6/8 Hannemann eager to play ball – UPDATED

In the third round of the First-Year Player Draft, the Cubs selected outfielder Jacob Hannemann, a 22-year-old freshman who went on his Mormon mission before attending Brigham Young on a football scholarship. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was listed as the backup cornerback on the Cougars’ spring depth chart, but his tools on the diamond will lead him into the Cubs organization.

“It’s exactly what I wanted,” Hannemann told MLB.com’s Cash Kruth about being drafted. “The opportunity’s there so it’s a much better road. BYU was a great opportunity to play both sports I love but now I’m able to be professional. I’m a baseball guy now and I’m a Chicago Cub. I’m real, real excited for it.”

He struggled to open the season — batting only .111/.179/.139/ in his first 40 plate appearances — but finished .344/.415/.553 with five home runs and seven triples en route to garnering West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Hannemann also was 14-for-15 on the basepaths and is hopeful to be part of a young group of players that changes the Cubs’ fortunes.

“I’m just real stoked and blessed to be one of those players,” Hannemann said of being drafted by Epstein. “I’m going to work hard. Nothing’s done yet. I haven’t arrived. I don’t think I’ll ever arrive — that’s my mindset. I hope I progress through the Minors and sometime help the Cubs have a great season.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday he didn’t know much about Hannemann other than the scouting reports.

“I know [the Cubs front office] is really happy about being able to get him [in the Draft] and he sounds like one of those football mentality guys who comes to kick your butt every day and has the whole package and can drive the ball, can catch it and run it down,” Sveum said. “The comparisons we’re made to [Jacoby] Ellsbury and [Grady] Sizemore. [Hannemann is] a guy who just came back from a mission and as his season went, he got better and better.”

– Carrie Muskat

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