Thursday, April 1, 2010

#3 Prospect Miguel Angel Sano

Shortstop, 3rd Base
Signed as International Free Agent in 2009, Dominican Republic
Levels Played in 2009: Not Available
Opening Day Age: 16 (Turns 17 on May 11th)

The Minnesota Twins had a fantastic off season. They made some great signings with Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson, they traded for all start short stop JJ Hardy, they extended Nick Blackburn and Denard Span and they were able to give the 4th largest contract in MLB history to all world catcher Joe Mauer. But the move that might be overlooked for the next couple years was the $3.15 million dollars dished out to a 16 year old boy in the Dominican Republic. The signing of Miguel Angel Sano will pay dividends off for the Twins for years to come.

Sano was looked at as the best international prospect to ever come out. He was given the largest signing bonus for a international position player ($3.15m). Only Michael Ynoa received a larger bonus overall in 2008 from the Oakland Athletics. The Twins were in what was a 3 team race to get Sano last year. The other suitors for Sano were the Baltimore Oriels and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sano was said to be looking for a bonus somewhere in the $3.5 million dollar range. Early on, although Minnesota said they were really interested it seemed unlikely that the Twins would be willing to dish out that kind of money to a kid would probably be a sophomore in high school if he lives in the states.

The process was prolonged when MLB had to run a background check on Sano to prove he was really 16. For months it seemed like the Pirates were the front runner to get Sano as they kept in contact with him and his family on a weekly basis. Surprisingly, Sano went behind the Pirates back and chose Minnesota out of the blue. The $3.15 million dollar signing bonus was the second largest given out in Twins history only to Joe Mauer's number 1 overall draft pick bonus in 2001. That just puts in perspective how good the Twins think this kid can be. After that the Twins requested that a physical be taken, a bone graphs to validate Sano's age. Everything panned out. He was given a work visa and is now currently in Twins spring training camp.

Sano is a special talent. At 16 he is huge standing at 6 foot 3 and weighing a lean 200 pounds. He has never trained a day in his life and already holds great power. A scout said that Sano has thunder in his forearms. He has a very smooth swing from the right side and surprising plate discipline for again at 16 year old. Sano's determination to be great is already prevalent. He claims he wants to get to the major leagues in 2 years. By that time he would probably be 19. The Twins may move Sano slow early on. Because the Twins have not developed too many of their own international guys of this caliber it is somewhat of a unique situation. The closest scenario was Wilson Ramos who is going into his 6th season with the organization.

Sano has a very bright future. He is expected to begin his career in the rookie GCL sometime this summer rather then going back to the Dominican to play in the DSL academy. Sano in a very short stint in spring training has already looked impressive. At his size and age he will probably grow out of his current position short stop. Expect Sano to play 3rd in the next couple years. Sano will push to get to the majors as fast as possible. I fully expect him to make his debut before his 21st birthday.

ETA: 2013
Projection: All Star, MVP, Hall of Fame. Am I getting ahead of myself?
MLB Comparison: Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria

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