- Full name Alen Rery Hanson
- Born 10/22/1992 in La Romana, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 170 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- Debut 05/16/2016
Organization Prospect Rankings
Once considered among the Top 100 Prospects in baseball--he ranked No. 61 prior to the 2013 season and No. 76 in 2014--Hanson's stock has dropped over the last two years as he has been converted from a middle infielder into a utility player at Triple-A Indianapolis. He made his major league debut in 2016, coming off the bench mostly as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Hanson has been unable to convert his considerable tools into consistent production, though his athleticism still makes him intriguing as a potentially valuable bench piece. The switch-hitter is wiry strong and can hit the occasional home run, and he also has outstanding speed that makes him a threat on the bases. However, he does not always make solid contact. Hanson is not a strong defender and his attitude was questionable earlier in his career. However, he has embraced learning multiple positions. Hanson is out of minor league options, so he will have to fight an uphill battle against Adam Frazier for the utility infielder spot on the Pirates roster.
Signed for just $90,000 in July 2009, Hanson showed his athleticism from the start of his pro career and made everyone take notice with an outstanding 2012 season at low Class A West Virginia. He has never duplicated those big numbers again as he has steadily climbed the ladder. Hanson has excellent speed and makes things happen on the bases. He tied for the International League lead with 35 stolen bases and ranked second with 12 triples at Triple-A Indianapolis in 2015. While he can still hit for a decent average, he probably will not develop the 15-homer power the Pirates once envisioned. Hanson moved from shortstop to second base late in the 2014 season, and he also has seen time at third base as he keeps his options open. He has been much more consistent at the keystone, where he has plenty of range and arm, and he is skilled on the double-play pivot. He led IL second basemen in fielding percent- age (.984) and assists (352) in 2015. With one minor league option remaining, Hanson will return to Indianapolis in 2016 to focus on second and third base, while perhaps learning to play center field, all of which will put him on track to become a true utility player.
When Hanson and Gregory Polanco arrived at low Class A West Virginia in 2012, it was Hanson who was the standout. Polanco has since sped on to the big leagues, while Hanson has seen his development slow. After reaching Double-A Altoona in 2013, he spent the entire 2014 season there again. He sat out six games at midseason for what the Pirates said was a rest but other sources said was a suspension for insubordination. Hanson is athletic with good bat and foot speed. He reached double digits in doubles (21), triples (12) and home runs (11) in 2014, an indication that he has pop despite a relatively small frame. Hanson needs to learn how to channel his aggressive play because he tends to swing at bad pitches, run into outs and try to make plays that he has no chance making. Hanson has the range to play shortstop, but his arm is well below-average and he spent his time exclusively at second base during the final month of 2014. Hanson has plenty of raw talent but has leveled off since moving up to Double-A. He will head to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2015, and if he can rein in his game and begin making more consistent contact, he could be the starting second baseman for the Pirates in 2017 when Neil Walker's contract expires. Even if he doesn't make the expected progress, he at least projects to be a utility infielder in the major leagues.
The days of teams signing a future star out of Latin America for $1,000 are over, but the Pirates might have gotten a pretty good bargain when they signed Hanson for $90,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. Following a breakout season at low Class A West Virginia in 2012, Hanson struggled immensely early in 2013 at high Class A Bradenton, committing 10 errors in his first 10 games. After being benched for three straight games, Hanson responded well and eventually earned a promotion to Double-A Altoona. Hanson is very athletic and stronger than his slight build would suggest, and he has enough power to consistently hit balls into the gaps and, occasionally, over the fence. Scouts like his loose swing and fast hands. He has above-average speed and is an aggressive baserunner. Hanson is willing to take a walk but needs to cut down on his strikeouts and make a little bit more consistent contact. Hanson has the range to play shortstop, especially going into the hole. However, his arm is fringe-average, which may eventually force a move to second base. Hanson will start the season back at Altoona. He has the talent to be an everyday middle infielder; whether that's at shortstop or second base is to be determined. The Pirates plan to keep him at shortstop unless or until he proves he cannot handle the position.
