Hurry up, Tommy Hanson, before zee Germans get here

      January 20, 2012 @ 15:45:46 PDT

Danger: He's good

The series of unfortunate events that led to Tommy Hanson's placement on the disabled list in mid-August of 2011 and forced him to miss the remainder of the season seem to have made folks bearish on his roto stock. At Mock Draft Central, for instance, he's barely been a top-100 mixed-league pick.

In his final five starts (26 2/3 stanzas), the right-hander yielded 24 earned runs, 36 hits (eight home runs) and 11 walks. Something was wrong. Initial diagnosis: mild tendonitis in his right shoulder. Persistent discomfort led to a consultation with Dr. James Andrews and the revelation that Hanson had a small tear in his rotator cuff. Hanson shut it down in September for good.

Naturally, rotisserie managers should want little to do with such a wielder of red flags. Hanson is obviously pretty darn good - perhaps even elite - but the risk is obvious. Or is it?

It's for protection

Hanson traces the clues back to 2010, more than a year prior to the time at which his shoulder injury entered the fantasy baseball community's stream of consciousness. He's convinced, like his organization is, that a minor ailment in his back tripped the dominoes, all of which fell in the summer of last year.

For prospective drafters, the question has become whether to trust his assessment, as well as that of the team of medical personnel which has treated him. Is this news we can trust, or is this just a load of bull that the club wants to accept and hopes that its fan base believes?

The explanation sounds viable, but most of us aren't physicians. The Bravos have plenty of pitching depth, onto which they've held fast, in case Hanson's shoulder problem turns out to be more severe, or in case Tim Hudson is unavailable because of the offseason procedure he underwent on his back, or in case they just like to hog arms.

Atlanta Braves SP Tommy Hanson
Don't be afraid to snatch Hanson

It hasn't taken long for Hanson to slip into the realm of doubtable assets. Certainly, when the pool of starting pitchers is as deep as it is, there's little reason to take a grand leap of faith with a hurler in his condition. Cripes, the majority of MDC drafters prefer Josh Johnson instead of him.

That is where the beauty of average draft position lies. It is information about the fantasy baseball feelings of a sample of people not unlike you. Those people do not set the price, but they can add a bit to your presence of mind. What can you get away with?

Hanson is a starting pitcher with top-flight skills, and we haven't yet seen his signature season, the one that places him among roto aces. Will he ever have it? He's only 25, but shoulder problems drain sand from the hourglass quickly.

He's just too damn good, if he's healthy. He has no noteworthy history of injury concerns prior to this. He has a detailed appraisal of and justification for the prescribed course, which he's followed. And he has a host of skeptics providing you with protection. Until you hear reasons otherwise, there's little reason not to target Hanson.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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