Winter Leagues: Alen Hanson Breaks Slump With Big Game

In the Dominican on Thursday night, Alen Hanson broke a slump with three hits and a walk in four plate appearances. He scored a run and stole his second base of the winter. Hanson came into the game with a .167 average and the second lowest OPS among qualified players. He had just six hits and a walk prior to Thursday.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. After a quick start, he is down to a .241 average.

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna reached base for the 17th straight game, going 2-for-4 with two singles. He has a .362 average in 17 games.

Zack Dodson made his fourth start and ran into trouble. He had a very poor outing last time out, which followed two starts in which he allowed a total of one run over 13 innings. On Thursday night, he gave up five earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 3.1 innings. Dodson failed to record a strikeout.

A.J. Morris threw three innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk, with one strikeout. He has a 3.14 ERA in 14.1 innings.

Junior Sosa went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He is hitting .200 in 12 games.

Julio Vivas threw a scoreless ninth inning in his team’s 12-4 win, retiring the side in order. He has a 3.68 ERA in seven appearances.

Elvis Escobar played the last two innings in left field without a plate appearance. In ten games, he is 1-for-7 with a walk.

Jhondaniel Medina threw a scoreless ninth in his team’s 13-5 victory. He got two strikeouts and a ground out. Medina hasn’t allowed an earned run yet, but he has walked six batters in four innings.

Gorkys Hernandez went 1-for-4 with a singles. He’s hitting .294 in 17 games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz had a double and a walk in two plate appearances, before being pinch-hit for by Harold Ramirez in the seventh inning. Ramirez grounded out in his only at-bat, then stayed in the game on defense in left field for the last two innings.

Sebastian Valle played for the first time in 12 days and went 1-for-3 with a single.

The games in Puerto Rico begin tonight. We will have roster information tomorrow.

  • I really, really want to see Hanson succeed. Maybe that’s why I tend to ignore those who claim he’s somehow already a bust. I’m projecting my wishes.

    In my mind, having a bona fide leadoff man — one who can get on base AND steal his way into scoring position — is something the Pirates have never had, and I’ve been following the team for 46 years. I don’t know if Hanson can actually be that guy, but he has the skill set.

    In a perfect world, he’d also play shortstop and your second baseman would be a 20-HR, 80-RBI guy — and for a while a couple of years ago, it was shaping up that way. But that was before Hanson got moved off shortstop and Walker’s power numbers started to evaporate.

    Still, though, adding another speed merchant at the top of the lineup to go with Marte and Polanco would be a very formidable weapon for the Pirates.

    Here’s hoping it actually plays out like that.

    • If you’ve been following for 46 years, than surely you remember Omar Moreno as this type of leadoff man?

      • No, I don’t. He certainly stole bases, but the highest batting average he ever had for the Pirates was .282, with a .333 OBP. That isn’t terrible, but it isn’t what you’re looking for in a leadoff hitter.

  • We are so caught up on our number 4 and 5 SPs and want to rid ourselves of Locke and Morton for whatever reason. We need to hope Neal is (and I’m sure he is) looking for the right one to slot in as our no.2 or 3 for a year or two…possibly 3 if the money and player is right while some of the younger ones come up when they’re ready and THEN take the spot of a Locke/Morton. The value of Morton as a veteran #5 in our small market budget down the stretch next year would be a win IMO, assuming we have the right 4 SPs in front of him come Sept 1st.

  • Ok. I want to put out my first trade post of the off-season and I’m looking at the Padres.
    Who are the targets – To improve 1B and SP.
    Yonder Alonso and Andrew Cashner.
    What are the Padres looking for? They aren’t looking for prospects – and that’s a good thing because we shouldn’t be looking to trade ours. So we’re talking MLB ready value in return as a priority and then what?
    Potential offerings: The Padres need a SS badly, They’ll need a SP with some capability and upside, Then?
    Lets start with the SP: Jeff Locke. Before anyone yawns, Jeff’s numbers line up fairly well against Cashners – you could say both are a change of scenery move that could benefit both teams and players.
    SS: Is this the time to consider moving Mercer? Or is Harrison an option here? IMO – I still see Kang as the SS of the future for the PBC, and there are plenty of buy low options to fill in until he’s ready to return – like Hanson, Harrison, or Florimon. Mercer has enough league value to add to the Padres team. Lastly the Padres are trying to consider Davis at first to add power that they don’t have but he’s too expensive… this is where Pedro fits the bill as a low cost bat that has the power to make Petco look small.

    So, for the first trade of the winter NH lets consider: Yonder Alonso and Andrew Cashner for Locke, Mercer, and Alvarez.

    It’s a win win…

    • I think it would cost more than that, man. But I like you’re thinking.

      Josh Bell and Taillon for Justin Bour and a pitching prospect coming back. I doubt that one too, but I think that kid Bour is pretty intersting.

    • No soup for you.

    • The only problem I have with this proposal is, why would the Padres want Locke considering that he’s had the benefit of having of working the two best pitching coaches in baseball (Searage and Benedict)?

    • Just to potentially help you with the idea, i do remember NH saying the team sees Kang as a 3Bmen moving forward. Take it with a grain of salt, but it does seem like the team is wanting to end Kang at SS if they can.

      So that might alter them parting with Mercer soon. Doesnt seem like we are deep enough at SS to be parting with ML options.

    • You are looking at a mighty long shot to think Kang is the ” SS of the future “. After that horrific knee injury, let alone the broken leg, he is going to have a tough enough time recovering well enough to make it back to third base.

  • Seems to me like almost everyone is struggling to hit in this league.

    • I’m assuming you mean the Dominican, since Osuna and Munoz are doing well. In the Dominican, the leading hitter is Angelys Nina, a 27-year-old with two full seasons at AAA. After him is an impressive one so far, Rafael Bautista, who is 22 and played a partial season in high-A this year. This league is well above what he saw most of the year.

      After that, you might recognize Ronny Paulino, aka yes, that Ronny Paulino. He’s hitting .429 with a 1.023 OPS. He’s the type of player you expect to do well in this league, but it just shows that it’s early in the season still when those numbers make him the third best hitter.

      Hanson saw his average go up 64 points in one game, so that’s also an indicator it’s too early to get down on players. When they’re not getting playing time, that is usually a worse sign than low stats. You wouldn’t sit a guy hitting into a lot of bad luck, like line drives right at players. These teams have a surplus of players ready to step in if someone doesn’t look good out there.

    • Some slumps during the regular season can last for as many ab’s as these guys are getting during the whole winter league. For the most part, I think off-season performances can only help a player’s status. You can’t take these poor sss too seriously.

  • Mr. D Curious on how and who pays these players? Do they get living expenses or game day checks in these leagues?

    • The leagues are that country’s version of the Major Leagues and the players belong to the team, so it’s run just like a Major League team. For the minor league players who weren’t on the 40-man roster, they make more money during the winter season than they do the minor league season

      • Unfortunately that’s not saying a lot, minor leaguers are payed slave wages.

        • Yeah but it’s also comparing three months to five months, so they are getting a lot more per month if you want to break it down. Some players go there for the money, which allows them to play baseball year around. If you’re a player who has reached minor league free agency and continue to plug away, you can actually make a decent wage playing regular season and winter because both are paying you better to get you. For the MLB team, you’re a safety net and for the winter ball team, you’re a star player.

      • Thanks for the response

    • Good Q +A. Never thought about that.