2014 Top 10 Prospects: Minnesota Twins

The Twins may have the best minor league system in baseball thanks to its impact talent at the top and depth throughout. Both Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano could arguably be the best player in the minors at their respective positions. It’s extremely impressive how the organization has been able to acquire high-ceiling talent through a variety of means: the amateur draft, the international free agency and the trade market.

 

#1 Byron Buxton | 70/A+ (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
19 633 174 20 15 81 120 57 .322 .411 .509 .417

The Year in Review: To say 2013 was a huge year for Buxton would be an understatement. He went from being widely considered one of the Top 3 prospects in the Twins system to one of the Top 3 prospects in all of baseball. Just 19 during the regular season, the athletic outfielder played at two A-ball levels and posted a .944 OPS with a .334 batting average. He also stole 55 bases in 74 attempts. Buxton ended his year with 12 games in the Arizona Fall League but was noticeably worn down.

The Scouting Report: Buxton is a player that can do it all in terms of the five-tool spectrum. He can hit for average, he flashes raw power potential, he has the speed to steal 50-60 bases, he has a very strong arm and he plays outstanding center-field defence. There aren’t too many things he needs to work on other than gaining experience against better pitching and continuing to trust himself and stay within himself.

The Year Ahead: Buxton will almost certainly open the 2014 season in Double-A. He has a shot at reaching the Majors in the second half of the season. Future fourth outfielders Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni will keep the position warm for the stud prospect.

The Career Outlook: Buxton, who turns 20 in a few days, has all the makings of a perennial all-star and should be the heart of the Twins team for years to come. The organization is positioning itself to be a true powerhouse in the American League Central.

 

#2 Miguel Sano | 65/AA (3B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 519 123 30 35 65 142 11 .280 .382 .610 .435

The Year in Review: How do you follow up on a season where you hit 28 home runs as a 19 year old? You hit 35 dingers at the age of 20. Sano, a Dominican native, split 2013 between High-A and Double-A and definitely faced a stiffer challenge at the higher level. After posting a 1.079 OPS with a .330 batting average in High-A, the third baseman managed a .915 OPS but hit just .236 in Double-A. The main culprits behind his struggles were the increase in strikeouts (25% to almost 30%) and the dip in his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) from .397 to .265.

The Scouting Report: Sano has perhaps the most potent power potential in the minors with his tool grade coming in at 75-80. In typical slugger fashion he also walks a lot but swings and misses with regularity. Because of those whiffs, he’ll probably never hit for a great batting average but could sit somewhere in the .250-.270 range, which should still allow him to produce strong on-base percentages. Defensively, his bat and plus-plus arm give enough reason for him to remain at the hot corner but his range is likely to diminish as he ages and his actions are stiff.

The Year Ahead: Sano struggled with Double-A pitching in 67 games but a strong spring could push him to Triple-A, one step away from The Show. Trevor Plouffe’s days as a starting big league third baseman could be over in a Plou?ffe of smoke before the summer is over. One wrinkle to that plan, though, could be a lingering elbow injury. Some unsubstantiated rumors have suggested Tommy John surgery could be a possibility, which would cause him to miss a large chunk of the season.

The Career Outlook: There are some questions about Sano’s true age (and understandably so, if you’ve seen him) but even if he’s closer to 24 or 25 he should have a strong future as a middle-of-the-order slugger. He could threaten the 40-home run plateau in the Majors during his prime.

 

#3 Alex Meyer | 65/AA (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
23 23 23 104.1 87 6 11.04 3.36 3.02 2.82

The Year in Review: Meyer made just 13 starts in Double-A (with three rehab appearance in rookie ball) due to a shoulder injury but bounced back well to throw another 26 innings in the Arizona Fall League to give him more than 100 innings thrown on the year. Along with racking up the strikeouts, the right-hander also induced ground ball outs at a tremendous rate.

The Scouting Report: A contact within the Twins organization told me that Meyer may very well have both the best fastball and curveball in the organization. He has a mid-to-high-90s fastball with movement and his curveball is a true swing-and-miss offering. His height allows him to create a significant downward plane on the ball that makes it nearly impossible to lift when his command is on. The big concern with the 6’9” monster is keeping him healthy and on the mound.

The Year Ahead: The strong showing in the AFL could convince the organization to assign the University of Kentucky alum to Triple-A to open the year. The club should have Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Meyer all ready for the Majors right around the same time.

The Career Outlook: Meyer just continues to get better and the Washington Nationals are no doubt second-guessing their decision to include him in the Denard Span deal from a year ago. If his shoulder holds up he could become a No. 1 or 2 starter in the Twins rotation and has a significantly higher ceiling than anyone currently found on the big league staff.

 

#4 Kohl Stewart | 60/R (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
18 7 4 20.0 13 0 10.80 1.80 1.35 1.70

The Year in Review: The fourth overall selection in the 2013 draft, Stewart looked like a stud in his brief debut. The right-hander rolled through the rookie Gulf Coast League and earned a late-season promotion to the advanced-rookie Appalachian League. In total, he allowed just 13 hits and four walks while whiffing 24 in 20 innings of work.

