Tommy Hanson already among baseball's best pitchers after his first 'full season'

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Stephen Strasburg is overshadowing every young pitcher in baseball right now, but as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes 23-year-old Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson deserves some attention for what he’s done through 35 career starts.
After basically one full season in Atlanta’s rotation Hanson is 18-7 with a 3.08 ERA, .231 opponents’ batting average, and 202 strikeouts in 210 innings. Setting aside the insane hype for a moment, the Nationals should be thrilled if Strasburg begins his career with similar numbers.
Hanson’s control has been shaky at times with 3.2 walks per nine innings, but he’s handed out more than three free passes just twice in 14 starts this season and is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA since a career-worst outing on May 20.
Hanson and 20-year-old stud Jason Heyward give the Braves one of the most promising young duos in all of baseball, and because he’s a four-time All-Star it’s easy to forget that Brian McCann is still just 26. Atlanta sitting atop the NL East in mid-June has certainly surprised a lot of people this season, but whoever takes over for Bobby Cox will also be inheriting a full cupboard for years to come.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.