Alec Hansen, a righthanded pitcher who was a second round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2016, and one of the top prospects in baseball a few years ago, is retiring, per reports.
Hansen, 27, was a polarizing prospect when he was coming out of the University of Oklahoma in 2016, and was one of the players we discussed as a possibility for Texas to take at #30 that year (they took Cole Ragans instead, you will recall). Hansen had great stuff — upper 90s fastball, three secondaries that flashed plus — but major control issues as well as injury concerns that resulted in him falling to the second round.
After the 2017 season it looked like the ChiSox had gotten a steal, as a strong performance in his first full season as a professional, split between low-A, high-A and AA, vaulted him onto top 100 lists — BA had him as the #57 prospect in baseball heading into 2018, BP had him at #40, and MLB Pipeline ranked him #54.
Things went south after that, however — Hansen split both 2018 and 2019 between high-A and AA, walking more than 10 batters per 9 in 50+ innings in 2018 before dropping that to “only” 7.6 batters per nine in 50+ innings in 2019. After the lost COVID season of 2020, Hansen threw just 22.1 IP in 22 games for AA Birmingham in 2021, with 37 walks, 43 Ks and 8 wild pitches (though no HBPs — interestingly, he has hit only 4 batters since the start of the 2017 season).