Saints Sign Former Gopher And Twins Prospect, Nate HansonST. PAUL, MN August 18, 2015
SAINTS SIGN FORMER GOPHER AND TWINS PROSPECT, NATE HANSON
ST. PAUL, MN (August 18, 2015) – With the North Division already wrapped up the St. Paul Saints have their eye on the playoffs. With the trade deadline and roster freeze less than two weeks away the Saints plan on strengthening their already superb roster. They made their first late season move on Tuesday when Saints skipper George Tsamis signed free agent infielder, former Minnesota Twins product and University of Minnesota star, Nate Hanson.
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 and began the 2015 season with the Twins Triple-A affiliate in Rochester where he hit .262 with two doubles and four RBI across 17 games before his release on August 10. Hanson has a career .222 batting average in 60 career games at the Triple-A level and a .259 average in over 350 games of Double-A experience.
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 after 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 posted the most impressive long ball numbers of his career 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 Rockcats 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.
Hanson becomes the second former Gopher to sign with the Saints this season, joining former teammate Mike Kvasnicka whom he played with during his junior year at the U and for part of last season in New Britain.
The Saints roster now stands at the league maximum 22 players, 10 pitchers and 12 position players. Rosters expand to 23, 10 days before the end of the season and must be locked in at that time. The only roster moves that can be made after that are adding a rookie catcher if there is an injury or if a player has their contract purchased by an affiliated organization teams have 72 hours to sign a player of any classification.