Fantasy Baseball StockWatch: A’s SP Jesse Hahn

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Updated: April 5, 2015
hahn

Jesse Hahn is with his third organization in three years, having been dealt from San Diego to Oakland in the Derek Norris trade.

Moving around so much usually means a player is either sought after or wears out his welcomes – we’re guessing Hahn is a case of the former.

Hahn was drafted by Tampa Bay in the sixth round in 2010 after tearing his UCL two days before the draft. A closer at Virginia Tech, the Rays developed the 6-foot-5 right-hander as a starter and Hahn compiled a 2.38 ERA in 34 starts in their system.

The Rays and Padres then completed a seven-player deal that included Brad Boxberger and Logan Forsythe as the “name” players with Hahn heading west.

Never having pitched above A-ball for Tampa Bay, Hahn so impressed the Padres in 13 Double-A appearances (1.91 ERA in 42.1 IP) that he was promoted to San Diego in June, skipping right past Triple-A.

After a less-than-stellar debut, Hahn went on a eight-start roll where he went 7-1 with a 1.26 ERA and a 49-19 K-BB in 50 innings. He quickly ran out of steam and was shut down by the start of September, but Hahn certainly made quite a first impression.

Stuff-wise is where Hahn gets even more interesting, as he has the makings of four above-average offerings. His best pitch is a late-breaking curve that has a swinging strike percentage of 18% (way above average) that he leans on heavily. His four-seam fastball is his bread-and-butter as he uses it both for strikes and inducing groundballs. His two-seam fastball is average, his change had good results last year despite poor scouting grades and he has an in-progress slider he rarely throws.

Hahn’s fastballs averaged 90.9 mph last year, a figure he may be able to increase as he was sitting at 91-93 and touching 97 with it in the minors. Keep an eye on the velocity readings coming off his early starts this season.

Speaking of those early starts, he’s slated to take the mound twice in the opening week for the A’s after claiming a rotation spot with a strong spring (3.06 ERA, including just one run allowed over his final two starts covering 10.1 IP). He begins his Athletics career getting to take advantage of his spacious ballpark in starts against Texas and Seattle.

Hahn should be used in deep-mixed and even some shallower leagues this week.

Going forward, we are bullish that Hahn can build on his mini-breakout of last year. He has a compelling combination of good stuff and a tremendous home ballpark to pitch out of, making him at least a starter to use as a streamer.

Projections are all over the map on Hahn, ranging from a 3.55 ERA and 8.4 K/9 by Fangraphs’ Fans to a 4.19 ERA and 6.4 K/9 by ZiPS. We lean to the optimistic side of the spectrum, having Hahn down for a 3.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.2 K/9 and 9 wins in 149 innings. Hahn’s upside would be a 3.25 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 and 12 wins.

We have Hahn ranked as the No. 80 starting pitcher, but there is top-40 upside here as we favor pitchers with high strikeout rates for potential breakouts.

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