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




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.


Thanks for the info, John.

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


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.

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