Saints Re-Sign Former Gopher, Twins Prospect Nate HansonST. PAUL, MN March 16, 2016
ST. PAUL, MN (March 14, 2016) – When the St. Paul Saints were in a bind last season towards the end of the year and needed a third baseman they didn’t have to look far to find their man. This year they will be begin the season with that issue already resolved as the Saints re-signed third baseman and former University of Minnesota star and Twins prospect, Nate Hanson.
Last season Hanson played in 19 games for the Saints and hit .275 with a home run and six RBI. In 69 at bats he scored 16 runs, smacked seven doubles, had a .351 on base percentage and a .420 slugging percentage. He committed just one error in 56 total chances. Hanson began the season with Triple-A Rochester in the Twins system and hit .262 with four RBI in 17 games.
“It is tough to find good 3B,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “Nate does a good job over there. We feel he can be a productive hitter for us. When he had every day at bats in 2014 he hit 33 doubles at the Double-A and Triple-A levels."
Hanson was selected in the 28th round by the Minnesota Twins in 2008 after three seasons at the University of Minnesota where he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection at third base. The 28-year-old Chanhassen native spent parts of eight seasons in the Twins organization.
Hanson had a breakout season in his second year with the Golden Gophers, posting a .338 average and .921 OPS to go along with 10 home runs and 51 RBI to earn First-Team All-Big Ten honors at third base as a sophomore. As a junior, Hanson hit .359 with a .966 OPS, 22 doubles, six homers, and 32 RBI to pick up his second First-Team honors and become just the third Gopher third baseman in school history to earn the honor in back-to-back years. He was the first third baseman in the Big Ten to accomplish the feat since 2003. Hanson finished his junior year tied for the Big Ten lead with 22 doubles and tied for third with 118 total bases. His 45 hits in Big Ten play were the second most in a single season school history and his 22 doubles were the eighth most.
After being selected 846th overall in the draft by the Twins following his junior season, Hanson elected to sign with his hometown club and was inserted right into rookie ball where he helped the Elizabethtown Twins win the 2008 Appalachian League title. He posted a .215 average with six doubles, a pair of home runs, and eight RBI in 29 games.
Hanson’s most impressive power numbers of his career came in 2010 when he slugged a career high 11 home runs in the power sapping Florida State League. He was just one of 14 batters to post double digit homers that season and ranked ninth in the league in homers to go along with a .254 average in 110 games.
A career .254 hitter in the Twins system, Hanson got his first taste of Double-A when he was promoted to the New Britain Rock Cats in 2011. He posted a career high .276 average after returning to New Britain in 2012 while adding 16 doubles, seven home runs, and driving in 50 runs before being promoted to Triple-A the next season.
Hanson split his time between the corner infield positions in his professional career, boasting a .994 fielding percentage in 296 games at first and a .946 mark in 212 games at the hot corner.
The Saints have signed eight players this off-season, seven position players and one pitcher.
The 2016 season begins on Thursday, May 19 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.