Seattle Mariners Prospect Trade Target List: AL Central
Chicago White Sox
Ty’s pick: RHP Alec Hansen
It’s incredible how quickly things can change for a player in the game of baseball. Just one year removed from not only being considered one of Chicago’s top prospects, but one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball, Alec Hansen has fallen well out of baseball’s group of elite youngsters following a disastrous 2018 season.
Across 14 starts and 51.1 total innings of work between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, Hansen went 0-5 with a 6.31 ERA and 10.34 BB/9. Yes, you read that right. A 10.34 BB/9. In other words, he averaged well more than a walk per inning.
These struggles, however, weren’t entirely the fault of Hansen’s talent, or lack thereof. In his first Spring Training appearance last year, Hansen suffered a forearm injury that would sideline him until mid-June. Upon his return, Hansen’s velocity was down significantly and his command floundered.
Things are going a lot better for Hansen this year, now working exclusively out of the bullpen in both High-A and Double-A. While the walk numbers are still excessively high, Hansen has found his mid-to-upper-90s velocity and has surrendered runs in just two of his 13 appearances thus far.
It’s hard to imagine the White Sox just giving up on any prospect in their current state, but an overall weak AL Central could see them get back in the mix of things if they can get hot. As Jerry Dipoto continues to add young, controllable relievers, Hansen sticks out as someone who may develop into a high-leverage reliever at the MLB level.
As of now, Hansen would no longer headline a blockbuster deal, but could be an incredible piece to acquire in a swap for an average Major League contributor. It just all relies on the fate of Chicago’s 2019 season, which, at the moment, appears very bleak.
Colby’s pick: OF Luis Gonzalez
No, not that Luis Gonzalez. Same name? Sure, but different guys. This Luis Gonzalez was a third-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2017 from the University of New Mexico. I fell in love with Gonzalez during my 2017 draft prep and I still love his profile.
A left-handed hitter, Gonzalez hits line drives from foul line to foul line with an advanced approach. His power is his weakest tool, but his bat speed and pitch recognition skills lead some to believe that he can be an 18-20 HR bat in the future.
Gonzalez should be an above-average defender in a corner spot, but his bat will play better in center field, where he can be an adequate defender. He has a plus arm, with average speed and instincts in the field.
He is a good base-runner and can steal more bases than most would assume with his speed. Gonzalez has a Ben Gamel type of feel but with better defense and perhaps a smidge more power. He should be a solid fourth outfielder but could be an everyday player if his development goes well.