Earlier this offseason, Baseball America named Miguel Sano the no. 6 prospect in MLB. Labeled as the best pure power hitter in the minors, Sano recently claimed he was confident enough to produce 45 to 55 HRs in the upcoming season.
However, after tearing his UCL, it’s unlikely the Minnesota Twins’ future third basemen will hit any home runs in 2013. Sano had experienced recent elbow soreness, and his first strong throw of Spring Training brought potential fears to the surface. Sano will undergo Tommy John surgery next week, and although a rehab timetable for the surgery is shorter for position players, he is unlikely to see the field in 2014.
In four seasons, Sano has played 379 career minor league games to the tune of a .279/.373/.567 line with 90 HRs and just under 300 RBIs. In 2013, he put up a line of .280/.382/.610 with 35 HRs and 103 RBIs in 123 games. He played well in a brief stint at the Dominican Winter League also, but elbow problems bothered him throughout the year and eventually led to Saturday’s unfortunate announcement.
The news is unfortunate for Twins fans looking forward to seeing the team’s young talent showcased in 2014, but shouldn’t crush their hopes. The surgery will be a slight hiccup in Sano’s career, but won’t damage the potential player he could be in Minnesota. It would have been nice to see if Sano could’ve added something special to this year’s team at some point, but his absence won’t change any of the Twins’ current roster plans.
Trevor Plouffe had a solid 2013 season and is capable of being a great big-league third baseman himself. He has improved every step of the way since his 2010 debut, and Sano’s situation should give him even more reason to step up this year. Plouffe has a lot of pop in his bat, and could potentially make Twins fans forget about Sano in 2014, if at least for a little while.