We don’t get too many highlights from Alen Hanson on defense, and his skills at the position are constantly in question, so this play is good to see. He makes a diving stop on this ball up the middle, then completed the play with a throw from his knees. He has the range to play shortstop and the arm is good enough, his problem is more about consistency and the mental approach. Plays that he has too much time on, can turn into problems sometimes and he has shown in the past that errors can pile up if he makes one early in a game.
That latter issue has seemed to clear up this year, as he has just one multi-error game this season. During the 2012 season with West Virginia, the multi-error games happened often and during the first 12 games of the 2013 season, it happened three times. Hanson was pulled from game action last April and worked on his fielding in the back fields of Bradenton. He has played 150 games at shortstop since that third multi-error game in 2013 and has just two games in which he committed two errors. That shows he has improved his mental approach at the position and that was one of his biggest obstacles. Now he just needs more consistency and reps at the position and you hope you have someone that plays the spot well enough to stick there in the Majors. With his speed and ability at the plate as a switch-hitter, Hanson could be a lead-off hitter with the Pirates sometime next year and fill an important position on the field.
This isn’t the most exciting highlight, and it’s labeled wrong, but here is an RBI groundout from Alen Hanson. It’s more than your usual one pitch at-bat highlights and Hanson obviously shows great speed down the line. It also features defense from former Pirates prospect Dilson Herrera.
Here is another extra-base hit from Willy Garcia, who we featured the other day. Garcia is really showing some good power this year, but the BB/K problem I mentioned a few days ago, is still a huge problem for his future. With a little more plate patience, he could turn into a legit prospect. He has 17 doubles, four triples and ten homers this season despite that 12/82 BB/K ratio, which keeps getting a little worse the higher he goes.
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.