Morning Coffee: The Amazing Jesse Hahn


Jun 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Jesse Hahn (45) pitches during the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Five starts. Four wins. 1.95 ERA. 36 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. Welcome to the major leagues, Jesse Hahn.

He’s had quite a debut, hasn’t he?

Let’s start with the wins. Four wins puts him third on the Padres in that category:

Tyson Ross: 6

Ian Kennedy: 5

Jesse Hahn: 4

Ross and Kennedy have made 17 starts each. Andrew Cashner has two wins in 12 starts.

And the ERA? 23rd in the National League among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched. 20 of the pitchers ahead of him are relievers. That puts him fourth in the league among starters.

The 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings? 11th in the league. Nine of those above him are relievers. Among starters, only Clayton Kershaw and Jose Fernandez have a better rate.

That’s some good company. Let’s hope we continue to hear names like that when comparing Hahn to other pitchers around the league.

So where did he come from? Chances are, unless you’re a regular reader the Friars On Base Minor League Report (and you should be), you weren’t that familiar with Jesse Hahn. By now you’ve probably heard that he was high school teammates with Mets hurler Matt Harvey. But aside from that, who is this young star-in-the-making?

Remember when we traded for our left-handed relief specialist, Alex Torres? Well, Hahn was the other guy we got in that trade. The Padres gave up five players to get these two (Logan Forsyth and Brad Boxberger among them). Chances are we mostly paid attention to Torres, as he headed directly for the major league roster. But now we’re seeing the other, and potentially better, part of that trade. Not to take anything away from Torres, he has done very well this year, but Hahn gives us something to be excited about.

His blazing fastball and big curveball have been getting hitters out at every level he has pitched in, and he has moved through the system at speeds approaching that of his high 90s fastball. And he’s not just talented, he seems to know how to pitch. He’s not afraid to throw that curveball (or changeup, or slider) in fastball counts, and has a talent for keeping hitters off balance.

Last year, he spent most of the season in A ball, where he put up a 2.09 ERA with 67Ks in 69 innings. After being traded from the Rays organization to the Padres, he started this year at AA San Antonio, where in 8 starts he compiled a 2.11 ERA with 33 whiffs in 38.1 innings.

Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner (34) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So far as a professional, his ERA is 2.26, and he has recorded 191 strikeouts in 187 innings.

And on a side note, Hahn is apparently quite a talented barber as well. During Spring Training in Peoria, he trimmed the locks of a number of his teammates. He started cutting hair in college, and takes it quite seriously. Some of his “clients” were Jedd Gyorko, Tim Stauffer, and – yikes – Andrew Cashner.  We have it on good authority that that mullet was not Hahn’s idea.

So if the whole major league pitcher thing doesn’t work out…