The Scouting Report: The first two things that stand out with this Texas native are his athleticism and competitive nature. It helps him repeat his pitching mechanics and it also allows him to serve as an extra quality fielder. His repertoire includes a low-to-mid-90s fastball with excellent movement (although he needs to sharpen his command of the offering), potentially-plus slider, curveball and changeup. He’s learning to consistently get on top of the ball and create a good downward plane to work consistently in the lower half of the zone.

The Year Ahead: Stewart should open the 2014 season in full-season ball even though he just turn 19 in October. The organization is usually fairly reserved with its young arms so expect him to spend the entire year in the Midwest League. He’ll likely reach the Majors sometime in 2016.

The Career Outlook: Stewart has just 20 innings of professional experience but his athleticism and makeup should help him squeeze every ounce out of his impressive tools, which could eventually help him develop into a No. 1 or 2 starter. He could easily be among the 15 or 20 best prospects in baseball by this time next year.

 

#5 Eddie Rosario | 60/AA (2B/OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 628 169 33 10 41 109 12 .293 .338 .434 .349

The Year in Review: Rosario split the 2013 season between High-A and Double-A. The 22-year-old Puerto Rico native hit significantly better in High-A than Double-A but he didn’t exactly embarrass himself at the higher level. Rosario also spent the off-season playing in both the Arizona Fall League and the Puerto Rico Winter League but didn’t perform overly well at either stop.

The Scouting Report: Rosario is a strong hitter and should produce a solid batting average at the big league level. His aggressive approach at the plate hinders his ability to get on base at a solid clip. Strong wrists and forearms, as well as significant bat speed allows him to flash above-average, left-handed power although it’s mostly gap pop at this point. Defensively, Rosario has strides to be made at both second base and in the outfield so some stability would certainly help. His offensive profile would fit better at the keystone than a corner outfield spot.

The Year Ahead: Rosario will reportedly sit out the first 50 games of the 2014 season after being nabbed for using a banned substance. There has also been talk of him being moved back to the outfield after spending the last two seasons at second base. Once his season begins, he could return to Double-A to help shake off the rust (assuming he sits for 50 games as reported) before moving up to Triple-A.

The Career Outlook: It remains to be seen where Rosario will eventually settle in defensively. Brian Dozier has been a league-average player at the position so he’s not a huge roadblock but there appears to be a more glaring need in left or right field with Byron Buxton and Oswaldo Arica possibly filling the other two-thirds of the outfield. He could be an all-star at second base but he’d be more fringe-average to average as a corner outfielder.

 

#6 Jose Berrios | 60/A- (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
19 19 19 103.2 105 6 8.68 3.47 3.99 3.44

The Year in Review: I ranked Berrios at eighth a year ago and he put forth another strong performance in 2013 to move up to the sixth slot despite the significant depth in the system. A native out of Puerto Rico like Eddie Rosario, Berrios made just 19 starts in his first full season but held his own in the Midwest League. He also managed to surpass the century mark in both innings pitched and strikeouts.

The Scouting Report: Berrios’s best pitch is his fastball, which he can dial up into the mid-90s with good movement. He doesn’t always stay on top of the ball and he gets in trouble when the ball is elevated. Both his breaking ball and changeup have the chance to be average or better offerings. Because he was around the strike zone a fair bit — but with so-so command — he allowed a lot of hits in 2013.

The Year Ahead: Berrios will move up to High-A ball and he’ll likely continue to be one of the more underrated prospects in both the Twins system and the game in general. He has a shot at reaching the Majors in 2015 but will more likely be ready for The Show in 2016.

The Career Outlook: Berrios has the makings of developing into a No. 3 starter — possibly a No. 2 if one of his secondary pitches really takes off — or he could make his way to the back-end of the bullpen. He’s a fun lottery ticket to follow in the Twins system.

 

#7 Max Kepler | 55/A- (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 335 71 16 9 31 56 2 .237 .310 .400 .327

The Year in Review: Kepler opened the 2013 season in extended spring training after an elbow strain nixed the plan to have him begin the year in full-season ball but he was assigned to the Midwest League in June. The 20-year-old native of Germany showed impressive left-handed power even though he failed to hit for average and his on-base percentage was a dismal .312. After the season, he was assigned to the Arizona Fall League — even though most player assignments typically come from the Double-A and Triple-A ranks.

The Scouting Report: Kepler is learning to tap into his raw left-handed pop, which can send balls over the fence to all fields. He’s also gaining much-needed experience at the plate in an effort to improve his pitch recognition and the consistency of his mechanics. Kepler is a good athlete for his size and has a fluid swing. The young hitter is honing his skills in the outfield but his modest arm could eventually convince the organization to shift him to first base,

The Year Ahead: Kepler should officially play a full season in 2014 when he’s assigned to the Hight-A Florida State League. He’s probably not bound for the Majors until late 2016 at the earliest.

