Updated: May 14th, 2012 10:23am
GM Terry Ryan hopeful top prospect Miguel Sano can move up ladder soon

GM Terry Ryan hopeful top prospect Miguel Sano can move up ladder soon

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Baseball America's offseason farm system rankings list featured some glowing comments about Minnesota Twins top prospect Miguel Sano, who blasted his 11th home run of the season on Sunday for Low-A Beloit.

Elizabethton manager Ray Smith, who has been in the Appy League for more than 20 years, says the only players who have come through the circuit and produced a similar sound off their bat to Sano are Josh Hamilton and Joe Mauer.

Mentioning Sano and Josh Hamilton in the same sentence seems a bit aggressive, if not unfair, but it shows how much respect Sano's power has garnered at such a young age.

Sano, 19, entered Sunday's games hitting .292/.408/.646, and the 11 home runs are tops in the Midwest League, which raises the question; Will Sano be pushed up the ladder to High-A Fort Myers sometime in the near future?

"He'll have a chance," general manager Terry Ryan said Sunday. "I'm not sure he's quite ready, but when he's ready. ... I hope we do move him (up). I think all of us would like to see him move (up)."

In just over 150 plate appearances Sano has also drawn 22 walks while striking out 40 times, which would put him on pace to strike out nearly 150 times in a full minor league season.

Despite the high strikeout totals it appears Sano's bat is ready for the next level. But there are still some questions defensively, as illustrated in part by the 11 errors Sano has committed at third base.

Even so, Ryan described Sano as having good "agility, hands" and "a rifle for an arm."

The Twins hope Sano can remain at third base as long as possible, but his 6-3, 220-pound frame might make that difficult long-term.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Joe Mauer
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