Saturday, June 22, 2013

Failed Prospects Pt. 15: Craig Hansen

Craig Hansen is a good example of why the draft can be a crapshoot.  Hansen was selected in the first round of the 2005 draft, 26th overall.  He was considered the closest to being Major League-ready.  It was largely speculated that Boston could bring him up right away for relief help down the stretch.  It was a move that was met with positive reviews, especially by Peter Gammons.  He was expected to be the closer of the future and fairly quickly.

Hansen did make the Major Leagues in 2005, but he only pitched in four games with a 6.00 ERA.  He was not ready yet.  He did make it back to the Major Leagues in 2006 and spent quite a bit of time there, but he was passed on the depth chart for closer by Jonathan Papelbon, who had a phenomenal rookie season.  Hansen struggled in 32 games, going 1-3 with a 6.63 ERA and 30 strikeouts versus 15 walks in 38 innings.  He showed some signs of the talent that made him a first-round pick.  He was still considered a work-in-progress.

Fearful that he had been rushed to the Majors and dealing with some injuries, Boston left him in the minors for the entire 2007 season and he did have a good year with a 3.86 ERA in 40 games.  In 2008 he was expected to make his return.  He had been diagnosed with sleep apnea and was taking some medication.  It was thought that that had contributed to his struggles.  He pitched well briefly in Pawtucket at the start of the season and was called back up to Boston in late April.  Unfortunately, he again struggled.  He pitched in 32 games with Boston in 2008, going 1-3 with a 5.58 ERA and walked almost as many as he struck out.

It was becoming clear than Hansen was not going to develop into the relief prospect he was expected to be in Boston, so he was shipped to Pittsburgh in the three-way Manny Ramirez deal.  Things actually got worse for the Pirates.  He pitched in 16 games with a 7.47 ERA and 20 walks versus just seven strikeouts.  He then only made it into five games for the Pirates in 2009, which was the last time he pitched in the Major Leagues.  He was in the Mets system as recently as a year ago, but has not been seen this year.

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