Polanco and Hanson Make the South Atlantic League Top 20

Baseball America released their top 20 prospects for the 2012 South Atlantic League today. It’s no surprise that Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson both made the list, with both prospects ending up in the top 10. The list can be viewed here, and scouting reports can be viewed here.

Despite Hanson getting most of the attention this year, Polanco was ranked higher, coming in at number three on the list. Baseball America noted that Polanco was ahead of Hanson due to a better chance of playing a premium defensive position. There’s very little question that Polanco can stick in center field with his speed, his range, and his strong arm. There has been a debate whether Hanson can stick at shortstop over the long term. A move to second base would hurt his value as a prospect, while Polanco’s value is safe in center field.

Baseball America mentioned that Polanco might have been the best athlete in the league. They also said he can get pull happy, although that would work well down the line in PNC Park, as Polanco is a left-handed hitter. He didn’t have any trouble with left-handers this year, and that’s something I noticed in Spring Training. Polanco was crushing the ball all throughout the Spring, including a home run against Double-A left-hander Nathan Baker during one intrasquad game.

Hanson was ranked sixth on the list. Baseball America noted that the big question with him is his defense at shortstop. Offensively, Hanson has a lot of tools to work with. He’s shown some power from the middle infield, hitting 16 homers this year. He’s a switch hitter with good hitting abilities from each side of the plate. He also has plus speed.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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3rd and 6th in that league is impressive. That’s one of the better top 20s I’ve seen.

Lee Young

Number 20….Roughned Oder! What a name! I sure hope he makes it!

Lee Young

Tim…not that big a deal hitting a HR off of Baker. Lol


I’m surprised Kingham didn’t sneak on the back half of the list. I guess his rough start was a bad first impression for some in the league.


I agree. I saw him pitch last year in State College and was very impressed. In spite of his early struggles in WV I think he is a definite prospect going forward.

John Eshleman

The top 20 in this league is very good, so his omission doesn’t necessarily mean he’s off the prospect radar by any stretch. Instead, I think it suggests that Kingham lacks the upside of some other players in the league, projecting more as a back-end of the rotation guy. His 4.39 ERA this season certainly didn’t help the cause.

Erik Johnson

Hanson’s defensive issue still with his lack of arm strength?

Kevin Anstrom

Gift Ngoepe – when does he join Hanson as the middle infield combo? In AA next year? Or in Pittsburgh in 2014/2015?
I assume Gift will stay at SS and Hanson moves to 2B. Do you agree?
Also the BA writer Bill Ballew mentioned that Bell looked like the best position player in the league.

John Eshleman

I haven’t seen enough myself, but I gather that his footwork needs a lot of work.

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