Down on the farm one name of which to immediately take notice amongst the half season league teams so far has been 20-year-old Hansel Moreno.
Hansel has been with the organization since signing with team out of the Dominican Republic in July 2014. He would remain in the Dominican playing for the DSL Mets for three seasons before finally making it stateside in 2017 to play in the Gulf Coast league.
It has been reported earlier today that Moreno has been promoted from the GCL Mets to the Kingsport Mets. Hansel will thus have ended his stay in the GCL slashing .393/.449/.508 with a .957 OPS. Hansel was tied for first in the GCL in hits, and had a BB/K ratio of 7/8.
I first caught a glimpse of Hansel when he was participating in the Instructional League back in September 2016. He appeared to be a tall lanky kid (listed at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds) who at the time I saw him was working out at the shortstop position. However he has since gone on to split time at three different infield positions with the GCL Mets already (SS, 2B and 3B).
I’m very thankful and fortunate to have been allowed the time to interview Hansel about his time with the Mets, coming over to the states this year and his goals for the season.
MMN: How did it feel when you first signed with the Mets?
Hansel: I feel fortunate to belong in the Mets organization since it was of the organizations that I first looked at from the first moment they saw my talent. It was a unique emotion and something I did not expect. When I got the news they signed me it was a feeling without equal. There are no words to describe the emotion you feel during that first signature knowing its the first goal that so many have with this sport.
MMN: Who are some of the people along the way who helped you make it to the Mets?
Hansel: I had the help of so many people along the way. From childhood, playing for fun, I practiced with a woman called llamda (Maria) Conosida known as Fiol. Along with her was Yoelin, Eduardo González Ebelio Sosa, Jhon and several others. After I moved to a more organized league was my aunt Luisa, cousin Raimundo (Felo) at an academy called (LGS) leaning with all the coaches there. One of the most influential in helping me reach to the Mets was staff Manuel ‘Jacanaca’, Chipa and several others who worked hard on my batting and my legs. Dany Arias is like father figure to me, Tabiem Makey who gave me advice not to fail,Gero Lin, Chefil, Manuel, Jean Carlos, Kiko and many more. Just thankful for all the hard work and time I spent with all of these people to reach the Mets.
MMN: What was it like playing in the Dominican Summer Leagues?
Hansel: It was something that was very hard for me the first two years from when I started as a rookie. I had trouble just trying to control me (my emotions) and it was a disaster season for me. But I learned a lot, thank God. I continued learning and despite the bad second season my coaches believed in me and sent me to extended spring training in the United States.
I took what I learned and returned to the Dominican to play a third year. I asked God for health and blessings. That year I had an excellent season since I was more of a veteran. I faced pitchers at a higher level in instructional league and that helped me a lot. Those that helped me include the chaplain, and coach Pedro Reyes who gave me a lot of help with my hitting.
MMN: Has it been tough moving to the United States this year to play?
Hansel: It has been difficult since my parents and brother are not with me, because we are so united. It is not the same culture here. Not the same language. I’ve been accustomed to something so different from here, but in the end I am learning to adapt to whatever comes my way. I do it because I am here to fight for a future to fulfill the greatest dream a player can have which is to play in the major leagues.
MMN: What is it like now playing in the Gulf Coast League?
Hansel: Thank God I have started off really well in the GCL and I hope in God to keep me healthy and continue showing what I have.
MMN: What positions do you love to play in the field?
Hansel: Shortstop is where I feel I have best developed, and it’s the position I signed with the Mets as and that I love. But thank God I have the ability to play all positions in the infield.
MMN: What are you trying to improve on this year?
Hansel: Every day I try to improve my emotions so that they are more balanced. I am working to improve my composure since many times I find myself led into situations where maybe the umps make a call against me, and I feel that anger but I must put in the work day after day to be able to control it.
MMN: What are your goals for this year ahead?
Hansel: My goal is to try and have a season equal to or better than last year (last year Hansel slashed .317/.367/.458 with an .825 OPS with the DSL Mets). And no matter what happens I will believe in myself that I can achieve and with the blessing of God I will succeed.
MMN: Do you have any role models and coaches/players who are helping you now to succeed?
Hansel: I stay in touch with coaches here daily. I keep in tough with several people back home, including the psychologist of Dominican, my hitting and defensive instructors when I am in the offseason and most important my parents and my brother who always give me support. Them and several friends of my childhood who are always wishing me the best and Thank God I stand strong thanks to the support they give me. As a role model I follow Jose Reyes, since I see a lot of myself in him and how he plays.