One of the great advertising slogans that’s been used in minor league baseball over the years is that fans get the opportunity to “see tomorrow’s stars today.”
Sometimes they’re on the other team.
Tonight the PawSox open an 8-game homestand with the start of a 4-game series against Gwinnett, and the Braves starting pitcher is scheduled to be uber-prospect Tommy Hanson.
The 6’6″ righty is considered the #1 prospect in the Braves organization, and Atlanta manager Bobby Cox (who’s had a few decent players over the years) said in spring training that Hanson “is one of the best prospects I’ve seen come through here.”
Hanson is still looking for his first Triple-A win, but his overall numbers are extremely impressive: 0-3, 2.18 ERA (20.2 IP, 16 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 7 BB, 29 K).
In his pro career, the 22-year-old has struck out 402 batters in 343.1 IP (10.5 per 9 innings).
The PawSox will counter with Charlie Zink, who took a no-hitter into the 7th inning in his last start.
We hope to see you at McCoy at 6:15. Who knows, maybe someday you’ll be able to brag that you saw Hanson before he was one of the best pitchers in baseball.
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How ’bout Jonathan Van Every? I know that some hardcore sabermetricians suggest that there really is no such thing as a clutch hitter, but Van Every’s ability to hit late inning home runs, might cause them to reconsider.
So far this year, JV has had 10 at-bats between Boston and Pawtucket and has hit a pair of home runs.
The first was a 2-out grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning, tying a game that the PawSox eventually won in extra innings.
The second was last night’s 10th-inning blast in Cleveland to beat the Indians — Van Every’s first major league HR.
But it doesn’t end there.
Last year, Jonathan hit 3 10th-inning homers for Pawtucket, and 10 of his 26 home runs came in the PawSox final at-bat.
Over the course of his career, JV’s late-inning numbers will probably mirror his overall stats, but he’s been “Big Papi-like” in clutch situations so far.
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After the trip back from Syracuse last night, I got to bed around 4:00am.
The handsome lad woke me up with an enthusiastic “Daddy!” at 5:40am.
I’m not complaining. Not after seeing this smiling face.
If you can’t make it to McCoy tonight, I’ll hope you’ll tune in to the radio call. The pregame show starts at 6:00 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.