Miguel Sano is the best third base prospect in the game. That statement will not be challenged after what Sano has become as of late. After the Minnesota Twins signed the wiry teenager out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, the youngster has gradually got better and better. The Dominican third baseman was said to have power when he was signed but it never really showed on the field. His power is now visible and substantial.
July 3, 2011; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A view of the Minnesota Twins logo on the field against the Milwaukee Brewers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Sano is a 6’3” 190-200 pound kid that still has room to add even more size and naturally, more power. The biggest questions for Sano are his fielding skills and his plate discipline. In his first year, at 17 years old, Miguel played in 61 games and struck out 60 times. That season was stretched from the Dominican Summer league to the Gulf Coast League. During that time, Sano only hit 7 HR’s and walked nearly once per 10 at bats.
In 2011 Miguel played 66 games for the Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian League (Rookie level). He showed off his plus plus raw power and blasted 20 homers during that time but also struck out 77 times. Still 18 years old, Sano showed his plate vision wasn’t at an elite level and neither was his fielding. He was moved from shortstop to third base around midway through the year and he stayed put ever since.
Last year at the Twins’ Single-A level (Beloit Snappers) Sano took a big turn in the right direction. His power numbers stayed high by circling the pillows 28 times in 129 games. Miguel also showed a large improvement in plate discipline and the pitches he chose to watch and to swing at. That was evident with 80 walks. Although Sano struck out more than once per game, he still showed improvement on the mental side of his game while keeping his physical tools at their usually high levels.
When all is said and done Miguel Sano has the look of a potential all-star. He plays hard and looks like his defensive skills, while not impressive, should hold up at the hot corner. If Sano’s power continues to become more reliable and he stays at 3B, his strikeout numbers will become a non-factor. Another thing to consider with Sano is his arm strength. He has a plus plus arm from third base, which means he could easily transition into a RF should the corner infield spot not work out for him.
Even though Miguel was a highly touted prospect on the 2009 international market, he has continued to impress scouts and baseball minds across the game .The Minnesota Twins’ VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff said on MLB.com “He (Sano) has the chance to someday be a leader, a guy you can count on. He’s a quality young man and some of that is starting to show. On the field, his bat is what it is. It’s as high a ceiling as a young guy can have”
Before the 2011 season Baseball America had Sano ranked as the #60 ranked prospect in baseball. MLB.com had Sano at #36. Last year B.A. had Miguel ranked #18 and MLB.com had him ranked #20. Now ESPN.com has Miguel Sano ranked #11 overall and MLB.com has him ranked #12 overall. Seedlings To Stars ranks Miguel as the #3 prospect in all of baseball. Needless to say, Sano is a talented teenager that has continued to prove himself as a very high-potential piece to the Twins Organization.
Comparing Miguel Sano to someone we have already seen play major league baseball isn’t a very easy thing to do considering his power and size. Him being a teenager at this point adds another tough obstacle but the easiest way to find a comparison is by the 5-tools.
Sano potential has a 70-grade power tool and 70-grade arm strength. Meaning he will be expected to hit 35 or more bombs a year and have one of the stronger arms in the league. His hit tool should be about major league average, maybe slightly below average. That is a .250-.270 hitter. His fielding is below average and so is his speed.He may swipe double digits in his early years but it isn’t considered a part of his overall game.
August 9, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
With that said Miguel Sano reminds me of a very young version of what Jose Bautista is now. “Joey Bats” has a career batting average of .253 and he has played over one third of his games at third base before recently becoming an All-Star caliber outfielder. In an article by MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, he noted that from 2010 to 2011 Jose Bautista recorded the second best ARM rating in the league from RF. Sano has that type of power potential and arm strength.
Bottom line: Sano will slowly work his way up to the bigs in the next three years and be one of the most powerful hitters in the game. Fielding-wise he may be a below average 3B or an average RF with an absolute cannon. He will hit around .250 while striking out 150 times and knockin’ 30 to 40 balls out of the park per year in his prime. That’s my “Bold Prospect Comparison”.