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Randall Delgado In For Tommy Hanson: What Should Braves Fans Expect?

By now you've likely heard Braves ace Tommy Hanson will miss at least one start with shoulder tendinitis, and while the loss will certainly hurt the club for a few weeks, there is a silver lining to this whole ordeal: Randall Delgado is now an Atlanta Brave.

Delgado, a 21-year old right-handed pitcher out of Panama, was ranked in the top-50 of just about every 2011 prospect list and is widely regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. He had a big breakout season last year, which was aided greatly by an approached approach and solid command on the mound. He was promoted to Double-A Mississippi and held his own for a month before returning once again this season.

In 13 starts, Delgado went 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8.74 K/9 ratio, 3.55 BB/9 ratio and .250 BAA.

So what should we expect from the righty in his Major League debut? Delgado features a fastball that'll sit in the low 90's, though he will touch 95 and 96 on occasion. With the adrenaline pumping this evening, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him light up the radar gun a few times. While he primarily works off his fastball, he also features a curveball and changeup, both of which are plus-pitches.

In a perfect world you'd break in a pitcher against a weaker offensive team, but Delgado and the Braves don't have that luxury on Friday night. He'll face the Texas Rangers, and while the game will be played in Atlanta, they're one of the best in baseball at putting runs on the scoreboard.

Randall simply needs to go out and play some catch. He needs to remember he has seven defenders behind him and he doesn't have to strike everyone out to be successful. You see so many young pitchers trying to establish themselves by a big strikeout performance and all it gets them is a quick hook and high ERA. We don't want that. We want Randall to do what he does best: Pitch.

Best of luck, kid. You're living a dream.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.