The Career Outlook: Kepler has some work to do against left-handing pitching if he’s going to avoid a future platoon gig and realize his full potential. If everything clicks, the European-born player has the tools to be a star with plus power production from the middle of a big league lineup.

 

#8 Jorge Polanco | 55/A- (2B/SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
19 523 143 32 5 42 59 4 .308 .362 .452 .368

The Year in Review: Polanco spent three seasons in short-season ball but it appears to have been time well spent. He was outstanding in his first taste of full-season ball, showing the ability to hit for average with improved pop and limited swing-and-misses. He also showed the ability to handle both middle infield positions. He received a lot of playing time in the Dominican Winter League — especially for such a young, inexperienced player — and made the most of his opportunity with a .326 batting average and .825 OPS.

The Scouting Report: The Twins have a pair of intriguing middle infield prospects in Polanco and Danny Santana. The former is a little bit more of a safer pick while the latter is a little more toolsy but also more raw. Polanco is a switch-hitter with solid pop from both sides of the plate and he has a good eye which allows him to produce solid on-base percentages and a good batting average. Defensively, he can play both shortstop and second base but he’ll likely spend more time at the latter position due to his modest range.

The Year Ahead: Polanco, 20, will move up to High-A ball in 2014 and, if all continues to go well, he could see significant time in Double-A before the year is out. He’s probably looking at settling into a big league role some time in 2016.

The Career Outlook: Polanco has a chance to develop into an offensive-minded second baseman at the big league level who’s also capable of handling a little shortstop when needed.

 

#9 Danny Santana | 50/AA (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 587 160 22 2 24 94 30 .297 .333 .386 .327

The Year in Review: Santana, 23, had a solid season in Double-A by hitting .297 with 160 hits in 131 games but he walked just 24 times and went down swinging 94 times. He was prolific on the base paths with 30 steals, although he was also nabbed 13 times. He had a strong showing in the Dominican Winter League against older competition.

The Scouting Report: Santana has hit for a solid average each of the past two seasons but his aggressive nature leads to low on-base percentages and high strikeout rates. He’ll likely never hit for power and will probably find himself in the eighth or ninth slot in a big league lineup despite his above-average speed. In the field, Santana has more than enough arm strength for shortstop but is inconsistent with the other areas of his defensive game. He’s also played some second base and dabbled in the outfield. The young infielder made a lot of errors early in the season but impressed the organization with the improvements he showed in the second half of the year.

The Year Ahead: Santana will move up to Triple-A and could be the Twins’ starting shortstop by the all-star break unless the organization brings in a more established veteran to play ahead of Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar. He has some growing to do before he becomes a league-average, or better, hitter in the Majors.

The Career Outlook: If he can become a little more selective at the plate and a little more consistent in the field, Santana could be a league-average or better shortstop for the Twins.

 

#10 Josmil Pinto | C/50 (C)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
24 83 7.2 % 26.5 % .342 .398 .566 .418 169 6.6 -0.8 0.9

The Year in Review: After being considered little more than organizational cannon fodder during his first seven pro seasons, Pinto caught the attention of prospect watchers with his hot hitting last season that resulted in a second straight season with an OPS of .844 or higher. He finished his minor league season with an on-base percentage of .400 thanks to 66 walks in 126 games. Pinto’s success continued with a strong 21-game MLB debut.

The Scouting Report: Pinto is a patient hitter but he also struggles with pitch recognition at times and with premium velocity. He produces above-average on-base rates, shows the ability to hit for average and also produces a healthy number of extra base hits. Behind the plate, Pinto is a solid receiver but he struggled with game calling at times during his MLB debut. He has good arm strength but his success at throwing out base runners has been inconsistent because of mechanical issues.

The Year Ahead: With the impending move of incumbent catcher Joe Mauer to first base, Pinto is the odds-on-favorite to see regular playing time behind the dish in 2014. In eight seasons, the Venezuela native has surpassed 100 games played just three times so he may not have the stamina to be a true everyday guy just yet.

The Career Outlook: Pinto has shown the ability to hit for average, get on base and drive the ball with surprising authority throughout his career. He should also be an average or better defender. As a result, the 24-year-old backstop has a chance to be a solid big league regular.

The Next Five:

Lewis Thorpe, LHP: Australian players tend to be more raw than the average North American amateur when they turn pro due to the lack of popularity of the sport down under. Thorpe, though, is an exception to the rule thanks to his above-average control and developing repertoire. The southpaw, who just recently turned 18, walked six batters in 44.0 innings while sending 64 batters back to the dugout shaking their heads. Thorpe has one of the most intriguing ceilings in the organization and it will be interesting to see how he builds on the success from his debut season. He came very close to making the Top 10 list but ultimately fell just outside of it because he’s a lot less proven than some of the other talent in this impressively-deep system.

