It was a rough 2012 for Tommy Hanson. All the warning signs were shown last year, and after his shoulder problems late in the season, it looks as if he never truly recovered. The stats don’t look horrible, as his 4.48 ERA and 4.57 FIP are not too bad. The trend is the concerning part, as his velocity is way down from two years ago.
Strikeouts have always been Hanson’s strength, and he still finished with an above-average 21.2% K rate. This was about the same as high ’09-’10 rates, as his 26.3% rate in ’11 was his outlier. His slider and curveball each had contact rates in the 60-70% range, which is fairly low. Even with the decreased velocity, Hanson was able to get less than 90% contact on his fastball.
His command was shaky this year, as his 9.3% walk rate was the highest of his career, though it’s only a bit above average. The fastball took the biggest drop here, as it was only a strike 61% of the time, in the zone on near exactly half the time. His slider also saw some loss in command.
The batted ball profile went nearly unchanged from ’11 to ’12, but the results couldn’t have been more different. After allowing a .219/.289/.390 line last season, his BABIP ballooned to .319 and a .271/.344/.464 line was the result. After posting HR/FB rates at 6-7% his first two seasons, he’s allowed 12.5% and 13.5% the last couple seasons. His fastball was crushed again for a .302/.381/.534 line, but his curveball was the major regression. After a 2011 line of .095/.136/.167 line, curves got lit to the tune of a .271/.316/.467 line.
Overall, his slider was a major positive, while the fastball and curveball were big negatives. This resulted in a huge platoon split, allowing a wOBA nearly 70 points higher against lefties. His April wasn’t too bad, but the rest of the months showed struggles in some fashion. May was overall bad, June was only successful because of a .214 BABIP allowed, July had his highest walk rate and a .376 BABIP, August saw a 28% LD rate and his lowest K rate, and September was only marred by the home run ball. Aside from that Marlins game in late July, runners actually struggled against Hanson, only going 31-for-42 on steals, which seems incomprehensible with Tommy’s long delivery.
Offense is just a lost cause with him, as he went 1-for-49 with 30 K’s, and this isn’t exactly a new trend. He did get a career-high 10 sacrifice bunts down, but it’s still tough to stomach. While it’s not a priority, pitcher’s hitting does have an effect, and Hanson cost the Braves about half a win with his lack of offense.
Hanson is also entering his first season of arbitration, and he should still get a decent salary due to his first three seasons, likely around $3M. Unlike Jair Jurrjens, a likely non-tender, I think there is plenty of reason to stick with Hanson. First, that salary is not debilitating to the team, and his shoulder could heal during the winter and get back close to his old self. If next year is a repeat of this past year, then we can start the talk of getting rid of him, but at this point, that seems to be a bit overboard.