INDIANAPOLIS — Josh Bell has shown a great deal of consistency in his adjustment to Triple-A, although that hasn’t been the case for a few other young hitters on the roster. Alen Hanson, Willy Garcia, and Keon Broxton are all talented players who could reach the majors one day, but none of them have seen the consistency that Bell has shown so far.
Hanson has seen some up and down months during his Triple-A campaign. When he gets hot, as he did in May, Hanson is impossible to retire very often. However, when he is cold, Hanson seems to get himself out and has a hard time putting good contact on the ball. The 0-for games then tend to follow.
After hitting .234 in April and getting off to a slow start, Hanson ripped the cover off the ball in May, en route to International League Player of the Month. During the month, Hanson hit .362 with a .998 OPS. However, outside of May, Hanson has not hit any higher than .257 in any other month, and posted only one OPS over .600, which was the .716 in July.
Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor knows how important Hanson has been in his lineup this season, coming out of the leadoff spot nearly the entire campaign.
“I had a talk with [Hanson] the other day,” Treanor said. “I told him that he is our leadoff hitter and when he gets on base in the first inning, we score in the first inning. That night, he did and we did. I had to remind him of the impact that he has at the top of the order. He needs to get on base for us, no matter how that is. Whether it is a walk, a bunt, a hit. He has to get on base and when he does that, we are a much better team…He has done a nice job for us these last couple of weeks”
While Hanson has seen time at shortstop and third base, he has been transitioning to second base most of the season. He has done a nice job in the change, showing a lot of improvements over his work at shortstop in previous years. He also showed some tremendous range at second and has been smooth on his double play turns nearly all season.
Two other players who, like Bell, earned a mid-season promotion from Altoona are Willy Garcia and Keon Broxton. However, like Hanson, they have seen their ups and downs at the level.
“When you come to this league, and you have some veteran pitchers, they expose things,” Treanor said. “Broxton has had some tremendous games. Garcia has had some tremendous games.”
Garcia saw some hard contact in August, with an .884 OPS. For the month, Garcia hit six doubles, a triple, and eight home runs. However, in the other three months that he has been at Triple-A, he has hit just five doubles and two home runs.
Garcia was extra cold lately down the stretch, going 3-for-20 in his last six games of the season. One thing that Garcia has done consistently is throw out baserunners from the outfield. Garcia has the best arm in the system and has caught ten runners trying to advance in only 67 games at the level.
Similarly, Broxton has been quite inconsistent. He has shown good power, with a .167 ISO at the level. However, hitting for average has been his issue. He has two months of over .280, but also three under .261.
Broxton got off to an extremely slow start, then heated up at the plate in July and August. During this hot run, he was a regular on the bases. But, just like Garcia, Broxton struggled at the end of the year.
Broxton will have spans where he will get three multi-hit games in four or five days, and then he will have weeks where he only gets four or five hits total. The tools are there, it is just a matter of time until he finds consistency.
Each of these young players have shown flashes with Indianapolis this season. However, they also had their share of downs. All three could have a chance to reach the majors during the 2016 season, but in order to do that, they will need to show more consistency than they had during their 2015 campaigns.