Trevor May, RHP: Formerly one of the top prospects in the Phillies system, May’s value has decreased due to a lack of improvement with both his command and control, as well as conditioning concerns. What the right-hander has going for him is durability and a strong fastball, although he lacks consistency with it and it lacks movement at times. He also needs to do a better job of working consistently down in the zone. May, 24, may be best suited for the backend of a bullpen where he can focus on his power heater-slider combination.

Felix Jorge, RHP: The 19-year-old Dominican Republic native has the makings of three average-or-better offerings in his 89-93 mph fastball, curveball and changeup. His above-average control helps his stuff play up. There is a noticeable change in arm speed when the right-hander throws his secondary pitches so he has some adjustments to make, along with improved command. Jorge should move up to full season ball in 2014 and will look to make enough improvements to prove he can be a long-term starter.

Travis Harrison, 3B: The 50th overall selection during the 2012 amateur draft, Harrison produce respectable numbers in the full-season Midwest League in 2013 at the age of 20. He has all the makings of a strong offensive player, especially if he continues to tap into his raw power potential without becoming too pull conscious. He’ll probably never be more than fringe-average to average in the field but he should hit enough to justify his defensive position.

Stuart Turner, C: Fellow catching prospect Josmil Pinto saw his value increase significantly in 2013 and ’13 draftee Turner could see a similar spike in the coming season. The defensive whiz has excellent receiving skills and a strong arm. His offence is the biggest question but he could have value in the Majors even if he hits in the .220-.240 range with modest extra-base ability. Turner was drafted out of the University of Mississippi in the third round of the 2013 amateur draft.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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Spit Ball
Guest
Spit Ball
2 years 7 months ago

Miguel Sano or Kris Bryant?

jdbolick
Member
Member
2 years 7 months ago

Sano has more power and higher level experience while being younger than Bryant and the two having similar flaws. What might bump Bryant ahead is if Sano’s elbow or defensive shortcomings force him across the diamond, which unfortunately looks like a real possibility. Basically, both are high reward / medium to high risk players with Sano’s potential and risk both being somewhat higher.

Bris Kryant
Guest
Bris Kryant
2 years 7 months ago

Sano has more power? Really? Curious to hear what you base that on. Personally, I don’t think we can meaningfully distinguish between their power ceilings right now.

We can say that Sano has had success at higher levels, but we can also say there are probably more questions about his ability to stick at the position right now.

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 7 months ago

It’s based on almost every scouting report out there. He hit 35 HR’s in 550 PA’s. Most in a notoriously pitcher’s league. http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/90064

jdbolick
Member
Member
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah, it’s been said that the only RHB with power equal to Sano is Giancarlo Stanton.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
2 years 7 months ago

Bryant because of the experience he has. I’ll take him simply because he was the best hitter in college and likely could be the same age, or possibly younger, than Sano. Feel like he’s more developed of the two, but it is certainly close.

jdbolick
Member
Member
2 years 7 months ago

Experience? Uhm … being a very successful hitter against professional pitchers is much more impressive than doing so against college pitchers. You have that backwards.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
2 years 7 months ago

Oh hey waddah ya know? Bryant WAS successful against professional hitters hitting .336/.390/.688 over 3 levels and then dominating the AFL. Their age differences aren’t gigantic and it’s pretty easy to guess that Bryant will see the majors before him. Bryant has nearly equal power and a better hit tool, while Sano might have the better arm, Bryant is likely has the better range.

You can easily nitpick between the two, but while Sano is going to be opening up and repeating AA, Bryant could be in AAA by July.

libradawg
Member
libradawg
2 years 7 months ago

No, that wasn’t even a good try. Seriously, scattered appearances from Rookie to High-A compared to Sano’s near 3-years of experience, two of which were in pitching friendly leagues? Also, one year is actually a world of difference if the younger guy has already saw the older guy’s level at *19*. If you’re counting, that’s 2 years. The write-up’s wrong, he did not struggle against AA and he will not be repeating AA. I will not look up specific stats on this; that burden is yours. Bryant would be ecstatic to match Sano’s AA numbers in his first real crack at legitimate competition. Bryant may very well have similar power capabilities, I would never dispute that. But none of this “he proved it” stuff.

TwinsfanTravis
Member
TwinsfanTravis
2 years 7 months ago

Thats a stupid comment. I’m sorry for the insult, but you clearly have done no research on the matter of Sanó’s age and are just parroting something you heard (possibly just now in this article).

Mark
Guest
Mark
2 years 7 months ago

“Future fourth outfielders Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni will keep the position warm for the stud prospect.” (Buxton)

“there appears to be a more glaring need in left or right field with Byron Buxton and Oswaldo Arica possibly filling the other two-thirds of the outfield” (Rosario)

Did you forget about Aaron Hicks or have you simply written him off?

Luke in MN
Guest
Luke in MN
2 years 7 months ago

Might be good for Hicks tohave a year where little is expected of him.

