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Braves release Glavine, acquire McLouth, schedule Hanson.

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It was a busy day for the Atlanta Braves yesterday.

The team released 305-game winner and future Hall of Fame inductee Tom Glavine. They acquired 2008 All-Star Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates. And then they announced #1 prospect Tommy Hanson will make his major league debut on Saturday.

With the onslaught of moves, the Braves made quite a statement: We’re here to win and we’re here to win now.

While McLouth isn’t a typical middle of the order bat, he provides much needed 30-homer power in a generally pop-less Brave’s lineup. With the struggles of Jordan Schafer, who was sent to Triple-A Gwinnet on Tuesday, a “ready-now” centerfielder was foremost in the Brave’s playoff plans.

McLouth will now be known outside of Pittsburgh.

The team loses outfielder Gorkys Hernandez via the trade. Hernandez’s departure may appear to be significant to the team’s future, but it’s really no big deal. Schafer, who possesses similar tools to Hernandez, has always been higher on the team’s organizational ladder and is clearly the team’s centerfielder of the future. One of the two had to go; Hernandez had to know he was nothing more than trade bait for the last couple years.

The Braves, however, also lose lefty Jeff Locke and righty Charlie Morton, a healthy chunk of their minor league pitching depth. Locke was once a highly regarded prospect in the system after his great 2007 (7-1, 2.66, 74 SO in 61 IP), but his development has stalled. He posted an average 2008 and was struggling mightily out of the gates this year. Morton, who suffers from confidence issues, could be a perfect fit in the Pittsburgh organization. This is an amazing (almost perfect) article about Morton and his development.

Atlanta usually drafts heavy on pitching, so scouts should quickly refill the organization with prospects on June 9.

By far the most compelling story of the day was the release of Glavine and the subsequent announcement that 6’6″, 210 pound Hanson will debut on Saturday. It’s not everyday that a team will cut ties with a player as sentimental as Glavine to clear a roster spot for a minor leaguer.

Apparently Atlanta thinks Hanson’s that good.

Getting the call!

Brave’s fans have been clamoring for Hanson’s debut since the end of the 2008 season. With a no-hitter, a triple crown, and a .105 batting average against, it’s not hard to see why. Hanson also displayed major league poise during his 2009 Spring Training performances, going 1-0 with a 4.08 ERA and 18 SO in 17.1 IP. In 11 starts at Triple-A Gwinett this year, Hanson has a 1.49 ERA and 90 SO in 66.1 IP.

Here’s his scouting report:

Fastball: Low to mid-90’s, it tails in on the hands of righties.

Slider: Upper 80’s, it’s compared to Smoltz’s best offering, but I think that’s probably a stretch.

Curveball: Hanson’s curveball is absolutely filthy. There used to be tons of video of it on Youtube, but apparently MLB is cracking down because I can’t find it anywhere now. It’s a true 12-6 knee-buckler that he throws in the mid-80’s.

Changeup: Average.

There is one video showcasing Hanson. It mostly displays his fastball, but there is a few curves thrown in.


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