Winter Leagues: Alen Hanson Could Return Soon

On Friday night in the Dominican, Tony Sanchez went 0-for-3 and allowed two stolen bases in two attempts. He is hitting .107 through 28 at-bats and he is 2-for-10 in throwing out base runners in nine games.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. His average dropped down to .237 in 114 at-bats.

Willy Garcia went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He is hitting .250/.290/.420 through 100 at-bats.

Nate Baker made his second appearance and retired all three batters he faced, one by strikeout.  In his debut, he allowed one run on two hits and retired just one batter.

Pedro Florimon went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He is hitting .222 through 72 at-bats.

Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and two strikeouts. The stolen base was his sixth of the season.

Two 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates players, who are still free agents, saw action for Gigantes del Cibao. Rafael Perez pitched a scoreless first inning, allowing a hit and picking up a strikeout. After a long rain delay, he was replaced in the second inning. Carlos Paulino caught for him and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

In Venezuela, Matt Nevarez faced two batters and walked both of them. He was pulled from the game and one of the runners eventually came around to score. Jhonathan Ramos also pitched in the game. He retired the only batter he faced. Ramos has an 0.73 ERA in 17 appearances. He is still a free agent.

In Mexico, Felipe Gonzalez had a tough game after throwing 3.1 scoreless innings in his last outing. Gonzalez faced four batters, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk. He has a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 innings.

In Colombia, Harold Ramirez must be wearing a target to the plate. In three games, he is 1-for-6 with a single, walk and he’s been hit three times. Tito Polo is 11-for-50 with three doubles and a triple. He has three stolen bases and a 2:18 BB/SO ratio.

Alen Hanson could return to the Dominican League soon. He is going to Bradenton for a final checkup to make sure his hand is okay and if everything looks good, he should resume his winter season. He last played on October 26th when he was hit by a pitch on his hand.

Joely Rodriguez has thrown eight shutout innings in two appearances in the Dominican. He is scheduled to make two more starts before shutting it down for the off-season. I was told that Rodriguez recently made a small tweak to his mechanics and so far the results are great.

Jhondaniel Medina went four months without allowing an earned run during the season. In three appearances in Venezuela this winter, he threw a total of 4.2 innings and walked nine batters, issuing three walks in each game. Medina was sent to the Venezuelan League version of the minors and then after battling a brief illness, he called it an off-season. He last pitched in late October.

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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is there any chance Hanson breaks camp with the team instead of all these joker ut infielders that huntington has been colllecting?


John , so you and others have mentioned to me Hanson now lacking value. Why ? He weighs 160 soaking wet and still shows increasing power in addition to the expected tools. Is he not a SS simply by team choice , due to an eventual opening for him at 2nd more so than short ? How does he lose that status as a ranked prospect ? Does he have more value to us as a potential chip or actually playing in our infield?


Hanson to me is a poor man’s Jose Reyes offensively. Defensively he might be Alfonso Soriano, I hope not. I hope he can find somewhere to fit and just be average. You really hope it is 2B because of the extra value but I think there’s a good chance he will be filling at least a super Util role soon…especially if S-Rod doesn’t work out. I really hope Hansen gets a few outfield reps in 2015 too.


Personally , I love the kid and hope to see him as our everyday 2nd baseman in 2 years or less… Could he progress enough defensively to force Mercer to 2nd , if and when that day comes?

Are the Pirates doing themselves and Hanson a disservice by moving him to 2nd ? Did the move help precipitate the fall of his stock?

How far away is he , say as a 2nd baseman ? I am about to duck & cover , but here goes…. When he is ready , wouldn’t you consider moving Neil Walker ? Couldn’t we get a greater return for Neil , and shouldn’t we do it when a replacement is ready , to get what we can for what will be a 32 or 33 year old , defensively avg. , aging and due to be paid veteran ?


C: Hanson is an offensive weapon as a switchhitting leadoff batter who hats and runs well. He struggled at SS not because he could not play the position well, but like many 21 year olds, he would lose concentration. He is better playing at 2B because that is where the opening will be. Pedro Alvarez is going to be our 1B in 2015; he is a 30 HR/100 RBI guy and we need his power in the lineup. The Pirates are hopeful he regains his value so that they can possibly deal him during or immediately after 2015. IMO, our 1B in waiting is Neil Walker, 29, who hit 23 HR’s last year and posted a 3.7 WAR. We paid Neil $5.8 mil for that $18+ mil value he returned in 2014. Compare that to Adam LaRoche, 35, who had 26 HR’s and a 1.6 WAR, and just got 2 years for $25 mil. His salary exceeded his value. Walker to 1B would be better for him physically, and opens 2B to Hanson. And, he gives us an excellent Switchhitting leadoff batter with extra base power and plus speed.


John: Good news about Alen Hanson and I hope he returns and gets some quality reps at 2B/SS before ST. He is a part of that Pirate International Free Agent Class of 2009 that also included Gregory Polanco, Jose Osuna, Joely Rodriguez, and Dovydas Neverauskas. They were the first group into the new Pirate Academy in the DR, and there is a strong possibility that 3 of them will play key roles for the Pirates in the coming seasons.

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