AFL: Alen Hanson Takes Part In AFL Fall Stars Game

The Arizona Fall League had their Fall Stars All-Star game on Saturday night. Shortstop Alen Hanson was the only Pittsburgh Pirates player in the game. He was on the bench to start the game, coming in on defense in the bottom of the sixth inning. The first batter after he came in was Eddie Rosario, who hit a slow hopper to Hanson and beat out to play with good hustle. Hanson made the play cleanly, but didn’t release the ball quickly, though he made a strong, accurate throw. With one out and a man on first, Hanson started a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Coming up in the seventh inning with one out and a man on first, Hanson fouled off a couple pitches before grounding out weakly to the pitcher on a 2-2 count. He was able to get the runner to second base though, and that runner scored one batter later on a single.

In the field in the bottom of the seventh, Hanson handled a grounder cleanly, his last fielding chance of the game. He batted again in the ninth and grounded out to second base on a 2-2 count. The switch-hitting Hanson batted lefty each time in the game. His East team lost 9-2 to the West.

AFL Games on TV

Pittsburgh Pirates fans will get a chance to watch their prospects live next week. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night, the Scottsdale Scorpions games will be shown at 9PM EST on the MLB Network. A replay of the Fall Stars game will be shown at 3AM Sunday morning on the MLB Network.

  • Reading the reports of Hanson’s defense over time have been interesting. It sounds like he’s settling down, and becoming much better at the routine plays. Also, it sounds a bit like his arm strength is improving, if only slightly. Now, that wouldn’t completely shock me as he gets older and stronger, but for those that have seen him, does it appear his arm strength is 1) improving, 2) little to no change, or 3) his better all around defensive play is making his arm strength less noticeable. I say that with the caveat that his arm strength as reported on this site has always seemed adequate, though not spectacular, while other reports have questioned his arm strength.

    • He definitely has the arm strength to play shortstop but it is by no means a plus arm. Adequate seems like the best way to describe it. Last year, West Virginia spent a lot of time working on infield drills before games, so I saw a lot of throws from Hanson during the 4-5 times I watched these drills and the games I saw. Tim also saw plenty of his games this year in person, so combined we’ve seen hundreds of throws from him over the last two years. The games will be televised as mentioned above, so there should be some good chances to see him throw. His range is a plus tool and he has quick feet. He just turned 21 last month, so he is still young and needs repetition at the position to get better. He’s got time, you won’t see him in the majors next season unless they give him a Sept look, but he has time to improve before you see him regularly in Pittsburgh sometime in 2015

  • I think that Hanson has proven he can hit, but the biggest question mark in his future is whether he can handle the shortstop position defensively. Physically gifted, he sometimes has been lacksadaisical in the field leading to miscues in fielding and/or throwing. He has shown improvement as he has advanced from the DSL up through Hi A and into AA by the end of the year. 2013 started like a nightmare with his accumulation of 16 errors in about that many games. He got some time off and work with the traveling fielding coach and he did much better the rest of the year. Sounds a whole lot like maturity will help, and hopefully, he and another MI prospect, Max Moroff, will get more one-on-one in both aspects of the game.

    The Cubs have to be thrilled with the performances of their three top prospects in the AFL -3B Kris Bryant No. 2 pick overall in the 2013 Draft, CF Albert Almora, Cubs No. 1 pick in 2012, and RF Jorge Soler – I think that Bryant and Soler played in the AFL All Star Game yesterday – how about Almora?