Even with 291 losses over the last three seasons, the future is bright for the Minnesota Twins as their minor league system is likely to begin to bring top-level talent to Target Field over the next couple years. One of the best prospects in their system, and in all of baseball, is third baseman Miguel Sano, who hit 35 home runs and drove in 103 runs between high Single-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain last year and he has 83 home runs over the last three seasons.
Sano suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during Dominican Winter League, causing the Twins to shut him down and creating some speculation he would need Tommy John surgery, but all indications are he is fine and the Twins have invited him to work with the major league club during spring training. Does Sano have a legitimate chance to earn a spot on the Twins’ Opening Day roster with a strong spring?
No player this side of fellow top prospect Byron Buxton will grab as much interest from fans and media during Twins’ spring training as Sano, but it’s worth noting that the soon to be 21-year old (May 11) has yet to face a pitch above the Double-A level. Starting his clock toward free agency may also be a consideration for the Twins, apart from his lack of high-level minor league experience, so it makes sense to keep Sano under control for as long as possible with the team not expected to contend in 2014.
Trevor Plouffe looks fairly locked in as the Twins’ starting third baseman on Opening Day right now, for better or worse, and it’s unclear if Sano will be given a legit chance to unseat him during spring training. But Sano is on track to make his major league debut at some point during the coming season, and the Twins may have finally found a long-term solution at the hot corner.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.