Winter Leagues

Winter Leagues: Alen Hanson Starts at Second Base Again

Winter Leagues: Alen Hanson Starts at Second Base Again

From the Dominican on Saturday night, Gregory Polanco went 0-for-4 with a walk, RBI and run scored in his team’s 6-5 loss in ten innings. He is hitting .319 with 27 walks and 26 RBIs in 38 games.

Alen Hanson played second base during the 2010-11 seasons

Alen Hanson played second base during the 2010-11 seasons

Alen Hanson went 0-for-4 on Saturday night, his second straight game playing second base. He handled all his chances in the field cleanly. While he has played second base before, he has not played the position in two years. As a rookie in the Dominican Summer League in 2010, Hanson played more games at second base than any other position. In the GCL the next season, he saw less time there and more time at shortstop. After coming off the bench for his first two Winter games, Hanson started twice at shortstop, before moving over to second base. It isn’t known at this time if the move is anything more than one to help his Winter team, which has one of the better fielding/throwing minor league shortstops in baseball, Hector Gomez.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-4 with an RBI. He was making his second straight start, playing center field. Rojas had just seven at-bats through the first six weeks of the DWL season, but he’s gone 4-for-8 in three games this week.

In Venezuela, Andrew Lambo went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored in his team’s 8-7 loss. The Cardenales took a 7-0 lead in the fourth, but couldn’t hold the lead, allowing the last three runs in the ninth inning. Lambo is hitting .235 through 20 games, with five doubles, a triple, 15 RBIs and nine walks.

Junior Sosa batted lead-off for the first time and went 2-for-2 with two walks, a triple, a run scored and a stolen base. He is now hitting .393 through 11 games and he has reached base in nine straight games.

In the Colombian League All-Star game, Harold Ramirez went 2-for-3 with a triple and run scored. He is hitting .372 through 21 games, with seven stolen bases in eight attempts and a .974 OPS.

In Australia on Sunday, Danny Arribas went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. In 18 games, he has a .182/.267/.227 slash line.

Sam Kennelly went 0-for-3 as his team swept the weekend series with a 3-2 victory. The 17-year-old Kennelly came into the game with a .152 average through 16 games, with all seven hits being singles and he has drawn six walks. He has been perfect in the field, splitting his time between first and second base, though the last two weeks have only been at second base.

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  • Bill Tull

    No HRs in 20 games for Lambo? That isn’t good.

    • leefoo

      I’m wondering if he is working on things? Like making consistent contact?


      • emjayinTN

        foo: It does not work that way – even by accident he should have at least a few.

  • Jack Reddick

    Does any Pirate prospect have a home run in winter ball?

    • John Dreker

      Polanco has four homers. If Jerry Sands sticks around after being removed from the 40 man, he also has four homers. Matt Hague hit two homers in his time. While it is surprising that Lambo hasn’t homered, I can assure you his total this season wasn’t a fluke. He has hit some far homers, one in particular when I saw him was perhaps the furthest I’ve seen at Trenton in 50+ games I’ve seen there, so he has legit power. The team he plays for has put up low homer totals each of the last four years, so he isn’t playing in a good league for power. Through 51 games, his team leader in homers has five.

      • backstreets

        Lambos winter numbers X 162…I will take it. Plus he wont go homerless.

      • leefoo

        The one he hit for us was a bomb.

      • jon6er

        I just looked at the Venezuela League players stats and their is only 5 players in double digit home runs out of all the position players and the top three are from Venezuela whatever that means, lol. There are probably many reasons why only 5 of over 100 position players have double digit home runs but I would be more worried about Lambo if he didn’t have any after this many games if he was playing in the states.

  • leefoo

    John…any thoughts on why Kennelly has not been playing SS? I wonder if they have a ‘legit’ SS there? Not too concerned about his hitting. He IS only 17.

    Any thoughts on why Hanson is only playing 2b?

    • John Dreker

      I think it’s the same answer for both players, both teams have legitimately better options there. As mentioned above, Hector Gomez plays for Hanson’s team, he’s four years older and has been getting rave reviews on defense since 2007. In Kennelly’s case, they have Joey Wong playing everyday. He is seven years older than Kennelly and has played SS as high as AA. I’ll have more info on Kennelly on Tuesday. As you said, due to his age/experience VS the level of play in the ABL, I wouldn’t worry too much about his hitting. It’s impressive enough that he’s able to play everyday at that level.

      • johnrussellskinner

        Does Hector Gomez play for someone’s farm team in the states?

