For Pete's Sake

Seven things you may not know about new Royals Jesse Hahn and Heath Fillmyer

Jesse Hahn during a start for the A’s against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Jesse Hahn during a start for the A’s against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. jsleezer@kcstar.com

The Royals continued their roster overhaul on Monday with a trade that sent designated hitter Brandon Moss and reliever Ryan Buchter to the Oakland A’s for right-hander Jesse Hahn and minor-league right-hander Heath Fillmyer.

The deal allowed the Royals to trim their payroll ahead of the 2018 season.

Here are seven things to know about Hahn and Fillmyer:

1. Hahn was picked by the Rays in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, but he would have been selected higher had he not suffered an elbow injury in his final start at Virginia Tech. Hahn needed Tommy John surgery, and he missed the entire 2011 season.

“I was real frustrated at the time,” Hahn told the Tampa Bay Times in 2013. “My injury happened two days before the draft. I didn’t know where I would be selected or if a team would even take a chance on me. I’m just so thankful the Rays gave me an opportunity.”

Ahead of the 2012 season, Hahn broke his right foot.

2. As a sophomore at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, Fillmyer helped his team reach the NJCAA Division II World Series in 2014. Fillmyer was 9-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched.

Fillmyer was one of the NJCAA pitchers of the year.

3. One of Hahn’s teammates at Fitch High School in Connecticut has a special place in the hearts of Royals fans: Matt Harvey.

Harvey was the Mets’ starter in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, and he insisted on pitching the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead. The Royals scored two runs, both charged to Harvey, and rallied for a 7-2 win in 12 innings.

Hahn talked with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015 about those high school days with Harvey.

“We kind of fed off each other,” Hahn said. “If Matt pitched well, it motivated me to pitch well. He attracted scouts and colleges, so did I. We always wanted to be in that same category as each other and play in major-league baseball together. It’s pretty unique.

“He was almost the same pitcher in high school: He threw hard, blew through hitters. We knew it was only a matter of time before he was going to take off.”

4. Fillmyer was originally a shortstop in high school, and at Mercer and pitched a mere eight innings as a freshman before making the move to the mound his sophomore season. Nevertheless, he was drafted in the 28th round as a pitcher by the Rockies after that freshman season.

That spurred his change to pitching.

“We figured if I got drafted after just eight innings, let’s see what I could if I pitch a whole year,” Fillmyer told the Trentonian in 2014. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised (at being picked). I worked hard and the chances I got I kind of did well in them.”

5. Hahn’s biggest supporter is his older sister, Melissa, who has cerebral palsy and watches all his games from her home in Connecticut.

“She’s my No. 1 fan. She’s always in front of the computer or the TV for my games,” Hahn told Slussman. “She has this cute little Spongebob or Barbie phone she puts on her tray and she always expects me to call her after every start, or I call my dad and he puts her on the phone and I talk to her.”

6. Fillmyer sort of predicted he’d be drafted by the A’s.

Before his final season at Mercer, Fillmyer bought an Oakland hat. He was picked in the fifth round by the A’s in the 2014 draft.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Fillmyer told the Trentonian. “I’ve only had two MLB hats in my life. One was a Phillies hat. I grew up rooting for the Phillies ever since I was a kid.”

7. Hahn was traded by the Rays to the Padres ahead of the 2014 season and made an instant impact.

He had seven victories in his first nine starts, which were the most in Padres franchise history and tied for the third most by a Major League pitcher since the 1914 season, behind Boston’s Boo Ferriss in 1945 and John Whitehead of the White Sox in 1935. They both had eight wins in their first nine career games.

After the 2014 season, Hahn was traded to the A’s.

Kansas City Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss is just happy to still have a job after hitting .207 last year. At FanFest on Friday Jan. 26, 2018, he said he'd like to better.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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