Fulfilling dreams: Shaver Hansen testing ability in baseball
Shaver Hansen felt it was important to wait for the right moment to begin his professional baseball career.
After being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the June amateur draft, the 2006 Fruita Monument High School graduate held out until July 23 before coming to terms with the parent organization.
“I held out a little longer,” Hansen said. “I wanted the best situation for me.”
Even though his family has moved to Waco, Texas, where he played collegiately at Baylor University, Hansen chose to return to Grand Junction after the college season, throwing with a couple of former Fruita Monument teammates and working out in The Cage at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods.
By the time he came to a contract agreement, there was only one month left in the minor league season. He was assigned to the Mariners’ rookie league team in Clinton, Iowa.
“I didn’t get too many at-bats,” Hansen said, “less than 125.”
It was hard for Hansen to get into a rhythm at the plate. He batted only .205 with a .312 on-base percentage.
“I probably struggled a bit,” he admitted.
Still, his experience with the LumberKings was positive.
“I definitely learned a lot,” Hansen said.
Clinton seemed to be the right place for him to start his career.
Hansen played the middle infield in Clinton, as he did during his three-year tenure at Baylor and at Fruita Monument.
Based on the talent he was playing with and against, “It felt a lot like college ball,” he said.
But at another level.
“It’s definitely hard,” said Hansen. “Even though I only played a month, you feel the grind.”
Hansen was drafted by Seattle in the sixth round in June and was considered a relatively high draft selection.
“The opportunities are given to the higher (draft) picks but it comes down to who can perform,” he said.
Hansen was assigned to Seattle’s instructional league program in Phoenix after the LumberKings’ season.
These days his schedule consists of rising at 6:30 a.m., being at the field by 7 and going through throwing, fielding, running and hitting drills. If he doesn’t play a game that afternoon, it’s back to the field for more drills until 4:30.
After the instructional league season ends later this fall, Hansen plans to visit his family in Texas before returning to Grand Junction to spend the offseason working out at a gym and taking more swings at The Cage.
“I’m ready for every level they’re willing to send me,” he said, hoping to move up the ranks at the end of spring training.
“No matter what, I’m always excited to play ball,” he said.