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What to make of Alec Hansen’s weird season

The #46 prospect in baseball has had a crazy season

AP Photos/Carlos Osorio

The Chicago White Sox have one of baseball’s top farm systems.

A deep, talented group headlined by Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and Luis Robert, the White Sox have a plethora of premier prospects.

Among those premier prospects is Alec Hansen.

Selected in the second round of the 2016 draft out of Oklahoma, Hansen is the 46th-ranked prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Going into his junior year at Oklahoma, Hansen was viewed at as a potential first-overall pick. However major control problems and an ERA over 5 forced a slide to the second round.

In his first full professional season in 2017, Hansen flashed his former premier draft prospect potential, leading all of minor league baseball with 191 strikeouts in 141.1 innings pitched.

Entering Spring Training, Hansen, along with Jimenez and Kopech, looked to be part of the next group of MLB-ready prospects in the White Sox system. However, right forearm soreness hindered his early-season development, sidelining him from the beginning of March until the end of May.

So far in 2018, Hansen has struggled mightily. In eight starts, Hansen has an ERA of 6.03, with 35 walks in 34.1 innings pitched.

On Monday, Hansen put together a crazy stat line: 4 IP, 2 Runs, 7 Strikeouts, 9 Walks (!), 1 Hit

Hansen’s above stat line tells us two things:

  • Hansen’s control is flat-out non-existent. With nine walks in four innings, Hansen walked at least two batters an inning, which is practically unheard of.
  • Hansen’s stuff is still top-notch. Seven strikeouts and one hit in four innings is really, really good. Opponents are still hitting just .238 against Hansen on the year, so the stuff is there.

Bottom line is this: Alec Hansen was just too good into 2017 to let 2018 ruin his projection as a big-leaguer. His control needs to get better, but given the fact that he didn't really have a Spring Training, Hansen shaking off the rust in his first month of the season is certainly understandable.

The progression of Alec Hansen throughout the final months of 2018 will be a major thing to watch for both White Sox fans and baseball fans.