On September 4th the Seattle Mariners claimed outfielder Jacob Hannemann on waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Hannemann was blocked in Chicago but the Mariners brought him to the majors right away, although they’ve given him just the briefest look (four at-bats over six games). He’ll likely be in the outfield mix somewhere next year. Here’s a quick take.
Hannemann played college baseball at Brigham Young University but his Mormon mission delayed the start of his career until he was a 22-year-old freshman in 2013. He performed well in college (.344/.415/.533) and scouts loved his athleticism but he was considered (understandably) raw for his age.
Drafted by the Cubs in the third round in ‘13, he performed reasonably at the lower levels but hit just .233/.291/.362 on reaching Double-A in 2015. He was better in ‘16 (.247/.326/.426) and again in Triple-A in 2017 (.265/.328/.404), although this wasn’t enough to get him into the forefront of the Cubs major league outfield queue.
Hannemann is a 6-1, 200 pound left-handed hitter and thrower born April 29, 1991. In many games he is the best pure athlete on the field, with 70-grade running speed and good raw power. Unfortunately the power has remained mostly in raw form, as his swing generates more liners than long drives. He’ll get into one occasionally but his batting eye is spotty and OBP will not be his strong suit.
Despite a long history of nagging injuries Hannemann hasn’t lost athleticism. This shows up particularly well on the bases, as he’s an excellent percentage stealer, and in the outfield. His arm is so-so but he is otherwise a big asset on defense, combining speed/range with premium instincts and hustle.
Hannemann’s speed and glove make him an attractive reserve outfielder but he’ll need to show more power or boost his OBP (preferably both) to move into a regular role. This isn’t especially likely but it isn’t impossible, given his work ethic and his limited experience compared to most players his age.