The Twins will promote top prospect Miguel Sano prior to tomorrow’s contest, an industry source tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link). It would seem, then, that Sano will be recalled to replace DH Kennys Vargas, who was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga earlier today.
Sano, 22, is considered the best right-handed power prospect in the game and draw scouting grades for his raw power that are parallel to those of Joey Gallo. He entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 11 prospect by MLB.com and placed 12th and 13th on the respective lists of Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. Fangraphs ranked the Dominican third baseman 15th among all prospects, as did ESPN’s Keith Law. Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets that in eight seasons covering the July 2 international prospect market, Sano is, to this day, the best position-player prospect that he’s covered.
As mentioned, Sano’s calling card is what most scouts rank as 80-grade power (on the 20-80 scale). MLB.com’s scouting report notes that Sano has “as much power as anyone in the minor leagues,” adding that his 2013 output of 35 homers between Class-A and Double-A could become an annual occurrence. Defensively speaking, Sano was signed as a shortstop but quickly outgrew the position and moved to third base, where the 6’4″, 260-pounder is said by most to be below average.
Third base is presently occupied by Trevor Plouffe for the Twins, and while Plouffe isn’t necessarily a star-level player, he’s quietly developed into a solid regular at the position. It seems possible, especially since he’s taking Vargas’ spot on the roster, that Sano will cut his teeth in the Majors primarily as a designated hitter, though he could certainly spell Plouffe at the hot corner on occasion.
Sano missed the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery and opened the 2015 campaign at Double-A for a second stint as he reacclimated himself to the rigors of playing every day. He started the season slow, but since the beginning of May, Sano has been an absolute juggernaut for the Lookouts. In that time, he’s batted .315/.400/.601 with 11 homers in 210 plate appearances.
If Sano is to stick in the Majors from this point forth, he’ll accrue 97 days of big league service, leaving him well shy of Super Two designation. As such, he’d be arbitration-eligible the standard three times before qualifying for free agency following the 2021 season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.