The Cincinnati Reds continue to make more trades. This time they traded AWAY a starting pitcher, sending right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark to Oakland. The Athletics will be sending minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah to the Reds in return. The trade was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Susan Slusser, the Oakland beat writer for The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Reds will be paying $2.1M of the remaining portion of salary owed to Roark this year.
There’s a lot to digest here, but let’s start with the money. The Reds are paying money to move Tanner Roark. By doing that they were able to get a better prospect back in the trade than they otherwise would have. That’s, in my opinion, a very smart and prudent move. Spending money to upgrade is always favorable to moving players to upgrade.
Now, let’s talk about Jameson Hannah. He’s a left-handed hitting center fielder. Depending on where you look he was rated anywhere from the #7-9 rated prospect in the Oakland organization. Fangraphs has already made the move on their prospect lists and have added Hannah to the Reds list and slid him into the #10 spot.
Jameson Hannah Scouting Report
A second round draft pick in 2018 out of Dallas Baptist University by Oakland, the Athletics sent Jameson Hannah to Vermont following the draft. In limited action there, playing in just 23 games, he hit .279/.347/.384 in the short-season A-ball league. His season was cut short after he sprained his foot.
In 2019 the now 21-year-old outfielder was sent to the hitter friendly California League to join the Stockton Ports. Healthier this season, Jameson Hannah is hitting .283/.341/.381 with 25 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs. He’s stolen 6 bases this year, but been caught 7 times. For a player who is supposed to have plus to plus-plus speed, that is a clear area that he will need to work on moving forward.
— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) July 31, 2019
At the plate there’s some good things, and some things that will also need working on in the future. On the good side of things, scouts seem to universally note his bat speed. Quick bats are always helpful. They can lead to more contact, and better power. With that said, neither of those two things has translated yet for Jameson Hannah. He’s in the most hitter friendly league – non-Triple-A baseball edition – in the minor leagues and he’s got a .099 isolated power this season. He’s also striking out 21.3% of the time.
On it’s own, that strikeout rate isn’t bad. But when it’s coupled with no home run power at all, it’s too high. He also isn’t walking much this season, either – boasting a 7% walk rate. The bat doesn’t exactly project for much power, but it’s believed there is more power in there than the 5′ 9″ and 185 lb. Hannah has shown to this point, too. The problem could be that he doesn’t hit the ball in the air enough to get to that power. His ground ball rate this season is 54%. That’s incredibly high.
Defensively, Jameson Hannah can and does use his speed well. He’s got plenty of range in center field to remain there long term. He has a plus-plus speed once he gets underway. His arm does rate out a little below-average. That means he’s probably not going to fit into right field as a starter, but his bat was never going to allow that anyways. The arm plays fine for left of center field.
Right now if the future is going to be as a starting player, Jameson Hannah is going to have to make more contact or hit for more power. One of those two things will have to happen. Fortunately, there’s reason to believe that both of those things could happen. Hannah has been assigned to the Daytona Tortugas, the Cincinnati Reds Advanced-A affiliate. It will be interesting to see how the big difference in hitting environment plays out for a guy who isn’t a power hitter.