Minnesota Twins third basement Miguel Sano is one of the prized young talents in baseball, and for good reason.
The Twins signed Sano as a 16-year-old international free agent out of the Dominican Republic on September 29, 2009. There were questions about his age in the Dominican Republic, as he claimed to be 16, but rumors were he could have been older. This caused Sano and his agent, Rob Plummer to lower his asking price a little, and after negotiations with various teams, they settled on a 3.15 million dollar signing bonus with the Minnesota Twins.
Sano spent his entire minor league career as one of the most heralded prospects in baseball, usually at the top, or in the top five of every single prospect list the entire way. Since the day he was signed, Miguel Sano has been highly regarded based on the strength of his bat, and for good reason. For his minor league career, Sano batted .277 with 107 home runs and 341 RBIs, including that big 2013 season in which he played at two levels, A-Advanced, and AA ball, batting .280 with 35 home runs, 103 RBI’s, and a .992 OPS.
The Twins decided to call up Sano on July 2, 2015 from AA ball, and the move was questioned by some experts, who thought that perhaps the Twins should have let Sano spend the rest of 2015 in Rochester (AAA) before bringing him up in the 2016 season. They were wrong, very wrong.
In the second half of the 2015 season, Sano played 80 games for the Twins, primarily as a DH, and batted .269 with 18 home runs, 52 RBIs, and a .916 OPS. He made a late push to get onto the rookie of the year ballot, and was a big part of the Twins push for a wild card spot, which came up just short.
Then the Twins made a very questionable decision prior to the start of 2016, and paid for it the entire season.
Sano spent his entire minor league career as a third basemen/DH, and scouts said he would end up over at first base as he got older. There was just one little hold up, Trevor Plouffe, a decent player in his own right, had a good hold on third base. They decided to put Sano out in left field, and it didn’t work.
The Twins finished the season with a record of 61-101, and Sano struggled the entire season. During the offseason, the Twins hired a new GM, Derek Falvey, and he promptly released Plouffe. Sano has spent the entire 2017 season so far at third base, first base, and DH, and has THRIVED. Sano is batting .303 with 14 home runs, 43 RBIs, and has an OPS of a whopping 1.016 on the season. That OPS is in Babe Ruth, Lou Gerhig, Stan Musial, and Ted Williams territory. As of June 6, Sano leads all third basemen in All-Star voting, as it should be.
What most people don’t realize is that Miguel Sano also has a very unusual place in history, and has nothing to do with that bat.
Miguel Sano sat out the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, a rarity for a position player. Only 11 position players in history have ever undergone Tommy John surgery, and Sano is one of just two third basemen ever to undergo it, the other, ironically being his now manager, Paul Molitor. That’s okay, it’s not like a pitcher where it could affect his game, especially since he is headed for first base full time soon. The future is extremely bright in Minnesota, and if the Twins are headed for the promised land, this man is going to take them there.