        • John Dreker

          He spent the 2013 season playing at AA for the Brewers. He has played in the majors, 2011 for the Rockies

  • IC Bob

    There is nothing so far in winter ball that would suggest Lambo even be given an opportunity at first. Right now he is hitting single A pitching at a tune of 230. When he has to go against ML pitching I suspect he will be totally overmatched. Throw on top of that he will be the worst defensive first basemen in the league, you have a real opportunity to crush your team. Its starting to look like Jeff Clement all over again.

    • John Dreker

      While I agree with the point you’re trying to make, I will point out that the level of play in Venezuela is much better than what he would see at Bradenton(assuming you meant high-A). It’s even better than what he saw at Altoona. Two of the starters he faced in the last week were in the majors this year and numerous relievers have major league experience as well.

    • jon6er

      So far the only thing your post suggest is that you don’t know what you are talking about. And the fact that he tore up Double AA and Triple AAA pitching really must have passed you by. And like John replied and pointed out is the fact that many of the winter league players have had a cup of coffee or have been close.

  • Pie Rat

    Is Matt Hague playing winter ball? A few years ago I had the same expectations of him that I do of Lambo now. He led spring training in HR’s that year and I thought he can play 1st and 3rd.

    • John Dreker

      He hit .313/.362/.469 in 17 games in the Dominican. Right now, through the end of next month, he is running a hitting clinic with the Indianapolis Indians, so his Winter season is done.

  • IC Bob

    Jeff Clement put up some good numbers in the minors as well. If you want to ignore everything in the last 5 years accept last year go right ahead. Throw on top of that he would be a below average first basemen at best. There are better options out there.

    • jon6er

      I keep reading your comments IC Bob and I am surprised the Pirates haven’t contacted you about employment, because either you are one hell of a player development expert or maybe you just have a crystal ball!

    • Ian Rothermund

      I’m just curious. If hitting 30+ HRs the previous season between AA and AAA doesn’t entitle you to a look in the majors, what would? I mean, I would argue that the Pirates should make a move to solidify the first base position, even if it were just in an attempt to build depth. I’m not blown away by Lambo being the primary 1B starting next year, and he may be the next Jeff Clememt, but then again, maybe he isn’t. Even if he just peoduces to Garrett Jones’ modest level, they’re still saving a ton of money on the same type of player. They’ll just never know what they have in Lambo until they give him an opportunity.

  • LloydBeFree

    IC Bob,

    LLOYD is definitely in the camp that hopes our Buccos acquire a lefty hitting 1B. However, LLOYD trusts the front office to make decisions based on their valuations of the FA’s or trade options. You state that there are better options out there than Lambo. While that may be true as far as shear talent or experience at the position, would you trade Josh Bell, for instance, for any of the available options? Well what if that’s what they are asking? Maybe they are asking even more knowing of the Buccos “need” there. Would you trade PRNW for Adam Lind? Would you trade Justin Wilson and other pieces for any of these guys. What if you value the oft-injured Eric Chavez, who LLOYD would like to see signed at the right price, at a certain price and his agent is asking for an extra $2 million?

    Patience my friend!!!! Huntington has earned it.


    ps………one last thing Robert, how do you know that Lambo would be the worst defensive 1B in the league or that he won’t hit? There are some butchers at 1B throughout the league and Lambo looks to be fairly athletic and may learn the position quickly and be able to handle it. He has played there in the past. Oh, and LLOYD knows better than to judge a man’s hitting in a 20 game period so we should relax judgement there as well. Good Day!!!!

  • Pie Rat

    Getting weird, PieRat thinks, yes!

  • LloydBeFree

    Wierd indeed Pie…….

    Though LLOYD fully expects the Buccos to contend in 2014, 2015-16 are the years that excite him. Here’s why:

    1. Polanco RF L
    2. Walker 2B S
    3. Cutch CF R
    4. El Toro 3B L
    5. Marte LF R
    6. Lambo 1B L
    7. Sanchez C R
    8. Mercer SS R

    1. Cole R
    2. Morton R
    3. Tallion R
    4. Locke L
    5. Kingham R

    And there should be plenty of money and other internal options for lineup/rotation upgrades, the bench andthe bullpen.

    Anyone else see the great possibilities?


    • mpep86

      Love the rotation, really like the line up. I would like to see an external upgrade. Cuban ss aledmys diaz would be nice. Young, and successful in Cuba,plus would come cheaper than an established FA. It also allows Jordy to be a utility player/2b if they decide to trade Walker before he gets expensive.

      • mpep86

        Trading for yonder alonzo might help bring diaz to Pittsburgh, being a fellow cuban. Oh and he is a lefty that can hit righties, that’s also cheap.

Winter Leagues

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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