Team Number 6. Tommy Hanson v. Atlanta Braves. Side represented: Atlanta Braves

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1 Team Number 6 Tommy Hanson v. Atlanta Braves Side represented: Atlanta Braves

2 Table of Contents I. Introduction... 1 II. Hanson s career has been in decline since his debut and he has dealt with major injury problems... 1 III. Recent Performance of the Atlanta Braves... 3 IV. Tommy Hanson s Career Statistics, Injury History, and Platform Year are similar to Jair Jurrjens, Chris Volstad, and Max Scherzer... 3 a. Jair Jurrjens signed a contract below the Braves offer for Hanson and had a similar career, injury history, and platform year to Hanson... 4 b. Chris Volstad signed a contract below the Braves offer for Hanson and had a similar career, injury history, and platform year to Hanson... 6 c. Max Scherzer signed a contract below the midpoint and had a better career, injury history, and platform year than Hanson... 8 V. Conclusion... 10

3 I. Introduction This brief is submitted on behalf of the Atlanta Braves and concerns Tommy Hanson s 2013 salary arbitration. Hanson is a 26 year-old right-handed starting pitcher for the Braves. He debuted for the Braves in 2009 and is in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Braves paid Hanson $535,000 in 2012 and request an increase to $3.5m. Hanson has requested an increase to $4.3m. The midpoint between these two requests is $3.9m. The Braves respectfully request that the arbitration panel find the appropriate salary to be below the midpoint of $3.9m because Hanson has declined each year since his debut, he has suffered multiple injuries to his pitching arm and shoulder, and he posted career-low numbers in his 2012 platform year. He has had a similar career, injury history, and platform year to Jair Jurrjens, Chris Volstad, and Max Scherzer all of whom signed one-year contracts in their first year of arbitration eligibility for less than the $3.9m midpoint requested by the Braves in this case. II. Hanson s career has been in decline since his debut and he has dealt with major injury problems Hanson s performance has declined since debuting for the Braves, and since his debut he has suffered numerous injuries. This career decline led to a mediocre 2012 season where Hanson posted career-low statistics. The arbitration panel should find the appropriate salary to be below the midpoint because of Hanson s career decline, injuries, and a career-worst 2012 season. Table 1. Tommy Hanson s Career Statistics 1 Hanson ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB Totals

4 After an impressive debut in the 2009 season in which he recorded a 2.89 ERA, good for 10 th -lowest in the majors among starting pitchers Hanson has pitched worse and worse in following seasons. 2 His ERA has declined every year (2.89 in 2009 to 4.88 in 2012), he has walked more batters (3.2 per nine innings in 2009 to 3.7 in 2012), his strikeout rate has fluctuated from a low of 7.7 per nine innings to 9.8, and his homerun rate from his rookie year has doubled. Furthermore, he suffered worrying injuries to his pitching arm, pitching shoulder, and lower back in 2011 and 2012, resulting in three trips to the disabled list for a total of 78 missed games. 3 Hanson changed his pitching mechanics in the 2012 offseason, 4 but this did not help as he suffered yet another injury to his lower back and had to spend 17 games on the disabled list while the Braves were fighting for a playoff spot. 5 The Braves entered the 2012 with high expectations for Hanson, but throughout the season he did not live up to these expectations. Unfortunately for the Braves, Hanson earned a loss after pitching only 5 innings. 6 This inability to go deep into games extended to Hanson s whole season; in his 31 starts he was only able to pitch 6 or more innings in 13 games. 7 Besides his low number of innings pitched, Hanson posted pedestrian statistics in other categories. Among starting pitchers, Hanson had the 19 th -highest ERA and the 7 th -highest walks plus hits per inning pitched ( WHIP ), 8 and of his fellow Braves starters Hanson had the highest ERA and 2 season1=2009&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=16,a b

