With the 155th pick of the 2020 MLB Draft the Tampa Bay Rays selected Jeffrey Hakanson, a right-handed pitcher out of UCF.
The college relief pitcher stands 6’0”, 185 lbs. In seven appearances in an abbreviated 2020 season, Hakanson delivered 20 strikeouts in 8 1⁄3 while compiling six saves. This season he was fastball/slider out of the ‘pen, but has a change and two-seam in development.
In 2019, his sophomore year, he delivered a 3.38 ERA over 26 2⁄3 innings with 52 strikeouts against 15 walks, while collecting six saves.
A career reliever, the 21-year old Tampa native and graduate of Jesuit was not ranked among the top prospects at Baseball America, Fangraphs or MLB Pipeline’s top draft prospects lists, but being a local kid could mean the Rays had the inside scoop.
Wrote this about Hakanson in the fall: “He presents a tough look, with a herky-jerky delivery that adds deception to his 92-94 fastball with a high spin rate, making it hard to barrel up. He’s also improved his slider since last spring." https://t.co/D2mF5CM1WB— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 12, 2020
Hakanson was scouted in high school but was not a key target for the Rays until his sophmore season at UCF. He earned first team All-American honors from the Collegiate Baseball News as a junior, as his 6 saves led the AAC and tied for 1st in Division I.