AFL: Alen Hanson’s Fielding Improves As Team Loses Again

The Scottsdale Scorpions lost again on Thursday, their seventh straight defeat. First place Mesa won 7-3 to move to 5.5 games ahead of Scottsdale, with 11 games left in the regular season. arizona_fall_league_logo

Two Pittsburgh Pirates players were in the starting lineup. Alen Hanson was at shortstop and batting lead-off, while Gift Ngoepe was his double play partner, batting ninth.

In his first at bat, Alen Hanson popped out to third base. In the third inning, with two outs and no one on base, he singled to right field. After a wild pitch got him to second base, Hanson scored the first run of the game on a single by Jarrett Parker. In the fifth inning, Hanson grounded out to first base to end the inning. In his fourth AB, Hanson grounded out to shortstop, leaving him 1-for-4 on the day.

Gift Ngoepe has really struggled at the plate in the AFL, though that hasn’t affected his fielding. Ngoepe has not made an error yet coming into Thursday’s game. In each of his first two AB’s on Thursday, he struck out. In the third inning, he went down swinging and two innings later, he was called out on strikes. In the top of the eighth inning, Ngoepe capped off his rough day at the plate with his third straight strikeout. In 32 AB’s, he has now struck out 15 times.

Both Ngoepe and Hanson were flawless in the field. For Ngoepe, he has played nine games between shortstop and second base without an error, while Hanson has played nine straight games at shortstop without a miscue. Hanson made five errors in the first four games of the year, twice committing two errors in one game.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • deacs

    Do you think extra work put into his defense (if there is any) will take away from his offense?

    • John Dreker

      When the Pirates benched him early this year to specifically work on his defense, he was hitting at the time either. When he came back, not only was his fielding improved, he started to hit. So I don’t think there will be any worries. The AFL is a tough league and he is the youngest position player on Scottsdale by 11 months, so his .675 OPS is just fine. It is actually right in line with the team’s .677 OPS.

  • piraddict

    How does Dickerson look compared to the league? Is he competing well? Overmatched? Dominating?

    • John Dreker

      Dickerson is 13th in the league in batting average, although he isn’t hitting for much power and his strikeouts are a little high. Dickerson was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday and hasn’t played the last two days either.