May 4, 2017
Guarding The Lines
The Alec Hansen Revival
Let’s rewind ourselves two years, back to the halcyon days of 2015. Not only had the Chicago Cubs not yet won the World Series, but they were still in the midst of their upward turn back to relevancy. Noah Syndergaard and Francisco Lindor were spending their second seasons in Triple-A and starting to show prospect fatigue. Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw were still the best player and pitcher in baseball respectively by light years...well, that’s your constant, I suppose. And Alec Hansen, sophomore pitcher from the University of Oklahoma, was amongst the handful of most likely candidates to go first overall in the 2016 MLB Draft, along with Jason Groome and Riley Pint.
Hansen had never quite pitched up to his stuff (reportedly touching 103 MPH in college) or reputation at Oklahoma, spending most of his freshman year kicking around low-leverage relief and his sophomore year as a good-but-not-great starter. It all fell apart during his junior season, as he was often unable to throw strikes and ended up out of the rotation in the months leading to the draft. The White Sox still took him in the second round and Hansen signed for a slot bonus slightly below $1.3 million. He was fairly impressive throughout the rest of the summer and fall, earning a rare placement on our top 101 prospects as a non-first rounder in his draft year.
This past weekend, Hansen came through Lakewood with Low-A Kannapolis. The pitching matchup ended up being with Phillies sensation Sixto Sanchez, so Hansen was the decided B-side. While Sanchez was every bit the flashy wunderkind he was in my first look at him (Jeffrey Paternostro will have more on that soon), Alec Hansen also placed a stake in the ground as one of the better pitching prospects I’ve seen around the circuit, pitching back to the better reports from his sophomore year of college.