Rated as the number nine prospect in all of baseball, Minnesota Twins’ third basemen Miguel Sano made his debut with big league club on Thursday night in a spring training game against the New York Yankees. Sano went 2-3 on the night with two singles, one run scored and a strikeout, but it was good to see the future franchise player of the Twins get his feet wet in his first experience against big league caliber players.
The Twins like to give their top prospects an opportunity, once or twice, during spring training to play against big league competition to see where the players are at in their development. Obviously one game is not a fair judgment of a player, but it is a nice option for the team to have when the games essentially have little meaning.
By allowing a young prospect to play with the big league team, even if for one game, the organization rewards youngsters for the work they have put in during the off-season. They also can use it as a motivational tactic for the players who may need additional work or players who enjoy the experience of playing with the big league club so much that they never want to go back to the minors.
No matter what reason the Twins’ used for allowing Sano to have an opportunity to play with the big league club, I believe it’s a great decision. By doing this, they can evaluate Sano, reward him for his progress and expose him to a fan base that is eagerly awaiting his arrival to the majors. Sano definitely held his own in his first appearance, but there is a lot of work yet to do with Sano before he is ready to make the jump the majors. Specifically, Sano must improve defensively at third base before the conversation can begin about his promotion. His bat will always be his hallmark, but he needs to show enough defensive growth to merit further promotion.
I believe that Sano will not remain at third base his entire career, even though Twins’ officials claim they have no plans of moving him to another position. With his frame and ability to move quickly, I think Sano would be a great fit as a corner outfielder or as a first basemen for the Twins. With Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton, Chris Parmelee and Oswaldo Arcia as future options for the Twins’ outfield, Sano or Parmelee would likely need to step in and play first base at some point as well.
There also may be a future for one of the above mentioned players, likely Arcia, to carve out a role as a designated hitter at the majors as well, but that is a problem best kept at a distance for now.
It definitely was a breath of fresh air to see Sano get to play with the big league club on Thursday evening and it likely left fans and analysts wanting more. Sano will be here before you know it, but it is important that the Twins are careful with his development.
I’d rather have Sano arrive and be ready to contribute at a high level for the rest of his career, than see him bounce back and forth between the majors and minors while he figures out how to play at the big leagues. As for now, it was good seeing you Sano and I hope to see you again—on a more regular basis—this same time next year.