The KC Royals pitcher has dealt with injuries and rehab for a large chunk of the past two years. A solid 2020 season would complete an awesome comeback.
Jesse Hahn was once a player with a high ceiling. In need of a change of scenery, though, he was traded to the KC Royals in January of 2018. The former Oakland Athletic proceeded to miss the entire 2018 campaign due to injury, and spent nearly all of the following season rehabbing from it.
Hahn worked his way back to Kansas City for six appearances towards the end of 2019. In those games, he walked six batters and surrendered seven earned runs in just 4.2 innings. While he managed to record seven strikeouts, that seemed secondary when staring at a 13.50 ERA.
The Royals subsequently non-tendered Hahn in December of last year, then re-signed him a few weeks later. The hope has been that with a full offseason of health and progress, the product will show up on the field. Spring training games haven’t yielded those results, though.
In four innings of work thus far, Hahn has allowed five runs on seven hits. That’s good for an 11.25 ERA. The strikeouts are nowhere to be found, either, as he’s got just one punchout to his name since spring training began. Some readers may remember I’m not huge on putting a lot of stock into early spring numbers, though, so we’ll see how Hahn can finish.
Hahn’s role on the 2020 team has yet to be determined. Some are hoping he can somehow work his way into the conversation for the team’s No. 5 starter spot (more on that at the end of this article), but that seems extremely unlikely. While he is a former starter and has the stuff to do it, health hasn’t been on his side and he needs to pitch consistently out of the bullpen before doing anything else.
Not many KC Royals are facing more pressure to perform in 2020 than Hahn. At the age of 30, we can’t continue making excuses for the potential of his pitches and his resume that is now years old without being updated much. The organization brought him back this year for a reason, and that reason was to see if he can complete the ultimate redemption story.
Only time will tell if he’s capable of doing so.