Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Miguel Sano makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – Fort-Myers coach Doug Mientkiewicz had this to say about the slugger, "He’s a phenomenal kid, wise beyond his years. He’s a great teammate, one thing he did was take guys underneath his wing. He was great to kids, great to fans, and the guys really respond to him. He’s a future team leader." Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – Sano’s enormous power comes with its fair share of swing-and-misses. The third baseman has struck out a total of 286 times over the past 2 minor league seasons. But the power bat draws plenty of walks as well, keeping his strikeout to walk ratio around 2:1. This will be an area to monitor once he reaches the big leagues. Rating: 9 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – Sano was able to become a more selective hitter during the 2013 season, which bodes well for the future. The prospect put up the best on-base percentage of his young career, leading scouts and coaches to notice his improved pitch recognition as well. Rating: 9 out of 10.
4) Power – The third baseman launched 28 HR’s in the minor leagues in 2012, and then followed that up with another 35 long balls in 2013. The slugger recently told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, ""I hit 45 this year. More games. Maybe 55, you never know." While Sano has set his own personal goals at a lofty level, his enthusiasm is warranted. Rating: 10 out of 10.
5) Speed – For a big-time slugger, Sano possesses enough speedy to chip in a few SB’s during the early stages of his career. After swiping 8 bags in 11 chances in 2012, the prospect stole another 11 bases in 14 chances during the 2013 season. For a power hitting third baseman, 5 to 10 SB’s a year would be a nice bonus. Rating: 8 out of 10.
6) Body – Sano is currently listed at 6’4" and 235 pounds. There have been rumors his size could hinder his range at 3B and lead to a future position switch to first base. At this point, Sano appears athletic enough to stick at third for at least a few years. With Joe Mauer making the transition to 1B, the Twins appear to agree. Rating: 9 out of 10.
7) Durability – A torn UCL in the prospect’s right elbow ended his stint in the Dominican Winter League during the offseason. Luckily, Dr. James Andrews examined Sano and determined that he would not need surgery to repair the damage. Sano’s size could create durability issues in the future. But the prospect has still accumulated at least 450 AB’s in each of the past 2 seasons. Rating: 9 out of 10.
8) Ceiling –Sano contains as much power as anyone in the major leagues, and it will only be a matter of time before that power is on display at Target Field. Take a look at the stat lines Adrian Beltre has put up over the past few years, as Sano could be replicating those numbers in the near future. Rating: 10 out of 10.
9) Floor – It is hard to image Miguel Sano not developing into the future cleanup hitter for the Twins at this point. Even Target Field won’t be able to contain this bat. At a minimum, I think we are looking at a fantasy player in the mold of a Nelson Cruz, still a very quality fantasy player in his own right. Rating: 10 out of 10.
10) Future – The Twins’ third base prospect is well on his way to making a name for himself, and we won’t have to wait long before we get a chance to see him on the national stage. There aren’t many scouts that don’t believe Sano will be able to launch 30 homeruns a year for the foreseeable future. Rating: 10 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 94% A
Future Outlook: Sano is currently one of the best hitting prospects in all of the minor leagues. In 2013, the prospect put up a fantasy stat line of a .280 BA, 35 HR’s, 103 RBI’s, 86 R’s, and 11 SB’s. A very impressive follow-up to a 2012 season that saw the Twin’s 3B prospect hit 28 HR’s with 100 RBI’s. Sano has the skill set to become one of the top homerun hitters in the majors. There has been talk of moving the slugger to 1B in the future, but the Twins are going to have him concentrate on 3B for the time being. Even with the defensive concerns, you will find Sano among the top ranked players on just about every prospect list. And his defense isn’t a concern for us fantasy managers, which makes him one of the very best fantasy baseball prospects for keeper leagues. We could be looking at one of the top power options of the future, capable of becoming a 1st or 2nd round fantasy option.