Hanson named NL's top rookie in June
Wins over Yankees, Red Sox among righty's highlights
ATLANTA -- One month into his Major League career, right-hander Tommy Hanson has been as good as advertised. Braves fans have known about the 6-foot-6 phenom since he dominated opponents in the Minor Leagues.
Now, the rest of the baseball world is starting to learn what the Braves' faithful have known for a while -- Hanson is pretty good. So good, in fact, that he has been named the National League's Rookie of the Month for June in just his first month of big league action.
In five June starts, Hanson went 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA. Included in his perfect record were impressive wins over the Yankees and Red Sox in consecutive starts. He has thrown three scoreless starts in a row and has not allowed a run in his past 20 innings.
"It's well deserved," said Braves manager Bobby Cox of the award. "It's a big deal for him to come up at this time of year, with all the press that's been following him."
Hanson made a name for himself among hardcore baseball fans when he was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League, a rare feat for a pitcher. Before being called up this season, Hanson had a 1.49 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings at Triple-A Gwinnett. He leads Gwinnett's staff in strikeouts, despite not having pitched there in over a month.
After a shaky debut at home against the Brewers, in which Hanson surrendered six earned runs on three homers, he has quickly settled in to display the poise and repertoire that make him so highly-touted. When talking about the award, Hanson displayed the calm demeanor that has become so admired by his teammates.
"It's exciting," Hanson said. "I feel like every game has been a battle. It has definitely not been easy by any means. I didn't think I would come up and get four wins in my first month."
With the rough start against the Brewers in his rearview mirror, Hanson went on to torment the American League East, picking up wins over the Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox, with six scoreless innings against the Reds sandwiched in between.
By silencing the much-hyped Yankees and Red Sox, Hanson served notice to the mainstream baseball world that he had arrived.
"It's one of those things where that's who I was facing that day," Hanson said. "Still, it's definitely cool to beat the Yankees and Red Sox."
Adam Rosenberg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.