FSL notes: Hanson draws rave reviews

Bradenton shortstop improving in field, impressing at plate

Alen Hanson has made 15 errors this season, but only two since May 1. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

By Guy Curtright / Special to MLB.com | June 5, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Alen Hanson's manager last year and his skipper this season both rave about the switch-hitting shortstop's raw talent.

"His God-given ability is off the charts," said Rick Sofield, who had the No. 3 Pittsburgh Pirates prospect at Class A West Virginia in 2012.

"His hand-eye coordination is so good it's ridiculous," said Frank Kremblas, Hanson's manager this season at Class A Advanced Bradenton.

Hanson, though, is still just 20 years old. That makes him far from a finished product, especially in the field.

"The challenge is shortstop," said Sofield, now Pittsburgh's first base coach. "He's got the tools to play there in the big leagues. But like with all young players, can he handle the mental grind? It's a tough position."

Hanson, No. 49 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects, led the South Atlantic League with 40 errors last year and had 15 in the first two months of this season in the Florida State League. Kremblas, though, feels that Hanson has made significant progress lately.

"His defensive has been outstanding," the Bradenton manager said. "He must have made 11 or 12 of his errors the first couple of weeks."

No one questions Hanson at the plate.

The native of the Dominican Republic led the South Atlantic League last season in runs (99), total bases (258) and triples (13) while batting .309 with 55 walks, 16 homers and 35 stolen bases.

"He's got a chance to be an offensive juggernaut," said Sofield. "Right now, he's a poor version of Rickey Henderson."

Hanson, though, didn't hit his second homer in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League until Monday, and he had just 11 stolen bases in 19 attempts.

Every player has an adjustment period when he moves up a level," Kremblas said. "I know I did. It takes a while to get comfortable."

The Bradenton leadoff hitter batted .311 in May and had a .284 average through Monday. His on-base percentage was .345 thanks to 19 walks, and he had 12 doubles and five triples.

Two of the triples and one of the doubles came in a four-hit game against Tampa on May 22 that helped earn him Florida State League Player of the Week.

"He can do a lot of things at the plate," Kremblas said. "He's definitely an offensive force."

Even offensively, though, Hanson still has some work to do.

He is a much better hitter left-handed, as shown by the fact that he had a .318 average against righties compared to a .228 mark against lefties.

"He needs to improve his approach a little bit, but he's working on it," Kremblas said.

"Work and repetition is what matters the most for all young players," Sofield said. "What you do at 2:30 before a game is just as important as what happens at 7:30."

In brief

On top: Fort Myers second baseman Eddie Rosario passed Clearwater's Cameron Perkins and teammate Miguel Sano to take over the lead in the Florida State League batting race. Rosario was 17-for-35 during a nine-game hitting streak through Monday to raise his average to .342. Perkins, who went on the disabled list recently, was hitting .337 and Sano was at .335. Rosario, Minnesota's No. 6 prospect, had 13 doubles, five triples, four homers and 33 RBIs.

Tough luck: St. Lucie right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who has a 2.81 ERA, fell to 2-3 with a 2-1 loss to Lakeland on Monday. The New York Mets' No. 3 prospect allowed six hits, walked none and struck out five over five innings. Syndergaard, No. 27 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects, has given up just six earned runs in his three losses and has 59 strikeouts to 15 walks over 57 2/3 innings in his 11 starts.

No results: Jupiter left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino allowed three hits over five scoreless innings while striking out six and walking one Friday at Bradenton, but he got his eighth no-decision in 11 starts. The Marlins' No. 3 prospect is 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA and has issued just nine walks in 56 2/3 innings. Nicolino is ranked No. 66 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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