Alec Hansen, another up incomer, had the stuff to go first overall in the 2016 draft, but control problems “popped up” and he walked his way out of the University of Oklahoma starting rotation. Alec freefell, all the way to the White Sox at 49th overall. Post draft the Sox made some slight mechanical adjustments to Hansen’s delivery and it seemed his control issues disappeared. He started 12 games in 2016, between rookie league and Single-A Kannapolis. He pitched 54.2 innings and walked only 20, ending the short year with a 4.05 strikeout to walk ratio, he also only surrendered three home runs. The biggest improvement came in his walk rate, his last year at Oklahoma he had a putrid 7.0 walks per 9, his first year in the Sox system it was down to 3.3.
2017 was another great season for Alec, with his control problems behind him he started his season in single A, then promoted to high A Winston Salem after, and promoted again to AA Birmingham for two starts before the season came to an end. Totaling 26 starts and a combined 141.1 innings and lowering his walks per nine to 3.2. He lead all minor league pitchers that season with 191 strikeouts.
Alec 2018 started off bumpy, he missed the first two months with a forearm strain that popped up in spring training. Upon his return, his improved mechanics seemed to had fallen off. He struggled immediately in AA Birmingham. His first start back he allowed nine hits in his short debut, which lead to a demotion (back to High A) following his last start on July 29th. The Sox wanted Alec to work back with the pitching coach that fixed his mechanics originally but not before walking seven in 1.1 innings and hitting the strike zone on only 28 of 60 pitches.
More alarming was a drop off in velocity sits at 94-97 mph early in games and tops out at 99, he sat a lot closer to that 94 upon his return, but his 6 foot 7 frame gives him greater movement downward on his fastball. Alec’s secondary arsenal includes a plus curveball, a slider, and a changeup.
The White Sox are certainly not giving up on Hansen yet, they plan on giving him another season to prove that his velocity and control are back and hopefully better in 2019. At some point, though he will have to prove it, he has a plus fastball and slider so he could be deployed more as a reliever if all else fails, but he was drafted to be a starter and has shown signs of that ability. If he doesn’t prove he can be a solid starter this year he will probably find himself in the bullpen or on another team.
Thanks as always for reading, follow the fun on Facebook by liking our page, and follow us on Twitter @SidedSox like, comment, and maybe retweet. Feel free to comment below or email us at SoxSided@gmail.com with questions, comments, or suggestions.