Pittsburgh Pirates: Three LHPs to Watch in the Draft

Jun 20, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Texas Longhorns pitcher Pete Hansen (33) pitches in the eighth inning against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Texas Longhorns pitcher Pete Hansen (33) pitches in the eighth inning against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /
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Texas pitcher Pete Hansen (33) throws a pitch against Air Force during the NCAA playoff game at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas on June 3, 2022.Hansen
Texas pitcher Pete Hansen (33) throws a pitch against Air Force during the NCAA playoff game at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas on June 3, 2022.Hansen /

LHP Pete Hansen

Pete Hansen hails from the University of Texas. The Longhorns have multiple draft prospects, including the Hispanic Titanic, Ivan Melendez, and others such as Douglas Hodo, Trey Faltine, and Tanner Witt. Left-hander Pete Hansen is another guy who will likely go within the first few rounds of this year’s draft.

Hansen’s 2022 numbers might not be too impressive, especially when you compare them to his 2021 numbers. He had a 3.76 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 107.2 innings this year, compared to a 1.88 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 91.2 innings last season. But there were a handful of improvements he made regardless.

Hansen struck out 27.7% of batters faced, which was an increase of over 5% from last year’s 22.3% mark. Not only did he significantly improve his ability to strike out batters, but he was dotting up the strike zone as well. He allowed just 19 batters to reach via free pass, leading to a 4.4% walk rate. His K:BB ratio of 6.32 was nearly double last year’s 3.48. The downside is that he let up home runs at a 1.3-per-9 rate.

Hansen is the prototypical strong-command/low-velo pitcher. His fastball only averaged out around 88-90 MPH. Though he’s shown more velocity in the past. In 2020, he worked closer to 92 MPH and topped out at 94. But his overall command comes in at a 60-grade. You watch video of him, and he’s hitting his spot a decent bit. His curveball and slider are plus offerings. Between the two, his upper-70s/low-80s slider is the better pitch, though his low-to-mid-70s curveball is a quality offering. Plus, he uses a change-up which he utilizes against right-handers most of the time.

Hansen has gotten away with a high-80s/low-90s four-seamer in what is a top-three NCAA conference, if not the best NCAA conference, is impressive. He’s been able to do it because of his exceptional command and great breaking balls. Ranked as the 125th best prospect per MLB Pipeline, the Pittsburgh Pirates could take him with the 110th overall selection. It gets them a good college arm early in the draft.