Hanson's low Class A performance was just as spectacular as Gregory Polanco's last year. Hanson, who had a better track record of success in Rookie ball, had extremely similar numbers and led the South Atlantic League in runs (99), triples (13) and total bases (258). Hanson is developing into quite a hitter for a lithe shortstop. He has gap power from both sides of the plate and enough strength to pull mistakes on the inner half over the fence. He also can inside-out the ball for opposite-field hits or lay down a bunt to use his plus speed. His quickness puts pressure on opponents, though he needs to hone his baserunning and basestealing skills. The biggest question about Hanson is his defense. He has the range to play shortstop but his arm is average at best and he's inconsistent, as evidenced by his 40 errors in 103 games last year. Some scouts feel he projects as a second baseman, a position he has played in the past. He brings energy to the ballpark every day. Hanson has a chance to provide an impact bat at a middle-infield position. He'll stay at shortstop when he plays at high Class A Bradenton at age 20 this year. Like Polanco, he doesn't figure to surface in Pittsburgh before the second half of 2015.
Hanson opened plenty of eyes with his outstanding athleticism while making his U.S. debut in 2011. He led the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League with seven triples and finished second with 24 steals while teaming with fellow Dominican Jodaneli Cavajal to form an outstanding double-play package. Hanson's most obvious tool is his plus speed, which makes him a factor on the bases and gives him good range. His only drawback on defense is a slightly below-average arm that hinders him from making the long throw from the hole at shortstop. He also saw action at second base last season and that may be his future home. Hanson has an advanced feel for hitting for a foreign teenager. He has good hand-eye coordination and a grasp of the strike zone, along with a line-drive stroke and some gap power. After making a cameo at State College in September, he'll probably return there after opening 2012 in extended spring training.
Minor League Top Prospects
The difference between what Hanson was in 2013 and what he will be could be as great as any FSL player. He finished the year in the Eastern League and still is developing physically, with a small, wiry frame that packs surprising power. He has the handsy looseness scouts look for in his swing, and most of his hard contact is to the gaps. Scouts do struggle with where Hanson profiles. He played exclusively at shortstop in the FSL and has infield actions, starting again with those hands. Scouts were more comfortable turning him in as a future second baseman, and some see him moving out of the dirt and into center field. Hanson?s aggressiveness works against him defensively, where he can get careless, and at the plate, where he?s prone to expanding the strike zone. Hanson has plus speed?for some a tick above-average?and runs hard on the bases, but scouts said his instincts weren?t as good as a basestealer, where he was inefficient.
He isn't nearly as big as his teammate Polanco, but Hanson is just as deadly at the plate. An aggressive switch-hitter, he led the SAL in runs (99), triples (13) and total bases (258). He's developing solid power, going deep 16 times this year after hitting just four homers in his first two pro campaigns. "He and Polanco are young and athletic and bring a lot of energy to the ballpark every day," Daubach said. "They opened my eyes right away. Hanson is stronger than you think he is just by looking at him. He moves well in everything he does. He brings a lot to a team." Hanson also brings plus speed and basestealing prowess. The biggest question with him is his defense, as he made 40 errors in 103 games and has only average arm strength. He does have good middle-infield actions, so the worst-case scenario is that he'd move to second base, a position he has played in the past.
The Pirates had two speedy middle infielders in Hanson, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, and Jodaneli Carval. Hanson topped the GCL with seven triples and finished second to Custodio with 24 steals before a late promotion to the NY-P. Hanson's advanced feel for hitting and line-drive stroke produce gap power. He has good hand-eye coordination, which helps him cover the plate and make athletic plays at shortstop. He's a plus runner who can make plays up the middle and in the hole, but his average arm may be a better fit at second base.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the South Atlantic League in 2012
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012
Background: Hanson's low Class A performance was just as spectacular as Gregory Polanco's last year. Hanson, who had a better track record of success in Rookie ball, had extremely similar numbers and led the South Atlantic League in runs (99), triples (13) and total bases (258). Scouting Report: Hanson is developing into quite a hitter for a lithe shortstop. He has gap power from both sides of the plate and enough strength to pull mistakes on the inner half over the fence. He also can inside-out the ball for opposite-field hits or lay down a bunt to use his plus speed. His quickness puts pressure on opponents, though he needs to hone his baserunning and basestealing skills. The biggest question about Hanson is his defense. He has the range to play shortstop but his arm is average at best and he's inconsistent, as evidenced by his 40 errors in 103 games last year. Some scouts feel he projects as a second baseman, a position he has played in the past. He brings energy to the ballpark every day. The Future: Hanson has a chance to be the rare impact bat at a middle-infield position. He'll stay at shortstop when he plays at high Class A Bradenton at age 20 this year but, like Polanco, he doesn't figure to be called up to Pittsburgh before the second half of the 2015 season.