Migual Sano’s unconventional path through minors paying off

The Minnesota Twins called up Miguel Sano in early July and saying that the 22 year-old slugger has been good would be an understatement.

Sano has produced an impressive slash line of .285/.395/.555 and his nine home runs in just 40 games puts him on pace for 36 over a 162 game slate. He has reached base safely in 35 of his 40 appearances, reaching safely at least twice 19 times. The fans at Target Field have gotten a great look at Sano, who has slashed .329/.451/.658 in what has statistically been a pitcher friendly ballpark.

What he is doing is nothing short of incredible. Sano’s path through the minor league system is not one taken by most players. After hitting 35 minor league home runs in 2013, he missed the entire 2014 season after tearing his UCL in spring training and needing Tommy John surgery, a rare injury for a non-pitcher. With a bump in the road on his path to the big leagues, Sano began this season with the Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) where he hit .274 with 15 home runs in 66 games. The Twins then had Sano skip Triple-A completely, making him a regular in the lineup right away.

Missing a full year of development as a 21 year-old minor league prospect can’t be helpful in any way, shape or form to both the player and the organization. The Twins had hoped to at least get Sano up to Triple-A by the end of the season. Minnesota then allowed him to skip the highest minor league level and come straight to the Majors, something that backfired when they had outfield prospect Aaron Hicks skip Triple-A in 2013. These are two key details in a player’s development added onto the fact that Sano is playing out of position with the Twins.

While in the team’s farm system, Sano played 392 games as a third baseman and 34 games as a shortstop. He played as the designated hitter only three times in his minor league career and just once at first base. With the Twins, he has been penciled in as the designated hitter 33 times already while getting seven starts at third and one inning of work at first.

Despite an unconventional path through the farm system that might have wound up stunting the growth of many prospects, Sano’s talent has allowed him to blossom into a force, making his future look very bright.

The future for the Minnesota Twins franchise as a whole looks very bright as well. The team called up Byron Buxton, MLB Pipeline’s number one ranked prospect, after yesterday’s game. The two elite prospects will both be listed on a Major League lineup card for the first time ever tonight when Minnesota takes on the Baltimore Orioles.

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