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.