So that's what's wrong with Craig Hansen...

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This entry was posted on 7/19/2007 10:16 PM and is filed under uncategorized.

Very interesting and telling comments from Peter Gammons during his weekly Thursday segment with Mike Felger on the 890 ESPN's Mike Felger Show Thursday afternoon, where he tries to explain what in the wide, wide, wide world of sports has happened to wunderkind reliever Craig Hansen over the last two years.

According to Gammons' theory, Hansen has changed both his delivery and repertoire and might have done it under the tutelage of coaches on agent Scott Boras' payroll. Interesting, and you know if Gammons is saying this then it's something that the Red Sox front office also feels pretty strongly about it.

Hansen has a 5.50 ERA in 30 games at Pawtucket this season where Triple A batters are hitting a robust .306 batting average against the formerly can't miss prospect. Are things getting better? Not so much...a 5.68 ERA in his last 10 outings.

My apologies to Mike Felger for completely butchering and paraphrasing his on-air questions...I'm doing you no justice Mike...But here's the gist of what Gammons had to say Thursday:

A little concerned to read that the Sox and Daisuke have agreed to lessen his side sessions, and it’s a little concerning because it comes on the heels of a story last week that Scott Boras wants his pitch count lowered?
I take it as two totally separate things. His workout regimen which between starts and on the day of starts is unusual to say the least and I think it’s different from anybody else. At this time of year I don’t think it’s a bad idea to cut back on their work in between starts.

What Boras did was raise questions about number of pitches which I think is something that’s irrelevant when you’re talking about Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Scott likes to control everything. I think he probably ruined Craig Hansen and I know he’s ruined the kid that Kansas City took with the number one pick a year ago by changing and I like what he did with Barry Zito’s delivery. I like the way he’s only throwing the ball 79 mph right now, which [Boras] did. So Scott wants control over everything.

 It gets to be a problem for team. I remember when ]Matsuzaka] started against the Yankees in May he threw about ninety pitches as hard as he could at about 3:30 in the afternoon. That is hard to maintain over a full season.

As much he loves to work and as much as the Japanese work ethic is so dramatically different from the American work ethic, I think at this time of year where he’s headed up to 230 innings and especially if they make the playoffs it’s good to cut back. But I think in-game pitch counts is something that Scott Boras knows nothing about.

How has Scott Boras ruined Craig Hansen?
PG: They have their coaching staff. Craig Hansen, I saw him on the Cape and the only pitcher I’ve seen that was better is Billy Wagner and he’s going to the Hall of Fame. Hansen was a short-armed out of his delivery guy with a great sinker and slider.

And now it’s all cross-seamers thrown up high in the zone and extend your arm and he throws it 98 mph and they hit it out at 198 mph when you see the ball with his delivery.

He needs to be coached by people here and not by the people in California at the Scott Boras clinics. It’s the same thing with [Luke] Hochevar when Kansas City gave $4 million last year as a four-seam, curveball guy and they changed him into a two-seamer, slider guy this winter. He’s got a 5.80 ERA at Double A which for $4 million doesn’t hack it.

With these agents there’s too much tinkering. Agents don’t know more about baseball than the people that coach it.

You’re saying that Scott Boras has his own staff of coaches that talk to his clients?
I talked with Texas people about Mark Teixeira who has moved away from [Texas hitting coach] Rudy Jaramillo, who is acknowledged as a great hitting coach, and is instead working with Scott’s people. The people in the Texas organization are just exhausted from it.

I mean Scott has his heart in the right place with this but you’ve got to start wondering about this. Some people do know more about the mechanics of baseball than Scott Boras does, and that’s the coaches.
I mean he only has like 85 people working for him exactly, but at the same time Bill Fischer is a much better pitching coach, in the case of Hochevar, than the guys that Scott has working for him. Psychologically there have been a lot of guys that he’s helped immensely because of [renowned sports psychologist] Dr. Harvey Dorfman, who’s been phenomenal, and who’s been dispatched to help Hansen.

But there’s got to be a reason why this guy has completely changed his delivery since he was at Double A two years and my guess is that’s part of it. I feel very strongly about that.



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