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College Baseball Countdown: 86 Days to Go- Alec Hansen

If you’re just joining us on our countdown to opening day in college baseball, get caught up with an introduction to our list here.

It was an odd year for Oklahoma in 2015. They came into the season with some high expectations, but ultimately, they fell short of that high bar and missed out on the postseason altogether. Then, after the season was over, a whole host of Sooners were drafted and signed (11 in all) to begin their pro careers, doing little to dissuade the thinking that OU had fallen well short of what they were capable of during the season.

Still, thanks to some key returnees and a strong incoming recruiting class, there is still a lot of optimism in Norman heading into 2016, despite all of the productive players who departed after last season.

One big reason (literally and figuratively) for those high hopes is Alec Hansen, the team’s returning ace, who is also a real candidate to be the first overall pick in the next MLB Draft.

As a freshman in 2014, Hansen appeared in just ten games, throwing only 11.1 innings. His 4.76 ERA wasn’t anything to crow about, but he did flash plus-plus stuff, as he struck out 16 hitters in those innings. Last year, as a sophomore, he took a huge leap forward, and while he still had his battles with command, he loudly announced that he can be among the most dominating pitchers in all of college baseball.

He finished the season 5-6 with a 3.95 ERA, but his more impressive numbers came in the form of his 94 strikeouts in 82 innings of work, the .244 batting average against him, and his fastball velocity that regularly reaches the high-90s.

Even if Hansen has another season as a junior just like the one he had as a sophomore, he has shown enough to warrant interest as a high first-round draft pick. But if he takes another step forward and becomes a more complete pitcher, Hansen will find himself right in the thick of the conversation for the first overall pick, and the Sooners may find themselves back in the postseason.

Joe Healy was first introduced to college baseball when he grew up watching the likes of Jeff Niemann, Philip Humber, and Wade Townsend pitch for Rice University. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. That love only grew as he went off to college at Sam Houston State University, where he practically lived at Don Sanders Stadium watching his Bearkats under the direction of the legendary Mark Johnson. He holds a B.A. in political science from SHSU and is working toward his Masters in Public Administration from SIU-Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois.