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2023 D50: Prospect #15

Updated: Feb 23, 2023


Each post will feature these words, so feel free to skip accordingly. I offer the same always-standing apologies for the lackluster quality of my writing, as well as the stream of consciousness nature that I write with. I sincerely wish that I was better at writing than I am but, alas, here we are. Also, I'm very good at this as compared to most, but I am still VERY bad at it. Just think about that for a second, for context purposes.

I want to start off by reminding everyone that these posts are aided and enhanced by the works of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Baseball America, and Prospects Live. Each embedded link will take you to their subscription pages and you should absolutely do that. Shout out to Geoff Pontes and Matt Thompson from Baseball America and Prospects Live, respectfully, because they're awesome. FanGraphs stats are OBVIOUSLY clutch and awesome, and that's why they are used in nearly every "Dirty" post. LOVE that FanGraphs.

Accordingly, @Cardinalsgifs provides his artistic touch to the pictures in each article, and I wouldn't do this at all if he wasn't a part of it. Special shoutout to @KareemSSN who is a must follow for Cardinals prospects stuff. His partner in crime is @Cardinalsreek and they have their own prospect list coming out soon!! Shoutout to Blake Newberry (@BT_Newberry) and Mr. Brian Walton (@B_Walton) for their work on their list over at The Cardinal Nation, too.

I also want to remind everyone that my list is different in that I don't include players with rookie eligibility that have made a Major League debut. So, you'll have to look elsewhere for Matthew Liberatore, Ivan Herrera, Alec Burleson, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan, Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, and ZacK Thompson. Some of these guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway. I'm just trying to get ahead of this because I will 100% be asked about each. I did almost add 32-year-old Rule 5 draft selection Wilking Rodriguez to the list, but decided against it because he's 32-years-old, entering his age 33 season, and the coverage of him will surely be overly saturated by the time that Spring Training gets going. Also, I didn't add recently acquired Jose Fermín because I just don't care at all. I'm sure he'll make a Major League debut at some point in 2023 which will be cool but I just can't find it in me to care about it at all.

The last thing that I'd like to do is remind everyone that this is just a snap shot of THIS moment. I'm not 100% sure what every player on the list has worked on or has been doing this offseason. So, when I'm a little more conservative with a player like, say, Michael McGreevy, it's without the knowledge of what he's worked on this offseason, along with the gains that he's made in the areas that I'm concerned about. You never know when/if things are going to click for a player, and there's more reason now than ever before - with the advancements in modern baseball technologies - for a prospect to catapult themselves from out of nowhere. Vice versa, it's easier than ever for a prospect to fall off into obscurity.

Finally, I'd like to provide links to other sites that rank Cardinals' prospects. The Cardinal Nation, Prospects Live, and Baseball America all have their 2023 lists published, and MLB and FanGraphs will link to their most recent rankings from 2022:

THE CARDINAL NATION (Subscribe to the damn site, dummies) MLB


LHP Pete Hansen

Age 22, Turns 23 in July

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2022 Draft

Listed at 6'2, 205

Before we get into it, take a second to soak in the beauty of a video below in which Pete Hansen, decked out in red and Cardinals stuff, returns to Texas.

It's probably controversial to put Pete Hansen, the Cardinals 3rd round selection during the 2022draft, ahead of Michael McGreevy, the Cardinals 1st Round selection during the 2021 draft.

For me, it's all about the type of command that each has, and what they do with their secondary offerings.

Both McGreevy and Hansen are going to fill up the zone with strikes. They both have an issue with their primary fastball. They both have some promising and measurable secondary offerings. Where McGreevy gets into trouble is that most of what he throws gets on the inside of the black of the plate while Hansen lives in-and-outside of the black, and knows when to throw a pitch off of the plate when needed.