5 WHIP. 9 When the Braves had to decide who to pitch in their one-game do-or-die playoff game, they called upon a pitcher who started the year pitching out of the bullpen and not Tommy Hanson. 10 Tommy Hanson s disappointing 2012 season mirrors his entire career: high expectations followed by declining performance and performance-related injuries. The arbitration panel should award the lower salary because of this declining performance and the potential problems it portends for Hanson s future career and value for the Braves. III. Recent Performance of the Atlanta Braves The Braves have not finished first in their division since Tommy Hanson made his debut at the major league level. Since his debut the Braves have made the playoffs twice, losing in the division series in 2010 and losing in the wild-card playoff game in Hanson pitched in game two of the 2010 division series and gave up four runs in four innings pitched. 11 IV. Tommy Hanson s Career Statistics, Injury History, and Platform Year are Similar to Jair Jurrjens, Chris Volstad, and Max Scherzer Tommy Hanson should receive a salary comparable to those received by Jair Jurrjens, Chris Volstad, and Max Scherzer in their first year of arbitration eligibility because Hanson shares similar career statistics, injury concerns, and platform year statistics. Due to these similarities and because each of these pitchers signed a contract below Hanson s arbitration midpoint, the arbitration panel should decide in favor of the Braves and award Hanson a $3.5m salary

6 a. Jair Jurrjens signed a contract below the Braves offer for Hanson and had a similar career, injury history, and platform year to Hanson Tommy Hanson should receive a salary similar to Jair Jurrjens, who received a salary in his first year of arbitration lower than what Hanson is asking for, because Jurrjens and Hanson have similar career statistics, a similar injury history, and similar platform year statistics. Jurrjens signed a contract for $3.25m in his first year of arbitration, a lower figure than the Braves offered figure for Hanson and below the midpoint of $3.9m. 12 Table 2. Jurrjens Career Statistics 13 Jurrjens ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB Totals Table 3. Hanson s Career Statistics 14 Hanson ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB Totals Jurrjens and Hanson s pre-arbitration career statistics demonstrate that they are inconsistent players who suffered an overall decline after pitching well in certain seasons and struggled in other seasons. After two seasons, 2008 and 2009, in which Jurrjens gave up half of a homerun per nine innings pitched, his 2010 season saw an increase to one homerun per nine innings pitched. Similarly, Hanson had two seasons, 2009 and 2010, in which he gave up 0.7 and 0.6 homeruns, respectively, before giving up 1.2 and 1.4 homeruns per 9 innings in his next two seasons. Neither Jurrjens nor Hanson effectively countered this increased homerun rate by allowing fewer walks or by throwing more strikeouts as both pitchers saw negligible differences

7 in their walk and strikeout rate. Both pitchers increasing ERA and WHIP further reflect this decrease in pitching efficiency throughout their careers. Jurrjens 2010 season saw his ERA jump nearly a full point from two years before and more than two points from his career year in 2009, and his WHIP increased year on year leading to a career worst in Hanson s career statistics show a similar decline. He posted a career low ERA of 2.89 in his debut season, and it increased each year leading to a career-high ERA of 4.88 in Other overall career statistics closely mirror each other. Jurrjens pitched fewer innings (549.2 to 635.0) and struck out fewer batters per nine innings (6.4 to 8.4), but in other categories Jurrjens posted nearly identical statistics or outperformed Hanson. Jurrjens and Hanson both allowed slightly over three walks per nine innings (3.2 to 3.1) and had very similar ERAs (3.52 to 3.61); Jurrjens also allowed fewer home runs per nine innings (0.7 to 1.0) and allowed much fewer stolen bases (50 to 112). Overall, both players have had inconsistent careers with good and bad seasons with their statistics showing that the overall trend for both is one of promise before a decline in performance. Both Jurrjens and Hanson suffered worrying injuries in their pre-arbitration years which caused them to miss significant time and is a concern for the future. Jurrjens suffered a knee injury late in the 2010 season and had to miss the end of the season and the Braves playoff series that year. 15 Hanson has likewise missed significant games due to injury. In 2011, Hanson suffered a shoulder injury, was placed on the disabled list twice in the season, and did not pitch in the last month of the season when the Braves were fighting for a playoff spot. 16 In 2012 with the Braves again in the playoff hunt, he again missed crucial starts due to an injury

