All through his career, nobody has confused Buzz Hannahan with being a top prospect. He was drafted in the 31st round of the '98 draft and has shown only moments of stardom potential in his minor league career.
In 2004, Hannahan put up numbers that had the Phillies thinking he could at least be an option as a utility player. In his first full season at AAA, Hannahan hit .281, but was limited to just 81 games. The numbers gave hope that he was blossoming and could develop into a player with major league potential. With that in mind, the Phillies sent him to the Arizona Fall League to give him some more at bats. Plus, those at bats would come off some pretty good pitching prospects, so it was all the better.
"It was nice to get selected for the [Arizona Fall] League because it gave me more chances to show the club what I've got. It felt a little like I was being tested," said Hannahan.
Hannahan's AFL experience consisted of just 16 games in which he hit .250 for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. While he spent time with the big league club in spring training this past year, he played in just three games and went 0-for-2.
With a second season at Scranton ahead of him, Hannahan simply looked to put up more good numbers and see what happened down the road. Instead, he struggled to find playing time and played in just 95 games, hitting .241 for the Red Barons. This fall didn't bring a spot on the 40 man roster for Hannahan, so he'll test the waters of minor league free agency.
One thing that Hannahan has in his favor is his willingness to play anywhere. Still though, he hopes to find a home in the middle of the diamond. "I like playing up the middle, short, second, and center field. I've got pretty good range and I think it sort of gets wasted on the corners," said Hannahan.
It's likely that Hannahan will catch on somewhere. He's a solid player, who can play almost anywhere on the diamond and isn't afraid to get dirty. He's tough and odds are that he's the kind of player that fans in Philadelphia would have loved if they had only gotten the chance to see him play. Hannahan also has decent speed, although he hasn't gotten to show it off the past two seasons, because of where he's been hitting in the order. "The opportunities just weren't there as often," said Hannahan. "I like to run, but I am only going to run in situations where it makes sense. I had a left handed hitter behind me most of the time, and we wanted to keep that hole open on that side."
Since Hannahan turns 30 next June, it's unlikely that he'll be getting much of a shot at a major league career. Still though, he's worthy of a shot and will look for the best opportunity this winter. At least Hannahan has a good grasp of what he can do as a player. "By the time you get to this level you know what kind of player you're going to be. I'm not going to hit 30 homeruns, I'm going to be a guy who's ready to play anywhere, who's a tough out. Those are my assets, and that is how I can help a team."