Hanson: Hardship to Hardware

Third baseman Travis Hanson has been named the St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year.

Lying on the ground in pain 18 months ago with a severely broken leg, Travis Hanson probably didn't think he would be where he is right now – coming off the top performance by a position player in the entire Cardinals minor league system in 2005. The team confirmed that when they named Hanson the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.

After a winter of extensive rehabilitation, Hanson staged an impressive comeback from his major hardship. That ugly collision at second base prematurely ended Hanson's 2004 season and at least temporarily led him to move from second base to third. But, the position change and rehab didn't slow the Washington native one bit.

In 2005, Hanson posted a standout offensive season for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, hitting .293 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI. The latter was tops in the system. In fact, Hanson set career high numbers in on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, home runs, walks, RBIs and hits in 2005.

The Cards' ninth-round pick in 2002 was an All-Star in three of his first four seasons, including his selection as a member of the Texas League squad this past season. Last fall, Travis was chosen to play with Team USA, where he hit .333 in the Regional Olympic Qualifying tournament in November. That followed his stint in the by-invitation Arizona Fall League.

In addition, Hanson, 24, was named to the 2005 Topps/Minor League Baseball Double-A All-Star Team, which recognizes players with the best performances at each minor league level. Following the season, Hanson's performance and potential were recognized when he was added to the Cardinals' 40-man roster.

Hanson was recently recognized as the Cardinals' #9 prospect in our Top 40 list here at www.thestlcardinals.com. Baseball America ranked Hanson #7 on their Best of list, while BaseballHQ pegged Hanson at #14 in the Cardinals' system.

While the Cardinals' Spring Training invitations have not yet been formally issued, Hanson has been told he will attend his first-ever Major League camp starting next month. Once the 2006 regular season begins, Hanson is expected to be the Memphis Redbirds' (Triple-A) starter at third base.

Past winners of the Organizational Player of the Year Award include outfielder Reid Gorecki in 2004, first baseman John Gall in both 2002 and 2003 and then-third baseman Albert Pujols in 2000.

Congratulations to Travis Hanson – Cardinals' 2005 Minor League Player of the Year!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2006 www.thestlcardinals.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories