUGUST 22:  Starting pitcher Tommy Hanson #48 of the Atlanta Braves pitches to the Florida Marlins on August 22, 2009 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tommy Hanson won his 10th game yesterday, mowing down the Mets lineup. In a season full of breakout rookie starters, has he been the best?


First, to put how good this year’s class of rookie starters is in perspective, let’s look at some numbers:


  • 5: Rookie starters with an ERA under 3.50
  • 6: Rookie starters with 100 or more K’s
  • 7: Rookie starters with quality starts in more than half their starts
  • 8: Rookie starters with 10 or more wins
  • 9: Rookie starters with a K/9 rate better than 7.0


This is a class that includes J.A. Happ, Randy Wells, Rick Porcello, Jeff Niemann, Kenshin Kawakami, Rick Romero, and Brett Anderson—all pitchers that have made significant contributions to their teams in their first seasons.


But even next to this star-studded cast, Hanson shines. Among this year’s rookies, Hanson is:


  • First in ERA at 2.65
  • Second in WHIP at 1.18
  • Second in winning percentage at .769
  • Fourth in K/BB ratio at 2.38
  • Fifth in K/9 ratio at 7.70


The downside: he hasn’t pitched as many innings as a lot of his competition, ranking just 16th among rookies with 108 2/3. Despite this, his counting stats are still impressive: fourth in wins, ninth in K’s.


Tommy Hanson is going to have tough competition for the Rookie of the Year award this year just among starters, not to mention significant rookie hitters like Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, and Casey McGehee. But starts like this have been doing a lot to separate him from the pack.