San Francisco Giants: Alen Hanson is Opening Eyes

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Alen Hanson
SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Alen Hanson /

Beyond the obvious San Francisco Giants prospects, there is one player quietly capturing the big club’s attention — Alen Hanson.

Hanson is not a prospect anymore; however, he is not a journeyman either.

Hanson was once a top prospect in the Pirates organization. For several years, Hanson was ranked in the top 100 prospect lists by many publications. As is the case with many prospects, Hanson did not fully realize his potential. However, he is only 25-years-old, so the potential to continue developing still exists.

Now, Hanson is with the Giants Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. He was brought in on a minor-league contract. As a result, the path for him to make the club is going to be difficult. If he produces, then he could force the Giants hand. So far this season, he is doing just that.

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Hanson has experience at several positions, and the Giants are using him primarily as the second basemen in Triple-A. He has the type of versatility for a utility role, and he is a speedy, switch-hitter. He is essentially the Swiss Army Knife that every team seeks out.

Besides these traits, he is hitting well in Sacramento. He is batting .424 with a 1.187 OPS and a 201 wRC+. Is this sustainable? No, it is not. But, the numbers are so appealing to look at right now. Let’s just sit back and appreciate those numbers for just a moment.

It is necessary to point out that Hanson has 67 plate appearances. His small sample is slowly becoming a trend.

In addition to this, he has 9.5 percent walk rate and a 9.5 percent strikeout rate. These are huge improvements for Hanson in these categories. His batted ball data this season is similar to previous years with the exception of his line drive rate. His line drive rate is above 24 percent. This is a pretty large spike in comparison to his career norm.

Hanson’s best tool is his speed. When he puts the ball in play, his speed puts pressure on the defense. Due to his improved strikeout rate, he is putting the ball in play at a much higher rate than in previous seasons. This is an encouraging sign for Hanson, and this could be playing a role for some of the huge numbers he is posting in Triple-A right now.

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Hanson has a prospect pedigree, and is still relatively young. He is showing development, especially in his ability to put the ball in play. With his speed and versatility, he is forcing the Giants to pay attention to his performance. And, it would not be surprising to see him don a Giants uniform at some point this season.