The Pittsburgh Pirates announced their roster for Opening Day on Sunday morning, making the final four roster moves to get down to 25 players. Alen Hanson and Phil Gosselin won the final two bench spots, while Chris Stewart and Gregory Polanco were both cleared to play on Opening Day. Jose Osuna was optioned to Indianapolis, while Jackson Williams, Jacob Stallings and Danny Ortiz were all reassigned to minor league camp. The full roster can be viewed below.

The final bench spot really came down to Phil Gosselin, who had a solid spring and has played parts of four seasons in the majors, or Jose Osuna, who had a terrific spring, but only has a half season of Triple-A experience. Alen Hanson was said to be fighting for a job, but it would be hard to believe that the Pirates would risk trying to get him through waivers if they felt he didn’t do enough to make the team. As it was, he ended up hitting .333/.393/.426 in 23 games, while playing five different positions. Like with Osuna, it’s important to remember that Hanson played winter ball into January, so they weren’t coming into camp with a long layoff from game action like most players. That will have an affect on the stats.

Polanco and Stewart have both been at Pirate City playing in games and taking extra at-bats. Stewart caught yesterday’s game. Both players have done enough to show they are able to go on Opening Day. Polanco was battling a minor shoulder injury, and Stewart suffered a left groin strain on March 24th, as he tried to run down to first base. The Pirates wanted him to catch two games down in Pirate City before they declared he was ready for Opening Day.

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    • A lot of water will go under the bridge
      before they have to make that decision.

      Its probably up to Hanson. If he does
      not play well, it will be him. If he does
      play well, it will be someone else.

  1. Does anyone feel like me that I have no idea what
    to expect from this team?

    If someone ask me, I would have to say that they
    will win somewhere between 68-90 games.

    I don’t think I can narrow my estimate anywhere
    closer than that.

  2. They lose Hanson for nothing so keeping him is fine. Jaso is a bat off the bench, helps at first if Bell really starts very slow and needs a breather. In any event the starting pitching and continued development of Tallion and now Glasnow is the future. Meadows, Bell, young arms and Newman, Orsuna are the future as is Polanco. Very few teams have that core of talent and Bucs can compete at a high level for years.

  3. I think this is the right move. Might as well see what they have in Hanson, Gosselin has a decent Major League track record as a bench bat, and since Osuna’s only real skill is his hitting, getting him regular at bats so he’s sharpest whenever we might need him is the best option for him, especially since there’s so many folks ahead of him for playing time on the roster right now. They get to hold onto as many assets as possible, and their bench is sufficiently versatile and talented to produce a little value.

    • I’ll be in Hong Kong later today (tomorrow) I’ll see what I can do. I’m seeing if I can get him on a freighter out of Hong Kong. He’ll be here in about a month if I can pull it off, but I’ll need a doctor and a few sandwhiches waiting for him in Galveston on April 30th, he isn’t going to look real healthy.

  4. Hanson reminds me a little of Cedeno a few years back – loads of promise but inability to focus on what makes him a better player.

    • Seems to be Gossling. Maybe the main reason he made the team. I worry, with our regular lineup, and a LH relief pitcher on the hill late, who PHs? Many bad bat options off the bench, especially from the right side.

    • Why do you think Hanson would be unplayable there? He might be inconsistent but he has the best ability there even including Mercer.
      If Merecer is injured long term, I am sure Gift will get a shot.

      • I get that Gift will come up on a short injury stint for mercer. Out of the 3 bench option I guess Hanson is the better one. But I doubt that he sees time there over Frazier or anybody else. We’ve seen how little confidence Hurdle has on Hanson.

    • Sounds like all are options but Gosselin was the first choice as backup. Most teams don’t have great backup options at shortstop, so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

    • Harrison is equally unplayable there. Hanson is actually the most capable at shortstop unfortunately from a range and arm perspective…..from a neil walker perspective, Harrison, Gosselin, and Frazier all are about equally as below average over there from lack of upside defensively

  5. Wondering if Hanson’s focus improves being around big league coaching and players. Maybe wishful thinking. No surprises: Osuna lacks Gosselin’s position flexibility and MLB experience. He gets reps in AAA which is probably a good thing.

    • Regarding Osuna, it is more than probably a good thing. It is critically important to his continued development that he plays everyday at AAA instead of five at bats a week off of the Bucs bench in Pittsburgh. As far as Hanson goes, I hope that your suggestion comes to fruition. The guy has some enormous skills. I hope that he puts them together in Pittsburgh.

    • Considering that Hanson was largely ignored by CH when called up last Sep, I doubt they share any type of understanding or respect for one another. For this year, CH indicated his preference for Gosselin in print and then in play the last week or so of ST. CH is a head game old-timer and Hanson has not shown any willingness to back down to anyone. He’ll be gone shortly.

    • This team is going to have to start a # of players who aren’t very good against right handed pitching. Why would you want to get rid of one of the only guys on the bench with an established track record of hitting well against righties? The competition was never Osuna vs Jaso nor should it have been. It was Hanson vs Osuna and I can see arguments in both directions but I don’t think it was a slam dunk call either way.

      • Osuna still has things to work on. His OBP will be low, and his K’s are still too high for a 1B. The power is nice, but young RHB who don’t have much patience and strike out a lot tend to have a lot of trouble hitting RHP in the major leagues. Until he improves, or proves that he is an exception to the rule, he is just a AAA bat.

