I’ve made Jesse Hahn my final-round pick in multiple drafts this spring. He didn’t pitch after July 1 last year because of a forearm injury, but the 26-year-old right-hander entered spring training this February with a clean bill of health and he carries the kind of starting pitcher profile that sings loudly to any fantasy-oriented baseball observer.
The numbers are there: 3.23 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 7.1 K/9 in 170 career major league innings. The home park is gold: Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum, as pitcher-friendly as it gets with its spacious dimensions and large swaths of foul territory. He was supposed to be a late-round steal with the goods to dominate for stretches in 2016, but Hahn will be gone from all of my rosters as of Wednesday morning.
Hahn was officially optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday afternoon, with Athletics manager Bob Melvin naming left-hander Felix Doubront the club’s fifth starter instead. Doubront, owner of a 4.89 career ERA and 1.48 career WHIP, is not deserving of fantasy consideration in standard formats.
Maybe the stay in Triple-A will help Hahn iron out his arm issues, but it’s not worth the wait in basic mixed leagues. He spoke last month to the Bay Area News Group about needing to change his arsenal in order to stay discomfort-free -- even eliminating his slider completely -- and those changes resulted in a 10.97 spring ERA. Hahn gave up 16 hits, five walks, and 13 earned runs in four Cactus League starts that spanned just 10 2/3 total innings.
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And What A Story It Has Been …
Congratulations are in order for 23-year-old Trevor Story, who was officially named the Rockies’ Opening Day shortstop on Tuesday afternoon. There wasn’t a ton of competition -- Jose Reyes is on administrative leave while he awaits trial for domestic violence charges in Hawaii, Daniel Descalso is out another several weeks with a fracture in his left hand, and Christian Adames is Christian Adames -- but Story still had to earn the job with a strong showing in Cactus League play. And earn it he did.
The former supplemental first-round draft pick (45th overall in 2011) is batting .381/.458/.881 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 16 exhibition games as of Wednesday morning. He slashed .279/.350/.514 with 20 home runs, 40 doubles, 10 triples, 80 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 130 games last season between Double-A New Britian and Triple-A Albuquerque. Reyes will be back eventually, but Story has an opportunity here to establish himself as the shortstop of the future in Colorado. And the rebuilding Rockies could decide to stick with him if he manages to get off to a decent start. Reyes would then become trade bait.
The thin air of Coors Field can sometimes turn average hitters into All-Star-level producers. It’s worth seeing if it can do the same for Story. His current ADP (average draft position) in Yahoo leagues is 230. That would be the last pick of the 23rd round in a 10-team draft.
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Kim May Already Be A Korean Bust
Hyun-soo Kim signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Orioles in late December and was almost immediately penciled in as the club’s starting left fielder, at least against right-handed pitching. But the 27-year-old South Korean went hitless over his first 23 at-bats in the Grapefruit League and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette informed the media on Tuesday that Kim will not be on the 25-man roster when camp breaks later this week.
"I think we have some other players ahead of him right now," Duquette said, per Roch Kubatko of MASN. "We're just trying to do the right thing for the team and get the guys in the right jobs. I think from our perspective, we had a couple of players do real well in the spring and look like they're going to be helpful to the team to start the season."
Kim was known best for his plate discipline and ability to get on base in Korea, producing a .318/.406/.488 slash line in 10 seasons with the Doosan Bears. But he didn’t show that type of prowess this spring in Orioles camp, batting .182 with a .229 on-base percentage in 44 at-bats. He’ll now have to decide whether to accept an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk or head back to the Korea Baseball Organization.
The left field job in Baltimore will likely fall to Rule 5 Draft pick Joey Rickard, who entered Tuesday night’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves with a shiny .386/.462/.579 spring training line and recorded his team-leading 23rd hit in the 10th inning of an eventual 4-4 tie.
Rickard, 24, batted .321/.427/.447 with two home runs and 23 stolen bases in 117 games last season between three different levels of the Rays’ minor league system. He should be picked up in AL-only leagues, but mixed leaguers can probably wait to see how he performs under the bright lights. There are many established outfielders with fantasy projections that look more promising than what Rickard is likely to provide.
Quick Hits: Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will announce the team's closer on Wednesday morning … Stephen Strasburg pitched three scoreless innings against the Cardinals before Tuesday's Grapefruit League game was rained out … Trevor Bauer fired six innings of shutout ball Tuesday against the Angels, finishing Cactus League play with a 2.25 ERA and 19/4 K/BB ratio in 20 innings … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that Yasmani Grandal (forearm) is expected to be ready for Opening Day … Miguel Sano went 3-for-4 and delivered his second homer of the spring Tuesday as the Twins topped the Red Sox … Ryan Braun (back) is confident that he will be ready for Opening Day … Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Tuesday that he may use a closer by committee at the beginning of the season … Matt Harvey (blood clot) expects to be able to start for the Mets on Opening Day against the Royals … A.J. Pollock (elbow) had three hits in five at-bats in an intrasquad game on Tuesday … There are no further plans for contract extension talks between the Blue Jays and Edwin Encarnacion … Angels right-hander Garrett Richards will start Opening Day against the Cubs next Monday night in Anaheim … Victor Martinez (hamstring) returned to the Tigers’ Grapefruit League lineup on Tuesday … Corey Seager (knee) is expected to be in the Dodgers' lineup for Thursday's exhibition game against the Angels … Red Sox named David Price their Opening Day starter against the Indians … Phillies outfielder Cody Asche had a setback with his oblique injury and remains sidelined indefinitely … Todd Frazier cranked his third home run of the spring Tuesday as the White Sox beat the Rangers … Brewers closer candidate Will Smith will attempt to rehab the torn LCL in his right knee rather than immediately undergo surgery … Ricky Nolasco won the final spot in the Twins’ starting rotation over Tyler Duffey … Yadier Molina (foot, thumb) returned to the Cardinals’ Grapefruit League lineup Tuesday and appears on track for the regular-season opener … Kevin Gausman (shoulder) will throw from a distance of 120 feet on Wednesday … Reds president Walt Jocketty said Tuesday that he expects Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall to platoon in left field … Javier Baez (thumb) will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list … Rule 5 Draft pick Colin Walsh has been named to the Brewers' Opening Day roster … Lance Lynn threw Monday for the first time since Tommy John surgery … Kameron Loe has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug … Jon Jay will hit leadoff for the Padres on Opening Day … Rangers acquired C Bryan Holaday from the Tigers in exchange for RHP Myles Jaye and C Bobby Wilson … Philip Humber has retired from baseball.