Miguel Sano Scouting Report
Prospect Snapshot: Premium old school 3B starter kit with game-changing power and a cannon of an arm. Rawness as a pure hitter should temper short-term expectations. Potential middle of order ML bat with pop and patience with even moderate improvement, All Star potential if he learns to hit.
Dominican Republic phenom who signed with the Twins at age 16 for $3.15 million. Following a strong 2010 debut for the Twins organization in the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League, Sano flashed the tools that made him such a coveted prospect by hitting to the tune of a .988 OPS in the Appalachian League during the 2010 season. Despite moving from shortstop to third base, the transition to full season baseball didn’t slow Sano one bit, as he hit .258/.373/.521 in the traditionally offense-starved Midwest League. Also now a fledgling movie star.
Quickly maturing build. Listed at 6’3” 195 pounds, but Sano clearly weighs more than that, probably closer to 220-225 pounds. Very thick lower body that will need to be watched, big thighs and wide hips. Strong upper body with broad shoulders. Well-proportioned, linebacker-esque frame. Retains surprisingly good agility and athleticism given his size. Man amongst boys in the 19 year old set.
Balanced, composed setup deep in the box at the plate, with a simple stride forward into an uppercut swing. Has the physical potential to catch up to most anything and make good contact, with good bat speed and impressive hips. Inconsistent and often late swing load, to the point where he will load post-stride and find himself completely out of sync at times. Shows few problems with fastballs, especially high ones, and waits for them. Looks like a completely different hitter with different swing against secondaries compared to fastballs. Uncomfortable and awkward against decent breaking balls, loses bat control with exaggerated uppercut and total lack of barrel awareness. Does do a good job of keeping his head still. Will have his share of adjustments to make against better pitching that will pound him with offspeed, but should find some relief with more consistent loading leading to a smoother and shorter swing. Likely to always have a significant component of swing and miss to his game. Some feel for situational hitting. Impressive selectivity at the plate against anything above his knees, shows ability to hold off on pitches outside the zone on both sides of the plate. Not a natural free-swinger, despite the Ks.
Tremendous raw power that should play to all fields. Clearly favors pull-side power at present, as many young sluggers do, but not a dead-pull guy. Doesn’t make solid contact without the ball going a long way, and can hit the ball hard even on bad swings. Present power still plays significantly below his ceiling; making a great living off of mistake pitches for now, but more experience should help him to challenge pitchers in all situations. Great combination of natural strength, bat speed, and loft gives him intriguing projection at higher levels.
Already has below-average speed, and likely to get slower yet as he ages. Runs okay underway, but takes a long time to get going. Violent swing often leads to being left out of position on contact, leading to slow times out of the batter’s box.
A shortstop when signed, Sano has plenty of arm and gets outstanding carry on his throws. If anything, his easy arm strength may work against him developmentally; while a player with a lesser arm may need to emphasize focus and footwork to get the most on his throws, Sano’s arm allows him to take liberties with his approach that can get him into trouble and lead to mistakes. Maturity and experience should resolve any issues.
Adequate but unexceptional defender at 3B. Range appeared to be average in my looks, but it is hard to see him maintaining lateral quickness as he gets older. Shows good instincts and reflexes in moving into position to field grounders, handles what he can get to without difficulty. Will surprise with his athleticism on occasion. Biggest weakness in the field is a noticeably nonchalant attitude to defense at times, needs to improve his focus. There is no reason why Sano should be unable to stay at 3B for the foreseeable future; has all the tools to be solid average and perhaps a little more if he commits himself. Should be noted, however, that failure to do so could easily push him to 1B or even DH; going to the OF not a reasonable projection given his lack of speed.
Ceiling: If he improves as a hitter, stops chasing offspeed that he can’t hit, and stays lean enough to play a slightly above-average 3B. .270-.280 hitter who rates as a strong threat to lead the AL in HRs on an annual basis. One of the better hitters in baseball.
Floor: He gets bigger without getting better and becomes a journeyman 1B/Quad A slugger/Japanese sensation. Would hit in the low .200s with above-average power from the right side, which won’t get it done in MLB.
Median Projection: Below-to-fringe-average hitter and average defender at 3B who hits for enough power to make most people forget about his flaws. Also should draw enough walks to make him most pleasing to saber types.
OFP Adjustments: +2 for patience and impact power at plate
Adjusted OFP: 56