Why Alen Hanson is Such an Interesting Prospect

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Bill Gentry - Indianapolis Indians

p/c: Bill Gentry – Indianapolis Indians

For the past few years, the Pirates have established one of the better farm systems in all of baseball. While the Pirates have a ton of interesting prospects with high ceilings, perhaps none is more interesting than Alen Hanson. 

Since 2013, Hanson has been the Pirates top infield prospect. Entering this year, MLB.com ranked Hanson the Pirates seventh best prospect in the system. The 22-year-old switch-hitter got off to a very slow start in April, as he batted .234 along with a .549 OPS, but has tore it up in May, hitting .360 with a .958 OPS. Aside from having one bad month and one terrific month, here’s what makes Hanson an interesting prospect.

The Pirates wouldn’t need Hanson to come up as a starter this year, since they of course have Neil Walker at second base and Jung-Ho Kang establishing himself as the regular shortstop. Sean Rodriguez has done a very good job of hitting off the bench thus far, but Jordy Mercer has been struggling mightily in the early going. If Mercer continues to scuffle for another few weeks, the Pirates could choose to call up Hanson, as he would pass through Super 2 status. The other option the Pirates could consider is using Hanson as attractive trade bait to maybe acquire a starting pitcher, if they remain in contention heading into the trade deadline. Hanson could be the Pirates second baseman as early as 2016, so you wonder if the Pirates will resist temptation and hang onto him. 

Bucs Prospects Report 5/21

By Jason Shetler

AAA Indianapolis had a scheduled day off.

AA Altoona

Zack Dodson threw six innings, as he allowed four runs on ten hits, no walks and had one strikeout. (73 pitches; 51 strikes) (2.36 ERA; 1.00 WHIP) 

Max Moroff was 2-for-5 with a double. (.329 avg; .868 OPS) 

Keon Broxton goes 1-for-5 and drove in a run. (.291 avg; .791 OPS) 

Josh Bell went 1-for-1 with a double and also walked three times. (.321 avg; .857 OPS) 

High A Bradenton

Luis Heredia pitched four innings, allowing one run on four hits, walked two and struckout a pair. (11.57 ERA; 2.36 WHIP) 

Edwin Espinal was 3-for-5 with an RBI and scored two runs. (.243 avg; .651 OPS) 

Austin Meadows went 2-for-5, as drove in a pair of runs, walked and stole a base. (.318 avg; .816 OPS) 

Jin-De Jhang also goes 2-for-5 and came around to score. (.339 avg; .771 OPS) 

Barrett Barnes, Reese McGuire and Wyatt Mathisen did not play. 

Low A West Virginia 

Cole Tucker went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. (.273 avg; .625 OPS) 

Pablo Reyes and Taylor Gushue were also 1-for-3 and both drove in a run. (Reyes: .240 avg; .757 OPS) (Gushue: .220 avg; .605 OPS) 

Chase Simpson was 1-for-4 with a double and scored a run. (.303 avg; .894 OPS) 

Michael Suchy also went 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. (.227 avg; .690 OPS) 

Jordan Luplow did not play. 

 

Bucco Nation Poll Question

By Jason Shetler

Rays Sign a Former Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year

By Jason Shetler

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed pitcher Kyle McPherson to a two-year minor league deal, this according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. 

McPherson was drafted by the Pirates in 2007 as a 14th round selection. The 27-year-old right-hander spent seven seasons in the organization, where he posted a 3.57 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 126 games pitched. In 2011, McPherson was named the Pirates minor league Pitcher of the Year. He pitched for the Pirates in 2012, posting a 2.73 ERA along with a 1.18 WHIP in 26.1 innings. McPherson didn’t pitch at all in 2014, as he was recovering from elbow surgery. If McPherson is able to come back strong and stay healthy, he could provide the Rays with a quality arm for depth in the rotation or bullpen. 

Jim Callis Has Pirates Taking a High School Pitcher in His Mock Draft

By Jason Shetler

Jim Callis of MLB.com put out his mock draft earlier today, and has the Pirates going with Mike Nikorak. 

Nikorak is a 6’5 right-hander from Stroudsburg High School in Pennsylvania, who has a commitment to the University of Alabama. He throws a mid-90’s fastball along with a curveball and changeup, which could become above average secondary offerings. Should the Pirates select Nikorak in a couple weeks, he’ll be the first high school pitcher drafted by the Bucs in the first round since Jameson Taillon in 2010. 

Bucs Prospects Report 5/20

By Jason Shetler

AAA Indianapolis 

Alen Hanson went 3-for-5 with a double, a walk and had two stolen bases. (.296 avg; .751 OPS) 

Mel Rojas goes 0-for-2. (.261 avg; .590 OPS) 

Elias Diaz did not play. 

AA Altoona

Jason Creasy pitches seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits, walked one and had three strikeouts. (96 pitches; 64 strikes) (2.60 ERA; 1.31 WHIP) 

Max Moroff was 2-for-3 with a walk. (.326 avg; .863 OPS) 

Keon Broxton went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and scored twice. (.295 avg; .804 OPS) 

Josh Bell goes 1-for-4 and drove in a run. (.316 avg; .831 OPS) 

High A Bradenton

Jayson Aquino threw five innings, as he gave up seven runs (four earned) on ten hits, walked three and struckout three. (2.87 ERA; 1.33 WHIP) 

Reese McGuire went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. (.252 avg; .598 OPS) 

JaCoby Jones was also 1-for-3, as he stole a base and came around to score. (.281 avg; .788 OPS) 

Austin Meadows went 0-for-4. (.315 avg; .813 OPS) 

Low A West Virginia 

Tito Polo was 2-for-4 with a double. (.259 avg; .640 OPS) 

Connor Joe went 2-for-5 with an RBI. (.167 avg; .397 OPS) 

Michael Suchy and Pablo Reyes were both 1-for-4 and scored a run. (Suchy: .226 avg; .678 OPS) (Reyes; .237 avg; .762 OPS) 

Jordan Luplow goes 1-for-5 with a double. (.225 avg; .683 OPS) 

Cole Tucker did not play. 

Tyler Glasnow Headed to the Disabled List

By Jason Shetler

Tyler Glasnow has been placed on the Altoona Curve disabled list with a right ankle sprain, retroactive to May 18th, this according to Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror.

The Pirates top prospect originally injured the ankle on May 6th against Richmond and was skipped a start as a precaution. He started this past Sunday against Akron, but lasted just 3.2 innings while giving up five earned runs, so apparently the ankle was still bothering him. Despite the bad outing, Glasnow has been solid for the Curve, posting a 2.76 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.9 in six starts.