Prospect Highlights: Alen Hanson Continues Hot Streak on Offense

Alen Hanson has been a regular on the highlights recently. His bat has come alive after a slow start and in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, he had three hits, including the RBI single shown below. In recent days, Hanson has been highlighted for his two-run double from Friday and his home run from Thursday.

Last year in 35 games for Altoona, he posted a .679 OPS. Even with his slow start this year, Hanson’s recent hot streak has raised his OPS to .707 in 25 games. He started the year on a 3-for-20 streak in the first five games. Hanson is hitting .289 in the 20 games since then and using his speed well with four triples and seven stolen bases.

He still has a few things to work on with six walks and 22 strikeouts. Those numbers both need to improve slightly. Defensive issues have started to appear as well, making his ninth error on Saturday. He has been known to let errors pile up once one happens early in a game. In the past, he has had numerous multiple error games, but in 60 games at AA, he has never committed more than one error in a game, so that’s a good sign of mental maturity in the field.

As the youngest player on the Altoona Curve roster, Hanson is still very young for AA. This year, 96 of his 110 plate appearances have come against pitchers older than him. So while most had him pegged for the majors by mid-2014 after his stellar 2012 season at West Virginia, it’s important to note that he was still a teenager during that big season and age-wise, he is still in a very good spot.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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I won’t go into detail John, but Nick Kingman looked much better to me today. He did give up 3 doubles and 2 singles, but shoddy defense and an umpire that didn’t read the strike zone well cost him the runs.

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