Ted
Guest
Ted
2 years 7 months ago

Questions about Sano’s age should probably be put to rest, as DNA testing, official birth records and school records all put him at 16 when he signed out of the Dominican. I realize that it is probably thoroughness that prompted the obligatory line about his age, but there is zero evidence that he is older than he claims, and the guy should be allowed to proceed through life without constantly being asked to prove a negative (that he did not lie about his age). At a point it crosses over from responsibility and thoroughness and becomes irresponsible speculation, baiting or simple trolling.

Sorry for unloading, I enjoyed the article and generally enjoy Mr Hulet’s pieces, this happens to bother me more than a bit.

David
Guest
David
2 years 7 months ago

I second that. There is no known evidence that Sano is older than he says he is. Writing that there are questions about his age is a lame way to pass of a rumor as reporting.

For example, it’s the equivalent of me writing here “I’m not sure Marc Hulet writes his own articles. Sometimes I get the sense that Hulet hires a ghostwriter to do his work for him because he’s not a competent writer” and then anyone who ever writes about Hulet from now on saying “there are questions about Hulet’s writing ability and honesty but…”

From now on please stick to the facts.

vbotkin
Member
vbotkin
2 years 7 months ago

Amen, Ted.

Not trying to be too harsh here, but the line “There are some questions about Sano’s true age (and understandably so, if you’ve seen him)” is probably the worst line ever written on FanGraphs and should be edited out of this piece.

He “LOOKS” older than 20, therefore…

How about: there are some questions about Papelbon’s true age (and understandably so, if you’ve seen him) but even if he’s closer to 14 or 15 years old…

How about: there are some questions about Adam Dunn’s true age (and understandably so, if you’ve seen him) but even if he’s closer to 54 or 55 years old…

Perhaps that could be a new statistical category here? “tAGE” where players are assigned a “true age” based upon their appearance on each opening day, rather than actual data, to give a truer and clearer picture of their true age.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
2 years 7 months ago

How do you not make an Alex Avila age to look ratio joke here?

joe
Guest
joe
2 years 6 months ago

In that case we have to write Lebron James off as being 56.

Bill Z
Guest
Bill Z
2 years 7 months ago

DNA tests can’t accurately determine someone’s age. So you’re relying on Dominican records. You can say that there is no evidence that he’s older than he claims, but asking the question isn’t out of bounds.

Ted
Guest
Ted
2 years 7 months ago

Actually, no, I do not think this is reasonable, but instead illustrates how insidious these questions are. True, DNA testing cannot reliably determine age, but that was not the instigation for his DNA test: it was used to determine whether he is actually Miguel Sano, the child reported on his birth certificate, and not someone older using the birth certificate of a stillborn child. But now, four or five years later, you say that DNA tests cannot reliably determine age, confusing the issues and lending the whiff of scientific authority to an otherwise baseless accusation.

There is no proof that Sano is other than who he says he is. MLB investigated him for months, including the highly intrusive (and, particularly as it was false, alarmingly offensive) DNA test, a bone scan to determine age, a search of birth records and school records, background interviews of classmates and teachers and others in the community: no evidence supports the claim that he is other than a 20-year-old baseball prodigy known as Miguel Sano. Yet questions continue to follow him, with no evidence other than a general dismissal of Dominican record keeping and ethics, and the belief that he looks too built to be 20 (which is only thought to be worth mentioning because of the previously mentioned disregard for Dominican ethics, see, for example, Lebron James).

Dan
Guest
Dan
2 years 7 months ago

DNA testing can’t confirm you are or are not somebody listed on a birth certificate unless you also have DNA from that somebody on a birth certificate. The only thing it can do is confirm who your parents are.

I have no care in the world about Sano, but my older brother could kill me and claim to be me and DNA evidence would “prove” it since we have the same parents unless you had a DNA sample from me before I disappeared to compare to. A still born baby? Doubtful there was any DNA evidence saved.

Twinsfantravis
Guest
Twinsfantravis
2 years 7 months ago

The point is that there is absolutely no data whatsoever saying that Miguel Sano is 24. There is an accusation by 1 scout that was proven to be a fraud. Yet people still give creedence to this stupid argument.

Luke in MN
Guest
Luke in MN
2 years 7 months ago

But if you just say “there are rumors about his age” and speculate that he’s maybe 4 or 5 years older than he says he is, without any more context, you suggest that whatever those rumors are based on is maybe the best evidence out there. In fact, the issue has been looked into extensively and no evidence indicates that he’s not as old as he says. Except, I guess, what he looks like. Which is confusing to me because I’ve seen plenty of video of him and he looks like a big strong kid, but not in any weird sort of way that seems unnatural for someone his age. I think a lot of kids have largely “filled out” by age 20, especially when bulking up is part of their job. And you can see him at age 16 or so in the movie Pelotero and again, he looks strong for a 16-year old, but not like some sort of freak of nature.

Pitnick
Guest
Pitnick
2 years 7 months ago

They should saw an arm off and count the rings.

TwinsfanTravis
Member
TwinsfanTravis
2 years 7 months ago

I second this. Poletero showed just how unfounded those accusations were (they were made by a Pirates scout to give him more leverage in signing Sanó). DNA tests, bone scans, hospital records, school records, and a taped confession by the scout in question all point towards Sanó being the age he says he is. Let it go.

