(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Prospect Highlights: The Alen Hanson Show

In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Erie, Alen Hanson hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to tie the score. That wasn’t his biggest hit of the day though…

In game one of the doubleheader, Hanson hit a two-run double that accounted for all the runs scored in the game. That gave Altoona the win in the first game, which allowed them to gain a split on the day. For the month of May, Hanson now has an .887 OPS, showing a good blend of power and speed with five homers and five stolen bases. He has a total of 11 stolen bases on the year. These two videos show Hanson hitting from the left side, but he has actually been much better from the right side, so this recent output is an encouraging sign. As a righty, he is hitting .306 with a .930 OPS.

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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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  • Lee Young

    John………how’s his fielding this year? Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror seems to think that he is not only making too many errors still, but that he is even screwing up more routine plays.

    • leowalter

      Routine plays have always been his biggest problem area Lee. That is not anything new. He will make a great play in the hole or behind 2nd,then either boot or throw away an easy groundball.

    • John Dreker

      He isn’t making more errors and the routine plays were always his problem, so Giger was technically right on that part, but that’s been the problem his whole time. If he has too much time to think, it gets in his head. Hanson is a hard worker in practice, always puts in extra fielding, so it’s just a matter of having confidence in his abilities. He has time as I don’t see him on a rushed schedule and minor league errors don’t translate straight up to major league errors. You have better fields, better lighting, better players around you. There is a big difference between throwing across the field to Stetson Allie and Gaby Sanchez or Ike Davis. Hanson is likely a mid-2015 guy, so you figure he has 140 games of minors left, plus a full season of Winter ball I’m sure, lots of time to get better. We may see a glimpse of him in September, as he is already on the 40-man roster, but other than that, he just needs to play the position and get used to the repetition, not over-think things while he is out there.

      • Y2JGQ2

        Using your guide above his error rate should STILL be getting better as he goes up levels to better fields and players as he is getting more experience, not worse. Its not.

        • John Dreker

          My “guide” was minor league errors don’t translate to major leagues and that isn’t something I came up with, it’s based on history. He had a .907 fielding % in WV in 2012 and this year is .940, with much better range, so I’d say it has improved tremendously. Omar Vizquel finished with a .985 career fielding percentage, surest hands you or I will ever see. His minor league % was .954. Troy Tulowitzki has a .986 career fielding %, but it was .948 in the minors. Gift Ngoepe is the best defensive infielder the Pirates have, but he has six errors at 2B this year and a .964% at shortstop all-time. A .964% in the majors makes you worse than Derek Jeter and he’s the biggest field ornament we have ever seen man the shortstop position full-time. Ngoepe is a true Gold Glove talent, but you can’t tell just by looking at error numbers.

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