Jacob Hannemann, the Cubs third round draft pick of last season’s 2013 draft, is a kid who may soon be starting to get the attention of scouts, and the baseball media. He isn’t exactly coming out of nowhere. Hannemann was a two sport athlete at BYU in both football as a cornerback, and baseball. He performed well at BYU, hitting .344/.415/.553 with 16 doubles, seven triples and four home runs, while scoring a team-high 53 runs and stealing 14 bases for the Cougars in 2013. He’s clearly someone who has explosive athleticism who can develop a five tool skill set. Although he may never develop prodigious power he can certainly hit his fair share of extra base hits with power and speed. Many have compared him to Jacoby Ellsbury with power. How exciting would it be to have a player like that at the leadoff spot?
Before going more in depth on his skill set, it should first be noted that he is still somewhat raw. One of the biggest reasons for this is that he was away on a Mormon mission before entering college, and stayed only one season before deciding to sign with The Cubs, then played at Boise instead of staying at BYU. He is relatively inexperienced, and will need some development, but at age 23 he may be moved along quicker as he should be mentally and physically mature enough if he performs in the minors.
Last Season started slowly for him at Boise, but he quickly picked it up and slashed .313/.468/.780 while batting .290 in 14 games. Overall, he played 22 games with 98 official plate appearances and is slashing .302/.435/.737 hitting .272 from rookie ball all the way through the 5 games he played at Kane County this season. Hannemann has the wheels and athleticism to stick in center field. Of course that would likely mean he needs to switch to a corner position as in center field is prized Cubs prospect Albert Almora. It’s likely that doesn’t change anytime soon as Almora plays a superb centerfield. Of course he could always still play center elsewhere if he gets traded in a deal. He also has stiff competition with some other corner outfield hopefuls most notably Jorge Soler.
He could use that speed on the bases. In only 22 games he stole 8 bases and was caught only once. His arm is a little suspect, but if all those other tools play out it won’t matter too much, especially if he is in left field. His on base percentage was not that good last season, but this season he seems to be responding to the organizational philosophy and is being real selective, taking a lot of pitches, and has a .348 OBP in 5 games. He also needs to cut down on the strikeouts as he has 10 so far in only 24 plate appearances, which will need continued monitoring.
So far what I’m hearing and reading from all the people I trust who cover baseball Hannemann has a chance to be a legitimate MLB leadoff man with 20 plus home run power who can steal bases, and run down anything in the outfield. Getting someone who can start an offense right from the teams very first at-bat is a player that is exciting, and this kid seems to have that in abundance.