Freddy
Guest
Freddy
2 years 7 months ago

I have talked to several opposing team scouts at Twins games who are 100% certain that Miguel is 3 years older than he claims. These are big money clubs that wouldve easily outbid the Twins had Sano really been 16 at the time. Doesnt suprise me when you really think about it.

Luke in MN
Guest
Luke in MN
2 years 7 months ago

100% certain based on what evidence?

Ian
Guest
Ian
2 years 7 months ago

Big money clubs weren’t going to be in on the bidding of Sano – they didn’t create the connections the smaller market clubs (Pirates and twins) had. So that part is truly false. And I greatly suspect that you are lying about what scouts told you in the first part.

Twinsfantravis
Guest
Twinsfantravis
2 years 7 months ago

I work with plenty of “big money club” scouts and they don’t know anymore than you or I do regarding Sano. A lot of what they do is opinion as well.

Twinsfantravis
Guest
Twinsfantravis
2 years 7 months ago

I work with plenty of “big money club” scouts and they don’t know anymore than you or I do regarding Sano. A lot of what they do is opinion as well. Plus, what scouts are you talking to at Twins games that would know anything about what is going in the DR. Any scout from another team at a Twins game is most likely an advance scout and doesn’t have anything to do with scouting prospects. I’ll take hard evidence over anecdotal stories any day.

Greg Oden
Guest
Greg Oden
2 years 7 months ago

Miguel Sano and I both fought valiantly for the Union.

Ian
Guest
Ian
2 years 7 months ago

Nice write up. Looks like a loaded system. Nice to read about Stewart. A year from now the Twins could graduate Buxton, Sano, Pinto, Rosario and Meyer and still have a decent system headlined by Stewart, #5 pick in next years draft, Berrios, Polanco and Thrope. That’s pretty solid depth.

Lefty
Guest
Lefty
2 years 7 months ago

“There are some questions about Sano’s true age (and understandably so, if you’ve seen him)?”

?

He had bone samples tested for fucks sake. He’s 20.

Adam C
Guest
Adam C
2 years 7 months ago

Miguel Sano was one of the major “characters” in the documentary film “Pelotero”. Sano took some type of bone scan in the film. The scan is not extemely precise but in the film it was stated that the bone scan is accurate to within 1-2 years. If memory serves the bone scan test results showed that Sano was either 16-17 or 17-18, I can’t remember which.

Lefty
Guest
Lefty
2 years 7 months ago

They also did the bone scan on Sano’s sister (who is 1 year older) to verify they didn’t swap birth Cert’s. Her birth date was confirmed too. DNA tests have confirmed they share the same mother and father, bone tests confirmed the sister was older, and not lying about being age 17 (at the time).

Add in the fact that Sano’s entire family accepted any and all tests the MLB teams had for them, and passed all of them.

This “controversy” can be put to rest.

Ted
Guest
Ted
2 years 7 months ago

This. I cannot remember, but I think the bone scan gives a range of maybe two years, so it showed him to be between 16-18. Critical to MLB’s claims/questions was that his older sister also underwent a bone scan to prove that she is, in fact, older, placing him at the lower end of the spectrum, and also verifying that their birth certificates had not been swapped.

TwinsfanTravis
Member
TwinsfanTravis
2 years 7 months ago

it was 16-17 when he was supposed to be 16.

Sullen Same
Guest
Sullen Same
2 years 7 months ago

Where would AB Walker fit in your discussion?

He was only 21 year old the entire season (younger than the traditional pick out of college), but he put up .278/.319/.526 in the tough Midwest League. That’s good for a .373 wOBA. He may not be a great outfielder, but I would think he could be average with his good athleticism and sneaky speed (which has resulted in 14 SB with no caught stealing in his career).

Luke in MN
Guest
Luke in MN
2 years 7 months ago

I think Walker missing the article says a lot about the system depth. Walker had a great year.

Sullen Same
Guest
Sullen Same
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah, it’d be worse if he was absent in, say, the Brewers system. I’m a big fan of Walker and I’d personally put him at the #7, #8, or #9 position on this list and maybe in the top 100-125 prospects in the minors.

Luke in MN
Guest
Luke in MN
2 years 7 months ago

Somewhat high on Kepler and low on Pinto and Thorpe compared to some other lists this offseason. Pinto rampaged all the way to MLB this year and had a great 2012 too. I wonder if he’s not the real deal. I’d certainly have him higher than Kepler who had a bit of a hiccup year in 2013.

by jiminy
Guest
by jiminy
2 years 7 months ago

Thanks for all the Sano info, everyone! I am a Twins fan and have heard plenty of rumors about his age, yet somehow missed how definitively debunked they had been. I have not yet seen Pelotero and had not heard much of this info. I really appreciate the thoroughness with which you explained the case for his real age. It took all of that to convince me you weren’t just deniers, but you did.

