Former major league pitcher Tommy Hanson died suddenly of catastrophic organ failure last night after experiencing trouble breathing on Sunday and eventually falling into a coma. What caused this organ failure has yet to be determined. He was 29.
Although the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft, he would rise through their organization after making a splash in the Arizona Fall League in 2008 would make his big league debut in 2009. He would win his first four big league decisions including back to back win against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Hanson went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts during the 2009 season and would finish third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting behind Miami Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ.
Hanson would fall to 10-11 in 2010, but did strike out a career high 173 batters. By 2011, his velocity went down due to shoulder and back injuries. Prior to the 2013 season, the Braves traded Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for reliever Jordan Walden. In 15 starts for the Angels, Hanson went 4-3 with a 5.42 ERA before being demoted to the minors. He would never pitch in the big leagues again despite his efforts to come back with the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and, most recently, the San Francisco Giants. In five big league seasons, Hanson went 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA with 648 strikeouts.
Let me give you an idea of what Hanson could do on the mound. Here is a video of Hanson in 2011 striking out a career high 14 Houston Astros.
There might not have been a happy ending, but he did play his part.
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