Alen Hanson had a strong first half of the 2015 season, hitting for a .290 average with a .764 OPS. However, that success hasn’t carried over to the second half, where Hanson is currently hitting .208 with a .586 OPS. Those numbers include a 4-for-25 stretch in his last eight games, including Monday’s contest in which he went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Indianapolis hitting coach Butch Wynegar thinks that some of the struggles could be due to fatigue as the season has gone along.
“When he is good, he’s down in his legs well, his hands work really well, and he’s got a good path,” Wynegar said. “Part of the problem is that he did not have an All-Star break. He admitted to me that he is a little tired. We made some adjustments for until he can reach his second wind.”
Hanson hit 11 doubles, eight triples, and five home runs in the first half of the season. This is compared to seven extra-base hits in 28 games in the second half of the season. Wynegar also thinks that seeking a little bit extra power could be leading to some of the second half issues for Hanson.
“I think that he is thinking that if he hits some home runs, the big club will see it and he will have a better chance for a call up,” Wynegar said. “His swing has gotten a little bit bigger than I would like to see it right now. He may be trying to do too much, rather than driving the ball up the middle and going the other way like he was early in the season. I just stay on him about that, but this kid is going to be a big league player really quick.”
As a switch hitter, Hanson is much stronger from the left side of the plate. As a left-handed hitter, he has a .759 OPS, against a .629 OPS from the right side of the plate. Even outside of the numbers, Hanson just has a much smoother swing from the left side.
“I like him a lot better from the left side,” Wynegar said. “He still has some work to do from the right side with path, directness to the ball, and keeping his swing tight. We don’t want him to let his hands get away from his body too early and his swing gets sweepy. That is a slower swing. We have been working on it with some drills, it just hasn’t translated to the game yet.”
It was also announced last month that Hanson would see time at different positions as the season has progressed. Thus far, that has only included a game each at shortstop and third base, outside of his normal time at second base. However, he seems to have the ability to play all three positions when needed with his skill set, arm, and range. In the long-term, this could be something that turns out to be very valuable for Hanson.
Hanson is battling for a September call-up this season, and certainly has the upside to play at the next level. Before that call-up can take place, he will need to break out of this slump, so that he can showcase his abilities at the Major League level.