In playoff action in the Dominican on Sunday, Alen Hanson went 1-for-4 with a walk in his team’s 7-1 win. He drove in a run in the second inning on a ground out, then brought home another run in the eighth on a single.
Toros del Este announced prior to the game that they received permission from the Pittsburgh Pirates to keep Alen Hanson on their roster. He was originally scheduled to attend Rookie Orientation in Washington DC this week. Teams send players to Rookie Orientation to learn what it is like in the Major Leagues and players are usually sent there the same year they are expected to make their MLB debut. Once in awhile a player will make great strides during the season and make the majors earlier than expected, then they end up going prior to the next season. Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon each went to orientation last January.
The announcement that the Toros put out for Hanson said that he will remain with the team through the end of the round robin tournament, which wraps up on January 17th. If that is true, he would also miss the Pirates’ winter mini-camp, which begins next Monday.
In other playoff action from Sunday, Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He came into the game in the fifth inning as a defensive replacement and played center field. He is 2-for-14 in the playoffs.
Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3 with a run scored.
Rafael Perez threw five scoreless innings, giving up four hits and no walks, with three strikeouts. He also threw five shutout innings in his playoff debut on Tuesday.
In Venezuela, Gorkys Hernandez went 1-for-4 with a single. He had two hits in the playoff opener on Sunday.
In Mexico, Sebastian Valle went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the seventh inning of his team’s 6-3 win. He is 2-for-9 in three playoff games. Valle led all Pirates players this winter with six homers.
The league in Colombia updated their website on Sunday. The stats through Saturday night for the four Pirates players are as follows:
Harold Ramirez .186/.324/.220 in 59 at-bats
Tito Polo .217/.261/.361 in 83 at-bats. He leads the league with four triples
Andy Vasquez .315/.367/.493 in 73 at-bats
Oderman Rocha 6.2 innings, six hits, one walk, six strikeouts, 0.00 ERA
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.
Interesting decision on Hanson. Should we read into that for any reason?
Nope, his team lobbied for him to stay. Their starting second baseman injured his shoulder the other day and Hanson is playing well, so for the last couple days they’ve been in talks to get him to stay there. I think the fact that he was scheduled to be sent to Rookie Orientation says a lot because you don’t just send random players there and normally, guys are going there the year they are expected by the team to make their major league debut. It’s a training course on how to be a major leaguer off the field.
John: I remember you telling us about the second baseman injuring his shoulder in the game that Hanson went 2 for 5 with a double, triple, and 3 RBI’s. Counting last night’s 2 RBI’s that makes 6 in about 3 or 4 games? The night before last when he was 0 for 4, he was still putting the bat on the ball and I think he had an RBI on a forceout. The kid has tremendous offensive upside, and the real knock on him is that he has all the skills, but makes dumb mistakes on the easiest plays. To me, that is just Youth, and I expect he will be ready for the majors sometime in 2015. And if history prevails, he will struggle mightily in April and start putting it all together in the May/Jun timeframe.
I hinted at this news in the comments for Saturday’s article, but that was because no decision had been made at the time. The original plan was that he was leaving, but I think the experience he is getting right now outweighs the benefits of going to Washington DC for four days. If he didn’t miss so much time this winter with the hand injury, they probably wouldn’t have allowed him to stay. If his team is able to make it to the next round, I’d hope he would stay with the team even longer.
Do you know of any other players scheduled for Rookie Orientation?
Not yet. My best guess would be Nick Kingham, possibly Adrian Sampson and maybe John Holdzkom. Andrew Lambo went after the 2013 season, so Holdzkom could be one that goes as I doubt he has been there yet(his advanced age might mean they skip it for him as it’s usually younger players). I was told that Hanson was the only Latin American player from the Pirates going, but other than that, don’t know others. It’s usually not announced and just happens and we find out about it later.