Former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson, one of the most promising young talents in the game just five years ago, is dead at age 29.
Hanson died Monday night after suffering "catastrophic organ failure," a person familiar with the situation told WSB-TV sports director Zach Klein, who first reported that Hanson was in a coma and had been transferred to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
It was uncertain as to what brought on the condition, but Hanson had been hospitalized since Sunday morning.
A friend and former teammate of Hanson's told the Journal-Constitution at 7:50 p.m. Monday that the situation was grave, and another former Braves teammate, Jordan Schafer, posted on his Twitter account at 11:06 p.m.: "This breaks my heart. RIP TH."
Hanson had a 49-35 record and 3.80 ERA in 123 games (121 starts) over five major league seasons, the first four of those with the Braves. Shoulder problems and a concussion stalled his career, and he last pitched in the majors in 2013 with the Los Angeles Angels after being traded by the Braves in December 2012.
The 6-foot-6 redhead was known for his affable personality, and was one of the most popular Braves among teammates and fans durings his years with the team. "Big Red" was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts for the Braves, with at least 10 wins in each of his four seasons with them.
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, a rookie in Hanson's final season with the Braves, tweeted just before 1 a.m. Tuesday: "Very sad to hear about Tommy Hanson. Wish his family and close friends a lot of strength. He was a really nice dude."
Hanson had a career-worst 5.42 ERA in 15 games for the Angels in 2013 and spent several weeks away from the team in two different stretches while dealing with the sudden death of his stepbrother in the spring.
He finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009, but Hanson's finest stretch of pitching came during the first half of the 2011 season, when he was 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 17 starts. He had 109 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings in that first half, including 14 strikeouts in seven innings at Houston on June 12, 2011.
Shoulder problems and a back strain plagued him after the All-Star break and Hanson was 1-3 with a 8.10 ERA in only five starts the rest of the season. After going 31-19 with a 2.99 ERA in 72 career starts through the 2011 All-Star break, Hanson was 18-16 with a 5.09 ERA in 51 games the rest of his major league career.
He pitched in Triple-A during parts of the past two seasons, in the White Sox organization in 2014 and the Giants organization in 2015.
Born in Tulsa, Okla., Hanson was raised in California and graduated from Redlands East Valley High School in 2004. He was a 22nd-round draft pick by the Braves in 2005 out of Riverside (Calif.) Community College.
Hanson threw a 14-strikeout no-hitter for the Braves' Double-A Mississippi affiliate in 2008, and he dominated the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League that year, posting a 0.63 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings to become the first pitcher to win the league's MVP award.
In the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year balloting, Hanson finished behind Chris Coghlan and J.A. Happ and ahead of Andrew McCutchen. He was 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts that season, earning a June callup after producing a 1.49 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings during 11 starts at Triple-A Gwinnett.