Twins minor league outfielder Miguel Sano is the 33rd best prospect in all of baseball, according to Seedlings to Stars, Fansided’s excellent minor league and prospect site. The young power-hitting outfielder ranks just ahead of Phillies pitcher Trevor May on the list. You can read about Sano at Seedlings to Stars, and you can see the entire list of prospect rankings here.
Sano hit .292/.352/.637 for Elizabethton last season. The 18 year old Dominican prospect was signed with great fanfare in 2009, and he has spent his early seasons in the minors drawing comparisons to Miguel Cabrera. Sano’s 20 homers came close to challenging an Appalachian League record, and he would have led his team by a healthy margin if not for the 21 hit by fellow phenom Eddie Rosario.
Sure, Sano is only 18, and he has yet to swing a bat at low Class A ball. But it’s very hard not to get excited about a player with so much promise. He’s already 6’3″ and 195 pounds. It’s not out of the question that he could still grow an inch or two, and he’ll likely put on quite a few pounds of muscle in the next few years. Sano could be a hulking behemoth by the time he reaches the majors, the kind of guy who could send baseball soaring out of pitcher-friendly Target Field.
If it were up to me, I would have placed Sano higher on the list, but I understand that I probably suffer from Twins fan bias. Still, I think some of the other prospect ranking sites will probably have Sano higher this offseason. Baseball America had him at #94 in 2010 before he even played a game in the United States, and he soared to #60 before this season. The monster season of 2011 will certainly propel him even further up that list.
If I had to explain why Sano might not be higher than #33 on the list, I would say it has to do with his fielding skills, or the fact that his big frame may prevent him from continuing at shortstop or third base. He committed 26 errors between those two positions, so it’s doubtful that he’ll stay on the left side of the infield for the long term. It’s far more likely that he’ll have to move to the outfield or to first base. Still, his raw hitting talent is plentiful enough that he could be among the game’s elites even at those heavy-hitting positions.
Next year he may get a taste of adversity. If he does well at Beloit, he could be promoted to the High-A Florida State League, where young power hitters go to die. But if he can thrive in the spacious parks of high A ball, he should skyrocket up the high minors and debut with the Twins in late 2013 or early 2014.
Sano is widely considered to be the top ranked prospect in the Twins system, though his teammate Rosario had an equally impressive season at Rookie ball last year. Previously, Seedlings to Stars rated pitcher Liam Hendriks as the number 80 prospect, and shortstop Brian Dozier at number 77. Unless they chose to rank Rosario higher than Sano, or inexplicably kept Kyle Gibson high on the list after his Tommy John surgery, Sano is likely the highest Twins prospect on the S2S list.