2020 KC Royals season preview: Jesse Hahn

Since the KC Royals have signed him to a major league contract, Jesse Hahn is expected to produce for the team and help improve the team’s pitching.

Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman 2020 KC Royals season previews. We are working our way through 30 different Royals fans will likely see during the 2020 season. We will take a look at their previous season, some expectations for 2020, and any other pertinent information. This time, we are looking at Jesse Hahn.

What did he offer last season?

Unfortunately for Hahn, there isn’t much to say about what he offered last season. Hahn came to the Royals through trade during the offseason in 2018 and has put together only 4.2 major league innings, not much more than the 9.2 minor league innings he has played since 2018.

Hahn has been struggling with injuries and recovering from surgery. He was finally able to see a few innings at the end of the 2019 season, but things didn’t go so well. While his 7 strikeouts over 4.2 innings is a nice touch, his 6 walks, and 7 earned runs don’t look near as good. Add in his 13.50 ERA and one might wonder why the Royals brought him back.

Hahn has shown in the past he has the stuff, and the Royals will be looking for that form to come back. He should be interesting to watch in spring training, especially if he can find his control.

What should we expect in 2020?

Here are the stat line projections for Hahn’s 2020 season from both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs:

  • B-Ref: 41IP, 5.27 ERA, 40 K, 17 BB
  • FG: 58.0 IP, 4.61 ERA, 46 K, 23 BB

For a pitcher who’s missed two seasons due to injury, the innings pitched predictions are fairly generous. While the baseball-reference ERA is much higher than one would like, the 4.61 from FanGraphs, while still not desirable, would be a step in the right direction for the pitcher returning from injury.

What might be interesting, is how the Royals will decide to use him. There has been a lot of movement talk, and there are likely some rotation spots still up for grabs. While it’s expected that Hahn is in line for the bullpen, he has some experience as a starter and may see some time in the rotation if he can prove himself in spring training.

The verdict

Jesse Hahn is in an interesting spot with the Royals and has every chance to succeed. As I noted in a previous article, though, he is facing pressure to perform. The organization could have let him walk after two years of recovery, but instead, they saw something in him that made them want to take a bet on his bounce back.

If Hahn can regain his control, he could be a valuable arm for the Royals. His high strikeout rate, though over limited innings, speaks to his abilities. While it will likely fall some as he pitches more, lowering his walks could make him a strong bullpen arm the team can rely on.

Next: 2020 KC Royals season preview: Richard Lovelady

Hahn will be one for fans to pay attention to come spring training as he could move in multiple directions. Hopefully, the Royals patience and bet on Hahn will be worth it, and the team will have added good arm into the mix.

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