Alen Hanson: Buy Or Sell?
Alen Hanson, the switch-hitting middle infielder out of the Dominican Republic received little attention after being signed by Rene Gayo. In 2012 his bat provided a grand introduction into the prospect world. At 19, Hanson hit .306 with 16 home runs and 35 stolen bases in the South Atlantic League. The performance resulted in a helium fueled launch up prospect lists.
In 2013, Hanson struggled causing his stock to take a hit. Batting just .228 as a right-handed batter, his struggles resulted in a power outage (eight home runs). A late season promotion to Double-A Altoona saw his production his rock bottom. ROTOscouting’s own Chris Blessing spoke to a contact in the Eastern League regarding the young shortstop. He was told Hanson had “regressed significantly” from the right side of the plate and struggled against secondary pitches.
With this knowledge in hand, is Alen Hanson a buy or sell candidate in fantasy baseball leagues?
Hanson’s best tool is his speed. In a down year, he still managed 30 steals in 127 games played. Hanson will need to improve upon his 65% success rate, but experience and coaching help with that. And while he struggled to make hard contact, Hanson’s strikeout rate improved to 17%. As a left-handed hitter, Hanson hit .305 and slugged over .500. In a full season, one can expect 400-450 plate appearances from the left side of the plate. It also forces one to wonder if Hanson shelves switch hitting entirely. So while his stock deserves to be down, tools and youth remain. One year of minor league statistics isn’t enough to sour me on him completely.
Defensive ability, namely whether or not Hanson can stick at shortstop, has also depressed his value. This includes recent chatter about his moving to second base. For fantasy baseball purposes, this hurts, but it’s not earth-shattering. His double-digit home run, 20-25 steal profile is elite for a team’s middle infield position. The Pirates have steady options at both middle infield positions, so Hanson won’t be rushed. However, Mike Newman has spoken with Assistant General Manager Kyle Stark who mentioned the Pirates start by pushing prospects slowly, but quickly accelerate time tables as they hit the upper levels. My hope is Pittsburgh does the opposite and slows him down.
Alen Hanson is a buy low to target in dynasty league fantasy baseball formats. His 2013 disappointed after a breakout in 2012, but the needle has moved too far into the negative. This happens frequently with prospects and presents dynasty owners an opportunity to strike. Hanson is your second baseman or middle infielder of the future.
Drafting Alen Hanson in TDGX
In the Dynasty Guru Experts League draft, Mike Newman and I are assembling 40-man dynasty rosters from scratch. As with any fantasy draft, value is kin with every pick. I knew Hanson would fall, didn’t know how far. At pick #401, Alen Hanson became a member of team Buttil and joined shortstop prospects J.P. Crawford and Rosell Herrera. Mike was sour grapes about it. Given Bret Sayre ranked Hanson 323rd overall in his dynasty league top 500, landing him three to four rounds later was great value.
Mike’s on Twitter @643ball
14 Mar 2014 / Mike Buttil / 2
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