Pirates add top prospect and four others to their 40-man roster

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Top prospect Gregory Polanco received a spot on the Pirates’ 40-man roster before Wednesday’s deadline, along with three other prospects, meaning they are no longer eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Shortstop Alen Hanson, lefty Joely Rodriguez and righty Casey Sadler also received spots on the 40-man roster, which is now full. LA Sports Management, the agency for Hanson and Rodriguez, announced the move on Twitter. The Beverly Hills Sports Council did the same for Polanco and Sadler.

If the Pirates wish to add a player, they must designate someone for assignment or trade a player to make room.

Any players not on a 40-man roster who are four years removed from signing their first pro contract– five if they signed when they were 18 or younger – are eligible for selection. The selecting team must keep the player on their major league roster all season or offer him back to his original club.

Polanco, an outfielder rated by Baseball America as the Pirates’ No. 1 prospect, signed with the Pirates out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for $150,000. The 22-year-old climbed from Class A Bradenton to Class AAA Indianapolis this season, hitting .285 with 12 home runs, 30 doubles and 38 steals in the process.

Polanco will likely begin the season in Indianapolis and could make his major league debut next summer.

Hanson, 21, signed with the Pirates for $90,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. He is now their No. 6 prospect, according to Baseball America. He broke out in 2012 when he hit .309 with 16 home runs and a .381 on-base percentage for low-A West Virginia.

In 127 games between Class A Bradenton and Class AA Altoona this season, Hanson hit .274 with a .329 on-base percentage, eight home runs and 30 stolen bases. His numbers dipped during the 150 plate appearances he received with Altoona.

Hanson's defense needs improvement: He committed 32 errors this season, after 40 in 2012, and his 25 errors with Bradenton led the team despite the fact that he didn't spend the whole season there.

In 79 at-bats with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League this offseason, Hanson hit .253/.294/.329 with one home run and six steals.

Rodriguez, 22, debuted in the Pirates' farm system in 2009 with their Dominican Summer League affiliate. In 140 innings between West Virginia and Bradenton this season, Rodriguez had a 2.70 ERA with 101 strikeouts. His strikeout rate increased from 4.5 per nine innings while with short-season State College in 2012 to 6.5 per nine this season.

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