Alen Hanson Set To Make Major League Debut

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When the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Atlanta Braves tonight, infielder/outfielder Alen Hanson will be making his Major League debut.

Yesterday, it was reported by multiple outlets that the Pirates are set to call up one of their top prospects in Alen Hanson. Left fielder Starling Marte will be going on paternity leave today and will be away from the team for a few days, with Alen Hanson taking his place.

Throughout his Minor League career Alen Hanson has been primarily an infielder playing mostly shortstop and second base. However, this season he started to play some outfield as well and it is possible the Pirates view his best fit in the Major Leagues being as a super utility player. For this reason, it would not surprise me if we see Hanson in left field while Marte is away from the team.

This season at AAA Indianapolis the switch hitting Alen Hanson has a .288/.309/.398/.707 slash line to go along with a wOBA of .323 and a 105 wRC+. Hanson has also stolen seven bases, as speed continues to be a big part of his game. Hanson nearly made the team out of Spring Training, and probably would have as the Opening Day second baseman had the Pirates not signed David Freese, so obviously the Pirates are high on Hanson and see him as being Major League ready.

With Alen Hanson being called up in May there is the question of Super Two status. Well, this is something the Pirates will be able to work around. Let’s say Hanson remains with the team throughout the Braves series, and returns to AAA on Friday. Therefor, Alen Hanson will have accumulated four days worth of Major League service time.

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In order to avoid achieving Super Two status, Hanson would have spend at least four days back in the Minor Leagues after the Super Two date passes. So, as long as Hanson remains in AAA until at least mid-June or so he will not become Super Two eligible then.

While I believe Hanson will be recalled again at some point this summer, the Pirates will make sure it is late enough to avoid Super Two status. Also, the Pirates want Hanson to be playing everyday right now and, barring injury, there is not a spot for him in Pittsburgh. That could change down the road, an injury could happen, or the Pirates could decide to convert him to a super utility role.

I fully expect Alen Hanson to be in the lineup tonight for the Pirates. If the Pirates did not plan on playing Hanson, they would have called up someone like Jason Rogers or Pedro Florimon to fill Marte’s spot. Because with prospects like Hanson, more than anything, you want them playing everyday regardless of what level it’s at.

Where Alen Hanson will play though is a bit of a question. As I said above, by trait Hanson is a second baseman but the Pirates have Josh Harrison there. For this reason, there are a couple different scenarios I could see playing out.

First off, assuming Jung Ho Kang will get today off I could see Hanson playing second base, Harrison third base, and Matt Joyce replacing Starling Marte in the outfield. Secondly, I could see the Pirates not wanting to move Harrison off of second base and putting Freese at third base with Hanson in left field. When Kang returns to the lineup on Tuesday, I could see Hanson at second base with Harrison in the outfield. Or, once again, Hanson just going to left field.

Regardless of where he plays, I fully expect Hanson to play as long as he is with the Major League club. Hanson is a player I have long been high on, and I am very excited to see him make his Major League debut this week. Welcome to the Majors, Alen, and congratulations!

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