Monday, March 15, 2010
Spring Training Q&A:
Twins Infield Prospect Nate Hanson
Before we get to the Q&A with Twins prospect Nate Hanson, here are a couple of notes from the weekend:
∑ One Saturday, the TWINSCENTRIC Viewing Party at Majorís Sports Cafť in Apple Valley was a great success. Although we donít have an official count, we know that there was at least 60 and probably closer to 70 in attendance. It was a ton of fun meeting many of you and putting faces to e-mail addresses and names. I got there about 11:25 and there were already people there, including a father-son from Iowa. They had made the 200 mile trek that morning and it was great to meet them. I told them that they would likely be the winner of the farthest distance traveled award (if there were such a thing!), but soon after, I met someone who had driven up from Chicago for the day. SoÖ wow! But again, I think it was a great time. It was so much fun to be seeing live baseball again, although with all of the mingling, Iím not certain how much of the game I actually saw, but thatís alright. The crowd was excited for the Wilson Ramos double off the centerfield wall. They were thrilled for Pat Neshekís two strikeout performance. Matt Tolbertís horrendous defensive outing didnít go unnoticed. I shouldnít even mention names because then I know Iíll forget someone and feel bad, but hereís a try. All four TwinsCentric guys were there (John Bonnes, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman and myself). Doogie Wolfsen and Phil Miller were in attendance. Andrew-Bryz Gornia (Off the Mark), Karlee Kanz (OMG Mn Twins), Eric Johnson (Undomed), Josh Johnson (Joshís Thoughts), Barb and Kristie (Knuckleballs). Roger Dehring of Twinkie Town fame was there. Phil Mackey couldnít be there, but he sent shots over the phone! And Scott from the Twins Train was there as well. Of course, what people who were there are still talking about today is the Kirsten Brown brownies!! They were incredible, and in fact, I mentioned on Facebook that I thought she should change the name of her blog from K-Broís Baseball Blog to K-Broís Baseball and Brownies Blog! Overall, I think the day was an incredible success. I had a great time, and I hope everyone that was there did. Hopefully we can try to do something like this once a month around the Twin Cities. Let us know what you think.
∑ By the way, the general consensus at the event regarding Joe Mauer was surprisingly similar to my thoughts. Maybe he doesnít want to play in Minnesota. Maybe he does want the money. All of that is his right as a free agent at the end of the year. Therefore, the Twins need to do what they have to. Committing $20-25 million to a catcher who missed a month of the year LAST YEAR, missed most of 2004, and has missed time with stress reactions and other injuries caused by being a catcher, it isnít the smartest allocation of funds. I know, we all know, that with Mauer, the hometown kid, there is more to the story, but it is going to be interesting to see how this plays out, and what the fan reaction is to whatever happens.
∑ As I was getting myself ready for the viewing party, I was running around tying up loose ends. I also was on another podcast. DW The Great (Twin-Keys) asked me last minute if I could be a guest for a few minutes on his new Saturday morning/10:00 a.m. podcast, so I said I would. First question was ďSo, Seth, what do you think of the Denard Span extension?Ē ďummÖ wellÖ what is it?Ē It was announced just before 10:00, so I hadnít seen it yet, but we did know it was five years. I know a lot of people are leery of these long-term extensions, but I am a huge proponent of them. Later it came out that the deal was for five years and $16.5 million. To me, that sounds very fair. There is risk. I mean, Span isnít even arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season, but I love the idea of these deals. If Span simply stays on the same level that he has in his first two seasons, this is a great deal for the Twins. If he improves at all, thatís where the true benefit to the team comes in. That said, for Span itís great because anything can happen and he is assured that he will make $16.5 million. I love long-term deals. They can be risky, but they provide salary certainty for the Twins, and they show commitment to the build-from-within philosophy. I love this deal for the Twins, and Iím thrilled for Denard Span too.
With that, letís get to the Q&A of the Day! Nate Hanson was born in California, but he grew up in Minnesota. He went to Eden Prairie High School before being a member of the University of Minnesota Gophers baseball team. So when the Twins made him their 28th round draft pick in the 2008 draft, it was a very exciting thing for him and his family. He was primarily a 3B in college, but with the Beloit Snappers in 2009, he also played some at first base, shortstop and second base. He even pitched in one game. He can even boast a 0.00 ERA! That said, he is quite humble and likely wonít boast about anything. He should move up to Ft. Myers in 2010 and again probably play around the infield. Today, he answers our questions so we can get to know him a little better.
ÖLet the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Now that youíve had a few months to look back and reflect, what are your thoughts on your 2009 season?
Nate Hanson: I had a decent year overall. Played a lot of games and actually played some first base which was a new experience for me and a fun one at that. I finished the year strong and was healthy the entire year which was big.
SethSpeaks: What do you do when youíre not playing baseball or working out in preparation for the upcoming season?
Nate Hanson: This past fall I went back to school. I also give lessons
to youth kids in my community, so I stay busy when I am not preparing for the
upcoming season. I also am a crazy Vikings and Wild fan so I watch a ton of
hockey and football!
SethSpeaks: When did you start getting ready for the 2010 season, and what was your routine?
Nate Hanson: I started in October. I eased my way back into lifting and hitting. Around Christmas time, I was hitting and lifting 3-4 times a week. Then after the first of the year, I was throwing and hitting and lifting about 5 days a week.
SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Where would you like to play, and are there any statistics that you are looking to improve?
Nate Hanson: My goals for 2010 are to have a successful year statistics wise and help our team make the playoffs wherever I am. I want to improve my batting average a bit and that will come with more consistency. More so just have good at bats and do whatever I can to help the team win ball games when I am at the plate.
SethSpeaks: What does spring training mean for you, and what are you looking forward to this year?
Nate Hanson: Spring Training is a time to get prepared for the upcoming season. You must work hard and show you belong. I can't wait to get rolling with spring training and the season and run into the big leaguers and pick their brains a bit on the game of baseball.
SethSpeaks: Who was your Favorite Player?
Nate Hanson: I had a few favorite players, but I would say right now David Wright. He plays the game the game with passion and plays it hard. I love the way he plays 3B!
SethSpeaks: Any question who your Favorite Team was/is?
Nate Hanson: When I was younger I was a huge Angels fan as I was born in CA. But when I moved to MN, I became a Twins fan. I like all my MN sports team, especially the Wild!
SethSpeaks: What were you hearing leading up to the draft about where you might be selected? when it was the Twins that took you, what went through your mind?
Nate Hanson: I heard some stuff but I wanted the process to run its course. I knew if it was meant to happen it would happen, if not, I had another year of school. Then when Mark Wilson called to tell me he and the Twins had drafted me, it was awesome. Nothing better than the home town team drafting you!
SethSpeaks: Best thing of career in baseball?
Nate Hanson: Well, I am getting paid to play a game and a game I love to play. I get to be a role model for the youth in my community and that really is what it is all about.
SethSpeaks: Toughest thing of career in baseball?
Nate Hanson: It is tough playing 142 game season after you have played 56 in a college year. Also tough finding it deep inside you when you are in slump. You know you have a game every day and need to find a way to stay positive.
SethSpeaks: Funniest story in your minor league career?
Nate Hanson: There have been many, but I will say last year in Beloit it seemed like everyone was a prankster! It kept the team loose when we were struggling as a team.
SethSpeaks: What would it mean to make your big league debut?
Nate Hanson: It would be a dream come true. That is what everyone says, but it would be. Being from MN, playing at Target Field would be mean the world to me and everyone who helped me throughout my baseball career.
Thank you very much to Nate Hanson for taking some of his time to respond. As you can see, he spent some time and put some thought into his response. If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.