Winter Leagues: Hanson Struggling in Playoffs, Update on New Pitcher

On Friday night in the Dominican playoffs, Alen Hanson had a tough night, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout and his second error of the playoffs. He did score a run in his team’s 7-3 win, so there was a couple positives, but his overall play hasn’t been good the last two weeks.. In nine playoff games, he is hitting .194(7-for-36) with four runs scored out of the lead-off spot. Hanson’s team is 4-7 in the round robin tournament and in danger of missing the second round of the playoffs.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. He was picked off first after his infield single in the fifth inning. He reached on an error in the ninth inning and scored one batter later on another error.

Rafael Perez pitched five innings in his team’s victory. He allowed one unearned run on three hits and three walks, while picking up two strikeouts. Perez has thrown 15 innings in the playoffs without allowing an earned run. He is still a minor league free agent.

Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3 with a walk, run scored and a stolen base in his team’s 4-3 win.

In Venezuela, Gorkys Hernandez went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk. He is hitting .227 in six playoff games.

On Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced they signed pitcher Wilfredo Boscan to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp. Boscan has pitched this winter in Venezuela as a starter, putting in 41.2 innings for Aguilas de Zulia. That is the same club that has pitcher Julio Vivas, who received permission on Thursday night to remain with his team despite the Pirates asking for him to be shutdown two days earlier. Vivas pitched Friday night and threw a shutout inning, allowing one hit and picking up one strikeout. It was his first playoff appearance.

As for Boscan this winter, he got hit fairly hard in some of his late-season starts so his overall stats don’t look good. During the regular(winter) season, he had a 6.26 ERA and a .320 BAA in 11 starts and one relief appearance, but he also walked just ten batters and posted a 1.58 GO/AO ratio. Those latter two areas probably got the attention of the Pirates, as they like ground ball pitchers that pitch to contact.

In the playoffs on Wednesday, Boscan threw three scoreless innings of relief, giving up two hits, no walks and he struck out three batters. While he has starting experience, Boscan will probably be a bullpen option for Altoona. As Tim Williams pointed out on Friday, the Altoona rotation looked crowded even before he signed.

In Panama, Edgar Munoz went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. He is hitting .244/.330/.321 in 20 games.

In Australia on Saturday, Sam Kennelly went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before being pinch-hit for in the eighth inning. He started at third base again, where he has spent most of his recent time, though he has played all four infield positions this off-season. He is hitting .207 in 12 games. Kennelly turned 19 on Friday.

  • John, what is the story with Vivas? I thought when the Pirates said shut him down that he had to stop!

    • They told him he was shutdown on Tuesday and he needed to report to Bradenton on Sunday(tomorrow). His team contacted the Pirates and Vivas asked if he could stay and they agreed to it on Thursday. He wasn’t used while they waited to hear what happened.

  • I don’t know how much the attention the Pirates pay to results from players they have in the winter leagues, I only know that they pay a lot of attention to how much they play. So I don’t know if Hansons results are alarming to the Pirates or not.

    • I’m sure they know how he is doing, but they don’t worry about small sample sizes. Of course they would love to see him doing great, but unless they are getting reports he is overmatched, I doubt they would worry. Since he is starting everyday and batting lead-off, it’s highly unlikely he looks bad out there.

      The Pirates pay attention to playing time(not an issue with Hanson since he missed two months), but they don’t have control over whether or not the play each day, that is strictly up to the team. I saw an article recently saying that the Pirates have Hanson playing second base in winter ball and that isn’t true, his team decides his position and they have put him at shortstop a few times. He played second base last winter, well before they decided to move him. That was because his team wanted him in the lineup and they had a better defensive shortstop.

      • One other thing to think about with Hanson. In six of these playoff games, the opposing manager is Dean Treanor. As of right now, Treanor will be Hanson’s AAA manager this season

        • Thanks for the info, John.

          Can you tell whether the errors are coming as at 2B or SS?

          • Second base last night, the error was on a relay throw to home plate. The first error was a throwing error during a double play, also as a second baseman

            • John: A lot of talent on the team, but they just do not seem to be able to translate that into wins. I hope that in the future there are articles written about the quality of the middle infield on this team of Christhian Adames at SS and Alen Hanson at 2B. I think both will be quality contributors in the majors very soon. I am glad Hanson made it back from the wrist/hand injury on the HBP, but it could be that he may be better served by giving it some rest before ST.
              BTW, your insight and quick response to reader questions is much appreciated.

              • Let me echo that last line, emjay. John really goes above and beyond.

                • Thanks guys. Sometimes I miss questions directed at me, but I try to answer them all. So feel free to ask again in a newer article, even if it’s a different subject. I tend to check the comments on my own articles more often. Something like the prospect rankings(which will start again on Monday I believe), I always check out the comments there because those are the guys we talk about so much and they usually get the best discussions.