It just goes to show how destructive rumors can be, and the difficulty of proving a negative, once someone has been slimed. Slowly, meticulously compiled facts always lose out in the media to flashy, sordid accusations. The lies eventually get debunked, but the boring truth can’t compete with the exciting controversy, and most people never know the debunking even happened.

This really reminded me of something, and I finally remembered what it was. A similar thing happened with the reputation of Margaret Mead. She was once the most admired anthropologist and possibly the most admired woman in the world. Yet many people resented her for questioning conservative assumptions about he role of women, for speaking out against authority, questioning the Vietnam War, etc. She was always perfectly capable of defending herself, but after her death, a rival anthropologist attacked her reputation with sensational accusations, claiming she was over her head and was tricked by the people she wrote about. He was pretty transparently using her as a foil in the Culture Wars of the 1980s to attack the entire legacy of the 1960s, and any challenges to conservatism in general. He got on all the talk shows, and very successfully spread the vague idea that there was something shady about her. Few people today could even say what the charges were anymore, but if you mention her name, many people now say, didn’t it turn out she got everything wrong? In fact, the guy was a pathological liar. Whole books have been written meticulously documenting his falsehoods (i.e., The Trashing of Margaret Mead) — but no one even knows they were written, outside of anthropology circles. It is not a talk show topic to do actual scholarship. It is not sensational to say what really happened. For instance he claimed that when she wrote her most famous work, Coming of Age in Samoa, she was a naive young woman of 23 who didn’t even speak the language of the people she was studying. In fact, documentary evidence proves that she was hired by the US military to serve as a translator. He also mocks her book as being unscholarly and lacking footnotes. In fact, she was specifically asked by her publishers to write an accessible, popular book for the general public. She had also written, and published, scholarly, footnoted works on the same subject in academic journals, but he implied she had not, and was a sloppy amateur. It went on and on and on. Sadly, the sensational accusations were much more media-friendly than the patient, meticulous debunking. Her reputation has still never recovered, and her existence as a symbol of the empowerment of women and respect for other culture has been effectively silenced, as intended. Sadly, entire TV “news” stations have perfected this art (insert whichever side you despise here).

Sorry if this was of no interest to a baseball audience. It’s just an infuriating example of exactly what happened to Miguel Sano, proving your point. Here I am, an addicted internet fan of the Twins. We have had nothing to read about with pleasure at the major league level for the past three years, and have been pretty much obsessing about the farm system all that time, and yet somehow I missed all this. It was all out there in the open, all this time, but rarely on the front page. More thorough fans than I probably knew about the debunking, but I didn’t, and I read an embarrassing amount about the Twins. If you’d asked me to write up a summary of Sano, I would have said the exact same thing Hulet did. Anyway, thanks for correcting the misconception about his age. I can vouch that it’s still out there, alive and well.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 7 months ago

Rumors suggest that by jiminy is using paragraph steroids.

Blackout Restrictions
Guest
Blackout Restrictions
2 years 7 months ago

I’m down with the Mead story and the comparison. I’m also an academic and tie abstract theories into baseball. For example, sabermatricians need to read Ian Hacking’s The Taming of Chance. Having seen the Sano documentary, I’m certain that Mead and Sano would get along well.

by jiminy
Guest
by jiminy
2 years 7 months ago

About Alex Meyer, there is a rush to anoint him an imminent star, but I have also seen concerns that his control still isn’t quite there, and his secondary pitches are still nothing special. I have seen so many times the excitement over pitchers who will be amazing once they master their control, or learn another pitch. These improvements should not be taken for granted. Meyer at least has never had any people striking people out at any level. I’m not saying he’s a great prospect. But people are slavering to put him in the starting rotation by mid-2014, and I don’t get it. Give him a chance to finish developing first — if he can. A lot of really tall pitchers take an excruciatingly long time to develop good control. I would rather have a kick-ass team in 2015 or even 2016 than watch a lot of good prospects struggle in the majors, the hitters unable to hit a curveball, the pitchers unable to avoid walks and homers, and then either wash out, or become expensive just when they’re getting good. Last year, they traded two center fielders for young pitchers — moves I was fine with — but I’m convinced they rushed Hicks to the majors because they were afraid the fans would be pissed off they were investing in the future while sacrificing the present. They had to act like the real reason they traded those outfielders was Aaron Hicks was ready. He hit some homers in spring training, and maybe they even convinced themselves he was. It may have destroyed him. At the very least it wasted a year of service time, and instead of arriving this year with a year of AAA under his belt, ready to start his mlb career, he’s a mess. Best case scenario, he learned something, and all you’ve lost is a year off his free agent clock. But by the time they sent him down, he couldn’t even hit AAA pitching (a level he skipped completely on the way up). But Hicks was virtually the only exciting bauble they had to dangle in front of the public, so they sacrificed him. I just hope they don’t do that with Meyer.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 7 months ago

Hicks’ development has been so screwy I have a hard time with the premise that anyone should have known what the right thing to do with him last year was. (Or next year, for that matter. There’s 3 WAR difference between Steamer and Oliver.)

