The SF Giants selected left-handed pitcher Rohan Handa out of Yale in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB draft with the 146th overall pick. He officially signed with the organization earlier this week. Handa has spent most of his amateur career off the radar of pro scouts, barely reaching 80 mph with his fastball as a high schooler and sitting in the mid-80s through most of his career at Yale. However, when the Ivy League canceled their baseball season this spring, Handa began working with private coaches to help improve. The results helped make Handa one of the most incredible draft stories in recent history.
Once Handa began his coaching program, his fastball made massive gains, quickly eclipsing 90 mph and even touching 97 mph. His offspeed pitches also gained velocity, giving him an intriguing mid-80s breaking ball as well. After recording an abysmal 5.97 ERA with just 19 strikeouts in 31.2 innings pitched at Yale, Handa became one of the most dominant arms at the New England Collegiate League, posting a 0.53 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 17 innings of work.
Just a few days after he was selected by the Giants, Handa was kind enough to chat with our own Wrenzie Regodon about his wild transformation, the draft process, and much more.
SF Giants: Rohan Handa talks draft process and reaction
W: Hey Rohan! How’s your day going? It’s been a few days since the draft, but do you still feel the draft fever?
R: The day’s been good. Obviously a few days after the draft, it still feels like a dream. It’s still surreal. But honestly, I’m just ready to get to work.
W: That’s really awesome man! How was the draft process for you? Did you know that the Giants were targeting you where they drafted you beforehand?
R: The draft process was pretty stressful, not gonna lie. It was definitely something that I was learning a lot about. But when it comes to the interest from the Giants, yeah there was interest there for about a month or two. I threw a bullpen prior to the ACC Championship back here in Charlotte and that kind of started the interest when it comes to the SF Giants.
When it comes to the rounds of kind of being picked in that spot, I was hearing that sort of round but I wasn’t exactly sure if that was true or not. I would have only believed it if my name was called in that round and that’s exactly what happened so I’m forever grateful.