Now, what really hurts Hansen as compared to McGreevy is that Hansen has a real velocity issue. He did hit 93-95-ish late in the 2022 collegiate season, but his fastball is mostly in the 88-90 range with varying levels of velocity both above and below that range. Luckily, as we've come to learn from the FINE FOLKS AT BASEBALL AMERICA IN THIS FINE ARTICLE, there is precedents for a college arm to gain velocity once they enter pro ball, and that's something that I am counting on with Hansen. On top of that, the word on the street is that Hansen has found a little bit of extra, and consistent, velocity this offseason. The range of that repeatable and consistent velocity is unknown at this moment. There's no denying that any extra velo is going to propel him to real success because of how good his command is, as well as his understanding of how to attack while using his entire arsenal. Even without the velo, even if the pitch is more in the 86-89 range like it has a tendency to be, it still has an acceptable amount of cut and late movement that should keep the lower levels off of it.

While the questions about Hansen's fastball is more about velocity than McGreevy's is, the pitch is just better than either McGreevy's sinker or heater. On top of that, it's Hansen's entire arsenal that gives him the edge, in my book, because of how he uses what he has and how it all works together.

I love Hansen's slider and how he uses it to both lefties and righties. He's not going to have any trouble with A-level pitching (if he even has to face either of the "A" levels at all), but it's his ability to use the slider effectively against both lefties and righties that will carry his success through the mid-level of the minors. He gets a good amount of swing and miss with it right now, but I do worry about how it will continue to progress as he progresses up the ladder if he doesn't make advancements with his fastball. I think that the pitch will always be useful, but I worry that it won't get the same swing and miss as it's getting now. I don't think it'll ever be a pitch that will get consistently hammered, just that I think we'll see some of the whiffs turn into rolled-over contact once he gets beyond the "A" level of the minors. Then again, I could be completely off. Maybe it's the late break of his slider that isn't too far off velocity-wise from his heater that makes it all so effective. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

It's not just Hansen's slider that stands out to me. It's his changeup and his less-often used curve, and it's how he commands and uses all four of his pitches. His curve isn't good enough to get a ton of outs or to wipe hitters out exactly, but he'll use the pitch whenever the fuck he wants. Same goes for the slider and change, and his comfort and success with pitching backwards is something that stands out and that I'm really impressed by. I love the gif below because at about the 14 second mark a lefty chokes up about 30 inches on the bat and he still can't make contact with Hansen's slider.

The other thing about Hansen is that he is a "bulldog". He has the attitude on the mound that I love. When a pitcher has that skill and that attitude and that I.Q while preparing like Hansen does then good things are usually in their future. It doesn't get a ton of credit for being deceptive, but I'm also willing to wager that there is some really underrated deception because of where the ball comes out of his hand. It seems, to me, that Hansen hides the ball extremely well and that everything comes out of nearly the same slot.

It's been a popular refrain in these posts, but it really feels like Hansen's future success will come down to how his fastball continues to grow and develop. I view Hansen similar to Connor Thomas in a lot of ways, and that is hopefully the template and trajectory that we find Pete Hansen on one year from now. You don't need to throw mid 90's to be successful, but you do need to be pinpoint nearly always. While we've compliment Hansen's command a bunch so far, the 16 homers allowed over 107.2 IP during his collegiate 2022 season shows us just how delicate and perfect his command has to be. The Big 12 is a tough conference, but that's still a lot of homers. I give credit to Hansen as compared to others because it seems like Hansen only lets up the dongs in situations that don't hurt him too much. This could easily be luck, but what I saw while watching him was that he was smart about "when" to leave a pitch over the middle of the plate. I've seen some hub bub on Twitter about Hansen not being a big-game pitcher, but I can't really speak to that.

I'm looking forward to getting my eyes on Hansen as he makes and moves beyond his organizational debut during the 2023 season. I have this real feeling that Hansen could be the first from the 2022 draft to make a Major League debut, with no disrespect to those drafted ahead of him (or behind him for that matter), especially Cooper Hjerpe. Of course, I'm going to be incorrect about that because Cooper Hjerpe is a monster that is going to pitch effectively in the league for years in he stays healthy. My reasoning for this prediction is simply because of how important I view Hjerpe and his development as a starter for the future of the organization and how... versatile or... recyclable... Hansen's role with the organization could and should be.

Basically what I'm saying is, much like we did with ZacK Thompson, if Hansen is dealing then don't fuck around with him. Push him and push him and push him, just like he's meant to be pushed. He's the type of developed arm that doesn't need to be dicked around with.

Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis


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