8 Jurrjens and Hanson also share similar statistics for their platform year with Jurrjens slightly outperforming Hanson. Jurrjens allowed fewer players to reach base, demonstrated by his lower WHIP (1.393 to 1.454) and lower walks per nine innings ratio (3.2 to 3.7), and when opposing players did reach base, he did not allow as many to steal second or third base (6 stolen bases to 31 stolen bases). He did pitch in fewer games than Hanson, but Jurrjens posted a lower homeruns per nine innings ratio (1.0 to 1.4) and a lower ERA (4.64 to 4.88). Because both Jurrjens and Hanson have had declining careers and have similar career statistics, have fought injury problems, and share similar platform year statistics the arbitration panel should view Jurrjens salary of $3.25m as a comparable salary below the midpoint of $3.9m and should award Tommy Hanson a salary of $3.5m. b. Chris Volstad signed a contract below the Braves offer for Hanson and had a similar career, injury history, and platform year to Hanson Chris Volstad, who signed a contract for $2.655m in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2012, 18 is a pitcher who shared similar pre-arbitration career statistics, had fewer injuries, and had a similar platform year with Hanson. Table 4. Volstad s Career Statistics 19 Volstad ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB Totals Table 5. Hanson s Career Statistics 20 Hanson ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB

9 Totals Drafted with the 16 th overall pick in the 2005 draft, Chris Volstad made his major league debut halfway through the 2008 season to great success. 21 His 2.88 ERA in his first season ranked 10 th -lowest among starting pitchers who pitched at least 80 innings that season. 22 Likewise, Hanson debuted midway through the 2009 season and his 2.89 ERA ranked 10 th - lowest among starting pitchers. 23 After each of their stellar debut seasons, both Volstad and Hanson have had inconsistent careers. Volstad throughout his career has allowed more runs per game (4.59 ERA to 3.61) and has a lower win percentage (.451 to.584) than Hanson. However, other important statistics which demonstrate a pitcher s skills, like walks per 9 innings (3.1 to 3.1) and homeruns per 9 innings (1.1 to 1.0), are much closer to Hanson s career statistics and indicate that Volstad and Hanson have had similar, declining careers. Neither Volstad nor Hanson has suffered an injury that has caused them to miss half of a season or more, but Hanson has spent significant time on the disabled list whereas Volstad has not. Volstad only missed 5 games in his whole professional career before his first year of arbitration, and those games were in the minor leagues. 24 Conversely, in 2011 Hanson suffered a shoulder injury, was placed on the disabled list twice in the season, and did not pitch in the last month of the season. 25 In 2012, he again missed starts due to an injury. 26 Both Volstad and Hanson pitched remarkably similar in their platform years. There was only a 0.01 difference in their ERAs, each pitched about the same number of innings (165.2 to eason1=2008&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players= &season1=2009&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=16,a

10 174.2), and each allowed similar numbers of homeruns per 9 innings (1.2 to 1.4). Although Volstad posted a lower win-loss record, his team s meager offensive production in his starts partially accounts for the low number of wins. 27 Other statistics in Volstad s platform year compare very favorably to Hanson s. In his platform year, Volstad allowed fewer home runs per nine innings (1.2 to 1.4), allowed fewer stolen bases (10 to 31), and allowed fewer batters to reach base (1.425 WHIP to WHIP). Hanson has been a somewhat better pitcher throughout his career and in his platform year, but the two player s career statistics are so similar that the arbitration panel should award a salary to Hanson above Volstad s $2.655m salary but below the midpoint of $3.9m; this increase accounts for Hanson s slightly better career but is more representative of the similarities between Volstad and Hanson s career than Hanson s requested salary and takes into account Hanson s injury history. c. Max Scherzer signed a contract below the midpoint and had a better career, injury history, and platform year than Hanson Hanson should receive a salary lower than the $3.75m Max Scherzer earned in his first year of arbitration in 2012 because Hanson has similar career statistics, has had more injury problems, and had a worse platform year. Table 6. Scherzer s Career Statistics 28 Scherzer ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB Totals Table 7. Hanson s Career Statistics In his 2011 platform year, Volstad s team scored on average 3.5 runs per start. However, in Hanson s 2012 platform year the Braves scored an average 4.6 runs per start