He’s a guy you might as well throw a dart and hope it sticks, because he’s never been anywhere close to expectations at any given time.

richardkr34
Guest
richardkr34
2 years 7 months ago

Secondary pitches are nothing special? You obviously haven’t seen his knuckle curve then.

http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=25573055&topic_id=vtp_top_50&query=alex%2Bmeyer

Ben2074x
Guest
Ben2074x
2 years 7 months ago

God job posters. I appreciate when information is brought to the conversation as opposed to the rumor mills. A big thank you.

Dave
Guest
Dave
2 years 7 months ago

I think the fact that they signed Nolasco and Hughes and are rumored to be looking at signing another starter indicates that they learned their lesson and won’t rush Meyer, et al.

Cool WHIP
Member
Member
Cool WHIP
2 years 7 months ago

http://www.startribune.com/blogs/235621131.html

After examination, Sano has been cleared to resume normal offseason work. His elbow as been deemed healthy.

Also– can we please put to rest all the age concerns? After taking bone samples, mind you, they verified that he was telling the truth.

Fister Furbush
Guest
Fister Furbush
2 years 7 months ago

As a cynical White Sox fan, I hope he’s at least 24. Like Fausto Carmona, he will have a real name of a 90’s closer. Here’s hoping for Jose Mesa part II.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 7 months ago

His real name is Robb Nen.

CR Twins Fan Atic
Guest
CR Twins Fan Atic
2 years 7 months ago

AB Walker wins the Player of the Year award for the Midwest League by TOPPS. How can you be the best player in a minor league level and not make the honorable mention in your organizations prospect ranking? I’ve watched this kid for an entire season and I can say without a doubt that he was the best player in Cedar Rapids (not named Buxton). He had 8 triples and runs as well as anyone on the CR team once he gets going. Never caught stealing in his professional career. Fields his position soundly. Hits the ball with the force and ease of a major leaguer. AB Walker should be Top 10 easy and without a doubt listewd in the honorable mention. He doesn’t walk alot. So What. He still got on base enough to out score everyone in the midwest league. Oh yeah and drive in more runs than anyone in MilB (not named Dalton Hicks). Cut his srtikeout rate by 10% and still has doubters. I wish you actually saw what I saw this past year. No way you could have and ranked these guys like you did.

Ian
Guest
Ian
2 years 7 months ago

He was old for the level and the question marks about him won’t be answered until he reaches the higher levels. Jason Parks at BP left him off his list as well but said that he could be a “first division type player” but the holes in his game right now are pretty big. Let’s see what happens to him when he’s playing against pitchers who have as much experience as him.

Sky14
Guest
Sky14
2 years 6 months ago

The Median age for MWL was 22.2, so Walker was actually young for his league.

CR Twins Fan Atic
Guest
CR Twins Fan Atic
2 years 7 months ago

Why do guys keep saying 21 is old for that league. That (21 yrs old)is the average age for that league. He was 17 when he went to college and was one of the youngest college players drafted in 2012. His pre college experience having resided in the Midwest for high school was probably very limited as well. Midwest prospects don’t play many games due to weather limitations (I’m from Iowa -I know). He upside is so huge and his best baseball is all in front of him. IMO

Joe Mauer was the last young prospect to actually reach STAR status in the Twins system. The reality is that most of our up and coming prospects will reach the MLB level at age 23 or 24 or older. Only Sano and Buxton are on pace to get there before 21 and they are the Top prospects in all of baseball.

All any prospect can do, is try to do your best at the level in which you play (A – AA – AAA – MLB). AB Walker has been a Star at every level he has played (HS – College – Rookie – A – ??? – ??? – MLB?). Stop looking for flaws that have not hurt him or his teams thus far. I’ll take the Winner with flaws as opposed to the Saber stat star who can’t win the big one. Winners Win – Twins Fans

libradawg
Member
libradawg
2 years 7 months ago

You know what, while you’re at it why not review the role the Illuminati had in this Sano thing??

Seriously, I hate playing a certain card more than anybody. I think it’s overused, misdefined and unfairly deployed often. I most certainly won’t compare this situation with that of those who have played the card that I’m suggesting. In the end, I won’t play the card. But I will ask one question: Are you sure those people are doubting Sano’s age because of his build or is it because he’s…gosh what is it about him that made this so easy to blurt out Sano, on a website that normally analyzes the most miniscule of evidence in order to discover concrete proof of a player’s value? I echo the sentiments of another commentor on here; please delete that and leave that type of thing to bleacher report.

The whole write-up of Sano was unfair. Of all the tools at fangraphs disposal and a slash line like that and Batting Average is the reason he “struggled at AA”? The Twins have made a couple moves with the big club but need that jolt and they need it now. Yes, that’s speculative and somewhat nonsensical a reason to rush somebody up, but that seems to be the theme with Sano. Give the guy a break, he’s earned it.

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