There is a lot of varying opinion about where Michigan Wolverines left-handed pitcher Steven Hajjar might go in this summer’s Major League Baseball draft. There is consensus though that he’s the most blue chip prospect in the Big Ten.
His MLB Draft stock is actually much higher than anyone else in the league, and his status as a lefty no doubt as something to do with that, as there is always a premium placed on southaw prospects. All drafts are just a roll of the dice, you never know what you’re going to get, and the baseball draft is no different.
Speaking of baseball wagering, you can find out which way BetQL’s model is picking for tonight’s MLB games here. I would certainly go long on people picking against the Pittsburgh Pirates right now.
Hajjar, who should definitely go somewhere in the first round, is currently 2-0 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.192 WHIP.
His strikeout to walk rate, 67-18, in 50.1 innings pitched, is especially impressive. He put in a strong outing against Illinois on Saturday, but registered a no decision as the Illini beat the Wolverines 5-4 in Evanston (Michigan and Illinois were in a pod at Northwestern, but the hosts couldn’t compete, due to covid issues).
Ahead of the series, Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb explained what makes Hajjar so special.
“The left-handed part adds a lot to it,” said Hartleb.
“The velocity, the consistency, the swing and miss that he gets, it just sets him apart from a lot of pitchers.
“He has a legitimate out pitch, with his slider, he’s got command in the zone with all his pitches; he throws it with a downward angle and just really competes.”
In that game, Hajjar battled another Big Ten pitcher with substantially high draft stock, Illinois’ Andrew Hoffman. In the end, the Illini got the best of UM in that game, but it’s Michigan who are one of the better teams in the country right now, and certainly among the best in the Big Ten.
And Steven Hajjar is one of the best individual players in the country, as he was named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason and Midseason Watch Lists. The 6’5″ Andover, Massachusetts native certainly has a very bright future ahead.
Just a redshirt sophomore, the option is there, if he wants, to stay in Ann Arbor longer and work on his developing his skill set further.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.