The Twins haven't been major players in the international market, but are one of the front-runners for this year's consensus top pick.
As Jorge Aranqure Jr. of ESPN.com wrote yesterday morning, Major League Baseball is investigating the age of top international prospect Miguel Angel Sano. Listed as 16, but with a physique that implies he could be older, after the Twins requested more detail on his background MLB launched their own investigation. Should Sano's age be verified as correct, Minnesota is considered one of two front-runner teams along with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sano's agent has already had a DNA bone graft done, which reported that he's in the 16-17 range. So I'm cautiously optimistic for now.
For those of you unfamiliar with Sano, and why he's considered the best international signing, here's some tidbits from a great scouting report by BP's Kiley McDaniel:
- Some expect Sano to get a signing bonus of $4.5 million dollars. If he doesn't break the record for the largest signing bonus, he'll be right against the line.
- Labelled as "special".
- Great makeup.
- Currently a shortstop, but many scouts expect a move to third base as he fills out.
- Grades out well offensively.
- Power projections fall between good and great, depending on who you read; McDaniel says good raw power to all fields, with improvement as he fills out. It's all about filling out...
- Compares to Evan Longoria; in other reports Alex Rodriguez and Hanley Ramirez. Comparibles like this are worthless when the prospect is this far away, but color-by-number is a great way to quickly scan what kind of tools these kids have.
- Along with the Twins and Pirates, other teams attached to Sano: Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals, Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays, Athletics and Rangers. Probably more that I've missed.
When Kobe Bryant or LeBron James were just coming out of high school into the NBA, you knew without a doubt that they were going to be superstars. Christian Ronaldo? Superstar. Is Sano at that level? I don't think so, but he's clearly highly considered and with good reason. It doesn't matter which club ends up signing him, they have to consider their farm system to have a new top prospect.
It sports, especially over the last few years, there's always hype over the next young prodigy. The younger and more hyped-up they are, the more the media outlets will adopt them as their darling as proceed to bleed any sense of a story to death. Sano is that guy for this summer, and I'm more than happy to have the Twins involved. Stay tuned, and see if Minnesota can sign their best prospect since Joe Mauer on July 2.