11 Hanson ERA WHIP W-L BB/9 K/9 HR/9 IP SB Totals Scherzer made his major league debut late in the 2008 season and, like Hanson, pitched well in his first year. Scherzer had a nominally higher ERA (3.05 to 2.89) and WHIP (1.232 to 1.183), but Scherzer struck out more than two batters per nine innings (10.6 to 8.2). Like Hanson, Scherzer has not been able to fully match that impressive debut although his decline has not been nearly as steep as Hanson s decline. His ERA in his four seasons has fluctuated between 3.05 in 2008 and 4.43 in 2011, whereas Hanson s has been between 2.89 and Additionally, both pitchers have posted high career strikeout ratios (8.7 to 8.4), similar walk ratios (3.0 to 3.1), a similar number of innings pitched (617.0 to 635) and similar homerun ratios (1.0 to 1.0). Scherzer was a remarkably durable player in his pre-arbitration years as he did not face any major injury scares and missed only 7 games. 30 In every full season before arbitration did not pitch fewer than 170 innings in a season and exceeded 190 innings twice. 31 Conversely, Hanson has only managed to pitch above 190 innings once and was only able to pitch 130 innings in 2011 because of two stints on the disabled list and spent time on the disabled list in Scherzer and Hanson share remarkably similar platform year statistics with Scherzer s statistics indicating that he was more effective. Scherzer let fewer players reach base as evidenced by his WHIP (to Hanson s 1.454) and allowed fewer of those baserunners to steal second or third base (12 stolen bases to 31). Scherzer struck out slightly fewer batters per nine innings (8.0 to 8.3), but he allowed more than one less walk per nine innings (2.6 to 3.7),

12 pitched significantly more innings (195 to 174.2), and had fewer opposing players score (4.43 ERA to 4.88 ERA). Scherzer and Hanson had similar pre-arbitration careers with Scherzer s being slightly better because he was more consistent and did not have any major injuries. Additionally, his platform year was better than Hanson s platform year. The arbitration panel should view Scherzer s salary of $3.75m as an appropriate comparison and should determine that since Hanson has had a worse career, worse injury history, and worse platform year then he should receive a lower salary than $3.75m, which in this case falls below the midpoint of $3.9m. Hanson had a similar pre-arbitration career, injury history, and platform year to Jair Jurrjens, Chris Volstad, and Max Scherzer. In his career, he has a similar WHIP, pitched a similar number of innings, has a similar walk and homerun rate, and has a similar ERA. Like the other pitchers, he has suffered some injuries causing him to miss significant time from the season. In his 2012 platform year, Hanson pitched very similarly to the three comparable pitchers in important pitching statistics. He pitched worse than Scherzer and Jurrjens and slightly better than Volstad in their platform years. The arbitration panel should thus award a salary between these pitchers salaries, which in this case is the Braves figure of $3.5m. V. Conclusion Tommy Hanson once showed great promise to the Atlanta Braves. He lived up to his potential in his debut season, but since then his career has suffered. In the past two years, he has had major injuries which have affected his performance and the Braves performance. He is a similar pitcher to Jair Jurrjens, Chris Volstad, and Max Scherzer, all of whom signed a one-year contract less than the $3.9m midpoint in this case. Because of these reasons, the arbitration panel should award a salary of $3.5m to Tommy Hanson. 10

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