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.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.