Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Target: SP Jesse Hahn

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 28: Jesse Hahn
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 28: Jesse Hahn /

Jesse Hahn is a starting pitcher that the Pittsburgh Pirates should target in trade talks between now and Monday

This time of year in Major League Baseball, almost every contending team is looking for starting pitching help. After all, as the old saying goes, you can never have too much pitching. The Pittsburgh Pirates are most certainly in that category this season.

Currently, the Pirates own a 50-50 record. This record, while underwhelming, puts them just 2.5 games out of first place in the National League Central. The Pirates are also playing as well, if not better than, anyone in their division right now as they own a 24-15 record in their past 39 games.

Yet again, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in a pennant race. However, as Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, they need some help. The team could use a bullpen arm, help at third base, and, most importantly, help in their starting rotation. A starting pitcher that the Pirates should be targeting before Monday’s trade deadline is Oakland A’s right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn.

Now, on the surface, things look ugly for Hahn. After all, the 27-year old righty owns a 5.30 ERA this season. This comes after owning a 6.19 ERA last season. But as anyone who reads this site regularly will tell you, ERA does not even come close to telling a pitcher’s entire story.

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While Jesse Hahn’s ERA is ugly this season, his 3.61 FIP is not. This indicates that Hahn has pitched much better than his ERA would indicate in his 13 starts this season. In fact, his 3.61 FIP would be the second best among Pirate starting pitchers behind just Jameson Taillon. Hahn also owns a healthy career FIP of 3.85 in 286 Major League innings with the A’s and San Diego Padres.

Jesse Hahn does not allow very many home runs, just 4 home runs allowed in 69 2/3 innings pitched this season (0.52 HR/9), and he never has as his career home run rate is just 0.66 HR/9. He also owns a healthy 49.7 percent ground ball rate in his Major League career, and Neal Huntington and his scouts love ground ball pitchers. HIs 83.7 percent contact rate this season is also the second lowest of his Major League career.

The big issue for Hahn is his control. As Pirate fans have seen in recent years, no pitching coach in baseball is better at helping pitcher refine their control than Ray Searage is. There is plenty of reason to believe Searage could help Hahn, just as he has done countless pitchers before him.

This season, Hahn is averaging 3.49 BB/9. His career average is 3.24 BB/9, however, outside of 2015 (2.33 BB/9) he has never averaged less than 3.69 BB/9 prior to this season. Moving from the American League to the National League is always a boost for pitchers, especially starting pitchers, as well.

Adding to Jesse Hahn’s value is his contract. He is controlled through the 2021 season and has not even begun his arbitration years yet. This allows Hahn to help now and later and makes him more valuable than a rental.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates need starting rotation help. While Jesse Hahn’s name is not a well known or sexy one, he is still a starting pitcher who can help. Not only can Hahn help the 2017 Pirates, but he can also help the team beyond this season. He is a pitcher the Pirates should be targeting.