Polanco and Hanson Make the South Atlantic League Top 20

Baseball America released their top 20 prospects for the 2012 South Atlantic League today. It’s no surprise that Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson both made the list, with both prospects ending up in the top 10. The list can be viewed here, and scouting reports can be viewed here.

Despite Hanson getting most of the attention this year, Polanco was ranked higher, coming in at number three on the list. Baseball America noted that Polanco was ahead of Hanson due to a better chance of playing a premium defensive position. There’s very little question that Polanco can stick in center field with his speed, his range, and his strong arm. There has been a debate whether Hanson can stick at shortstop over the long term. A move to second base would hurt his value as a prospect, while Polanco’s value is safe in center field.

Baseball America mentioned that Polanco might have been the best athlete in the league. They also said he can get pull happy, although that would work well down the line in PNC Park, as Polanco is a left-handed hitter. He didn’t have any trouble with left-handers this year, and that’s something I noticed in Spring Training. Polanco was crushing the ball all throughout the Spring, including a home run against Double-A left-hander Nathan Baker during one intrasquad game.

Hanson was ranked sixth on the list. Baseball America noted that the big question with him is his defense at shortstop. Offensively, Hanson has a lot of tools to work with. He’s shown some power from the middle infield, hitting 16 homers this year. He’s a switch hitter with good hitting abilities from each side of the plate. He also has plus speed.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://twitter.com/ej6687 Erik Johnson

    Hanson’s defensive issue still with his lack of arm strength?

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Arm strength is a big issue, but also bad awareness and moves in the field.

      • John Eshleman

        I haven’t seen enough myself, but I gather that his footwork needs a lot of work.

      • Kevin Anstrom

        Gift Ngoepe – when does he join Hanson as the middle infield combo? In AA next year? Or in Pittsburgh in 2014/2015?
        I assume Gift will stay at SS and Hanson moves to 2B. Do you agree?
        Also the BA writer Bill Ballew mentioned that Bell looked like the best position player in the league.

  • Kevin_Creagh

    I’m surprised Kingham didn’t sneak on the back half of the list. I guess his rough start was a bad first impression for some in the league.

    • duckwoes

      I agree. I saw him pitch last year in State College and was very impressed. In spite of his early struggles in WV I think he is a definite prospect going forward.

      • John Eshleman

        The top 20 in this league is very good, so his omission doesn’t necessarily mean he’s off the prospect radar by any stretch. Instead, I think it suggests that Kingham lacks the upside of some other players in the league, projecting more as a back-end of the rotation guy. His 4.39 ERA this season certainly didn’t help the cause.

  • Lee Young

    Tim…not that big a deal hitting a HR off of Baker. Lol

  • Lee Young

    Number 20….Roughned Oder! What a name! I sure hope he makes it!

  • wtmiller

    3rd and 6th in that league is impressive. That’s one of the better top 20s I’ve seen.

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