ALEN HANSON
SHORTSTOP
  Born: October 22, 1992
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 165
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2009
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: LA Sports Management

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Hanson is small and wiry, with more power than you’d expect from his size.  He’s also shown a willingness to take a walk.  He has excellent speed and has played second, third and short.  According to Baseball America, he has good range and athleticism, but may fit better at second due to his arm.  He had a breakout season in 2012 and has been ranked by most observers as one of the better prospects in the minors.

2010
DSL:  324/383/447,244 AB, 10 2B, 7 3B, 2 HR, 22 BB, 37 K, 20-28 SB

Had strong debut in the DSL, hitting for average and good gap power. and stealing a lot of bases.  Hanson played the majority of the time at second, but spent some time at third and a little in left.  He had 11 errors at third in just 21 games, but only three errors in 40 games at second.

2011
R:  263/352/429, 198 AB, 13 2B, 7 3B, 2 HR, 12 BB, 34 K, 24-30 SB
A-:  200/273/200, 10 AB, 1 BB, 2 K

Got off to fast start in GCL, with an OPS over 1.300 in June, but he slumped after that, posting OPS figures in the mid-.600s in July and August.  He again displayed good gap power.  His K:BB ratio wasn’t bad, but he does tend to swing wildly sometimes at pitches far out of the strike zone.  He continued to show very good speed on the bases.  He played the majority of his games at short, with some at second, but he didn’t show the range at short that Jodaneli Carvajal has.  He moved up to State College at the end of the year and got into three games.  BA rated him the 14th best prospect in the GCL.

2012
A:  309/381/528, 489 AB, 33 2B, 13 3B, 16 HR, 55 BB, 105 K, 35-54 SB

The Pirates moved Hanson up to West Virginia and he responded with a big season.  He posted an OPS of 1.137 in April and stayed hot through June.  He cooled off to a .744 OPS in July, then bounced back to .907 in August.  He missed time off and on late in the year due to a hip flexor, so it’s possible either that or the fact that it was his first experience with a long season, or both, played a role in him cooling off in the second half.  He hit RHPs (.931 OPS) a little better than LHPs (.853), but not enough to mean a lot.  He still showed some flaws in his game:  his K rate was high, although not alarming; he needs to improve his base stealing technique significantly; and he committed 40 errors, although his error rate slowed over the course of the season.  The biggest question will be whether he can stick at short.  Most, but not all, observers think he can’t.  The issue will probably be more his arm than the errors, which don’t mean a great deal in the low minors.  Baseball America ranked him as the 6th best prospect in the South Atlantic League, in a year in which the league was loaded.

2013
A+:  281/339/444, 367 AB, 23 2B, 8 3B, 7 HR, 33 BB, 70 K, 24-38 SB
AA:  255/299/380, 137 AB, 4 2B, 5 3B, 1 HR, 8 BB, 26 K, 6-8 SB

Hanson didn’t have as successful a season as the previous year, as the weaknesses in his game got exposed more against better competition.  He opened at Bradenton and got off to a miserable start both offensively and defensively.  His concentration in the field was very poor early in the year, resulting in ten errors in his first ten games.  That got him a three-day timeout.  His error rate dropped dramatically after he returned, as he committed 22 in his final 117 games in high A and AA.  He had nearly as poor a start at the plate, posting just a .654 OPS in April.  He got on track the next two months, though, with OPS figures of .840 and .880 before cooling off in July.  The Pirates moved him up to Altoona at the end of July and he hit respectably there considering that he was only 20 and spent only a month at the level.  His strike zone judgment still needs work and he’s still not taking full advantage of his speed on the bases.  On the season as a whole he had a huge platoon split, hitting 224/270/306 against LHPs and 305/364/503 against RHPs.  He hit LHPs well in 2012, so it’ll be interesting to see if the large split continues.

2014
AA:  280/326/442, 482 AB, 21 2B, 12 3B, 11 HR, 31 BB, 88 K, 25-36 SB

After adding him to the 40-man roster in the off-season, the Pirates sent Hanson back to Altoona.  He got off to a terrible start for the second straight year, posting a .607 OPS in April.  He came out of it in May, hitting consistently well the rest of the year; he had an OPS above .800 every other month except June, when it was .749.  He had no platoon split to speak of.  On the down side, the Pirates twice benched Hanson for failing to run batted balls out.  He also missed the final week with a hamstring injury.  In the field, the errors continued.  Hanson has good range and the ability to make tough plays, but seems to lose focus on easy plays.  After he committed 29 errors in 100 games at short, the Pirates moved him to second.  The move may not have resulted entirely from the errors.  The Pirates’ increasing comfort level with Jordy Mercer at short might also have been a factor.

Hanson will play the 2015 season at age 22 and should be at Indianapolis.  He’s still one of the game’s best middle infield prospects, although he’s obviously less valuable as a secondbaseman than as a shortstop.  Another factor in the Pirates’ decision to move Hanson may have been Neil Walker.  They haven’t extended him and it’s possible his range, never a strong point, might quickly drop below the adequate level as he ages.  It’s possible a path to the majors could open for Hanson fairly soon.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $90,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2013
Options Remaining: 2 (USED:  2014)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
July 14, 2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
November 20, 2013: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.