        Hanson still has ability, but he needs to be humbled by the game a bit I think. We’ll see what he makes of himself. It’s likely that, by the time Kang is ready to go, either someone will be hurt or the bench log jam will have resolved itself.

      • I get that, bur this team is not going anywhere with the likes of Stewart, Jaso, and Gosselin being our bench. We have Bell, so why the need for Jaso? Jaso can only hit RH pitchers, can only play one position and not veey well. Osuna is probably the best fielding first baseman of the three, he can also play OF, and he could platoon with Bell. Jaso is a mediocre veteran with little power….Osuna could be much more than that. Diaz, Osuna, and Bostick should be on this team….not Stewart, Jaso, and Gosselin.

    • Yeah, right, genius, especially since Osuna has a deeper resume’ of MLB experience than Jaso does. OSUNA NEEDS TO PLAY, EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just because he had a successful spring training, in what amounts to a very small sample size, does mean that he would/will carry that over to the MLB level, especially in a reserve role off of the bench.

      • My bad: doesn’t mean that he would/will carry that over to the MLB level, especially in a reserve role off of the bench.

      • And Jaso is proven… a proven .260 poor fielding first baseman who cannot play anywhere else and offers little power or run production. The bar at first base has not been set very high.

          • Freese Jaso Bell Polanco and Cutch were deadlocked in wrc+ last year. Point being if Jaso is bad he’s got company he was a serious upgrade over Pedro Alvarez defensively don’t think the FO confused him with Brandon Belt either.

        • Jaso’s last five season by wRC+: 143, 121, 122, 135, 111.

          Last year was the 111, and I think it’s because he was overutilitized. He’s show he can be 20% better than league average at the plate in any given season throughout his career, and he’s a high floor option as a bench bat. That’s useful. (He’s projected at 107 consistently by various models this season, in which case, he’s still an above-average bat coming off the bench.)

          He won’t hit for power, but he’ll get on base, and late in games when we need a baserunner, that’s not nothing.

          • Nobody wrote about it, but Jaso was a much different hitter this spring. Noticeably more loft in his swing, and a GO/AO ratio of just 0.75 versus 1.75 last year.

            He’s now old, his body has taken a beating, and he hit the ball softly last year, but I can’t help but be bullish about what a better batted ball profile will do for him against RHP.

            • The question, then, becomes whether or not he can continue to hit like that. Though last season, a bit portion of his reduced wRC+ was an extended slump in the middle of the season, during which time his mechanics were all sorts of weird, so perhaps he can, provided he doesn’t get outside of himself again.

      • The article does a good job pointing out that Hanson and osuna’s numbers are inflated by playing winter ball where osuna’s numbers regressed this season

    • As long as Jaso isn’t overexposed, he’s a good hitter, and we know he’s a good hitter, because he has a significant track record of hitting at the Major League level. Osuna has some talent to be excited about, but he doesn’t carry the same certainty Jaso does. Add in that Jaso is a lefty, and we don’t really have a lot of those, and the fact that we lose Jaso if he’s not on the roster, and the decision is very cut-and-dry in favor of Jaso.

      • All valid, spot on correct points, Darkstone 42. And here is another, which I made earlier: Osuna needs to play everyday!! We can only hope that one of these days BFSinMD sees the light of day on these concepts.

        • I think Osuna ends up as a bench bat, and it would be valuable for him to get used to that, but for now, for the role we need him for this season, where he’ll come up in the case of an injury and get fairly regular at bats (I’d imagine, anyway), yes, he should hit every day. That will keep him sharpest for if (when) that situation arises.

  6. Hughes has reportedly signed with MIL. No word if it’s MLB deal or not. But Scahill was optioned.

    • Pitching will determine how far this team goes, but too many what ifs right now with the young pitchers, Kang situation, Cutch needing to bounce back….

  7. I could see Clint Hurdle’s disgust with Alen Hansen the last two games. My guess is that he’ll be traded or dfa’d first.

    In all honesty I agree with Hurdle

      • Guy with speed who swings at everything/no on base skills. And the speed doesn’t translate when he does get on base

      • I didn’t like the way he fielded in left and played a single into a hustling double up in Canada.

        I didn’t like the way he got picked off first base…

        He loses concentration. You can see it. If he had his head in the game like Frazier, there’d be no stopping him.


    • There has been a lot of Hanson hypers over the years but the reality is aside from a big season in 2012(eons ago in prospect terms) he has never really done much of anything in large sample size. 2014 was modestly successful but his 1000 Triple A at bats are indicative of a middling player with occasional flashes(which could be said about a multitude of failed prospects). Yeah, he was swinging for the fences when he got back to Indy after the callup etc, etc… I’ll take the 1000 plate appearances which showed over large sample size he just isn’t good at getting on base.

      You can do worse for a 25th man because he does offer speed and some defensive ability and there is a very small chance the bat plays better than projections(78 or 80 WRC+) but I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.

      I’m not going to lose sleep that they chose Hanson over Osuna but if Kang does ever get back in country Hanson is probably first to go(even if Gosselin has an option)

      • I agree, I’m not impressed with Hanson and on the flip side Osuna has barely even sniffed AAA yet. I’m sure, pending a good start, Osuna will be up this season somehow.

    • More than once just in the limited he has played outfield this spring he has been way too casual about playing an obvious single on a bounce and just giving the ball a little lazy toss back in. Meanwhile, the baserunner is on his way to second. PAY ATTENTION HANSEN.

  8. Alen Hanson was just drafted by LEEFOO in his fantasy draft. Foo will be making a statement after the draft.

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