Tommy Hanson’s Dramatic Decline From Being Elite to Facing Demotion

Jun 26, 2013

Los Angeles starter Tommy Hanson has been on a steady decline over the last three seasons. Since Opening Day 2011, Hanson’s had three disabled list stints for shoulder and back problems, together with suffering a concussion in 2012. More importantly, Hanson’s ERA has risen over each of his last four big league seasons, and the 26-year-old has also seen a substantial increase in his BB/9 ratio.

Tommy Hanson’s ERA (2010-2013):

2010: 3.33

2011: 3.60

2012: 4.48

2013: 4.91*

*Following the All-Star break in 2012, Hanson was 3-5 with a 5.69 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. He allowed 43 earned runs on 81 hits in 68 innings pitched, including issuing 33 walks.

Tommy Hanson’s BB/9 Ratio (2010-2013):

2010: 2.49

2011: 3.18

2012: 3.70

2013: 3.56

Mechanics have always been a concern for Hanson throughout his career, but his new delivery motion (i.e. arm slot) has proven to be a disaster. While the mechanical change was forced upon him due to a rotator cuff injury, Hanson’s average fastball velocity has declined nearly 3 mph since 2010. Indeed, according to PITCHf/x, Hanson’s fastball velocity has declined in each of the last four seasons: 92 mph (2010), 91 mph (2011), 89 mph (2012) and 87.9 mph in 2013. Together with a loss of velocity, Hanson’s elevated fly ball ratio has become a significant concern. Specifically, Hanson owns a 44% fly ball rate this season (a career worst), including a 48% rate over the last month.

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