Monday, April 30, 2012

What will the hype be like for Sano's debut?

One of the most hyped debuts in MLB history took place over the weekend with Bryce Harper being penciled in to the Washington Nationals line-up for the first time as a 19-year old phenom. His first game looked like it was going to play out perfectly but Matt Kemp's walk-off home run in extra innings spoiled the coming out party for Harper.

In the game, Harper got his first hit by smacking a solid double off the wall in deep center field. His most impressive play might have been his tremendous throw from left field to the plate that should have gotten the runner if Wilson Ramos would have held on to the ball. The top of the ninth inning saw Harper come up with the chance to be the hero and he was able to get a sacrifice fly to give his team the lead but the bullpen would eventually surrender the victory to the Dodgers.

In the middle of next month the Twins will have their own 19-year old top prospect when Miguel Sano celebrates his birthday on May 11. Unlike Harper who was getting experience at Triple-A for the Nationals, Sano is at Low-A trying to put together all of his potential. For the Twins and Sano, this will mean multiple seasons before he can be stepping on the grass at Target Field.

Sano has shot up the top prospect charts since he signed with the Twins as a 16-year old. Baseball America had him ranked as the 94th best prospect shortly after the Twins signed him and before he had come to play in the United States. After a tremendous 2011 season, he shot all the way up to the 18th best prospect in baseball and another strong season, combined with some players graduating to the big leagues, could see him closing in on the top of the list.

Watching a top prospect develop is great because it gives hope for the future of a franchise. The Twins and their fans have been struggling through the last two seasons and if these problems continue, fans of the Twins will start looking to the future. Sano is a big part of these plans and his development is something to watch for all of Twins Territory.

So far this year, Sano has hit .262 with six home runs, two triples, and five doubles. He has shown the ability to get more walks this season with 17 free passes so far in 2012. Even with the higher walk rate, his strikeout rate continues to be high with 31 strikeouts in 84 at-bats this year. Besides cutting down on the strikeouts, his defense at third base needs to continue to improve. He has five errors in his first 82 chances for the Snappers.

Harper was not only watched closely by fans of the Nationals but he was also on the radar of many baseball fans across the baseball world. Much like Harper, Sano could be on his way to being a top prospect in all of baseball. So what could the hype be like for Sano when he makes his debut in a couple of seasons?

If Sano continues to improve in some of the weaker areas mentioned above, there is nothing stopping him from developing into a force that will make the entire baseball world take notice in the coming years. His raw power ability could be something that makes him standout among his peers and this separation could make the hype around him even stronger. But the dreams of seeing Sano at Target Field are still multiple years away at this point with plenty of development needed from young Mr. Sano.

The last time the Twins had the top prospect in all of baseball was back before the 2004 and 2005 seasons when Joe Mauer topped the prospect charts for Baseball America in back-to-back seasons. His debut with the Twins was cut short when he was injured in the second game of the season. Surgery on the knee of Mauer would cause him to miss over a month but following his return, swelling in his knee would force an early end to the season for Mauer.

Mauer's unhealthy rookie season took away from some of the hype he had built-up in the minor leagues. Fans of the Twins can only hope that Sano is following the same track as Mauer. The hype doesn't need to follow him to the big leagues but fans of the Twins will be happy to get a top tier player for many years to come out of Sano. The hype is building but there is still plenty of work to be done. 

1 comment:

thrylos98 said...

One of the things that need to be mentioned is that Sano is having a heck of a time hitting breaking stuff and cutters. He will work this out in a couple of years I am sure, but comparing him to Harper does not help...